Here are some tips for local Singaporean students to use to score better for their ABRSM practical piano examinations. If you are a student looking to ace it, then here are some big tips.
First of all, many Singaporean students are usually poor at the aural examinations part. This is because most Singaporean students are afraid of singing out loud in front of strangers. Sure, some people sing like a mad person when they are joking in front of their friends, but most local students are mum when it comes to singing in a slightly awkward situation where the person judging your singing is just a one metre away from you and they are a complete stranger to you. This can feel even harder than singing at singing competitions because it is pure silence and you can clearly see the glare of the person (examiner) looking straight at you. What you want to practise is to completely disregard the examiner’s opinion. The more you lose desire to impress the examiner, the more relaxed you will feel. When you completely ignore trying to impress the examiner, what will happen is that your vocals will be more relaxed, and you will be focused on singing well rather than being all uptight and end up sounding really awkward and fake during your piano aural exams. This is a big tip for Singaporean students, because so many of them care about what the examiner thinks, when that should not be the case! You should instead focus on singing well, and not what he or she thinks. Do not even bother about his or her opinion.
Second of all, many local students do not perform well at the sight reading portion. This is largely the result of the perfectionism attitude in many students. There is nothing wrong being a perfectionist, if you start something, and then work it to perfection. However, it is terrible if you are so wanting to get it perfect the first time round that you end up not taking any action at all! This is the problem when it comes to Singaporean students taking the sight reading piano examinations. Many of them suddenly stop their playing if they are worried their next note is wrong, without realizing that the examination grades rewards the correct rhythm much more heavily compared to hitting the right notes every time. Of course, you want to hit the right note every time. However, if that comes at the expense of the song’s rhythm, then you do not want to do that. Additionally, if you did hit a wrong note, do not replay the correct note for it again. Simply continue with the song, otherwise you will get heavily penalized for spoiling the rhythm of the song, and get low scores for the sight reading portion of your practical ABRSM examinations.
Last but not least, it is so important to get the right private piano teacher in Singapore. Getting the right piano teacher will ensure that you learn the correct fundamentals. In fact, if you have a bad teacher, who does not teach you the right way of playing the piano (because, let us face it, you can play a pop song on the piano which sounds recognizable to the layman which may make you think your playing is fantastic, but in reality, your skills are not good enough to truly ace the ABRSM exams), you will end up thinking your playing is good but never score well in the piano ABRSM examinations. A good teacher will be able to instantly pinpoint your weaknesses and provide you drills to improve your weaknesses. Unfortunately, you can hire somebody during the exams for your weak points, so when it comes to piano playing, you are your weakest link, and a good private piano teacher in Singapore will be able to help you spot the mistakes and help you get better at it quickly.