About the AMEB:
The AMEB (NSW) is a teacher-based organisation. This means that the music or speech and drama teacher contracts with the AMEB (NSW) by enrolling their students for examinations. Therefore the teacher should always be the contact point between you and the AMEB (NSW). If you have any queries about the examination process, please ask the teacher to email or telephone the AMEB (NSW).
The AMEB schedule over 40,000 examinations each year so it is necessary for them to set some rules with regard to examination dates, transfers, late fees and refunds. The following points should be noted:
- Some examination dates may fall during school holidays or long weekends.
- Once a practical examination has been scheduled, transfers are only permitted on very specific candidate-related grounds and are subject to a Transfer Fee.
Preparing for the Exam:
Each grade has specific requirements that are set out in a handbook and syllabus and need to be mastered before the student is ready for an exam.
Generally the requirements are as follows:
- One list piece from each List A, B and C plus 2 extra pieces of your choice.
- “For Leisure” exams only require 3 contrasting pieces to be presented.
- Technical work includes scales set for the grade and any other technical exercises as stated in the Technical workbook for each specific instrument.
Other aspects that are tested:
- Aural: listening exercises that will be practiced in lessons with the teacher prior to the exam
- General Knowledge: the student needs to have general musical knowledge in relation to musical terms written on their pieces, meaning and definitions, key signatures, time signatures and form. Higher grades need to be aware of musical period characteristics, style and knowledge about the composer.
- Sight reading: a small excerpt is presented to the student in the examination and they have 1 or 2 minutes to study it and then play it for the examiner.
Extra requirements for instrumentalists:
- If your child plays an instrument that requires accompaniment, for instance, flute, clarinet, saxophone, violin, brass, and sometimes vocal; they will require to organise rehearsals with an accompanist who needs to be available to also attend the examination.
- the cost of the accompanist is dependant on the individual and varies greatly. As the student moves up through the grades the accompanist needs to be very accomplished, as theaccompanying piano parts are usually extremely difficult and not suited to amateur musicians.
How do I know if my child is ready for an exam?
- The best person to determine if your child is ready is the teacher. The teacher has experience and can judge whether the child will be able to perform under the pressure of an exam to an adequate standard.
- one way for you to get some idea is to become an active learning partner with your child. Listen to the playing their pieces at home, ask them to play through their list of scales for you as though you are testing spelling words. You will recognise if a scale sounds correct or if there are alot of hesitations or mistakes.
- to prepare adequately for an exam, the student needs to be practicing consistently throughout the week. This includes school holiday periods as there can often be a 3 week period with no lessons which can impact exam readiness especially through the September/October holidays.
Always feel free to approach your childs teacher with any questions that you may have in regards to your child’s readiness or the requirements of the examination. At the end of the day, you are paying for the exam and you want to be sure that you understand how you can support your child at home to get the best result possible for your child.
If there are any other questions that you have regarding exams that I haven’t answered, feel free to ask me here in the comments field and I will attempt to answer them.
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