We’re near the exam period now! In about a few more weeks, you or your child are going to take the piano exam that you have been anticipating for the past 3-6 months. You have been playing, practicing, preparing all night long, just to ace that exam.
However, all the practice will come to nothing, if you do not excel on actual exam day.
Here are top 7 tips to help you ace your ABRSM exams!
Before The Exam:
1. Have a mock exam
Other than just practicing non-stop at home, set up a mock exam instead. Set up a time with your piano teacher. Put aside everything, and imagine this session with your teacher is the actual day exam room.
Play the songs, the scales, and test the aural session too, exactly what will happen on exam day. This mock exam will prepare yourself mentally on actual day.
2. Perform in front of strangers
Ok… I don’t mean going out to the streets or shopping malls to perform. But do find opportunities to play your exam pieces or scales in front of people who aren’t your regular audiences (not your teachers, parents, or classmates).
You can try playing to your relatives, your neighbours, or even your pets. This exercise is to prepare you mentally to perform in front of the examiner (who is a stranger to you too!)
3. Practice as usual 1 day before exam
Practice hours 1 day before should be as normal as your regular days. Do not over-practice. Don’t over-stress yourself too much. Mistakes you make on this last day, is likely due to nervousness and stress, and not your common pieces errors (you would have fixed days long ago).
Practice enough, and have a good rest for actual day.
On Exam Day:
4. Sleep well and rise early.
Today is the best day of your life. You are ready for the huge performance to wow your examiner. Whatever hard work you have put in, is all worth it just for today. You are confident that the 3 songs you play in the exam room will charm and captivate the examiner and he will love it so much to award you the highest marks possible.
[Note: Tip 4 is not exactly a tip, but a script to tell yourself and build up your self confidence (or your child’s). Students tend to feel down or nervous for exams due to the mistakes they made during past practices. However, it’s not the time to fix mistakes on exam day. (It’s too late!) But it’s time to get them pumped up to give the best performance ever!]
5. Arrive Early.
Arriving at the exam hall, at least 30min, or even better, 1 hour earlier. First, it’s because you need to mark your attendance. Second, is to get familiar with the school/exam hall.
It is very likely that your exam room is some place you’ve not been to. Get yourself familiar with the surroundings will calm your nerves down.
6. Warm up on the piano
It is perfectly alright to ask the examiner if you can warm up on the piano by playing a scale or parts of your songs. Please take this chance to familiarise yourself with the piano.
7. Play your best music
Go ahead and perform. Keep going even you made a mistake. The examiner grades you by your overall piece, not individual notes. Do your best!
The Happy Pianist wish you all the best for your upcoming exams!