Apr 4 2009, 11:21 PM
I took my Grade 5 piano exam yesterday and the day before, I actually got to go into the hall and play the baby grand for three hours! I played perfectly so I felt ok about the pending exam the next day. (yesterday) However, the third piece I played, I completely spaced out, lost my place and just stopped. I panicked and just started playing random notes (I know it sounds funny!) and then I just stopped. It was about two lines from the end of the piece! As far as I know, my other two pieces were fine and my scales were too. The aural I can't be sure about. I just waffled when he asked me to comment on the style of the music and the clapping and singing the tune, I may have got right?? Not sure, I was so nervous and the sight-reading isn't my strong point. I burst into tears when I left the exam because I felt so frustrated with myself. What are the chances of scraping a pass? A merit would make my day but maybe that's wishful thinking? I'm really worried about my results as I take my music very seriously!
Apr 4 2009, 11:34 PM
Aw poor you! I really feel for you as this has happened to one of my Grade 8 students just a week ago (still waiting for the results). He was doing so fantastic and I'd predicted a high merit or maybe even just into the distinction bracket. However, he was unnerved by the examiner, as he wasn't one of the friendliest ones he's had which put him on edge. (He described him as rather 'frosty.'). He made a few mistakes in all his pieces and totally went to pieces on his aural. Strangely enough, like you he felt good about the exam, as his lesson before went fantastic, so it was such a shock. He came out saying it was the worst exam experience he's ever had, and he's achieved Grades 1-7 with distinctions. I truly hope he's passes, just like I hope you have. I hope you're both being over-critical. Let us know, and I'll let you know as our results should come through quicker than yours do. As I've said to my own pupil, and I'll say it to you - "if the worst comes to the worst and you haven't got through, remember it was just that performance on the day that let you down." Wouldn't it be nice to have nerves of steel? Good Luck!
Apr 5 2009, 12:13 AM
Thank you so much, Glass Mountain! I hope your student does well - I'm sure he may have done better than he thought given his 1-7 Distinctions! That's amazing! My examiner seemed nice; it was just odd because when I'd practised scales, arps etc. I knew them so well - it was like autopilot if you know what I mean? But when I was in the exam, even though I played the notes correctly, I think my fingering went a bit funny and my mind went blank and I was 'conscious' of what my fingers were doing if that makes sense? And the bit where I stopped in one of the pieces was horrid! I could almost see the tumbleweed roll across the room!! The silence was horrendously amplified!!!!!!!!!! I'm trying not to think about the exam too much but I keep making my own 'predictions' about marks etc. (I always do that!!)
I hope I'm way off though....I started my grade 6 pieces today and melodic minor scales, just for 'fun' and so as I divert my focus onto the next task! I'm not sure if this is wise?!!!! haha! I'll let you know when I get my results! Thanks for replying! I've been really freaking out!
Apr 5 2009, 12:34 AM
Yes, my Grade 8 pupil is not used to things going wrong and it was a big shock to him - we all get these, so he's lucky it never happened until Grade 8, but let's hope he got through with it being the BIG one. Fortunately, his career doesn't depend on it as he's an apprentice electrician now, but it would still be a shame. However, he'll re-take it if the worst comes to the worst, but he'll have to learn new pieces as he was working from the syllabus that's ended now.
Let me tell you about the worst experience I've ever had when I was only 12 years old, and I'm 47 now, and it's still with me - I turned up to play my 'party piece' in a Festival Winner's Concert. I'd forgotten to take my music, but it was a piece I knew really well so it wasn't a probem, or so I thought...... Like you, I put the wrong fingers down, and I totally lost it and the whole performance stopped. I can remember it to this day, and, consequently, I've never attempted to play without music since. I can really empathise with you, as it's such a shock when you know a piece so well. Something must have happened to you where you just lost concentration (it can happen to anyone). Don't beat yourself up about it, and use it as a learning experience, in that you have to focus constantly right until that last bar. I actually think you'll be ok, as you played your other pieces well. One thing I'll add, is that the silence will have sounded twice as bad to you than for the examiner. It is very rare for an examiner to hear every piece played perfectly in an exam situation. Great to hear you're already raring to go on the next level. Whatever the results, just keep trudging on and keep believing that it was just the performance on that day, and it's unlikely to happen again. The pupil I told you about was very lucky it hasn't happened before now, and maybe in a way he's got complacent as things can, and do, go wrong for everyone at some point. I look forward to hearing the outcome, but I reiterate the fact that I think you'll have got through if that was the only thing that went wrong. Examiners are trained to know the difference between a nervous moment, as opposed to someone who hasn't practise properly, and I'd put you and my pupil in the first category (just nerves on the day). Good Luck and Good Night!
Apr 23 2009, 01:53 PM
Hi Glass Mountain! Many thanks for your reply and reassuring words!
Sorry to hear about what happened when you were 12...that IS scary....it's strange when things like that happen when one has practised so much....funny what the brain is capable of!
I got my Grade 5 piano result today and I got 115 a Pass. I'm not exactly thrilled about it
but considering I thought I'd failed, it's ok. 5 away from a Merit!
This is how I scored (in case you're curious!
A2 - Sonata 19/30 (this is the one I mucked up really badly!)
B2 - Gigue 23/30
C2 - Burlesque 26/30
Scales & Arpeggios - 17/21
Sight-Reading - 15/21
Aural Tests - 15/18
So a total of 115.
I got 125 last year for Grade 4 and 132 for Grade 2 Jazz before that....I guess I'll have to work a little harder!!
Thank you again for replying to me....roll on grade 6!!