Preparing For Your Piano Exam

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With all of our exam candidates recently entered for this term’s piano exams, we are nagging them all to practise harder than ever! But how can you make sure that you are prepared for each element of the exam?

We looked this week at the 4 individual sections of the ABRSM piano exams, and how to practise for each bit!




Scales

  • Scales should be practised every day – use them to warm up with, and they will get easier and easier. Students that do this will see a big improvement in their scales, and you will feel confident about this section of the exam
  • Write down each scale, arpeggio, broken chord etc. Cut them into small pieces of paper, fold them up, and mix them together in a bowl. Now pick them out at random, to ensure that you are working on them in different orders
  • Start with scales in your exam – they let you warm up and adjust to the different piano
  • Listen very carefully to which scale the examiner asks for – it is easy to get muddled up when you are nervous

Pieces

  • Practise performing all three pieces to family and friends, or even in a concert if you have the chance. The added pressure will help you to adjust to the nerves you will get during your exam
  • Record yourself playing your pieces. Listen back through them to help you to understand which sections need more work. Post these videos or sound recordings to our Facebook page for some direct feedback!
  • Listen through different recordings of your pieces on Youtube, to hear the good things about other people’s performances
  • Practise any page-turns, or get used to playing with photocopied sheets, several weeks or months before your exam
  • Always keep going if you make mistakes. Don’t stop to correct them
  • Take a few seconds before you start to think about the piece – decide on your opening tempo and dynamics, and commit to playing musically, focusing on what the piece is about and how it makes you feel

Sightreading

  • The only way to improve your sight-reading is to practise, practise, practise. Between lessons, use examples from your sight-reading book, or other music that you have. It doesn’t matter about the standard of the music, only that you play lots of it!
  • Ask yourself a few questions before you start: Are there any sharps and flats? How fast do I need to play this? Are there any difficult bits that I need to beware of?
  • Always keep going when sight-reading – establish a steady pulse and never go back!

why does it matter

Aural

  • Listen to as much different music as possible – even better if it’s live!
  • Tap along to different pieces that you hear on the radio
  • Clap back rhythms are you pick out from melodies that you hear
  • If you are shy about singing, joining a choir is a great way to gain more confidence in your aural skills
  • Download the ABRSM Aural Trainer app, for lots of examples and feedback
  • Try out some mock aural tests at http://gb.abrsm.org/en/exam-support/preparation-for-exams/mock-aural-tests/




General hints 

  • In the run up to your exam, you should be practising every day. Work through things you are finding difficult, and make sure you find time to practise every element of the exam
  • Ask teachers and parents to do mock exams for you.
  • Don’t leave things until the last minute. Work steadily through your exam materials, and you will go into the exam feeling confident and excited

Good luck – let us know how you get on!



Originally posted 2016-12-09 14:38:58. Republished by Blog Post Promoter

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