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By Rhys Lett

Avoiding Performance Exam Anxiety

As we move to the second half of the school year the most important exam date draws nearer. The Performance exam for VCE Solo, Group and Music Investigation requires students to perform for roughly half an hour. In this time they will perform a range of musical styles to show their skill on a chosen instrument. It is a source of much stress for students. Here are some pointers to help you reduce the nerves on the day.

You know the answers – VCE MUSIC PERFORMANCE EXAM

This is possibly the only exam in VCE where you walk in with the “answers”. There are no trick questions. There are no topics you may have skipped studying or misunderstood. You know exactly what is required to do the exam before you enter the performance room. Make sure you understand the requirements of the exam. Know how many songs you are to perform, what order they are going to be performed in. Rehearse your exam, know every move you would like to make. Know that is fits into the time limits of the exam. It is taking into the performance room this kind of confidence that will help you.

Come exam day you should be a well practiced, fine tuned machine. Go into that room and deliver.

Follow this link to the list of songs for every instrument in the VCE Music Performance exams.


Remember in any exam you start with a score of zero. As you perform you are constantly gaining marks. Students focus is often on what they have played wrong in a performance. The focus should be on what you have played well. During the exam if you can focus on the good rather than the minor mistakes. Create a positive feeling through self congratulations. Use that as fuel to continue racking up the score.


I suggest starting your exam with your most comfortable piece. This will help you settle into the exam. The performance environment faced in the exam is like no other you will ever experience. It is you in a room with two examiners. They can not applaud, smile or give you any reaction. They are not allowed to give away how you are doing or give you false hopes. It is a very intimidating performance environment.


Be nervous. Don’t let anyone tell you how you should be feeling. Just acknowledge and understand you are nervous. Try and understand what it is about the day or pieces you are about to play that is creating those feelings. Nerves are an energy. Energy is a GOOD thing. Funnel the nervous energy into the performance. Let it be a fuel give you the courage to play the first notes. Feed off the excitement the nervous energy creates. It is what you then do with that energy that will good towards a successful exam performance. Don’t let it cut you down or inhibit your performance.

No Excuses in Performance – VCE MUSIC PERFORMANCE EXAM

There is no day where everything will be perfect. Sportsmen always play with minor injuries, some major when it comes to grand final performances. You will find every year after the AFL or NRL grand finals an article about the string of injuries players took into the game such as broken bones. Your grand final is here. Don’t hide behind excuses, set any distractions aside for one day and give it your all. Put on a performance to the best of your ability at that moment. Always leave the exam room thinking I gave my all. This is more important than any results you will receive.

No more excuses on exam day. It has arrived. Time to deliver. The exam will be a true indication at this time of your instrumental skills. After years of experience preparing students for the VCE exam it has constantly been proven that the exam is a fair and well judged event. It is now up to you to make sure you are giving yourself the best chance possible at getting the marks you deserve. No regrets, no excuses.

Most important is do not let studying Year 12 VCE Music to be the end of your enjoyment of playing your instrument. The marks are not a reflection on what you could do in the future, it is a representation of one unique performance. All with an audience is unlike anything you will have to deal with ever again.



VCE students preparing for their end of year performance exam at the Eastern Suburbs School of Music