Music Examinations - Grade
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Grade > Advice From Examiner - Ms Averil Carmalt

It has been a pleasure to examine again in Hong Kong after 7 years, and my impression is that the standard of playing has risen considerably. A few points may I hope contribute to your success íV they are the result of my experience as I travel round the world taking exam candidates.

In Grade Exams: DoníŽt forget that the supporting tests after playing your pieces, account for 40 percent of your marks. Good marks, or even the exam itself are often lost through lack of preparation.

Scales must be practiced daily and develop technique, fingerings, touch, tone, evenness, and intonation in wind and strings instruments.

Sight Reading should be developed daily for the skill of reading ahead of the fingers, training the eyes and brain.

Vivo Voce & Performance from memory íV be sure you understand all marks and directions in your music and make their audible in your performance even if you are doing the memory option íV your performance will certainly be more effective and successful. Memory must really be very secure - knowing your keys, modulations, form and all details íV merely memorizing, automatically by feel you let you down in different circumstances, and playing a different piano.

Ear tests or Aural Awareness: DoníŽt leave these to the last lessons before your exam. The ear must be developed, it is the most important part of a musicians equipment íV get someone to practise with you.

ATCL, Performers Certificate, Diplomas
Performance Certificate is an important and helpful introduction to the diplomas, which demand a much greater awareness of style. This requires a real performance íV to give interest and pleasure to your hearers. Choice of programme needs variety and contrast and this you must express in your playing, with variety of tone and dynamic and having done your research into your composers, a varied sense of style. This of course is specially important to research carefully if you are doing the viva option. At home, practice walking in, sitting at the instrument íV adjusting your music as tidily as you can. Think about what you will wear and give the sort of impression which would look good in a public performance.


Ms. Averil Carmalt December 2003