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Is your child preparing for an AMEB exam for the first time? Well here are a few things that you need to know:


The Australian Music Examination Board(AMEB) is a law unto itself!  Parents of students pay lots of money to be told where and when they need to present themselves for an exam.

Don’t get me wrong, I think the exams are a good thing! It gives a student something to work towards every year therefore helping to set goals and make progress.

BUT, many parents don’t realise just how stringent the AMEB are with setting dates and not budging on them once they are set. They won’t change them for anything and if you are sick of break a limb, you can reschedule with a medical certificate but it must be within the same examining period. There are no refunds given.

You can make a “Special Request” if you know dates that you are unable to attend but this is not guaranteed.

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. All students need all of these skills mastered:

  1. Play all scales by memory, some instruments can read the technical exercises but some must know them.
  2. Grades Preliminary to Grade 1, as well as all Piano for Leisure Grades, have 3 pieces to play. From Grade 2 onwards there are 2 extra pieces that need to be prepared (excluding the “for leisure” syllabus). From Grade 6 upwards there are 4 pieces to be learnt plus 2 extras.
  3. Other things to practice are Sight reading, General knowledge (details regarding each piece including terms, notation, and anything written on the page), Aural skills (rhythms, pitch and melody singing)

Something that parents are often not aware of is that if your child plays any of these instruments; flute, clarinet, saxophone, violin, viola, cello, any brass, and sometimes vocal; they will require to organise an accompanist who needs to be available to rehearse with them and to also attend the examination. This is an extra cost to the student and is negotiated with the accompanist when initially making the arrangement.

This is a requirement of the AMEB and the student will not pass their exam is they don’t have accompaniment for their list pieces.

All of the music required for these instruments, comes with a piano accompaniment. Please put this in a safe place as you will need it at the end of the year for the examination and will have to buy the whole set again if it gets lost.

When will the exam be scheduled:

The exam can be set anytime within the examining period.  We generally get 3 -4 weeks notice but it can be as little as 2 weeks and once I had 1 weeks notice for a students exam. That was unusual though as they were inundated that year.

Other Questions:

Always approach your child’s 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 a teacher is unavailable to speak to, please let me know and I will get them to call you when they are free.

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