5 reasons to take piano exams

Many people love to sit and play the piano for fun, but without a structure to their learning it is often very difficult to sustain progress over the long term. Children often take music lessons as part of their overall education and parents who are paying for expensive tuition usually like to see definite evidence of their kids progress.

This is where exams come in, and they are a useful part of the process of learning to play a musical instrument.

ONE: Exams are often a great way to motivate students to work harder and a good mark provides public proof of the level of playing that they have attained.

TWO: The tunes that have to be played in an exam are usually great pieces that will enrich the musical experience of the student.

THREE: The sense of achievement from having worked hard to produce an exam performance is huge (and justifiably so, as the pieces are generally quite challenging to play well).

FOUR: The examiner will write a report, giving feedback on the exam performance. As examiners are usually very perceptive and skilled musicians in their own right, this feedback often provides invaluable insight into what the students strengths and weaknesses are, and will give pointers for future study.

FIVE: The live exams give the student a deadline to work to. This gives a focus to practice and generally encourages students to practice more regularly.

Piano grades start with a “Prep test” or an Initial grade and then progress through grades 1 to 8. Very advanced musicians can continue after grade 8 by taking Associate or Licentiate exams set by the various music colleges.

Since the COVID lockdown it has been possible to take grades as live exams or as digital exams (where a video of the exam performance is submitted).