We hear a lot of students and their parents questioning the importance of examinations and here are a few reasons why they are important.
1) Exams provide a new experience for students. The examiner can give a new kind of pressure to a performance that teaches students more about how they deal with stress and how to work through it to make a good performance. Students can then take this back and use the information for other performances. Plus, once you know an examiner thinks you are pretty great, playing for a group of people doesn't seem so scary.
2) Examiners know the pieces really, really well. It's a unique experience for performers to play for an individual who knows the pieces intimately and can give good feedback about the performance. Sometimes an examiner has a different way of approaching a problem and they record the solution in the exam notes - very helpful for future performances and for future pieces!
3) Getting feedback from someone you don't know is always cool. Most examiners will focus on the positive and give you some great feedback on how well you are doing. They often slip in a few ways you could be better, but mostly they want you to feel good about yourself and the work you've put forward to achieve the goal of an exam! Having someone say something good about your hard work validates your efforts.
Your teacher will let you know when it's time for an exam and will help you be as prepared as possible for the experience. In the short term - don't be afraid of them, it's just another music experience!