The RGT is an organization that sets out to provide resources for private and institutional guitar tutors. A system of instructional books and examinations can lend an air of professionalism to any private tutor and structured course material and goals to any student. Run by Tony Skinner, who is also a Major contributor to Total Guitar magazine, I asked him about the RGT and its place in the world.
So, what exactly is the RGT?
The RGT is a professional organization for guitar teachers in the UK and overseas. It's also a body that organizes
examinations in electric, bass, and classical guitar in conjunction with the London College of Music.
So how does the organization function?
Basically what it does is register tutors by taking up references. Tutors send in an application and we
assess them ,which is a three stage process before they can be accredited on to the list of RGT registered
tutors. The assessment includes a police check declaration. We also publish a series of course books that
accompany the examinations, as well as other guitar education publications that we find are useful to both
the teachers and the students .
So if a tutor was to join the RGT, what would it offer to them?
It offers the chance to get involved in the RGT as a professional organization. It allows you to state on
your literature or advertising that you can offer your students exam courses. There is a specific handbook,
which accompanies each level of the exams. The exams go from beginner level to advanced, and even a teachers
diploma. All the coarse materials are covered in each handbook. There are supplementary materials available
for such things such as improvising sections of the exam where we do have CD's with backing tracks that you
can jam with.
You operate world- wide. Where else are the RGT active?
The RGT is mainly based in the UK, but we also have offices in Vancouver, Canada where we have been offering
exams for five years. We have a full time rep there. Also in New Zealand where we have had exams coming up
now for the fourth year. In the past two years we have established an office in Greece, also Dublin in Ireland.
We also do exams in other countries depending on the level of interest, the number of exam entries. We have
had exams in Malta and Turkey.
How long have you been up and running?
We been around for just over ten years since 1992.
Do you do a pop vocal course?
We ourselves don't but we have helped the London College of Music develop their pop vocals syllabus.
We acted as advisors on that and also distribute their pop-vocal course handbook for them.
It's quite a sizable organization?
Yes, we employ numerous people in the head office and have about fifty examiners throughout the UK and more overseas.
You also have an annual conference?
Yes, we have an annual conference that all the tutors can come along to, as well as people who are
considering starting to teach. It's also open to non-members to come down, to find out what the RGT is
all about and find out about the examination courses. Also, people can get some information about how
to teach, and get some musical information from skilled players and educators. We have had speakers such
as Carlos Bonell, John Mills, flamenco player Juan Martin, in the jazz world, people like John Etheridge,
and in the rock world people like Paul Samson and Jamie Humphries.
What are your plans for the future of the RGT?
Well, we hope to consolidate our position and expand the range of services we offer to teachers and musicians.
We also publish the only magazine for guitar teachers called "Guitar Tutor Magazine", that goes out three
times a year. We also plan to hold more training courses for students and teachers alike in the future.
You also write a column for Total Guitar?
Yes, I have been doing that for over ten years, I'm also the only contributor to be working with the magazine from the beginning.
What support do you offer your tutors?
We has what we call TASS (teachers advice and support service) which is a teacher advice and support
service which basically is an e-mail, telephone, and mail service whereby we have a panel of senior examiners
who are available on an on-going basis to provide support to guitar teachers who need it. If someone has a
query with anything to do with teaching or anything to do with one of our courses, or anything about the
business side of teaching, how to attract more pupils or how to assess what rates to charge, or any problem
with teaching. If they get in touch, someone will respond within twenty-four hours and help with their
If a student passes an RGT exam, what would that mean for them?
If a student passes an exam they get a certificate, which is sent to them from the London College of Music
which is one of the most established examination boards in the world. They have been doing graded examinations
since 1887. They were the first board to introduce classical guitar examinations in the 1960's. These
certificates are validated by Thames Valley University and are also accredited by the qualifications and
curriculum authority and have been placed on the national qualifications framework, and that means that
they are equivalent to all other national qualifications, such as A levels, GCSEs, NVQs, etc. So depending
what grade you get you will be placed on the national qualifications framework, and the grade you achieve
will be equal to another qualification. The higher grades will be equivalent to an A level for example.
The exams have also been approved by UCAS, which is the University admissions council, which means that
students, once they have passed their exams, they will be getting UCAS points for University entrance.
Not just for music entrance, but for any degree or higher education course. So, for example, if a student
wishes to study Geography at Bristol University, he could maybe do an A-Level in geography, an A-Level in
English, and instead of doing a third A-Level in maths, they could do a grade 7 RGT guitar exam which would
attract the equivalent UCAS points.
You also have a website called booksforguitar.com?
Booksforguitar is a website that the RGT approves, because it stocks all the RGT books and so it's an easy
source for people to obtain the handbooks from. It also stocks a very wide range of other guitar education
books. All of which have been reviewed and checked before inclusion on the site.
Do you have any patrons?
We have a panel of honorary patrons. These are eminent guitarists in the fields of rock, pop, jazz, and
classical guitar, who have basically looked at what we have done and have agreed to offer their support
to the RGT as honorary patrons. These include people like Hank Marvin, Carlos Bonell, John Etheridge,
Mick Green, and many more.
As a supporting body, the RGT undoubtedly offers invaluable help and assistance to guitar educators who can
at times lead an isolated existence. If you are considering starting up as a guitar teacher, you should check
out the RGT straight away.
As an example of how the RGT assists its members follow this link to an article published in the RGT's Guitar Tutor
magazine on how to attract more students.