Monday, 18 April 2016

How to take the panic out of preparing for a music exam

Exams of any kind can be extremely nerve-wracking, but music exams can take stress to a new level. This is because they usually involve an element of performance, where you’re put on the spot in front of a keenly observing examiner.

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However, there are plenty of tactics you can employ in order to prepare for your music exam without too much worry.

Trust in a good quality instrument 

You only have one ally in the exam room and that is your instrument. You may make an occasional mistake, but the last thing you want is for the instrument to let you down. This is why it is crucial to invest in the best quality instrument you can in advance of your exam, and get in some solid practice on it. Find a quality purveyor that specialises in your particular category of instrument. You can visit shops in person or make your purchase online. For example, if you are looking for string instruments like violins, violas or cellos, you can visit websites like Caswell’s Strings. It also helps to have a spare set of strings handy in case the unmentionable breakage happens - and make sure you know how to change a string!

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Practice... in front of other people
It simply can’t be stressed enough that practice is absolutely the best way to prepare for a music exam. You need to know your chosen pieces, as well as exactly what the examiner is marking you on, inside out. However, practice on your own is not enough. It can really help to calm your nerves and get you ready for the exam room if you can practice and perform in front of other people too. 

Look after yourself

This means lots of sleep, a healthy diet and plenty of exercise. A music exam can be far more physical than other types of exams, so you need to make sure you’re healthy and alert in order to perform well. If you stress too much and sleep too little, it could increase the risk that you catch a cold or a virus. 

Arrive early

Along with getting lots of practice in the weeks leading up to the exam, arriving early on the day is also a good way to calm your nerves. It means you don’t have to stress about being late or finding the venue and you’ll have lots of time to tune up. 

Keep your composure 

If you make a mistake, move past it. If you’re not feeling confident, put on a smile and try to convince yourself that you’re confident. The key to success is to relax, keep your composure and believe in yourself. 

These tips should help you to get through your music exam unscathed. The very best of luck!

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