July 2011

July 2011

Sunday, 17 July 2011

How to prepare for an exam

How to prepare for an exam...

You have put a lot of work into preparing for your (perhaps first) music exam or performance. We have some tips for you to make this event as less stressful as possible:

1. First of all, you go into this exam voluntarily remember? No one forces you to undertake it and hence there is no reason to worry about it too much. You have prepared well - otherwise we wouldn't let you go - and there is sufficient reason for you to expect to do well.

The examination though is only the opinion of one person on one particular day. You may be disappointed or happy about the result, it doesn't take away or add to the skills you have acquired over the past period. You will never disappoint you teacher, because he knows what you can or can't do.

2. Once you have decided to undertake an exam, we will prepare you to be ready about a couple of weeks before the exam takes place. There will be an opportunity for you to play your exam in front of other students who will also undertake an exam and will play their pieces for you.

3. When you go into the exam and play piano, you have a slight disadvantage compared with students who bring their own instruments. You don't know what kind of instrument you will be playing on. Therefore it is best to start your exam with your scales. This enables you to get to know the instrument before you start playing your pieces. 

4. If the idea of an examiner being in the room with you disturbs you then, while you are playing project the music into the most far away corner on the other side of where the examiner sits. 

5. The examiner is a (w0)man just like you and me and knows how you feel.

6. Before you start playing your pieces breath out first. When you are nervous, you take too much air. So, breath out first. It is also good practise to walk about a bit before you enter the room. 

7. Count at least two bars before you start playing and while you are playing breath through the mouth. Practise to breath at the same basic rhythm as the piece you are playing.

8. Contrary to what you think errors are usually no problem. The examiner wants to know the things you can do and judges your overall performance. 

9. Once you have done your exam, a period of a couple of weeks of waiting starts. This robs some people of their sleep. Especially those who actually prepared very well, because they are more critical about their performance. For obvious reasons you almost never play as well in the exam as you did at home, although some people excel under stress. I have had students who were convinced they failed and in the end received a merit!

10. Stay open minded regarding your actual results. They can be less or more than you expect. Remember, they only represent the opinion of one person at one particular day.

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