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How To Quickly Master Playing ABRSM Piano Pieces

If you are a piano student in Singapore and want to master ABRSM piano pieces quicker, here are some tips from a person who has been playing classical piano songs in Singapore his whole life.

When it comes to mastering ABRSM piano pieces, it is important to note that the examiner will put much more emphasis on getting the overall rhythm and ‘feel’ of the piece right, rather than the individual notes (if forced to choose). Therefore, it is important to practise with the rhythm and ‘feel’ as the top priority, followed by the technical accuracy. This is something that many Singaporean students tend to mess up, as most Singaporean piano students are perfectionists, and keep practising the ABRSM piano songs by trying to get it technically perfect first, before adding in the right rhythm and ‘feel’. Although it may sound plausible in theory, it is not the case in real life. You need to make sure to practise with the purpose of getting the rhythm right first, followed by adding in your own interpretation and ‘feel’ of the piano piece, followed by the technical aspects of the piece. This does not mean pressing random wrong keys, but simply putting a higher priority on the rhythm and ‘feel/personal interpretation’ of the piece yourself.

An additional tip that I have for piano students in Singapore is that it is practice that makes perfect, not studying. Many students in Singapore, perhaps due to the national school / academic system, like to study instead of practise (regardless of whatever we are talking about). However, when it comes to acing the ABRSM exams, simply listening to the ‘perfect play’ on the ABRSM CD and reading the notes over and over again, or even reading this article won’t help you as much as actually practising it in real life. You need to practise over and over again, which then leads us to the next tip.

How often should you practise to see the best results and eventually ace your piano exams? I recommend approximately 5-7 times per piano exam piece per day. Yes, that may sound like a little, but you do not want to go overboard with the daily practice as well. Why do I recommend this? Because I want you to practise for every day, no days off, regardless of birthday, public holiday or school exams. 5 to 7 times per exam piece is the ideal so that you won’t be spending too much time practising that you feel that you do not have time to do anything else, but it is sufficient enough for you to eventually master the piece as long as you also follow the first two pieces of advice I have for you in the above paragraphs. The key to keeping each practise session relatively short is to keep your motivation high to practise again the next day, as the overall goal is to make sure that you are able to practise every single day without fail and excuses! This is the real key and everything is to support this – consistency in practice. So make sure to take this advice from me, do NOT play more than 5-7 times per exam piece per day. Do not go crazy with practice frequency for 2 weeks and then stop for 1 week. This is bad. You want consistency. The name of the game is consistency. Of course, picking a good piano teacher from a good piano teacher match up agency is necessary as well. Here are some tips to help you achieve that.

So there you have it – the three tips which will help you master the ABRSM piano exam pieces in Singapore!

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How Much Do Piano Lessons Really Cost In Singapore?

If you are intending to let your child learn the piano, then it is important to understand the financials being making it work out for you as well.

So how much do piano lessons cost in Singapore if you want your child to reach ABRSM grade 8 level proficiency level?

First of all, there are basically 3 parts to the financial aspect of learning the piano:

  • Purchasing the piano
  • Piano lessons itself
  • Registering for the examinations

Part 1: Purchasing the piano

Depending on whether you are living in a landed property or an apartment (be it HDB or condo), you may want to opt for either an upright piano or a grand piano. A grand piano can cost upwards of $20,000, while a usual upright piano costs around $8000. Purchasing a piano is a must, because practice is the one of the main things which will allow your child to truly master playing the piano. Purchasing a mid to high tier model from a good piano brand like Yamaha or Cristofori will usually already allow your child to use the same piano till he or she reaches grade 8.

Part 2: Piano lessons

Monthly costs of piano lessons for four lessons per month starts from around $150 in grade 1 and up till $350 in grade 8. Taking an average of $250 per month, that will be around $250 x 12 months x 8 years = $24,000. This is the average cost you can expect to shell out for your child’s piano lessons over 8 years if your child passes each piano exam the first time he or she takes it and only takes 1 year to master each ABRSM grade.

Part 3: Registering for the piano examinations

The ABRSM practical grade 1 examination registrations cost around $185, and increases until around $480 at grade 8. The ABRSM theory grade 1 examination registrations cost around $105 for grade 1 till $195 for grade 8. If your child were to take each exam once and pass it on the first try, it will be around $3640 as of today, if there is no major changes to ABRSM’s fees.

This means that all in, it will be approximately $35,000 for your child to reach grade 8, or approximately $4,375 per year.

Therefore, make sure to find out if your child is truly interested in learning the piano first. Although playing the piano has great benefits and correlation to higher IQ in children, it is still important to seek the understanding of your child before proceeding.

Despite the high price tag, if your child is able to reach grade 8 piano proficiency level, your child can easily earn $30 per hour by teaching others to play the piano! This means that your child has the future option to work part-time as a piano teacher to supplement his or her income.