After having a conversation last night about RCM training, exams, recitals, etc., I thought some more about how training in any professional-type setting can actually be counter-productive for budding musicians. The RCM syllabus has strict guidelines for what pieces a student can play for each exam and what finger to play each and every note with. I was lucky enough to be taught piano by a cousin who just had such a passion for piano and wanted to pass it on to me. She let me play whatever songs I thought sounded pretty in the RCM books and brought me sheet music for pop songs I would recognize. It was a very laid back setting for piano lessons, but these lessons still prepared me for university. I did not take a single RCM piano exam because I was terrified of performing in front of more than just my Mom. I ended up going to university to major on clarinet and in the end, RCM didn’t matter. Requirements for a university music program are that you can play at a certain RCM level and not that you actually HAVE the certificates to prove it, just as long as you can blow the professors in the audition.

Sooo basically I want to see what thoughts are on whether RCM is helpful in the long run or if it kind of dampers creativity. I have never been able to jam on any instrument because I am constantly thinking about the time signature, key signature, rhythm patterns, where to come in, how to play a certain chord etc. I have recently learned to play the ukulele and the strumming is the hardest part because I over analyze every strumming pattern to the point of no longer being able to even hear it.

Are there any other people here who took RCM or other “professional” training for music? I think everyone and anyone can be a great musician. It doesn’t matter if they can’t tell you where middle ’C’ is on the piano or they are descendants of Beethoven. If they can feel the music, they can play it.