Am I A Pass, Merit, Or Distinction Piano Student?

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Am I A Pass, Merit, Or Distinction Piano Student?

Take this quiz to find out what it takes to be a distinction student in piano!


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Questions and Answers
  • 1. 
    Arrange these (School/work, Piano, CCA, Others) in order of priority (1 for most important to 4 for least important) –What rank would piano be?
    • A. 

      2

    • B. 

      3

    • C. 

      4

    • D. 

      1

    • E. 

      No Rank

  • 2. 
    How much do you like piano?
    • A. 

      I love piano! I want to practice it for as much as I can!

    • B. 

      I like piano but I wish I have a bit more time to practice.

    • C. 

      I like piano but I don’t like the part about practice (or that it is not so difficult to learn)

    • D. 

      I neither like nor dislike. My parents want me to learn.

    • E. 

      I hate piano! My parents forced me to learn.

  • 3. 
    How many hours do you practice a week? Select the option that corresponds to your grade Grade 1-2Grade 3-5Grade 6-7Grade 8a0.5 or less1 or less1.5 or less2 or lessb1-21.5-2.51.5-32-5c2-42.5-53-75-10dMore than 4More than 5More than 7More than 10
    • A. 

      A

    • B. 

      B

    • C. 

      C

    • D. 

      D

    • E. 

      I don't practice so none of the options apply

  • 4. 
    How effectively do you practice your pieces?
    • A. 

      Practice? What practice? I thought practice is only done during lesson.

    • B. 

      I play through my piece from beginning to end as fast as I can every time I practice, often closing one (or both) eye on mistakes (I can't hear or remember most of my mistakes)

    • C. 

      I play through from beginning to end as fast as I can every time I practice. I’ll correct mistakes if I can remember them. OR - I play through from beginning to end slowly but I just can't remember or hear where the mistakes are.

    • D. 

      I play through my piece from beginning to end at a speed where I can manage, pausing to repeat sections that are not so good.

    • E. 

      I do not start from the beginning, but focus on specific sections or bars that are not so good and practice slowly until I can play that part at least a few times consecutively without any mistake before slowly increasing the speed.

    • F. 

      I do not start from the beginning, instead I focus on specific sections that are not so good and practice until I can get it, then I increase the speed immediately to fast. (I know that slow practice is important, but I'm just used to fast speed!)

  • 5. 
    How effectively do you practice your scales?
    • A. 

      Scales need to practice? I thought teacher will go through them during lesson.

    • B. 

      I play through the scale from beginning to end as fast as I can, with lots of mistakes in notes and fingering (I just can't remember the fingering or mistakes!)

    • C. 

      I play through the scale from beginning to end at a speed I can manage. If there is a mistake I’ll repeat the whole scale again. I increase the speed to much faster the moment I can play the whole scale correctly (which usually leads to mistakes again).

    • D. 

      I play through the scale ascending and descending separately at a slow speed, until I master each section before increasing the speed slowly.

    • E. 

      I play through the scale ascending and descending separately at slow speed, repeating certain sections that are more difficult (e.g. parts with black keys or awkward fingering), or using specific rhythms that my teacher has taught me to remember the scale better. I only increase the speed (a little at a time) when I can play the scale at least a few times consecutively without any mistakes.

  • 6. 
    How effectively do you practice sight-reading?
    • A. 

      There is no time for sight-reading as my teacher is too busy with exam pieces (which I don't practice as well).

    • B. 

      I do follow some of the teacher's instructions when practicing sight-reading, but I can't help stopping halfway to correct my numerous mistakes! And I usually don't try out pieces or practice sight-read by myself.

    • C. 

      I think I can read notes quite well, so sometimes I play faster than I can manage and end up with mistakes or hesitations. OR - I play at an extremely slow speed to try to maintain the continuity, but there are still some hesitations. I usually don't try out pieces myself but will practice some sight-reading myself.

    • D. 

      I always play at a speed that I can manage, but not to compromise on the continuity. I always look ahead 1-2 bars to get ready for the next notes and always count.

    • E. 

      I practice at a speed that I can manage, but sometimes I'll push myself to read faster. I always look ahead to check the next notes and I not only read by letter name, but by interval and direction of the notes to ensure that I play the correct notes. I always count.

    • F. 

      Besides practicing for accuracy, speed and continuity for sight-reading, I also try and play or sight-read pieces of different keys to improve my ability sight-read in different keys. I also try and play duets with others.

    • G. 

      Besides practicing for accuracy, speed and continuity for sight-reading, I also try to improvise in different keys to improve my ability to play or sight-read in different keys. I always look for opportunities to play duets or accompaniments with others.

  • 7. 
    Are you a selective practiser?
    • A. 

      No. I just don’t practice.

    • B. 

      Besides only practicing the pieces that I like, I really don’t like scales and would not touch them until a few weeks before the exam

    • C. 

      I’m okay with pieces, but I really don’t like scales, but would still practice them fairly.

    • D. 

      I practice everything that I’m assigned to, but there are some that I really like and would practice a lot more. I okay with practicing all sections of the exams including supporting tests.

    • E. 

      I like everything that I’m assigned to and will practice everything to a high standard.

  • 8. 
    How much do you follow your teacher’s instructions on practicing and interpretation of the piece?
    • A. 

      I don’t practice, so this doesn’t really matter

    • B. 

      I find her instructions too troublesome and it is much easier if I practice it in my own way at my own speed. (I have problem remembering most of my teacher’s instructions)

    • C. 

      I try to follow teacher’s instructions but I just can’t practice slowly as I’m used to fast speed. (I have problem remembering about half of my teacher's instructions.)

    • D. 

      I follow most of the teacher’s instructions but I there are just a few that always slip my mind (or that I don't agree with my teacher)

    • E. 

      I can remember my teacher's instructions because I practice a lot. I always try to follow all his/her instructions especially with regards to speed of practice and I always practice with a metronome.

    • F. 

      I can absorb and understand my teacher's instructions almost immediately and I follow them exactly. Even if sometimes I don't understand why, I know that there must be a good reason why he/she ask me to practice in a particular way and I practice a lot according to my teacher's advice.

  • 9. 
    Is the lesson pieces that you play more or less difficult than your exam pieces?
    • A. 

      Lesson pieces? What lesson pieces?? I only practice exam pieces!

    • B. 

      My lesson pieces are much more easier than exam pieces

    • C. 

      My lesson pieces are slightly easier than exam pieces

    • D. 

      My lesson pieces are at the same level or slightly more difficult than exam pieces

    • E. 

      My lesson pieces are much more difficult than exam pieces.

  • 10. 
    How many pieces do you learn to play (fluently) in a year (including exam pieces)? Grade 1-2Grade 3-5Grade 6-7Grade 8a8 or less4-52.5-31.5-2b8 - 156-84-52.5-3c15-208-106-74-5dMore than 20More than 10More than 76 or more
    • A. 

      A

    • B. 

      B

    • C. 

      C

    • D. 

      D

    • E. 

      The number of pieces that I learn is less than option A.

  • 11. 
    How well do you practice your lesson pieces?
    • A. 

      I said I only practice exam pieces!

    • B. 

      I wait for my teacher to ‘practice’ with me during lesson

    • C. 

      Fairly fluently. Come on, they’re just lesson pieces!

    • D. 

      Fluently with some dynamics.

    • E. 

      I practice them till perfection.

  • 12. 
    How well do you usually prepare for (any) exam?
    • A. 

      Just enough not to fail

    • B. 

      Just enough for a decent pass

    • C. 

      Just enough for a good pass

    • D. 

      I’m always a chapter ahead of my peers

    • E. 

      I’m usually a few chapters ahead of my peers

    • F. 

      I'm usually a year or two ahead of my peers

  • 13. 
    How long do you usually take to learn the 3 exam pieces? (From scratch to performance standard) Grade 1-2Grade 3-5Grade 6-7Grade 8a1 year or more1.5 years or more2 years or more2 years or moreb9-11 months1-1.5 years1.5-2years1.5-2 yearsc7-9 months9-11 months1 – 1.5 years1-1.5 yearsd4-7 months6-8 months8-11 months10 months – 1 yeare3 months or less5 months or less7 months or less9 months or less
    • A. 

      A

    • B. 

      B

    • C. 

      C

    • D. 

      D

    • E. 

      E

  • 14. 
    Complete the sentence below: 2 months before the exam.....
    • A. 

      I’m still struggling to learn the notes of my pieces

    • B. 

      I can play most of my pieces but with quite a number of breakdowns and mistakes

    • C. 

      I can play most of my pieces fairly fluently but there are still some slips that always occur at the same places.

    • D. 

      I can play most of my pieces fairly fluently with some dynamics but there are still some slips if I'm not careful enough

    • E. 

      I can play all my pieces quite fluently with most dynamics added

    • F. 

      I can play all my pieces almost perfectly, they just need the slightest bit of touch-up

  • 15. 
    Complete the sentence below:2 weeks before the exam... 
    • A. 

      I’m still trying to play my pieces without any breakdowns or slips

    • B. 

      Just need to tackle those 1-2 slips in pieces and still trying to remember the dynamics in my pieces. Still trying to remember most of my scales.

    • C. 

      Pieces are mostly secure with dynamics. Still trying to remember that 1-2 scales

    • D. 

      Pieces and scales are quite secure with most dynamics intact. Just need some touching up.

    • E. 

      Everything is perfect. I can take the exam anytime and is confident that I will get a distinction.

    • F. 

      Well, I can say that I achieved the option (e) like, 2 months ago?

  • 16. 
    How well do you prepare for your scales and arpeggios? Just before the exam,...
    • A. 

      There are quite a number of scales that I’m not very sure of even though I managed to play them correctly 1-2 times with a lot of help from the teacher

    • B. 

      There is still a few scales that I’m not very sure of. Can play most scales fairly fluently but very slowly and don’t know if I’ll mess up during the exam. Need some thinking time for each scale.

    • C. 

      I can play most scales fairly fluently but still slower than required speed and some unevenness and no dynamics added. May mess up 1 or 2 scale if I'm not careful enough. Need a bit of thinking time for some scales.

    • D. 

      I can play all scales quite fluently with some dynamics but still slightly slower than required speed. Just with some unevenness in tone and limited dynamics.

    • E. 

      I know all scales very well and can play any of them fluently and up to speed with good dynamics. Maybe just some slight unevenness in tone, but I can play every scale almost immediately upon request.

    • F. 

      I know all scales at my fingertips and can immediately play any of them perfectly at faster than required tempo with good dynamics and even tone if requested.

  • 17. 
    How good/bad is your sight reading?
    • A. 

      I have no idea what I’m doing when attempting sight reading.

    • B. 

      My sight reading consists of numerous mistakes and I am often ‘lost’ halfway through

    • C. 

      I can play through but with some of mistakes and pauses, especially if there are more accidentals in the key signature.

    • D. 

      I can play through with a few mistakes and hesitations, but will have problem with keys with more accidentals.

    • E. 

      I can play through at a slow speed without any pauses, only slight hesitations, and with little mistakes, but I can't manage to add any dynamics. I have problem with keys with a lot of accidentals.

    • F. 

      I can play through with barely noticeable mistakes, sometimes I can even play at actual speed with character and dynamics. I can manage in any key (for my grade).

  • 18. 
    How much do you practice sight-reading?
    • A. 

      I find sight reading very difficult and would avoid at all costs. I whine every time my teacher wants to go through sight reading with me.

    • B. 

      I don't really practice but my teacher would go through with me sometimes, but he/she is usually too busy with teaching the pieces.

    • C. 

      I don't really practice but my teacher goes through sight reading with me regularly. OR - I don't really practice but I am in a school band / ensemble etc which requires me to sight-read.

    • D. 

      Sometimes I'll try out pieces on my own. My teacher also goes through sight-reading regularly and I am from a school band / ensemble that requires me to sight-read.

    • E. 

      I practice sight-reading and also try out pieces on my own. I am also given regular sight-reading practice by my teacher and/or school band / ensemble.

    • F. 

      I practice sight-reading and consciously avoid sight-reading mistakes such as pausing, looking at fingers, and correcting wrong notes. I am also given regular sight reading practice by my teacher/ school band / ensemble. I sometimes look for opportunities to play duets with others to improve my sight reading.

    • G. 

      I practice sight-reading and consciously avoid sight-reading mistakes such as pausing, looking at fingers and correcting wrong notes. I also practice improvising and playing at different keys to improve my ability to sight-read in different keys. I am given ample sight-reading practices by my teacher/ school band/ ensemble. I actively look for opportunities to play duets with and accompaniments for others to improve my sight-reading.

  • 19. 
    How good/bad is your aural? (Singing)
    • A. 

      I have problems in both pitching my voice and remembering the tune

    • B. 

      I have slight problems in pitching but I can remember most of the tune

    • C. 

      I can sing in tune but have problem remembering if the tune is too long

    • D. 

      I can sing in tune and remember most of the tune but will have some errors in rhythm

    • E. 

      I can remember the whole melody and sing it in perfect pitch and rhythm.

  • 20. 
    How good/bad is your rhythm?
    • A. 

      All rhythms sound the same to me...

    • B. 

      I have problem repeating a rhythm I’ve heard or differentiating between different rhythms. I have to hear it quite a number of times (with many prompts from teacher) before I can clap/tell the difference.

    • C. 

      I can roughly clap or differentiate between two rhythms, but usually with some errors especially if the rhythm is longer

    • D. 

      I can clap or differentiate between two rhythms with few errors if the rhythm is longer.

    • E. 

      I can clap a rhythm exactly as it was played. I can even write it down.

  • 21. 
    How good/bad is your hearing? (Pitch)
    • A. 

      I can only tell the difference between very low and high pitches

    • B. 

      I can differentiate between different pitches if the difference is relatively big (5th to 8ve)

    • C. 

      I can roughly differentiate between tones and semitones, and most generic intervals (2nd, 3rd, 4th etc).

    • D. 

      I can hear all generic intervals (2nd, 3rd, 6th etc) quite well with little error.

    • E. 

      I can hear specific intervals (major 3rd, minor 6th etc) perfectly. I can differentiate between different tonality perfectly and can even hear modes. I can even tell if my piano is out of tune.

    • F. 

      I can hear specific intervals (major 3rd, perfect 5th etc) with little error.

  • 22. 
    How good/bad is your memory? On average, when learning a new phrase/bar that does not require too much technique,
    • A. 

      I need about 20-30 repetitions to get it. The teacher sometimes needs to break it down to smaller parts for me to remember better.

    • B. 

      I need about 15-20 repetitions to get it.

    • C. 

      I need only 6-15 repetitions to get it.

    • D. 

      I need more than 30 repetitions to get it. The teacher always needs to break it down to smaller parts for me to remember better.

    • E. 

      I need less than 5 repetitions to get it. Sometimes I get it immediately.

    • F. 

      I lost count of the number of repetitions. I find following the score (and the teacher's instructions) too troublesome and prefer to play it my own way as I've heard it. I always play a certain phrase with a different fingering every time I play it because I just can't remember.

  • 23. 
    How fast can you learn scales? Usually when learning a new scale,
    • A. 

      I need more than 30 repetitions to get it. I just have problem focusing and getting the fingering and notes right even when the teacher breaks it down to easier parts for me. I find it very troublesome to follow the fingering for scales and I always prefer to play it my own way, even though I use a different fingering every time I play the same scale.

    • B. 

      I need about 20-30 repetitions to get it. I have no problem with following scale fingering but I need a lot of help from the teacher and my parent to get my scales correct.

    • C. 

      I need about 15-20 repetitions to get it. I can do better with some help from my parent.

    • D. 

      I only need 6-15 repetitions to get it. I can learn my scales independently with just some help from the teacher. I have not much problem remembering the fingering and notes.

    • E. 

      I need less than 5 repetitions to get it. I can figure out the notes of each scale myself, can understand the logic behind scale fingering perfectly and have no problem remembering everything.

    • F. 

      I need about 30 repetitions to get it. I have problem remembering scale fingering but I would certainly do better with some help from my parent.

  • 24. 
    How much do you practice scales?
    • A. 

      I don't practice much and my teacher also don't have much time to go through them as he/she is too busy teaching the pieces.

    • B. 

      I don't practice much but my teacher goes through them with me regularly.

    • C. 

      I practice but not so regularly as I find them hard to learn myself.

    • D. 

      I practice when the teacher says he/she will go through scales the following week. (I practice scales once in about every 2 lessons)

    • E. 

      I practice scales quite regularly - about once in 1-2 weeks. I have no problems practicing scales by myself.

    • F. 

      I practice my scales every week. I make sure my scales are ready every time my teacher wants to hear them.

    • G. 

      I practice my scales every day. I practice them even more than my pieces, and more than what my teacher tells me to.

  • 25. 
    How good/bad is your technique? Usually, when attempting exam pieces,
    • A. 

      I find almost 80% (or more) of the pieces technically challenging. It is so difficult that I have no idea what I’m (or my parents are) getting myself into.

    • B. 

      I find about 50% of the pieces technically challenging, but that may be enough to put me off practicing.

    • C. 

      I find about 30% of the pieces technically challenging, but I could do better with some help from parent.

    • D. 

      I find about 10% of the pieces technically challenging, that should be quite easy.

    • E. 

      I just find a few bars technically challenging. I can learn the exam pieces by myself and I usually breeze through them

    • F. 

      I find about 20% of the pieces technically challenging, but that should be manageable.