AMEB Video Exams – A Parent Guide With FAQs
Are AMEB exams still on?
Despite life being turned upside down by a pandemic in 2020, families continue to find joy and fulfilment in music. Thanks to the team at AMEB, video exams became an option. For a video exam, teachers film their students performing their repertoire pieces in one take, without editing, and submit the video to the AMEB for an examiner to mark. Just like traditional exams, teachers take care of administration like due dates and curriculum, so parents can focus on encouraging their children to make music regularly.
Are Video Exams As Good As Regular AMEB Exams? What Is The Difference Between a Comprehensive Exam and a Repertoire Exam?
When I was a child, there was one kind of piano exam. I waited nervously in a hallway filled with anxious students, then I went into a room where an examiner sat at a desk while I played scales and technical work, performed several pieces, discussed general knowledge about those pieces, had a listening test and a sight reading test. Over the past few decades while I have been teaching, many new kinds of AMEB exams have been introduced including Comprehensive, Repertoire, Leisure, Rockschool, Contemporary Popular Music, P-Plate Piano and more, some of which have come and gone. The exam outlined in my own story is now called a Comprehensive exam, including technical work, repertoire, general knowledge, aural (listening) and sight reading. The AMEB Repertoire exam and AMEB Video Repertoire exam include performances of pieces, but not technical work, sight reading and so on.
There are many factors to consider in determining which exam is a good fit for your child. Discuss with your teacher which syllabus they recommend for you. When considering an AMEB Video exam, keep in mind that this would be a Repertoire Exam or a Piano For Leisure Repertoire Exam. AMEB Comprehensive Exams are not available by video.
In terms of standard for repertoire, the level is the same for each grade of video exam, whichever kind of syllabus you are using. Several universities have confirmed that they “will recognise AMEB Grade 8 Repertoire as equivalent to AMEB Grade 8 Comprehensive results” in their bonus point schemes.
Australian Music Examinations Board, Video Repertoire Exam, accessed 24/5/2021, https://www.ameb.nsw.edu.au/exams/video-repertoire-exam-2
Regarding the exam experience, some families will appreciate not having to take a day off work and a day off school to drive across town (or across the state in my regional area) to an external exam venue. Having your teacher present during the video process would be a comfort to many students. Regardless of preference, in a world still impacted by a pandemic, many students have a video exam as their only option right now. Working towards a goal and building on fundamental skills in a sequential way can still occur with a video exam, and will provide many students with continuity while waiting for face-to-face exams to recommence.
Which Video Exam Goes With My Piano Series 18 Book or Piano For Leisure Series 3 Book?
Exams using the AMEB publications called Piano Series 18 & 19 include these options:
- Comprehensive Exam
- Comprehensive Solo (Grades 5 and above)
- Comprehensive Collaborative (Grades 5 and above)
- Repertoire Exam
- Video Repertoire Exam
Exams using the AMEB publications called Piano For Leisure include these options:
- Piano For Leisure Exam
- Piano For Leisure Repertoire Exam
- Piano For Leisure Video Repertoire Exam
For the books listed in the question above, the Video Repertoire exam and the Piano For Leisure Video Repertoire exam are the video exam options for 2021. Please check your state’s AMEB website for the most up-to-date information.
Does a Video Exam Mean That My Child Doesn’t Have To Practise Scales and Sight Reading?
I will let the AMEB speak for themselves on this question.
“AMEB recommends strongly that technical work forms part of your practice routine. Just because we are not examining that component in this exam doesn’t mean that it is not essential to building your technical skills. Just like a dentist knows if you’ve been brushing your teeth or not an examiner will know whether you’ve been practising your scales or not. The examination criteria still include aspects of technique, it’s just that Technical work isn’t being examined separately as such.”
“The development of sight-reading ability, aural skills and general knowledge is essential for a well-rounded musician, and students will need to continue to work on these areas to reach their full potential, even if they are only being formally assessed on the performance of repertoire.”
Australian Music Examinations Board, AMEB Repertoire Exams, accessed 24/5/2021, https://www.ameb.edu.au/repertoire
How Do I Help My Child Keep Practising Scales and Sight Reading?
Your teacher will be delighted if you ask them this question! For my students, I designed the Sight Reading Secrets books so they had sequential sight reading examples to work through at home. Little by little over the course of several months, parents reported their child becoming more fluent, more confident and more expressive in their sight reading. Supplying your child with a sight reading book at their level is a simple way you can support their sight reading progress even if it is not examined in their video exam. If they take up a face-to-face Comprehensive or Piano For Leisure option in future, they will not be disadvantaged in their sight reading test after regular sight reading practise at home.