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Exam Pieces

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The pass mark for each piece is 20/30. Careful preparation here is required and I don’t just mean getting all the notes in the right place and in time. Phrasing which includes articulation and breathing in the correct place is just as important as is the careful use of dynamics and choosing a good tempo. In the early grades, there is less scope for error as the pieces are usually short and have the necessary markings to make a satisfactory performance. It is therefore easier to earn a higher mark in the earlier grades. The higher grades however besides being more technically demanding often require the candidate to interpret the piece of music themselves. This can demonstrate good musicianship but can also do the opposite if for example the wrong tempo is chosen.

A good test as to how well you know a piece of music is to try and play the music from memory. Although this is not a requirement, it can determine how ready you are to concentrate on the finishing touches of bringing the performance to a good concert standard.


No matter how badly you think your performance is, never give up. The examiner may not know the piece that you are playing and therefore not aware of your mistakes. If you play with confidence, it will sound just like it was meant to be. When introducing your pieces, smile and speak clearly. Being confident here will give the impression that you are in control and that you are absolutely ready for your exam. If you make a mistake, the examiner may pass it off as a blip in your performance.