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Nervous? ABRSM Exam Summer 2018

2018-06-21 10:08:36

There are three times per year where students at The Glasgow School of Music (GSofM) have the opportunity to sit their Associated Board of Royal School of Music (ABRSM) graded examinations.

Exam time is a difficult time for everyone. It’s important to understand that each pupil will react to nerves in different ways, some will welcome them, where others won’t. While this has no reflection on ability nor does it reflect how hard the pupil has worked, this is a very natural emotion that we all go through at some point in our lives.


  • Accept yourself and your skill level.
    • Example;
      • To concentrate on what you're doing rather than being self-conscious, you need to accept your skill level.
  • Determine what is required, and what is a bonus.
    • Example;
      • You might have higher expectations than what is needed. Maybe all you need is a Pass at Grade 1— merit or a distinction would be even better, of course, but all you need is a Pass!
  • Embrace your nervousness.
    • Example;
      • It may seem counter-intuitive to accept and welcome being nervous, after all, you are trying not to feel nervous! But trying to squelch down natural feelings has a way of making them worse.
  • Allow yourself to feel uneasy, but recognize that just because you feel uneasy does not mean you cannot do something.
  • Accept that you will feel nervous as a natural state in a given situation, just as you would feel happy, sad, or angry in a presented case. Instead of running from the feeling, allow it to be present, but not overwhelm you.
  • Always remember to breathe in a controlled manner!

Try learning some techniques to take deep, relaxing breaths. These techniques will serve you in preparation for the exam and can also be done in moments of extreme nervousness.

These exams are a difficult time for our students, but remember, this feeling will pass and remember that you can sit the examination and do well – you would be put forward if your tutor didn’t believe in your skill level.

The last thing to remember, everyone is very proud of you, your parents, friends, tutor, however, the person that should have the most pride, would be you. Just look at how much your music talent has grown and developed over this short period.

The Glasgow School of Music wishes its students the very best of luck; we would like to extend this gratitude to all other pupils taking these exams as well.

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Paul Murray (Piano)

Paul's interest in music and disability and promoting music for all ages and abilities follows a medical condition he deals with that has left his right-hand side partially paralyzed. It is because of this, Paul developed his skills for left-hand alone piano and is now an expert in this area. Paul has a wealth of teaching knowledge and experience which spans almost a decade - he began teaching while being an undergraduate student at University. Paul has taught in many formats and environments which include festivals, in schools, and University. Paul is qualified to teach piano, composition, and theory to the highest levels with the best results.

Eliza Murray (Flute)

Eliza is currently in her second year at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland studying for a Bachelor’s Degree in Classical Music Performance under the tutelage of Katherine Bryan (Principal Flute RSNO), Helen Brew (Associate Principal Flute RSNO) and piccolo with Janet Richardson (Principal Piccolo RSNO) where she has also obtained an Undergraduate Scholarship.

Brianna Berman (Violin & Ukulele)

Brianna Berman is a classically trained violinist with a love of teaching and traditional music. She has performed both as a soloist and ensemble player in the USA and UK and is currently a member of Nevis Ensemble. 

Andrew Neil (Voice & Piano)

Andrew is from Aberdeen, and attended Aberdeen City Music School, one of the four Scottish Centres for Excellence in music.

Olivia Vjekoslava Tomasovic (Woodwind)

Olivia is a classically trained oboist and cor anglais player. She is a recent graduate of the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland with a Bachelor with Honours Degree in Performance.