The appraising exam will likely be split into two sections. One being unfamiliar music and the other being music you’ve studied throughout the course. In this blog I’ll give some tips on how to get through the appraising exam. Bear in mind though that I’m not giving any specifics because each exam board is slightly different, instead I just give broad strokes which will hopefully guide you.
It’s always good having a multiple choice question because sometimes an option can jog a memory.
However, it’s really easy to mess these up by rushing. Take your time and read the question carefully.
If you don’t know the answer have a guess…you might get lucky!
Marks And Length Of Answer
If a question is only worth a couple of points usually a one or two word answer will suffice…just make sure it’s a good word.
Not So Good Words Better Words
Coming soon will be a handy A-Z of useful musical terms.
If a question is worth three or four points you’ll need to write a but more than one good word. A short couple of well phrased sentences should be fine.
A word of warning - if you’re asked to name a melodic interval and it’s worth two points, then you’ll need to give the quality AND the number (eg, major 3rd). If however the question only offers one point, then just say 3rd (or 2nd or whatever the number is). The reason for this is that if it’s a one point answer you may well cancel out your answer by saying “Major 3rd” instead of just 3rd.
You may be given the outline of a piece of music with bits missing. You’ll need to listen to the music and fill in the missing gaps. It could be pitch, rhythm, or chords…or a combination.
Questions worth 10 or more points will need lengthy answers.
A few paragraphs covering the key points.
You could be asked to make a comparison between a set piece and an unfamiliar piece.
You could be asked for your opinion.
It’s perfectly acceptable to mention other related pieces in your answer as this demonstrates a wider listening (which is always a good thing).
Use DRSMITH for this type of question.