Taking Piano Examinations

Lucy teaches the Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) examinations.

It can take a while for a pupil to be ready to study towards Grade 1 pending the amount of practice they do and the speed of their progress.  Note recognition must be confident, understanding of keys and scales must be learnt fluently before introducing examination set pieces.   Sight-reading is also introduced at this time so confidence is gained with these tests.  Aural skills are also developed in preparation for the examination tests.

Therefore, there is a lot to cover and prepare before entering a child into an examination.  Nearer to the examination I encourage longer lessons ie 45 mins to enable more time to cover the syllabus.

A child needs to be prepared to practice very regularly with the support of their parent alongside their other school commitments, examinations and additional clubs.   As their teacher, I like to feel the pupil, parent and myself work as a team towards this examination goal. 

ABRSM provide the Prep Test should a pupil wish for an earlier goal before Grade 1.  This is a simpler examination which the pupil cannot fail and they are given a certificate.  This test can give a child confidence performing in front on an examiner and a sense of achievement.  It also gives them experience of having to do regular practise memorising exercises and learning two pieces fluently.

More details about the ABRSM syllabus.

For each exam there are a range of different major and minor scales to learn from memory and play fluently.  Additionally, there are broken chords for Grade 1 and arpeggios for Grade 2 upwards.  There are three set pieces to learn (but not from memory) – a choice is given in the ABRSM piece book.  This book also comes with a CD which I would encourage all examination pupils to buy so they can listen to their pieces.  Alternatively, individual exam pieces can be downloaded from the ABRSM webpage.

ABRSM have also developed the below apps on Itunes to assist with preparation for examinations:- 

Examination piece practice assistance

 Aural Training Tests







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