ABRSM Piano Grade 1 exam review - what can I expect? Watch

SB2019
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So I took my first practical exam after learning for 8 months. Grade 1 piano (ABRSM). I was disappointed and shocked with my performance. I was practising at home and it was perfect. Before entering the exam room, my fingers suddenly become numb. I had never imagined something like this would occur. So my scales and broken chords were perfect. My first piece was perfect. Suddenly I realise that my fingers have gone number. Panic strikes, overall the piece was going well but I stumbled once. Then the last piece I stumbled twice, overall it seemed okay. What was shocking was how could I play the pieces perfectly before the exam but not during? I had slept well so it cannot be that. How can my fingers go numb? Next comes sight reading. By that time I was in full panic mode. I screwed up the rhythm but got the notes right. My aural went good though. The examiner comments "you have a lovely singing voice. were you ever in a choir"? Haha. Overall feeling supremely dejected, I think a distinction is out of the question (I think). Can someone tell me what kind of marks should I be expecting?
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d r e a m y
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I remember when I sat my Grade 5 piano. It went worse than yours haha. Like you, my fingers went numb and panic struck. I had to restart a few scales since they were so bad. I had to restart one of my pieces 3 times since I kept freezing up. Then on my second piece, I ended up stumbling but couldn't recover so I’d improvised the ending to make it sound decent. I ended up crying in the exam room :/ It just felt so unfair because I was perfectly good doing everything before that day and this had never happened in previous piano exams for me. My aural went fine though luckily, and so did my sight reading. I was sure I had failed but in the end I got a few marks off a merit. Listening to your story, I think you got a high merit or maybe even a distinction if you’re lucky. I’m sure you didn't fail since your scales and aural tests were fine. You got all the notes correct in the sight-reading so you must have had marks for pitch and key signature. It’s 100 out of 150 to pass.
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SB2019
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Wow, thank you for your reply denisedaniellex. I cant believe your fingers also went numb! Congrats on acing that Grade 5- I can only imagine how difficult it is.

Yes the only good thing was that despite my numb fingers I did not stop- even though I stumbled on the pieces - I managed to finish them.

After the exam, I told the examiner (blurted out as I was in a deep state of shock" "My fingers are numb. I cant believe this."

He said "I had to play in front of 50 examiners 5 years ago. I went blank. It happens." So I am just hoping he is kind :/
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d r e a m y
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(Original post by SB2019)
Wow, thank you for your reply denisedaniellex. I cant believe your fingers also went numb! Congrats on acing that Grade 5- I can only imagine how difficult it is.

Yes the only good thing was that despite my numb fingers I did not stop- even though I stumbled on the pieces - I managed to finish them.

After the exam, I told the examiner (blurted out as I was in a deep state of shock" "My fingers are numb. I cant believe this."

He said "I had to play in front of 50 examiners 5 years ago. I went blank. It happens." So I am just hoping he is kind :/
I hope you get the mark you want! Keep me updated
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gemgod101
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(Original post by SB2019)
So I took my first practical exam after learning for 8 months. Grade 1 piano (ABRSM). I was disappointed and shocked with my performance. I was practising at home and it was perfect. Before entering the exam room, my fingers suddenly become numb. I had never imagined something like this would occur. So my scales and broken chords were perfect. My first piece was perfect. Suddenly I realise that my fingers have gone number. Panic strikes, overall the piece was going well but I stumbled once. Then the last piece I stumbled twice, overall it seemed okay. What was shocking was how could I play the pieces perfectly before the exam but not during? I had slept well so it cannot be that. How can my fingers go numb? Next comes sight reading. By that time I was in full panic mode. I screwed up the rhythm but got the notes right. My aural went good though. The examiner comments "you have a lovely singing voice. were you ever in a choir"? Haha. Overall feeling supremely dejected, I think a distinction is out of the question (I think). Can someone tell me what kind of marks should I be expecting?
This is exactly what happened to me when I took my grade 1 exam. The thing is, you will kinda always find this type of a thing happening to you when u practice at home/in your own time you may be great but it is just the pressure and the idea that you are now in the actual thing which can cause you to mess up. What is important is that you learn from that experience and if next time you have a similar situation, take a minute to breathe and calm yourself down. Trust me, once you start doing more performances/exams you get used to it.

P.S i would recommend you to do more performances for audiences (e.g friends, family, teachers). This can help create a similar environment to the exam so that you get used to it and develop control over the nervousness.
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SB2019
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Thank you for the tips, gemgod101

Out of curiosity, did the examiner take into account that you got nervous while marking? Obviously marks were deducted right? Any mention in the comment sheet?
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8013
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(Original post by SB2019)
So I took my first practical exam after learning for 8 months. Grade 1 piano (ABRSM). I was disappointed and shocked with my performance. I was practising at home and it was perfect. Before entering the exam room, my fingers suddenly become numb. I had never imagined something like this would occur. So my scales and broken chords were perfect. My first piece was perfect. Suddenly I realise that my fingers have gone number. Panic strikes, overall the piece was going well but I stumbled once. Then the last piece I stumbled twice, overall it seemed okay. What was shocking was how could I play the pieces perfectly before the exam but not during? I had slept well so it cannot be that. How can my fingers go numb? Next comes sight reading. By that time I was in full panic mode. I screwed up the rhythm but got the notes right. My aural went good though. The examiner comments "you have a lovely singing voice. were you ever in a choir"? Haha. Overall feeling supremely dejected, I think a distinction is out of the question (I think). Can someone tell me what kind of marks should I be expecting?
I think you could get between 110-120. I was quite nervous before my first exam (grade 2) in 2012. I needed to restart the first piece and totally flunked up on the sight reading, but a 29 in my second piece was enough to scrap a merit.
Next year, I will be taking my grade 7, and if my class does a social service at a kindergarten, elderly centre or any other centre, I will perform one of my exam pieces during the service in order to make myself more confident during the exam.
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SB2019
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Hi guys, just wanted to update you that I secured 125/150, 5 marks short of a distinction.
gemgod101 8013
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SB2019
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(Original post by d r e a m y)
I hope you get the mark you want! Keep me updated
Hi! I just wanted to update you that I secured 125/150, 5 marks short of a distinction. Thank you for your support and encouragement!
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d r e a m y
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That’s great! proud
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gemgod101
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(Original post by SB2019)
Hi guys, just wanted to update you that I secured 125/150, 5 marks short of a distinction.
gemgod101 8013
Well done! congrats:banana:
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