RCM examinations tips for piano exams

A common questions that we often encounter at the Feely Piano School music studio is how to prepare for an RCM Piano Exam.  For those of you whom do not know, RCM examinations is the Canadian curriculum to award students to practice music with a grade level completion certificate.


We interviewed an RCM examiner, this is what he said.

We recently sat down with RCM Examiner Patrick Feely and spoke to him about how to prepare for an RCM Piano exam- here’s what he said!

Feely Piano School founder interviews RCM examiner Pat Feely

Question 1

Em– “We want to know, if you have any tips to offer for piano students with knowing how to prepare for an RCM piano Examination? Do you have any music preparation for RCM exam tips?”

Pat- “Yes, try to encourage your piano lesson students have the right form of motivation. I allow students a voice in the choice of repertoire being studied, while also placing a priority on the development of expressive gesture from the first lesson. If a student has these two components in the exam, the RCM examiner will reward them.”

Question 2

Em- “How can I as a piano lessons teacher help the student practice piano while I’m not physically with them?”

Pat: “I have students guide themselves through their own thinking during the lesson – self identifying musical problem areas in their playing and having them chose appropriate strategies to develop those areas. Over time, as the student gains understanding and skills, I gradually remove myself from the process; in this way students learn to become self-sufficient musical problem solvers.”

Question 3

Em- “How much time should I ask my piano students to practice, how to prepare for an RCM piano exam.”

Pat- “I think students should keep a practice journal and use a stopwatch when practicing-

students benefit most when they practice several short periods (10-15 minutes, 2-3 times a day) rather than longer periods of 30 minute periods or more.”

Question 4

Em- “Thanks Pat! Any other preparation tips on how to prepare for a piano RCM exam?”

Pat- “As much as possible I have students play music for their family. Students learn from playing with others, and for others, and this allows them to enjoy practicing and playing music beyond purposes of only an RCM examination, but rather for music appreciation.”

If you would like to inquire further about how to begin piano lessons, visit our website Feely Piano School or the Royal Conservatory of Music website.

We interviewed Pat – watch our RCM piano examination tips video here.

Locations                                      Mississauga              Brantford             Kitchener                Waterloo           Guelph Oakville                     Burlington           Ancaster                    Hamilton  

Log in with your credentials


Forgot your details?


Create Account