I must take an exam that includes performing (singing and playing) a few pieces. They are slightly different in the level of difficulty, and I have control over the sequence in which I present them during the exam.

Performing something really good first may create a successful initial impression, but then more average stuff follows anyway. Do I remember correctly that the best song is usually left for the end?

I am not sure which sequence is optimal for me myself, this is a first my exam of such kind.

1 Answer 1


Another factor to consider is the instrument. If it's piano, and you haven't played that particular one, you need something to get the feel of it before playing more demanding pieces. You may even consider your accompanist if they have to play a piano. If it's electric guitar, and you're using someone else's amp, simple is a good start, then you may be able to tweak the sounds for later.

Often, scales are performed first, as these are a good way to warm up - both you and your instrument. But, generally, as you say, leave the best till last. Most performances work from this tenet.

  • It's too early yet to say this is the best answer - it can't be - it's the only one!!
    – Tim
    Commented Mar 19, 2015 at 19:14
  • Don't leave the best until last if your initial selections are seriously rough. In that case I would put it perhaps as the third piece performed. If you don't start to show off anything until the end, they may have already made up their minds that your performance is sub-par. Of course if you are genuinely skilled and playing appropriate material I would instead suggest trying to arrange the pieces thematically in terms of how you judge their emotional content. The ultimate purpose of music is to create a moving performance for your listeners, and it's very effective when being evaluated. Commented Mar 19, 2015 at 21:25

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