Performance Exams

artistry and self-expression

Piano Adventures Performance Exams bring Student, Teacher, and Parent/Guardian together to foster excellence at each student’s skill level. The repertoire spans a broad range. Students may explore adventurous pieces in many genres.

Student and teacher work together to prepare 3 Video Recordings of pieces from Repertoire Lists 1, 2, and 3. Further, the preparation of pieces presents the powerful educational concept that “application of oneself and having fun” can go together. Disciplined challenges can bring self-worth and heightened purpose to the weekly lessons. The Exams celebrate this, document it with meaningful markers, and provide a pathway of personal progress.

The 3 Performance Pieces

The Repertoire List for the Performance Exam includes the following:

  • List 1: Lively piece
  • List 2: Slower piece
  • List 3: Student Choice piece!

A Piano Adventures Exam Coach will evaluate the student’s performance, expertly and with care, using 5 categories: Notes, Rhythm, Dynamics, Posture/Poise, and Technique.

A rating is given to each category:
Excellent (5 points), Very Good (4 points), and Developing (3 points)

Five Fast Facts for the Primer Performance Exam

  1. Repertoire Lists 1, 2, and 3 are drawn from these four method books: Lesson, Performance, Technique & Artistry, and Gold Star Performance.
  2. Repertoire List 3 also includes pieces from the following PreTime Piano Books: Christmas, Classics, Favorites, Hymns, Jazz & Blues, Music from China, and Rock ‘n Roll.
  3. Repertoire List 3 pieces also may be played with the Teacher Duet! Duets have a long history at the piano, and Piano Adventures Exams warmly invites these performances.
    Note: Only the student receives feedback.
  4. The Primer Performance Exam fee is $50.00. Results are generally available within 28 days of submitting all 3 Performance Videos.
  5. Piano Adventures Exam Coaches undergo training on the pedagogical and psychological needs of young learners. Coaches use a musical pseudonym— such as “Coach Allegro.” This keeps the evaluation process playful and brings student and coach together as a musical team.

Exam Repertoire Lists

There are 3 Repertoire Lists for each level of the Basic Piano Adventures curriculum. List 1 (faster pieces) and List 2 (slower pieces) use pieces from these four method books: Lesson, Performance, Technique & Artistry, and Gold Star Performance.

List 3 features select pieces from the correlating level in the PreTime to BigTime Piano Library. This lets students choose a favorite song from many styles for their third performance choice. In addition, List 3 pieces may be played with the Teacher Duet. Note: Only the student receives comments.

Here are the Piano Adventures levels correlated with the PreTime to BigTime Piano Library.

Primer Level = PreTime Piano
Level 1 = PlayTime Piano
Level 2A = ShowTime Piano
Level 2B = ChordTime Piano
Level 3A = FunTime Piano
Level 3B = FunTime Piano
Level 4 = BigTime Piano
Level 5 = BigTime and AdvanceTime Piano

Model Performance Videos

Explore all pieces available for the Piano Adventures Exams with the Model Performance Videos! Their use is two-fold. First, they present the Piano Adventures library to the teacher who may not have access to all the books. Peruse the many choices in a relaxed setting. Consider sharing the videos with students to help with Exam preparation. Second, they “model” the piece for students and parents demonstrating tempo, dynamics, and good technique.

The Duet Audio Recordings are under the title, PLAY DUETS! These encourage students and teachers to listen while watching the score for a particular musical concept. In this way, the audio performance develops eye-tracking and ear-training. The Videos are not meant to be used for learning pieces by rote. Quite the opposite!

At the opening, Trophy jumps into a music keyhole and the Video unfolds. How much musical insight can a student glean by watching and listening! And then, playing the piece, with teacher coaching, brings out their own “model performance.”


Select your Exam Session and begin preparing. It’s easy!

FALL SESSION: September 1—January 31
Theory Enrollment anytime!
Performance Enrollment Window: April 1—October 31

SPRING SESSION: February 1—June 30
Theory Enrollment anytime!
Performance Enrollment Window: November 1—March 31

If a Performance Exam session is already in progress, you may sign up for the upcoming session.

6 Steps for Success

Choose your 3 titles from Lists 1, 2, and 3.

Prepare your pieces to a fine performance level.

Record each piece

Parent/Guardian uploads each Video.

Teacher reviews Videos on the Exam platform.

Teacher gives final approval for each Video.

Be a Performer on The Bravo Board

Students who earn a score of 5 Excellent ratings for any Performance piece will be nominated for The Bravo Board—an area of the Exam website where outstanding students in Performance and Theory are recognized. Parent/Guardian permission is required for students to be featured on The Bravo Board. Permission is granted via the dashboard of the Parent/Guardian Account.

Students will be highlighted on The Bravo Board for a period of one year. Students, their families, and friends enjoy this period of recognition! At the end of one year, the posting is removed from The Bravo Board. However, students are encouraged to be recognized again in Performance and/or Theory at a higher Piano Adventures level.

How to Prepare

The teacher’s coaching is the best preparation for students. These strategies are recommended:

a. Analyze the piece together to bring certainty for the performance.
b. Practice sitting with good posture. Place hands in position for a good start.
c. Practice “thinking the tempo” of the first measures before starting to play.
d. Practice maintaining a steady tempo and emphasizing the dynamics.
e. Practice lifting hands off the keys and into the lap at the end of the piece.

Do steps b, c, d, and e with the teacher sitting on the other side of the room!

Piano teacher is instructing her student.