For a print-friendly version of this page, click the title above.
Preparation must begin at least a year prior to taking an exam at the Royal Conservatory. There are four components to the exam:
There are three lists of music from which to choose: List A (16%), List B (18%), List C (16%). No repeats are necessary, but Da Capo signs are to be observed. All of my students must have two or more pieces learned from each list, although only one piece from each list is necessary for an exam:
List A: Baroque and Classical
List B: Romantic and 20 th /21 st Century
List C: Inventions
List A: Baroque
List B: Classical and Classical-style
List C: Romantic and 20 th /21 st Century
An additional six percent of the mark (2% for each piece) is awarded for memory of repertoire. If the piece is memorised, full marks are given; part marks can be obtained if music is used.
There are two parts to this component of the exam:
This component of the exam consists of four parts:
This component of the exam consists of two parts:
Like recitals or festivals, exams can create some anxiety. I try to give as much information as I can to my students so there are no surprises. If you know what to expect, much of the reason for the nervousness is eliminated. The most important thing is to know your music and technique well.
You must bring all of your music and your Examination Program Form (completely filled out) to the exam. Arrive at least one half hour before the exam. You do not want to be harried when you arrive. Make sure you know where to go and announce yourself to the person in charge. You will be shown where to wait. You can wait with your family or friends there.
There will only be two people in the examining room: you and the examiner. No one else is allowed with the exception of perhaps an examiner-in-training. You may choose to start with technique or pieces. The examiner will pick a few examples of technique. For the lower levels, he/she will listen to the whole pieces and etudes (depending on time). For the higher levels the examiner will likely stop you from playing whole pieces (especially the Da Capo). Then the examiner will test your ear and sight reading. The exam will take between ten and twenty minutes.
The examiner may talk to you or may not. He or she may simply write while you play. Be sure to wait for the examiner to ask you to play. Do not go on to your next piece until he/she is ready. Be sure to listen to his/her questions carefully! You do not want a mark of zero because you played the “C Major” scale when he/she asked you to play in “a minor”! Listen carefully for which hand as well.
Use the same strategies that have been outlined in Recital Preparation and Festival Preparation sheets to help deal with nervousness and prepare for a performance. Remember: if your music is well prepared and you try the best you can, then you will do well.
You can access your exam marks and examiner comments by logging in to your account on the RCM Examinations website (examinations.rcmusic.ca) approximately 4 - 6 weeks after the exam.