Friday, 22 March 2013

The Exam

A couple of Mondays ago was the much anticipated and much dreaded day. My piano exam. I would like to say that I am one of those chilled out people who doesn't get nervous and who just takes everything in their stride, with the confidence that they are quite good at what they are doing. Unfortunately I am not one such person. I have always been like it really. When I was at school, when it came to getting the school report, without doubt every one of my teachers would say that I need to have more confidence in myself and in my abilities. No matter how hard I worked at things and how prepared I was, I would always still be insanely nervous before exams. Apparently this hasn't changed!

I think I started preparing to take this exam last May, when my piano teacher, Coady, gave me the first piece to start practising ready for the exam. By the time it came for me to go on maternity leave, I had two of the pieces in my possession, one of which I was steadily working through and the other one I had barely played. I was very optimistic about the amount of practise I would be able to get in once I had Caleb. After all, how hard can it be, having a newborn? They sleep all the time, I would have plenty of time to practise. I would probably have a week off when I had him and then I'd be back to it. And of course, THAT didn't happen. In fact, I don't think I played the piano for around three months, and then I started to have lessons again. We had to go over some of the stuff we had already covered because I hadn't practised in such a long time.

From just after Christmas until the exam, I upped my practise. I was practising every day anyway, but I started to practise for around two hours a day (when Caleb was sleeping). The couple of weeks before the exam I was practising more than that, as well as preparing for the aural element of the exam in the evening once Caleb was in bed and while Seth was revising for his exams. I think I had pretty much done as much as I could for the exam and it got to the point where the only thing left to do was to sit it and either I would play well, or I wouldn't, but either way, I would know that I had done everything I could.

The day of the exam was pretty good. Seth had the day off work so that he could come with me. He also got Caleb completely ready in the morning so that I could practise as much as I needed to before the exam. I felt quite calm in the morning but the more the day progressed, the more nervous I got! We left in pretty good time to get to Oxford Street. I am definitely not a last minute person and I would rather be half an hour early than on time. As it happens, we were 40 minutes early, but that was fine.

The venue of the exam was pretty cool, it was in a music shop. Downstairs is used as a venue for concerts and exams. The exam was..... well, I guess it could have gone worse, but it could have been better. Me, being me, I was very nervous and I think it came across in my playing, I made a couple of mistakes that I don't usually make. I was very grateful for a nice examiner who was quite friendly, so that helped me to relax a tiny bit!

I am so glad the exam is over with now. Straight after it, I thought I would feel really relieved that it was over with. I don't know how I felt. I guess, in a way, it was a bit of an anticlimax. I had worked so hard for so long for this, and it was over with in half an hour. Of course, I was glad that it was over with, but it was still a pretty strange feeling. It's such a novelty to be able to play anything I want to now without it having to be those three exam pieces which I have been playing forever.

The results should be coming out in a couple of weeks, so I guess we shall see how it all goes! Either way, at least I did everything I could, so time will tell!


  1. I am so proud of you - you play AMAZINGLY! You should feel very proud of yourself! The music sop wasn't Chappells was it? I LOVE that place.

  2. Thank you! No it wasn't Chappells, it was Schott Music Publishers on Great Marlborough Street xxxx