Saturday, July 05, 2008

My Grade 1 piano exam was today!

Today was the day, folks! I had my grade 1 exam this morning.

I arrived at the examination centre about 20mins early, and announced my presence to an old dear seated behind a uncomfortably low desk with an "ABRSM" sign next to it. The previous candidate (a piano grade 7) was slightly ahead of schedule, so she told me that I could start slightly early. I was taken upstairs to a practice room where I warmed up for a few minutes on a digital piano - a really dreadful Kawai. Playing that thing made me feel good about spending the extra money on my Yamaha Clavinova CLP-240. As I sat and played a few scales, a young girl blasted hell out of trumpet in the ajoining room in readiness for her exam. I filled in a slip of paper stating what pieces I would be playing and was soon led back downstairs into the sound-proofed exam room. I was eagerly met by my examiner - a young chap, who was very friendly and enthusiastic which put me at ease.

After a few seconds where I was allowed to get used to the piano I was asked to do some scales - D, Am and G. They went smoothly enough. Then it was contrary motion (both hands playing a C scale beginning at middle C and working outwards). Then I did some broken chords and arpeggios. I made a small mistake on the first arpeggio because I started playing it as a broken chord. I apologised and did it properly (hopefully I didn't lose marks).

I then played the 3 pieces. They went really well from what I can remember. The only mistake I made (a very minor one) was I played a D instead of an E on one of the repeating "tick-tock" phrases of "The Old Cuckoo Clock". I managed to continue playing through the mistake and made no further ones.

Then came the dreaded sight-reading test, and he chose me one that was in D Major, so there was loads of F#s and C#s to contend with. I think I got the whole thing about 80% correct as far as the notes were concerned, and around 70% correct as far as timing. My dynamics were sadly lacking. I noticed afterwards I should have played some of it loud (forte) and some soft (piano) I hope they don't mark me down too much

The examiner then took the driving seat and I had the aural test. This was pretty easy and over in a minute or two.

The whole thing went so quickly. It was scheduled for a duration of 12 minutes, but it felt more like 5 or 6. Overall I think I did pretty well, but I think I have to wait a few weeks for the results.

I'll go for Grade 3 next I think.

No comments: