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Practical Update 

We appreciate how much the cancellation of our exams has affected learners and we are working hard on solutions to ensure learners can gain their qualifications at the earliest opportunity.

However, on the basis of official and local advice due to COVID-19, we have made the decision to cancel all Practical exams in Macau until further notice. This decision affects all 2020 bookings for Graded Music Exams, ARSM, Diploma, Choral Singing and Ensemble exams, but does not currently affect any bookings for Music Theory exams. Following this decision, we will process 100% refunds for all existing Practical exam bookings and our Representatives will provide further guidance in due course.

We are sorry for the impact on teachers and candidates and thank you for your loyalty and support while these restrictions remain in place. We are continuing to review when live Practical exams can resume in Macau and will offer them again at the earliest possible opportunity.

Our new remotely-assessed Performance Grades provide an alternative progression route for students during this period of disruption. The Performance Grades are equivalent to our Practical Grades in demand, recognition and value. They are based on the same repertoire and syllabuses, assessment criteria and quality assurance measures as our existing exams and will be assessed by the same highly trained examiners. Booking will open in Macau before the end of the year and you can record your video submission any time from now on. Find out more here.

How to practise performing for your exam

8 months ago
Charlotte Tomlinson

Charlotte Tomlinson

Charlotte Tomlinson is an internationally renowned Performance Coach with an expertise in moving musicians through issues with performance anxiety & physical tension.

How to practise performing for your exam

Practising for a performance is very different from practising for a lesson. When you take your practising head into the performance, you are more likely to stop and correct as you go along, when what you want is to let go and play, trusting all the work you have put in. When you practise performing, you give yourself the experience of performing so it becomes much more normal. You know much more what to expect and you are less likely to be nervous. So, let’s explore the steps towards this.

Plan in advance with your teacher when you are going to be ready for your exam. Make sure it is quite a few days before your performance or exam and put that date in the diary. That is when you want your pieces and scales to be ready.

Find opportunities to run your pieces through (and your scales) frequently between that date until the exam. It might be a mock exam with your teacher, a run through for your parents or friends, or just playing through without stopping to correct, in your practice room.

Be the observer on your own mock-performance: Review what went well and what didn’t go well so you can improve on those things in your practice. Above all, how do you feel? Did the run through make you nervous? If it did, then you can practise managing those nerves in advance and they won’t surprise you when it comes to the exam.

Use visualization. If you can’t play in the venue beforehand, you can do a lot with your imagination that can help. Imagine where you are going to be playing and create the feel of the exam room as much as you can. You can also practise walking tall as you go into the imaginary exam venue and practise smiling at the imaginary examiner. Then get yourself settled at the music stand or at the piano, and take a long, slow breath before you start, to calm and prepare yourself.

Testing out these things in advance, even if it’s just in your imagination, can give you enormous confidence. You will feel you know what you are dealing with and you will give yourself the very best chance of giving a good exam.

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