Benefits of Taking an Exam
- Gain a useful and internationally recognised qualification.
- Find out, via a reliable and independent assessment, what standard your playing is.
- Achieve your playing potential by setting yourself a clear target to aspire to.
- Preparing for the exam will help you develop all aspects of your playing in a structured way, increase your knowledge of techniques and music theory.
Please click the following links for details of each exam:
Trinity Rock & Pop
Trinity Rock & Pop
Trinity Rock & Pop
Ten Top Tips on Taking Exams
If are taking an exam you will find people are only too willing to give you advice. Here's mine. Just like everyone else's, take what is good for you and ignore the rest.
- Remember why you chose to play the instrument. Is it because you love the sound it makes? Have you become so bogged down in the mechanics of the pieces that you have forgotten about the sound?
- Remember why you're taking the exam: to get one person's objective and informed opinion of how well you play on a particular day, under pressure. And this in the hope that they can tell you something useful.
- Forget any other reasons you may have for taking the exam. These may include pleasing your teacher, impressing friends or family members and gaining entry to some band or orchestra. While these may seem important in the short term they are ephemeral. Don’t let them come between you and your enjoyment of the instrument.
- Your teacher may well be piling on the pressure. This should be constructive: about you and improving your performance. But beware, and challenge if you feel able, any negative pressure to do well. Your teacher may feel nervous on your behalf or may feel it reflects badly on them if you achieve a poor result. That’s their ‘stuff’ and it’s unfair for them to make you responsible for that.
- If you have been ‘bribed’ to do well by the promise of some material reward try, to put it from your mind. This is negative pressure by the back door. If you can bring yourself to do this, politely decline the reward in advance and free yourself of the distraction. You never know, perhaps you’ll be rewarded anyway.
- It doesn't matter how well or badly you do. It's not a GCSE or your driving test. If you do well, tell the world. If you do badly, keep it to yourself. As soon as you take another grade, or have any other musical success, this result becomes redundant
- If your pieces are ‘dying’ on you because you have played them too often, give them a rest. Play something else. Play an easy piece but make it sound great. You may have already mastered Greensleeves or Bach’s famous Minuet but remind yourself why they were so popular. Improvise with friends or to a backing track.
- Consider a stage actor who must perform the same part night after night. It is not enough to learn the lines and repeat them. For each performance they must breathe life into their character. They must become that person. Learning the ‘To be or not to be’ speech will not, by itself, make you Hamlet. Find the character in each of your pieces.
- Look for your blind spots. If possible record yourself playing your set pieces and listen back. Where do your fingers stumble, where does the intonation suffer? What other technical errors are you making? Now, rather than play entier pieces, concentrate on those passages and gradually expand them by playing the bars either side.
- Dare to contemplate failure. The fear of failure makes failure more likely. What are you really afraid of? Is it your teacher, your family, your friends? (Please don’t say the examiner! You will probably never meet them again and whether they smile or frown during your performance is rarely reflected in the mark they give.) Any storm you have to weather afterwards will quickly pass. You are doing this for yourself. It’s a hobby, maybe even a passion. Enjoy the event.