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What is the Grade Level on a piece of music?

What is the Grade Level on a piece of music? This is a complex question. The grading system generally ranges from 1-6 increasing in difficulty level. Unfortunately there is not an agreed upon scale for this grading system and it varies by publisher. They don't really publish the policy, but experienced players have provided the interpretation as follows:

Grade 1 (Beginner) Music for 1st-2nd year players. Mainly quarter note values and longer are used, with eighth notes occasionally. Limited number of pitches used.

Grade 2 (Intermediate) More advanced than Grade 1. Uses more interesting rhythms incorporating dotted-quarter-eighth-note figures, with more pitches used than in Grade 1.

Grade 3 (Late Intermediate) Uses some sixteenth notes in addition to all other note values. Syncopation can be used. More key changes and accidentals are utilized, may call for full range of the instrument.

Grade 4 (Early Advanced) This is a grade level for people with ability who really want to play some cool charts. Players who feel comfortable with their instrument and have a good rhythmic abilities will be able to perform music at this level.

Grade 5 (Advanced) Most works at this level are going to take exactly that -- Work! They are not unplayable, however, you don't want to sit down at a gig and sight read one of these charts.

Grade 6 (Advanced + ) This is a class of music for people who want to play something hard because a) they like to play something really difficult b) they really love the music, and don't mind putting in the work that it takes to play it well.

Grade Levels (Instumental Grading Scale)

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