The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music (ABRSM) violin exams are a significant milestone for aspiring violinists in Singapore. Achieving success in these exams is a strong validation of a Singaporean violinist’s proficiency. To excel in the violin exams, Singaporean candidates must combine a strong foundation in technique with artistic expression and meticulous preparation. In this article, we explore essential strategies which can help Singaporeans ace their ABRSM violin exams.
Start preparing for the violin exams in advance
Preparation for ABRSM violin exams should begin well in advance. Practical music exams are something that needs you to train your muscle memory over relatively long periods of time. It is not something that you can study and prepare for and hope to ace it overnight. Early preparation allows Singaporean violinists to gradually build their skills and develop a deep understanding of the exam syllabus. Set realistic goals and create a study schedule that balances practice, technique, and musical interpretation. Consistent and focused practice over an extended period ensures that violinists are well-prepared to demonstrate their best performance during the actual exam.
Practice scales regularly
Scales and arpeggios are fundamental components of the ABRSM violin exams. Candidates must master all major and minor scales in various bowings and fingerings. Practicing scales regularly helps improve finger dexterity, intonation, and bow control. Focus on achieving fluency and consistency in all scales to impress examiners with technical proficiency. Thankfully, the good news is that most violinists in Singapore are relatively good at scales and arpeggios, hence making this segment of the test not too much of an issue at all.
Be expressive when playing
The violin repertoire selected for the exams should be studied thoroughly. Candidates should understand the historical context and musical features of each piece to communicate the composer’s intentions effectively. The key factor that violinists in Singapore should pay special attention to is the portraying of emotions during the playing. Singaporeans tend to be technically sound, but not as expressive, which is also very crucial if you want to ace the tests. Examiners look for violinists who can communicate their musical interpretation effectively. Work on expressing emotions, musical phrasing, and character in your performance.
Master sight reading for the violin
Sight-reading is a crucial component of the exams, as it assesses a violinist’s ability to interpret and perform music on the spot. This can be something that Singaporeans struggle with. This is partly due to the perfectionist mindset drilled into students in MOE schools in Singapore, which is carried over to music playing too. However, you have to understand that if you want to score well in the sight reading segment on the violin, the confidence you portray and how you play the overall piece is far more important than getting 100% of the notes correctly.
Learn from a good teacher
Last but not least, qualified and experienced violin teachers in Singapore can and often do play an extremely pivotal role in guiding candidates through the exam preparation process. Seek out an instructor who can provide constructive feedback, identify areas for improvement, and tailor practice routines to individual strengths and weaknesses.