Music Olympics Tips

General tips for Scales, Chords, and Arpeggios

-Chart your progress!  This will help you use your practice time more efficiently since you can clearly see which areas need the most work. Print off the chart for your level, below:

Novice Progress Chart

Primary Progress Chart

Elementary Progress Chart

Lower Intermediate Progress Chart

Intermediate Progress Chart

Each day when you play your scales, chords, or arpeggios for the first time, think of it as a practice performance for the Music Olympics.  The ultimate test is to see if you can get them perfect on the first try, not after having warmed up and practiced them! At the Music Olympics you won't get to do any warming up.

-Study first, then play.

-Don't rush! Go slow enough that you don't make mistakes.

-Drill hard spots a minimum of 10 times, starting slow and working up to a fast tempo.

  1. See scale path (how many sharps or flats? Which sharps or flats are they?)
  2. See fingering pattern
-In every scale there is a group of 4 and a group of 3 notes. 4 gets you over the big group and 3 gets you over the small group)

-Notice the tuck or cross over pattern after a black note.
     3. Look at  left hand going up and right hand going down

Chords and Cadences
  1. See scale path (how many sharps or flats? Which sharps or flats are they?)
  2. See major and minor chords
  3. Relax your arms!

  1. Don't twist hand for the cross overs.
  2. Play portato but don't bounce hands.
  3. Identify left hand fingering (are there 1or 2 white notes in between?)

-Use the piano (Have a parent or sibling play for you)

-Make sure you really understand each term and don't just have a bunch of words memorized. (if you have questions, ask me!)

Speedy Notes and Intervals
Here are several ideas of ways to practice: 

-Use flash cards (notes, intervals, and key signatures if applicable)

-Use the note and interval worksheets below. (Time how long it takes you to do each line.)

-Use      Here are a few shortcut links:

Sight Reading
-Choose music that is slightly lower than your level

-Practice 2-3 lines at a time (that's about how long the test will be)

-Practice 30 sec. study (time yourself so you have a good idea of exactly how long 30 sec. is.)
  • Find hand position
  • Check 1st measure details (Clefs, Key signature, Time signature)
  • Scan for tricky spots
  • Scan for rhythm
  • Scan for dynamics and articulation
  • Check for key signature again
  • Start counting and reading notes silently
  • Begin to play!
-Don't rush!  In less you go really slow you won't have points taken off for speed.  But even if you do go so slow that they take off points, better to have a few points taken off for speed than a whole lot more points taken off for all the wrong notes, etc, from going to fast.

-Don't go back for mistakes. Going back to fix a mistake won't put the point back on.  It will do the reverse, the judge will take off a point for restarting the measure.

-Better to pause than to hit wrong notes.  If you pause... take advantage of it!  Make sure you don't rush into the next notes and hit them all wrong.  Better to have 1 point taken off for a pause than 2 or more points taken off for a pause and the wrong notes following.