New RCM Cello Series is here!

October 11, 2013

RCM Cello Series, 2013 Edition

The long-anticipated graded cello series for the Royal Conservatory of Music is now available! Published by Frederick Harris Music, the Cello Series, 2013 Edition makes available to cello students for the first time a graded anthology of repertoire suitable for RCM exams.

The inaugural series follows the pattern established in the recent series for voice and violin. The series includes:


Like all former syllabi from the RCM, the new 2013 edition of the Cello Syllabus contains the full list of pieces that are acceptable in examinations.  The published repertoire books contain only a selection of these, which are indicated in the syllabus by a special symbol.  To choose repertoire for Levels 9, 10 and ARCT, the student is required to purchase individual scores from publishers indicated in the syllabus; there are no repertoire anthologies available at these levels.

The repertoire books also include CDs that feature recordings of the pieces in the collection. This feature has become more popular in recent years; all recent RCM series (flute, voice, violin) include the CDs as standard and the new Cello Series follows the precedent.

Previous series from the RCM for flute and violin combined the studies for all the grades into two volumes.  This approach contrasts with that used in the Perspectives Series for piano, which has a separate book of studies for each grade.  The cello studies are combined into two distinct volumes like those for flute and violin, the first for Preparatory through Level 4; the second for Levels 5 through 8.  This is good for the pocketbook because the same book can be used for multiple years!


Unlike the 2013 edition for violin, however, the technical requirements for cello are not found in the books of etudes.  Instead a separate Technique Book combines the requirements for all levels together.

One notable feature of the new Cello Series is the collection of Orchestral Excerpts.  This will be a welcome addition for cellists that will solve a perennial problem in the old syllabus: while orchestral excerpts were required in examinations before, the recommended books, published by International Music Company, could not legally be sold in Canada due to copyright restrictions.  As a law-abiding retailer, we are pleased we can finally supply the material cellists need!

Each RCM syllabus and repertoire book of the past used to come with a unique cover featuring Canadian art.  This practice has been abandoned; instead all the books now feature a uniform design that is systematically colour-coded.  Even the syllabus is the same bright green as the new syllabus for violin!  This is not necessarily a criticism, just an observation . . . though the unique colours of the past certainly made it easier for us in the retail industry to put our finger on the correct book.


The addition of a cello series to the growing list of RCM/Frederick Harris publications is a positive development.  Keep an eye on our blog for news of other new series due in the next few months!

Teachers & Students: Have you tried the new Cello Series?
Did it meet your expectations?
Share your opinion in the comments below!

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2 Responses to “New RCM Cello Series is here!”

  1. Natalia says:

    I am looking to purchase these series as I will be sending my son to the assessments, but have a hard time finding it. Are they only available from Frederic Harris? Our retailers said they can not get it, and it is not available on sheetmusicplus as far as I know.

    • Sheilah says:

      Hi Natalia! Thanks for your question. The Leading Note keeps all of the RCM Cello Series in stock. Please follow this link to purchase any of the books from this series. If you are in Ottawa, you can pick up the order at our store or, if you are out of town, we can ship the music to you. I hope your son enjoys his cello studies!

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