Five tips for Performance Exam prep

Performance exams for drums, guitar, vocals, violin, and piano are just around the corner, a chance for candidates to show a year’s worth of progress in less than a half hour. No pressure! Here’s how to earn your stripes.

5. Inch by inch, it’s a cinch. Build yourself up each day, starting today. Of all the subjects, you can’t cram music.

4. Know the answers and the questions. Read your handbook to understand what’s required. Common issues include: for piano exams, Hand Separate or Hands Together?; for drum students, how many songs need to be performed with a recording?; for guitar students, are substitute fingerings permitted?

3. Perform live. Nothing tests your mettle for a one-and-done exam like a live performance. Ask your private lesson teacher or studio director about stage time.

2. The weighting is the hardest part. We tend to fuss over repertoire, but 40% of your exam mark is outside of songs. Spend a proportionate time on sight reading, ear training, rudiments and scales.

1. Act like you’ve been there before. Book a Mock Exam early enough to make adjustments. A suggested date is two to three weeks before the big date.

In-person performance exams provided by London College of Music (LCM) and Registry of Guitar Tutors (RGT) are traditionally held in early June. This year’s Greater Toronto Area session is in Mississauga.

LCM and RGT also issue Performance Awards certificate for entries by videorecording throughout the year. Pop Theory Exams are offered in November.

In-person performance exams for Royal Conservatory of Music are held three or four times per year in Southern Ontario, including at selected sessions, Milton.

Consult the correct syllabus: the requirements for exam levels are updated from time-to-time, so be sure that your books are valid for the upcoming session. A transition period may be in place as syllabi are phased out.

Have your say