I went for lessons to Mike for over ten years and from day one I knew this was a welcoming, friendly and enjoyable environment which makes you feel relaxed and comfortable. Mike’s delivery of teaching is of the highest standard and can adapt around specific music requirements; for example, I started playing classical music and now with new skills, I play popular music alongside classical studies. I have also been successful with an Associate Performance Diploma Piano exam. I would recommend Mike to anybody!
Regarding my success with exams, I use a process called ‘The Six Ps’: this would be my advice to anybody taking a practical exam. If you follow these basic steps, hopefully you should succeed every time you take an exam:-
Before the exam:
Practice – become ‘warmed up’ to familiarise yourself with the structure of the pieces and the harmonies within.
Polish – make sure the pieces are of a high standard and contain lots of dynamics, interpretative points and technical elements to gain extra marks.
Prepare – on the day of the exam always try and do things which are not as stressful and have a ‘chilled out’ day, this just saves your mind for the exam, so you can concentrate fully on that. During the day, have a run through of the pieces, but never any real practise at the last minute, and prepare yourself with what you need for the exam. Always set off early to the exam so you are there ready. Before the exam, try to be profoundly silent so you can be fully focused for when you step inside the examination room. Always make sure you are ready for the exam by having your pieces ready before you set off.
Present – make appearance look respectable as well as your pieces as these two things will make you stand out from other candidates. Once you know how to approach exams you start to feel more comfortable and understand the process, that’s why it is important to be focussed as there is the possibility of being too complacent.
During the exam:
Persevere – if you make a mistake, stay calm and relaxed and carry on from where you can pick it back up.
After the exam:
Pleased – if you follow these steps you should hopefully be happy with the overall outcome of the exam and of course pass the exam to a high level with a good mark.
I was successful with an Associate Diploma in Popular Music Piano and Grade 7 Trinity College London Theory of Music under Mike’s tutelage.
Matthew Bennett (Musician)