The “problem” with end-of-term music assessments at my university is that you have about three minutes to show your teacher that you did ten weeks of work.
Of course you didn’t actually do ten weeks of work.
So let me rephrase.
The “problem” with music assessments is that you have about three minutes to show your teacher that you successfully compressed ten weeks worth of information into a relatively coherent performance, and you managed to do that the night before or the morning of the actual assessment.
Accomplishing this feat by itself (regardless of getting a good mark) is no easy task by any stretch and has cost many students whatever is left of their sanity. It’s even more remarkable if you consider that most of these students have combined a complete disregard for prudence with copious amounts of alcohol and have somehow still managed to show up to the right place at the right time with the right instrument.
If you are not part of this group of people who leave everything to the last minute and you did actually implement a time management plan for the past ten weeks, the amount of stress you will experience is still about the same, and here’s why:
You’ve probably practiced the thing you needed to practice about a thousand times, and towards the end of those thousand times, you nailed it more and more. You probably even did that thing perfectly a few times in a row, days before your assessment, and you’re thinking, “Pfff, easy.”
And then you show up to the assessment and your mind immediately goes blank upon entering the room, so you play a few wrong notes right at the beginning, which drags your concentration down and you miss the coda symbol and end up playing the chorus again whereas you’re supposed to be playing the outro and you end the whole disaster a tritone away from the tonic.
Then your parents call you and ask how the assessment went, so you lie and tell them what they want to hear, which makes you feel guilty, and they remind you of the fact that Christmas is around the corner and you think about getting them Christmas presents to make up for your guilt, maybe like a nice sweater or something, but then you realise that you’re getting fat yourself, which induces self-hatred because the only exercise you’ve done so far is running out of money.
So at the end of the day, if you manage to somehow stumble through an assessment and come out alive in any capacity, just go out with your mates and have a pint to celebrate the continuation of your glory-ridden musical career, because you deserve it. Here’s to the next term, where the 10-week cycle repeats. Cheers boiiiii