Grade 6 Practical Piano Examination – My Review

So, it’s been about a week and a half since I played my RCM Grade 6 Practical Piano Examination. I’ve been waiting to write this because I was not overly happy with my playing.

Preparing for this exam has been more difficult. I could make lots of excuses, but it boils down to, I didn’t take ownership over my learning the way I should have. I didn’t have my pieces memorized, I wasn’t as comfortable with the pieces and didn’t have the feeling for each piece that I have had in the past. I also have had some great results (in my opinion) on my other two practical examinations (90% and 85% for grades 4 and 5 respectively), so my expectations are to stay in that range.

Regardless, I walked into the exam feeling pretty good, a little flustered, but good. In the two weeks prior to my exam, I had made some really good progress on the feeling I wanted each piece to have, and the touch of each piece. If only the piano, my fingers, and my brain all could have worked together!

I stumbled through my pieces, didn’t have the touch I normally do, and overall, didn’t really play the way I play. But we all have bad days and bad performances (if you haven’t, you are amazing, but I have).

I walked out feeling not-so-good, talked to the owner of my studio (also my boss and piano teacher) and told him I wasn’t super happy with it, his response, well you can always do it again – not so much my style, I didn’t think I had failed, but still an option.

I’ve been avoiding logging into so I didn’t know when preliminary marks were up (I knew the PDF would be a while, the examiner was writing not typing), but finally tonight, as I’m doing other work and needed a break (and as I wrote down that we are hoping to have exam results for our next newsletter), I figured, it’s time.

So, how did it go according to the examiner? Much better then I thought! I ended up with 81%, not my greatest, not what I was striving for, but still First Class Honours (I can still say I have received, at least, FCH on all of my RCM exams, including theory examinations – yeah, I’m bragging a bit, sorry). My examiner is also saying that if I had memorized my pieces, all of them, my mark would have been 85%, so right in the range I wanted.

Happy days! Now, I’m, I think, a year away from my next exam. Baby 2 in April, 2 kids under 15 months plus all the work I do might keep me a little busy, so I’m taking it a little easy. This also allows me to play some more Grade 6 pieces while learning Grade 7 and challenging myself with a few Grade 8 pieces and really get me comfortable with the exam I’m now completed.

How do you make time for things you love?

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