Let The Rest Of The World Go By Sheet Music Tips For Preparing For Your Piano Exam

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Tips For Preparing For Your Piano Exam

Whether you’re a new pianist or a full-time professional, auditions can be a daunting and often difficult task. Each exam has its own challenges. However, if you prepare properly for the exam, it can mean the difference between passing and failing.

For this example, let’s pretend we’re taking a 6th grade piano exam. Note that I sat and passed the sixth grade exam. Although I did not pass well, it was due to insufficient preparation before the exam. I put no time or effort into preparing for this music exam. I can confirm from experience that to effectively prepare for the sixth grade piano exam, you need more than 15 minutes of practice three to four times a week!

THREE MONTHS BEFORE THE EXAMINATION

At this point, you should be exercising for about an hour a day, five days a week. You should at least be able to hit all the right notes in your chosen pieces. This is the time to develop your work, from a series of notes to a piano masterpiece. Focus on things like expression, dynamics, and rhythm. Add some feeling and emotion to your pieces.

You should also study all your theory and scope. Too often the scales and theory are ignored at this point and revised 12 weeks before the exam. This is a terrible mistake! Remember, the more you learn now, the more you’ll retain this information, so you’ll have a better chance of recalling the knowledge you need during the exam.

ONE MONTH BEFORE THE EXAMINATION

Time to up the ante a bit. You should exercise for an hour and a half to two hours a day, six days a week. This is the time to fix all the little imperfections in your music pieces. Exercises like freeing up that tricky triad, hitting the F sharp with the fourth finger instead of the fifth. These problems may seem trivial, but they will help you a lot in your exams.

Practice without background music and see how well you’re doing. I can guarantee that if you rely too much on your scores during the exam, you will fail. Learn your music by heart.

Also, make sure that your exam should be your top priority. Don’t get distracted by other things in your life. Don’t get distracted by relationships, finances, or other issues that might distract you from your exam. You’ll be stressed, exhausted, and you won’t be playing to your potential.

ONE 7 DAYS BEFORE THE EXAMINATION

Now it’s time to just practice, practice, practice! I recommend two to three hours a day for now. You should have all the knowledge required for the exam. This is just a matter of editing for your exam.

We should be calm while working hard and studying. To put this into perspective; this is just a test. No need to worry about it 24/7.

BEFORE THE DAY OF EXAMINATION

Most people study for 5-6 hours the night before the exam and study until one in the morning. That’s a big no! The upside is that you only need to play through your pieces once. One of my favorite things to do is pretend to be taking an exam. So I would do the weight first, then the parts in order, and then the sight reading.

Don’t try to make last minute revisions to your exam. You are likely to only put unnecessary pressure on yourself, and more importantly, you will have little chance of remembering it during the exam. Don’t get distracted by other things in your life. Your piano test is tomorrow – everything else can wait for another day.

Calm down! It is important that you sleep well. If you can afford the luxury, I recommend getting 8-10 hours of sleep.

THE MORNING BEFORE THE EXAMINATION

Do not do any work, piano related or not. Do something fun that doesn’t require brain power. Watch movie. Kicking a soccer ball. Do what works for you.

Try to eat a healthy breakfast. However, if you’re suffering from butterflies in my stomach, don’t try to force anything down. It will only come right back! (Trust me!)

I repeat, relax! Try not to think about your exam. Don’t try to think about theory, weights, grains, fingers, etc. Don’t think about what you did or didn’t do in the exam. It will just annoy you and it will seriously hamper your exam.

30 MINUTES BEFORE THE EXAMINATION

Now you should be at the place where you are taking the exam. Make very light repairs. Visualize yourself playing as you look at your sheet music and read the notes. Play “Piano in the Air”. Test yourself with two theoretical questions.

Do not discuss the exam with other people under any circumstances. Do not ask each other theoretical questions. Don’t speak your part. Do not talk about previous exams or examiners. It is nothing more than an unwanted obstacle. Take a few deep breaths, relax, and focus on your exam.

5 MINUTES BEFORE THE EXAMINATION

Close your books. Take three deep breaths and concentrate. Think of it like any other piano practice. Go into the exam with a positive mindset. As I mentioned above, it doesn’t matter if you prepared for the exam or not. All you can do now is concentrate on the upcoming exam.

DURING THE EXAMINATION

Now two things will happen to you. First, you think you’re doing well. Great! Ride this wave of euphoria until the exam is over. But you should not give up! You have several parts or several scales or theory to do. You must concentrate till the end of the exam. A lot can happen in between.

The second thing that can happen to you during a piano exam is that you think you’re doing poorly. Forget about it! It doesn’t matter what happened. You have time left in the exam to impress the examiner. A lot can change from the time the exam ends.

Another thing to keep in mind is that just because you think you did poorly, doesn’t mean the examiner knows you did. He won’t understand every mistake you make. Forget what happened, clear your mind, and start over for the next task. Think about what will happen, not what just happened.

AFTER EXAMINATION

Congratulations! You have completed your test! You can now breathe a huge sigh of relief! Finally finished!

Analyze your test carefully. What did you do well? What do you do badly? What could you have done to improve? By making notes, you can use them as a reference for future exams.

Be careful not to be overconfident in your exam. You may be disappointed with your results. Conversely, don’t be overly negative about your test and feel like you did poorly. Often you will get a nice surprise!

AWAITING RESULTS

After waiting 1-2 weeks for the results to come back, you will naturally be excited and at least curious to see your results. Did you do as well and/or better than you expected? Did you do worse than you thought? Either way, read your examiner’s comments at least three times. See what your piano testers like and what they don’t like. No matter how good you are, you can always get better! Next year’s exam is guaranteed to be tougher than this year’s.

Take the evaluator’s comments on the board, and take your own thoughts on the board. Was your preparation as good as possible before the exam? Nine times out of ten, if you’ve done something bad, you know why. Think about why you were bad and get better! Learn from your mistakes. Don’t get discouraged! It’s not the end of the world. There’s always next year.

I hope this article has helped you in your exam preparation. I personally do this when I prepare for a piano exam. Of course, if you have a routine that works for you, stick to it. However, if you take one tip from this article and implement it successfully, I will consider this article a success. Good luck with your exams and most importantly remember that you can only do your best.

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