It is during this time of year, as a Music teacher, I have my classes complete their Music Performance Assessments. What I find frustrating is that despite ongoing checks, discussions with students about song choice and giving them constructive feedback and advice on how to improve, they still don’t listen to me!!! They still think they, or the advice of their friends, is better than the real advice from an experienced teacher who knows how to get results.

Over the years I have ran into past students, who could have done soooo much better if they had actually used some of the hints and tips I was giving them; and it never ceases to amaze me that they apologize about not taking the advice I gave them that would have helped them further their goals!

In 2010 I was lucky enough to have a few students who did actually take my advice, and they did get the results they so rightfully deserved. This class was one that I had taught from year 7, and they taught me as much as I taught them. Their drive to do well pushed me to ensure that my lessons were up to scratch to help them achieve their goals. One such lesson, and advice they took on, was this list of Steps to Musical Success. I have since used it with all of my classes and have continued to get great results with my students. This list is based on Williams Taxonomy, and can be used for any performance activity, we use it with both our Drama and Music students as they get close to their final HSC exams.

I have put a FREE written copy on TPT that I use with my Music classes here.

Link to my screencast on Youtube here, this is where you get to hear my lovley Aussie accent as I talk through this for my senior music students!

Use these following steps as a guide to help improve your performance:

  1. Choose a performance piece that you are FLUENT in. This means a piece that you can perform without too many mistakes.
  2. Become FLEXIBLE and ask for help or ways to improve your performance.
  3. Think of a way that you can be ORIGINAL in your performance. Maybe you can change the tempo, key signature, tone colour, and dynamics OR setting, characterization, approach, movements, etc…
  4. Start to ELABORATE in your piece. Consider what you can add to your performance to enhance it.
  5. Don’t be afraid to TAKE RISKS. Start to improvise and perform in front of an audience.
  6. Continue to build your skills and incorporate all of the above to make yourself comfortable with creating a piece that is COMPLEX and a performance that is engages your audience.
  7. Ask for criticism, be CURIOUS about how you can still improve your performance and skills. Continue to build the piece.
  8. Use your IMAGINATION to visualise yourself in the exam, think about where you will stand/sit/move/stay still/be loud/be soft, where will the ensemble members be, how does it sound, how does it feel, how will you react when…, what will you do to enhance the performance????


Use all of the above to take your audience on a journey, you want to make your performance the most interesting, and the best you possibly can. Enjoy the ride and value the opinions of those around you we are all here to help.

Happy teaching

Julia from Jooya.


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