It's not only a brand new year, but a brand new decade! If you've been busy practising your latest Rockschool grade, your opportunity to kick 2020 off with a bang can start as early as February. But, for some - it's hard to know when you or your students are truly ready to apply. This is why we've asked guest blogger, guitarist and educator, Leigh Fuge, to explore 'Am I Ready to Take My Rockschool Exam?'
MGR Music's Leigh Fuge explores...
Am I, or my students, ready to take my Rockschool exam? The golden question! What do we consider being ready for an exam? The exam will follow the same structure and contents that would have been covered in lessons using the Rockschool books. So, with that in mind, let’s break it down into a few simple areas:
- If you get asked to play a particular chord or scale, or variations of this, can you/your student do so without hesitation?
- Is the chord played cleanly without any wrong notes and its pitching clean and concise?
- Is the scale played correctly with all notes at an even tempo?
- Are you using a performance piece from the book or do you have a pre-prepared one?
- Can you perform this from memory or comfortably whilst reading from the book/sheet?
- Can you deliver a confident performance that sounds as close to the original as possible?
- Can you answer a range of listening based questions on time signatures, rhythm and melody without hesitation?
- Can you replicate different rhythms and melodies from hearing them?
If you can answer yes to all or most of these questions, then chances are you, or your student, are ready to take the Rockschool exam.
For teachers, I would always recommend spending a few lessons running over the content in an exam format as a mock test with students to help them get used to only having one attempt at playing pieces or answering questions.
When preparing for exams, it’s important to be as relaxed and comfortable as possible. Here is a useful blog I wrote on Recovering from Mistakes During Exams. This will help you and your students prepare for mistakes. Remember, making mistakes does not ruin the exam. Keep calm and focused and you’ll nail it!
**Adapted: Monday, 6th January, 2020
About the Author:
This article has been written for Rockschool on behalf of MGR Music by Leigh Fuge, a professional guitarist, tutor and journalist from Wales in the UK. He has been working in the music industry for over 10 years as a touring and studio musician with various artists, guitar tutor and writer for many high profile guitar publications. Read more of Leigh's pieces relating to Rockschool here...