A number of years ago I went to a Conservatory Canada teacher workshop given by Ontario teacher and examiner Emily Dow. She presented the listening protocol used by examiners and left us with this useful list. I’m sure we’ll all be nodding in agreement with every one of these points.
1. Don’t let fingers collapse at the first joint (“no knuckle buckles” is what I say).
2. Play to the bottom of the keys.
3. Practice slowly – no more than half-tempo (broken record)
4. Aim for a more refined balance. This is expected in the solid triads/chords from grade 6.
5. Know thy Left Hand! (again, broken record)
6. Work on the togetherness of hands.
7. Pedal with your ears.
8. Detach Left Hand (where appropriate).
9. Play at a more comfortable speed – especially List B (Classical).
10. Aim for a richer tone (can’t do this on a keyboard).
11. Make sure staccatos are not too short – only 1/2 the value of the note (open for debate, depending on the piece and style).
12. More bass line.