When your piano exam is approaching, what should you do to make sure that you’re ready to accept the challenge? Instead of sitting there feeling worried and panicked, here is a checklist of things which should be completed before you welcome the exam big day.
5 Tips For You !!!
1. Understand the exam syllabus and what is the examiner’s expectation.
First thing you need to do is to read your exam syllabus, understand the exam marking scheme and understand what do you need to do in each sections. In ABRSM examination board, the piano exam is divided into 4 sections including scales and arpeggios, exam pieces, sight reading and aural. Candidate is required to play 3 piano pieces which are selected from the list given in the syllabus for each respective grades. The detailed syllabus of each grade can be downloaded from the official ABRSM website. To avoid getting caught off guard during the exam, you are recommended to read the syllabus carefully and be prepared of what type of questions will be asked during each section of the exam. If you feel stuck or having any question about the syllabus, it is recommended to get assistance from your teacher.
2. Practice makes perfect.
To be confident for the exam, practicing is the utmost important element in the exam preparation. You should understand the three exam pieces really well and practice them until they can be performed perfectly with only minimal mistakes or none at all. During exam, you may feel nervous and your performance may be dropped. Sometimes, you may be lost and not be able to continue your playing if a major mistake is made. If this happens, you should quickly find a point where you can restart the pieces again. Restarting the pieces all over again from the beginning will greatly affect your marks.
So is there any way to prevent this dreaded situation? The answer is yes. The more familiar you are with the pieces, the less chances that you’ll get stuck. Try to memorize the pieces as much as you can and do not depends solely on your muscle memory. To reinforce your memory on the pieces, you can try to play it outside the piano or play it inside your head. On the other hand, you should start practicing the pieces from different starting points. In this way, you will be able to continue playing from several points in the pieces even though you stopped halfway because of mistakes.
3. Perform your exam pieces in front of some audience.
After you can perform the exam pieces well, it’s time to find some audience for your performance. Getting used to perform in front of people is a good way to overcome stage fright. At first, you can invite some close friends or relatives to your house to hear your performance. When you have more performing experience and lesser fear, you may want to try performing to the public. You can try to join more recitals organized by your teacher or nearby music center to get more chance and exposure in performing to public. With these experience, you’ll learn many valuable lessons such as how to play confidently and how to go on without stopping even if you slipped or made a mistake.
4. Arrange for a mock exam with your teacher.
One of the way to determine how well prepared you are is to have a mock exam. You can always ask for your teacher’s help to set up a mock exam where he/she pretends to be the examiner. In the mock exam, you will do everything exactly like the real exam. You’ll be exposed to questions commonly asked by the examiner and have a go in responding to them. With this mock exam, you’ll find out your weak area and understand which section of the exam requires more practice and improvement. You can also read this post to get an idea about what will happen and what should you do during your piano exam.
5. Find out your exam venue, date and time early.
It is always wise to find out your exam venue at least several weeks before the real exam day. If you haven’t been to that place before, you should try to get there few days earlier to check out on it. This is to make sure that you’re not going to lost your way while looking for the place on the exam day. On the big day, reach the exam venue at least 30 minutes earlier to get ready. Being late will give the examiner a bad impression and also increase your nervousness which will then affect on your performance and marks.
Hope that this article helps you in the preparation of your piano exam. Check out this post for the tips on the piano exam day too! Remember, practice makes perfect. Hard work will pay off eventually if you never give up. If you have any question or comment about this post, do leave me a message in the comment box below. Wish you a great success in your exam! Good luck!