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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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Nervous? ABRSM Exam Summer 2018

A well-wishing message for all pupils taking these exams and a few tips on how to get on top of those pesky nerves!

The Glasgow School of Music

Welcome to the Glasgow School of Music


Paul Murray

A classically trained pianist, Paul has a wealth of teaching knowledge and experience, which spans over a decade. He began teaching while he was a student at University. Paul has taught in many formats and environments, including festivals, in schools, and in universities.

Esther Noire

Esther is a classically trained pianist, cellist and harpist and took up playing the guitar when she was a teenager.

Brianna Berman

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

Andrew has experience in both piano and singing tutoring, and also works with the Glasgow School of Music (GSofM) as one of their vocal and piano tutors. He has also completed Kodaly modules at a high standard and enjoys using Kodaly musicianship in his teaching and own practice.

Sarah Wagner

Sarah Wagner’s interest in bringing theatricality to classical music has led her to perform in a diverse array of locations ranging from the Palace of Auburn Hills with Detroit-based rapper Eminem to underneath motorway bridges in Glasgow to the throne room of Buckingham Palace.