Preparing for your Violin Exam
Taking a graded exam can be a nervous time for a musician but it need not be if you know how to prepare well and take action to make sure you do so. It is also worth pointing out that you don’t need to take a graded exam to prove how good you are at the violin. At the end of the day, by taking a graded exam all you will be getting from it is a piece of paper stating what grade you are.
Many people just take the Grade 5 and Grade 8 exams as these are the grades that serve as benchmarks. Many people take graded exams in order to get on to higher education music courses also. The point I am making here is, you do not need to take graded exams to enjoy playing an instrument, but this page is here if you have decided to take a graded exam.
Practise makes perfect…
You may not believe it but there have been cases when people have turned up to music exams having only played the pieces they are to be examined in once or twice. They think that their music skills and perfect sightreading will carry them through safely. There might be a few lucky people who can do this but the majority of people who will be taking exams will need to practise months before the exam. For example, it can take a year or more to prepare and pass a Grade 8 exam.
In order to work up to an exam steadily you will ideally need to practise 5 times a week leading up to the exam.
But perfect isn’t always the key to success…
Even though they say ‘practise makes perfect’ you don’t need to be perfect in order to do well in a graded exam. The result you get in a graded music exam is only a record of how you played on the day. So don’t get too stressed if you can’t get your playing perfect on the day.
The week before the exam
The week before the exam you should know everything you need to know for the exam. If there are any difficult areas that you need to work on, you should work on them specifically in this last week.
Preparing your violin
In the fortnight before the exam you should make sure that your violin is fully prepared for the exam and that there are no problems with your instrument.
On the day
Arrive at least 20 minutes before the exam is due to start so that you have time to prepare yourself and your instrument for the exam.
Carry on playing…
If anything goes wrong the key to success is to carry on playing and not let on that you have had a slip in confidence. Carry on going and show the examiner how professional you are.
After the exam
After the exam take some time out, maybe relax your practising for a week or so and wait for the results!