Playing Levels

With so many people coming to RSS it is important that we grade the sessions by playing level so that everyone can enjoy the best experience possible. We have 5 different playing levels which are described below.
Please read the descriptor for each level and work out which one suits you best. Your level for RSS will be the one where you can tick all or virtually all the requirements for that level and the levels before, especially those referring to speed of playing. For example, if you tick all the requirements for Levels 1,2 & 3 and half of those for Level 4 then you should choose Level 3. Of course, as always, you may change groups once on the course if you and/or the tutor feel you are misplaced.

Level 1
• You play at least two sizes of recorder.
• The range low C to high G on a descant/tenor is fine for you, and you are usually ok with F#, C# and Bb.
• You manage to play melodies and short pieces without stopping often.
• After practising you feel much more confident.
• Time signatures 2/4, 3/4, 4/4 are familiar.
• Slurs sometimes need some extra thought.
• You may have a small amount of experience with ensemble playing.
• You enjoy playing with others in an ensemble, although it can be a challenge to listen to the others whilst playing.

Level 2
• You play both F and C fingerings.
• You are comfortable with a two-octave range.
• You use a fingering chart to work out the trickier fingerings.
• You can read basic rhythms at sight.
• You sometimes play fast sections a bit slower.
• Triplets, syncopations and tied notes are a challenge, but work well after practising them.
• Time signature changes can throw you off, but you have played in simple time (e.g. 4/4, 3/4) and compound time (e.g. 6/8).
• You have some ensemble experience.
• In ensembles, you enjoy playing the same part with others, but you also enjoy one-to-a-part when you know a piece.
• Following the visual indications of a conductor can be a challenge.

Level 3
• You play at least one instrument larger than tenor, and read both F and C fingerings, and bass clef.
• You are able to read treble up an octave.
• You have no need for a fingering chart.
• You can play pieces in three sharps and four flats without too much problem.
• Triplets, syncopations and large jumps are no problem.
• You can usually cope well with time signature changes.
• You can reliably produce a nice sound, even on high and low notes.
• Articulated quavers at crotchet = 90 are no obstacle for you, e.g. a chromatic scale.
• Semiquavers in simple sequences at crotchet = 80 work well, e.g. Telemann – Sonata in F Major, 1st movement, Allegro.
• You are happy to play one-to-a-part.
• Watching a conductor while playing is no problem.

Level 4
• You play at least SATB and can read both treble and bass clef.
• You can play a range of more than 2 octaves and can play in all the common baroque keys.
• Articulated semiquavers in simple sequences at crotchet = 96 are no obstacle for you, e.g. scale patterns.
• Music with time signature changes is not a problem for you, and you are comfortable with a variety of beats e.g. 3/8, 5/4, 3/2.
• You can sight-read well and from a first play through you can already play with a degree of nuance, phrasing etc.
• You have played a lot of repertoire, both solo and ensemble.
• You enjoy playing one-to-a-part, even when it involves tricky rhythms.
• When playing with several people on one part, you can be the leader of your part.

Level 5
• Sopranino to contrabass instruments hold no secrets for you.
• You work at technique with a considered approach.
• You feel comfortable sustaining speed, for example, F major scale in 3rds, with semiquavers at crotchet = 90, using double tonguing. And a chromatic scale slurred, also at crotchet = 90.
• Double and triple tonguings are fluent.
• You consider yourself to be a reliable, advanced player, with plenty of experience playing varied styles of music, with good repertoire knowledge in both solo and ensemble.
• You enjoy a challenge, working at difficult and virtuosic pieces.
• Articulated semiquavers at crotchet = 112 are no obstacle for you.
• Tuning is secure and you have some alternative fingerings to hand.
• You have played unbarred music.
• While playing, you can easily listen to other parts and you are able to adjust your playing style and technique.