The pressure, the organisation, the high expectations of results… There must be a good reason for why around 2 million music exams are held each year.
Teacher to student: Your playing is going really well and I have something new for you to try… It is going to be a lot of work, there will be some pressure, very high expectations, time management will be essential and ultimately after all that work, you might fail… What do you think?
You can probably imagine what is going through a student’s mind after a question like that. It is a wonder that any students sign up for a music exam!
Despite the scary sentiment, the reality is that students want to know what other people think of their playing, they really care. They work hard and want to know how they are going. Deep down, they really know that their teacher is going to be encouraging, no matter what. Having musical progress assessed by a specialist examiner is both nerve-wracking and thrilling at the same time. Yes, there is a risk of failure and the potential embarrassment of letting people down. However, real personal growth is achieved by facing and overcoming challenges. We thrive on mastering complexity and successfully managing prolonged preparation for significant musical events. Our reward is not just the examiner’s mark at the end but also the knowledge that we have persevered. This applies to both teachers and students. Teachers can test their pedagogical methods against a set of objectives and students can develop musically through an established and structured progression of repertoire and technical work.
Like with sport without a match, music without some sort of performance or assessment is not sustainable long term. At International Music Exams, the apprehension faced in taking a traditional music exam is replaced with a rewarding experience with far greater control of the outcome. Although some can thrive under pressure, the reality is that most students perform better and achieve more rewarding results by taking control of their music, their environment and knowing when and what they are aiming for. The risk of failure has evaporated to provide a fulfilling experience for both student and the teacher.
Teacher to student: I have a great idea, your playing is going really well and I have something new for you to try… It is going to be a lot of work, but without the pressure. There are high expectations but you can go at your own pace. Time management will be essential and ultimately after all that work, in all probabilty, you are going to get a great mark. Sound good?
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