Have you ever wondered what it would be like to become the examiner for a day? I certainly have!
I have often wondered what they are looking for and how they mark the pieces!
The ABRSM (Associated Board Royal Schools Music) have recently created a page on their website where you can mark an exam! There are several exam situations ranging from grade 1 oboe to grade 8 piano, you get to watch the exam situation and mark them accordingly, then see if your marks match the examiners! After the performance the examiner will explain why they have awarded the mark. Although the exam is broken up into smaller sections that we can watch individually, we are able to watch the whole exam, scales, aural and sight reading. Why not check it out and have a go…
Become familiar with the accompaniment and understand how the solo line fits with the piano part for more secure performances
Slow down or speed up the music to a tempo that suits you. Ideal for slow and careful practice.
Listen closely to the solo part in isolation to hear every detail of the expert performance.
Repeat tricky passages by setting loops around them.
That sounds fantastic. I have often found myself going over and over certain parts of music – however without the piano accompaniment as I could never quite get the timings right on my CD player. This part of the app will be a great help.
Whether you decide to take exams or not really doesn’t matter, for some people it is a great focus to their musical development whereas others may choose to learn the exam repertoire but not take the exam. Our teachers will be guided by you to whether you wish to take exams or not. If you do here are our 5 top tips for exam preparation:
Practice all parts of the exam, lots of people tend to just work on the three pieces you will be performing. Yes, they are very important however they are not the only thing you will be marked on. Im confident scales will be a part of your daily practice routine (!!) so why not build sight reading and aural tests in too.
Why not do a pretend exam in front of family and friends. For some people playing in their exam will be the only time they have performed in front of anyone who isn’t their teacher or dog! No need for nerves, get together a few family and friends and make a performance of it!
Scales! I often say to pupils if I gave you the answer to your maths exam, all you have to do is learn it, go in and write it down – would you? The answer is always YES! So scales are that part of the exam. Scales are a key part of my daily practice anyway however – I may not always play the ones needed for an exam. So why not, write all the scales you need on small pieces of paper, pop them in a hat, pull them out in a random order and play! DONT FORGET YOUR ARTICULATION!
Practice as much as you can with the accompaniment paying particular attention to the dynamics and articulation markings, remember just because the piano accompaniment is playing forte (loud) doesn’t mean you will be!
Have fun! As adults no one is forcing us to take the exam – we are there to have fun and get better. Relax and enjoy.