Here are 5 methods and tips to help you better practise on your piano so that you can ace your ABRSM exams easier.
Tip 1: Practise your scales in random order
Many students tend to practise their scales in order, following the format of the official scales book. However, examiners tend to ask in random order and seldom follow the order. If you have only ever practised in order, it may not necessarily mean that you actually remember how to play all the scales if asked to play a particular one randomly. Therefore, during your piano practice sessions, you want to mix up the sequence and order of the scales.
Tip 2: Practise in awkward situations
When it comes to practising for your aural exam, you can even ask a friend or someone you will feel awkward singing in front of to be there. When it comes to the pieces, you can practise playing them at a public piano – these are commonly found in Singapore schools. This can make you intensely awkward and that is fantastic. When you feel awkward during your practice sessions, it desensitizes you. This means that during your exam, you will feel calm or rather – normal.
Tip 3: Focus on the pieces FIRST
If you have heard of the pareto principle, you will know the importance of practising extremely intensely on your pieces. This is because pieces take up a majority of your actual score in the ABRSM practical piano exams. Therefore, putting your effort and focus there first before other segments of the exam is key. You need to score in the pieces. If you score well here, you will be able to breeze through the exam.
Tip 4: Be a musician, not a technician
Many Singaporean students tend to practise and play the piano as though they are an engineer or technician. You are a musician. You need to be able to express the piano pieces effectively to be a true, high quality musician and pianist. Hitting the right keys and the right rhythm alone will get you a merit easily, but not a distinction. You need to truly bring the music to life. Express out the character of the songs. Therefore, it is important to pick piano pieces which you can feel for so that it will be easier for you to bring out the song’s soul.
Tip 5: Get more practice sessions with or without your piano teacher at the actual exam studio
This is extremely important because every piano can feel drastically different. If you noticed, the piano at the exam studios tend to have more slippery keys, and obviously the room temperature is very low. There may also be sound differences to your ear because of the room’s walls which are clearly different from that of any normal house, apartment or bungalow in Singapore. You may not be used to it if you only practise at the actual exam venue once or twice.
Although it costs money each time to rent the exam studio, it is money that is well worth spending. If you fail, or fail to get the results that you so badly desire, you will need to retake the exam which can take many more months or even a year later. You can see that there are only three ABRSM practical piano exam sessions per year in Singapore here. Do not waste that time, invest some money into more studio sessions to get used to the actual exam studio. This way, your chance of acing the ABRSM piano exam is significantly increased.