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How To Score Better For Your ABRSM Piano Exams In Singapore

If you are a local Singaporean student looking to pass your piano ABRSM examinations, then here are some tips to help you score better for this examination. Anyway, I recommend that you take home music lessons over school lessons if you want to score better for your piano exams as well – reasons are provided here.

First of all, you should practise your singing. Many Singaporean students do not do well at singing, not because they do not know how to sing, but because they do not dare to truly sing out. Many Singaporean students dare to sing at karaoke sessions and in front of their friends, but due to the conservative culture, do not dare to sing out loud in front of strangers – e.g. the piano examiner. You want to practise singing in front of people. If that is not possible, simply care less about trying to impress others (e.g. the examiner) and instead try to impress yourself. Too many local students in Singapore mess up the aural part of the piano exam because they try too hard to impress the examiner, but at the same time, are afraid of messing up, and so do not sing properly and naturally. Although the overall percentage from the aural part of the piano exam is relatively small, you should work hard and use the tips I mentioned to score better. Every score is important to get the distinction for your piano exams.

Second of all, another weak point of Singaporean students is the sight reading. That is right. This is also due to the culture in Singapore – but instead of the conservative culture which affects the aural segment, I am referring to the perfectionist culture present in many top Singapore schools. Since most music and piano students in Singapore hail from primary, secondary and JC schools in Singapore, the students most likely suffer from a perfectionist syndrome. This is both an advantage and a disadvantage at the same time. It is an advantage because you will usually perform better for the three exam pieces. However, it is a disadvantage when it comes to more spontaneous piano playing like sight reading part of the piano ABRSM exams in Singapore. This is because nearly all local students in Singapore like to replay the entire piece if they hit one single wrong note, or are so caught up with trying to play the right note that they mess up the entire rhythm of the song. The rhythm of the song gets a much heavier weightage when it comes to the scoring for the sight reading segment of the piano ABRSM segment, so you must work much harder on getting the rhythm right, than getting all the notes right. This is something that can be deeply uncomfortable for many local students, but you must get used to this change if you want to succeed at the sight reading segment of your piano examination.

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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!