admin Posted on 10:23 pm

Tips to prepare for your piano exam

Whether you’re a new pianist or a full-time professional, exams can be a strenuous and often daunting task. Each exam has its separate challenges. However, if you prepare for your exams correctly, it could mean the difference between passing or failing.

For this example, let’s say we’re taking a 6th grade piano test. For the record that I sat for and passed a sixth grade exam. Although it is true that I did not pass well, this was due to a serious lack of preparation before the exam. I didn’t put the time or effort into my preparation for this music test. I can assure you from personal experience that you need more than 15 minutes of practice three or four times a week to effectively prepare for a sixth grade piano test.


Right now you should be doing about an hour of practice a day, five days a week. In your selected pieces, you should be able to press at least all the correct notes. This is the time to start developing your pieces from a series of notes to a piano masterpiece. Focus on things like expression, dynamics, and tempo. Put some feeling and emotion into your pieces.

You should also thoroughly study all your theory and scales. Too often scales and theory are neglected at this time and only reviewed a fortnight before the exam. This is a terrible mistake! Remember that the more you study now, the more you will retain this information, so you have a better chance of remembering the required knowledge during your exam.


It’s time to turn up the anti a bit. You should spend an hour and a half to two hours practicing a day, six days a week. This is the time to smooth out all the minor flaws in your musical pieces. Practice things like making that tricky triplet sound smooth and making sure to press the F sharp with the fourth finger instead of the fifth. These problems may seem minor, but they will help you tremendously with your exam.

Practice without the sheet music in front of you and see how well you do. During your exam, if you are too confident in your score, I can guarantee that you will fill up. Learn your music by heart.

Also, make sure your exam becomes your number one priority. Don’t get distracted by other things in your life. Don’t be distracted by relationship, financial, or other issues that may divert your attention from the exam. You will get stressed and tired, and you will not perform to your full potential.


Now is the time to practice, practice and practice! I would recommend doing two to three hours per day for now. You must have all the necessary knowledge for the exam. It’s simply a matter of reviewing it for examination.

While we work and study a lot, we have to stay relaxed. Put it in perspective; it’s just a test. There is no need to worry about it 24/7.


Most people the night before an exam practice for 5-6 hours, studying until an ungodly hour in the morning. This is a big no-no! At most, you should only play your pieces once. What I like to do is pretend that I’m actually sitting for the test. So I would do my scales first, then my pieces in order, and then I would do some sight reading.

Don’t try to do any last minute revisions for your exam. Chances are you’ll just put unnecessary pressure on yourself, and more importantly, you’ll only have a slim chance of remembering it for your exam. Don’t get distracted by other things in your life. Your piano test is tomorrow; everything else can wait another day.

Chill out! It is essential that you get a good night’s sleep. I would recommend getting 8-10 hours of sleep if you can afford it.


Don’t do any work, whether piano related or not. Do something fun that doesn’t require a lot of brain power. Watch a movie. Kick a soccer ball. Do what suits you.

Try to eat a healthy breakfast. However, if you suffer from butterflies in your stomach, which I suffer immensely, don’t try to force anything. It will only go back up! (Trust me!)

I’ll say it again, RELAX! Try not to think about your exam. Don’t try to think of your theory, scales, parts, fingering, etc. etc Do not think about what you have done and what you have not done for your exam. This will only tire them out and seriously hinder their exam.


By now you should be at the location where your exam will take place. Do an ultralight review. Look at your sheet music and visualize yourself playing it while reading the notes. Play a little ‘air-piano’. Challenge yourself with a couple of theory questions.

Do not, under any circumstances, talk to other people about the exam. Don’t ask each other theoretical questions. Don’t argue your pieces. Don’t talk about past exams or examiners. This is nothing more than an unwanted obstacle. Take a few deep breaths, relax, and focus on your exam.


Close the books for a moment. She takes three deep breaths and focus. Think to yourself that this is just like any other piano practice session. Go to the exam with positive thoughts. Whether you have prepared for the exam as I mentioned above or not doesn’t matter now. All you can do now is focus on the next task on your exam.


Two things will be happening to you now. First, you think you’re doing it right. Excellent! Ride this wave of euphoria until the end of the exam. But you must not loosen up! You still have a couple of pieces or a couple of scales or some theory to do. You must concentrate until the end of the exam. A lot can happen between now and then.

The second thing that may be happening to you during your piano exam is that you think you are doing it wrong. Forget it! It doesn’t matter what happened. You still have the rest of the exam to impress the examiner. A lot can change between now and the end of the exam.

Another point worth thinking about is that just because you think you’ve done a bad job doesn’t mean the examiner knows you’ve done a bad job. He/She will not notice every mistake you make. Just forget what has happened, clear your mind and start over with your next task. Think about what is going to happen, not what just happened.


Congratulations! You have completed your exam! Now you can breathe a great relief! It’s finally over!

Review your exam carefully. What did you do right? What are you doing wrong? What could you have done to improve? Take notes so you can use them as a reference for future exams.

Be careful not to trust your exam too much. You may be disappointed when you see your results. On the contrary, don’t be too negative about your exam and think that you did it wrong. Most of the time you will get a pleasant surprise!


After waiting a week or two for your results to return, you will naturally be excited, or at least inquisitive to see your results. Have you done well and/or better than you expected? Have you done worse than you thought? Either way, read your examiner’s comments at least three times. See what they liked about their piano test and what they didn’t. No matter how well you’ve done, you can always improve! Next year’s exams are guaranteed to be more difficult than this year’s.

Take into account the feedback from the tester, but also take into account your own thoughts. Was your pre-exam preparation as good as it could have been? Nine times out of ten, if you’ve done it wrong, you usually know why. Think about why it went wrong and improve! Learn from your mistakes. Don’t get depressed! It’s not the end of the world. There is always next year.

I hope this article has been helpful in your preparation for your exam. This is what I personally do when preparing for a piano exam. Obviously, if you have your own routine that works, stick to it. However, if you take a piece of advice from this article and apply it successfully, I will consider it a success. Good luck for your exams and most importantly, remember that you can only do your best.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *