Earlier today, I had my very first practical exam (grade 1 piano) and I was wondering what it was like for you all?
In my case, I walked to the exam centre not quite knowing where the it was exactly. In other words, I walked by it not realising that it was it, then had to revert, etc. Oh well, I had planned enough time, so it was OK.
The stewart was there and, as soon as I entered the exam centre, mentioned my name and asked me to confirm that it was mine. I found it surprising that I wasn't asked any kind of proof of identity. In the end, I get the feeling that I could have asked a friend to sit the exam for me and it wouldn't have mattered. Strange.
I was told that I had some time to practice before the exam, so I did just that. However, the practice piano was really not of a good quality. I didn't like the sound or touch of it at all. I even have doubts as whether it was properly tuned!
The exam room was nice and I found the examiner to be very professional. In other words, I couldn't tell what he was thinking about my performance, something that I don't like!
The exam piano was very nice. Very nice sound and touch (for me at least!), which was in complete contrast to the practice piano. Better that way though! One downside, though, was that the stool wasn't stable. It's like one of the legs was shorter than the others. That was a bit distracting.
The examiner started by saying I had a few seconds to get accustomed to the piano. This is silly really, because I knew there was a good chance of being offered to try the piano for a few seconds, yet I couldn't think of what to do with the piano to get accustomed to it. Doh!
He asked me whether I wanted to start with scales or my pieces. I asked for the scales, which I believe I did without any problem. Then came my pieces and my nerves started to kick in (probably because of the pieces being worth so many points). In other words, I stumbled at some point in my first piece. Nothing major, but frustrating nonetheless. I believe my second piece was fine, though my memory of playing it is now very vague. As for my third piece, I stumbled towards the end, which I was rather annoyed about. I actually mentioned to the examiner that I wasn't pleased with my performance, but in true professional fashion he just said something along the lines of "that's fine". God, I really hate it when I can't read people's mind!
Then came the sightreading part. I playd the piece straightaway (as a practice round) and was therefore ready to play it straight after that, but the examiner told me I still had time and therefore 'asked me' to wait. Then, when I actually started playing the piece, I stumbled straightaway! I started over again, and I believe I was 'OK'. I am still annoyed about it though. I wish he had let me play straightaway.
For the aural part, my nerves had come back down and I was feeling really relaxed, even though I don't particularly enjoy parts of the aural exam. Still, I think I was able to clap the time signature fine. The 'singing' was also OK, I think (if anything, this is my 'strength' when it comes to the aural exam), and I believe I was able to describe the difference in spot the difference. Finally, I think I answered his questions about dynamics fine.
So, overall, I feel like my exam went fine. I certainly enjoyed most of it and, in some way, that's what matters (or should matter?!). Now, I am eagerly waiting for the results. God, I really want a distinction, so I really hope I have done enough to get one!
Now, I am going to work through the grade 2 syllabus, but I have no intention of sitting the exam. I think my next exam will be grade 3 in a year's time, assuming everything goes according to plan. I would also like to sit grade 5 theory in March next year. I believe these to be reasonable goals for me, though only time will, no doubt!