ABRSM Performance Assessment: Tips For The Best Recording

For years now, musicians have taken the ABSRM performance assessment to make real progress and challenge their skills. With over 650,000 assessments and music exams offered annually, the ABRSM constantly motivates and supports individuals of all ages to grow as musicians and individuals.

The ABRSM exams in Singapore can be taken in physical locations or remotely. In this article, we will be focusing on one of the latter, particularly the ABRSM Performance Assessment Grades exams.

These tests bring the fundamental performance skills of interpretation, communication, and storytelling to a regulated qualification while offering great flexibility and accessibility. Individuals may create their own performance at home or elsewhere and record four pieces of music of their choice.

Although this may seem easy enough, the truth is that creating the best recording of your performance may take a bit more effort to accomplish. Below, we outline several valuable tips on how you can record your best performance with ease.

Recording Tips for ABRSM Performance Assessment Test

Practice recording your pieces before registering for the ABRSM Performance Assessment

Playing while recording is not the same as playing during regular practice or for your instructor. Similar to playing live, you are likely to get nervous while recording and thus may tend to make more mistakes. Due to this, you may have to do more takes than anticipated just to finish a piece without errors.

In addition, your recording equipment captures dynamics differently from your natural hearing, so it could pick up mistakes you do not usually hear or slightly alter how your performance sounds. Hence, it is essential to put in some practice beforehand to get used to the setting and learn if you need to change the way you play. Lastly, the stamina required to record one piece as opposed to four pieces in one go is substantially different. As such, it is recommended to practice recording one piece in one take and gradually increasing the number of pieces to improve your stamina.

ABRSM Performance Assessment practice

Be familiar with the ABRSM performance assessment recording guidelines

The ABRSM has guidelines for recording the Performance Grades exam. It primarily involves the necessary steps and requirements needed when recording one’s performance and other details such as live accompaniment. To learn more about these guidelines, it would be beneficial to head over to their official website to familiarise yourself with the guidelines before you begin the recording session HERE.

Check the recording quality before starting the actual recording

Examiners will give marks based on what they hear and see from your recording without considering its quality. Here are a couple of points that could positively affect your recording quality:

Use the best recording tool you have

Using a smartphone may be more suited for the task given how modern models now feature advanced technology and specifications, even the budget ones while a tablet, laptop, or old DSLR feature cameras and microphones intended for more general use. Of course, it is best to make sure of this yourself by taking a test recording and listening to the result. If you deem your equipment insufficient, consider borrowing or renting from friends or other entities.

Check your acoustics environment

As much as possible, it would be best not to forget to check your room’s acoustics before recording. Bad acoustics could lead to issues such as wind noise and echoes in your recording, making it unusable. Thus, do a sound check with the help of an expert, such as your teacher, by recording yourself playing one of the pieces you intend to submit. Their experience and input can help you determine if your choice of recording space will suffice or if it is best to record elsewhere.

record the ABRSM Performance Assessment in sequence

The last recording will unlikely be your best

Exams in the higher grades will require longer pieces and, consequently, more stamina to play in one take. As mentioned before, playing while recording may lead to more mistakes than usual, and having to do many retakes could affect your overall performance and energy. Therefore, it would be wise to reduce the intensity of practice and refrain from playing through the whole program to reduce burnout on the day of the performance.

For higher grades, take a pause in between pieces to better get into the mood for the next one, enabling you to play at the right speed. Transitioning from a fast piece to a slower one requires regulating one’s heartbeat to prevent playing it faster than what is correct.

Obtain reviews before submitting

It is highly recommended to get your recording reviewed by your piano teacher a few days before submission. Their input will come in handy again at this point, and they can offer critical feedback that may entail having to do a retake. Those who self-register should also avoid being overconfident and submitting without a review. You or your loved ones may overlook serious mistakes that would otherwise be picked up on by someone with a trained ear, leading to a less desirable mark.

piano teacher reviewing the recording for abrsm performance assesstment


There are plenty of reasons for musicians to consider taking the ABRSM exam, from developing into well-rounded musicians to getting a sense of direction regarding their music skills. The ABRSM Performance Grade exams are one such way to make some much-needed progress, so it is essential to create the best recording possible to receive accurate marks and feedback. That said, it is vital to remember that however it might turn out to be, you should always stay calm and focused. While the ABRSM in Singapore can be intimidating, you should never let it affect your nervous levels so that you can give the best performance on your end.

If you are seeking piano lessons for kids in Singapore, look no further than The Music Works! We offer piano classes following the highly sought-after, established ABRSM syllabus to prepare your child well for future examinations. Contact us today when you are ready to enroll your child in our classes.

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