Exam Preparation - The final week!

Hello there Brighton pianists,

1st things 1st!! Congratulations on all your hard work!!! I'm sure you've been beavering away inside and outside of your piano lessons.

Here is a run down for the week leading up to your exam - please get in touch via phone or email with regards to any specific details you aren't sure on. contact@pianolessonsuk.co.uk

One week and counting:

Only a short way to go so lets go for it! It's time for lots and lots of practice.

  • I would recommend doing between one to three hours per day if possible. You should have all of the information needed.
  • Whilst you are working and studying hard, try to remain calm. Think about posture - Is it stable and relaxed? Breathing with loose shoulders and supportive feet!!
  • Maintain slow, separate hands and up to speed practice.
  • Focus on the small areas which may be shaky and correct with precise practice.
  • Avoid booking other activities which will distract immediately before or after the exam.

The day before your exam:

  • At all points project a positive outcome. Say to yourself "I will play great in my exam", "I rock" or "I will enjoy it and be calm" etc... Pick one you like and stick to it.
  • Using your books I would recommend playing through the exam syllabus in your mind in the order chosen. E.g The scales first, then the pieces, and some sight reading.
  • Play your old pieces and exercises. Make up a song - Just don't play the exam bits!!!
  • Do something fun if you have the time - watch a film, play a game, meet with friends etc...  and try to get a good night’s sleep (exercise the day before is helpful).
  • Make sure you know where the exam location is.
  • The main focus is avoiding anxiety and remaining relaxed.  

The morning of your exam:

Morning!!! This is the day that you will be amazing on!!

  • Again project positively throughout, imagine a successful result (remember you can make a lot of mistakes and do very well in the exam).
  • Please avoid playing anything related to the exam syllabus instead run them through in your mind.
  • Play some warm up exercises.
  • I recommend some light exercise if there is time before the exam to cool down!
  • You may not feel like eating because of nerves but try and have something.
  • Do something fun if there is time.
  • Make sure you have your pieces in a safe place


30 minutes before the exam:

You will be at the examination centre. 

  • Only bring your pieces with you.
  • Avoid talking to other people about your pieces, scales etc... You know what to do.
  • Find a piano to warm up on I would recommend playing some exercises you've learned during your lessons.
  • Run through the pieces in your head and fingering of the scales only once.
  • Focus on your breathing, relax and think how you want to play. 

5 minutes before: 

Focus only on relaxation and positive thinking.

  • Close your eyes, breathe slowly and repeat in your head something positive such as    "I am calm and relaxed"

In the exam: 

In you go - 

  • Adjust the piano stool to the correct height for you make sure it is the right distance. This will help you settle in - Take your time. It's your exam.
  • In between each piece and scale take your time to prepare for your next performance. Never dive straight into a piece or scale.
  • Ask the examiner to repeat a question if needed.
  • If there are a few hiccups don't worry. We can't affect the past just the future. We all make mistakes. I just picked up two forks for my lunch!
  • Once performing don't stop.

After the exam:

Well done, I'm sure you have done fantastically well. Keep a note of areas you feel were trickier than expected and areas you'd like to improves on. Equally areas that you really enjoyed and did very well on. 

  • Eat something wonderful - Ice Cream????!!!! 

Good luck!!!!!

Kevin Matthews