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AMEB Grades & Exams - Piano
Tim P Manger - Piano Teacher

AMEB Exams - Piano

Why Do AMEB Grades & Exams on the Piano?

The Australian Music Examination Board (AMEB) is a professional music institution, designed to provide graded programs to musicians (and in this case pianists), to achieve a globally recognised standard or qualification.

Each syllabus is designed by performers and scholars, who undertake studies and research to ensure that each graded level is in keeping with the standard and expectations of performing arts within Australia.

The AMEB also aims to re-produce and publish practical pieces and technical work books at a competitive price, to keep musical resources within fiscal reach of each student.

Piano Grade Levels in DetailPiano Grade Levels in Detail
Practical Grade
Grade 1
Grade 2
Grade 3
Grade 4
Grade 5
Grade 1
Grade 6
Grade 2
Grade 7
Grade 3
Grade 8
Grade 4
Certificate (C.Mus A)
Associate (A.Mus A)
Grade 5
Licentiate (L.Mus A)
Grade 6
Fellowship (F.Mus A)  

What does it all mean?

AMEB piano grade levels are designed to cover 3 main sections of learning; Beginner (Level 1), Intermediate (Level 2), and Advanced (Level 3).

In order to be awarded a pass for a specific practical grade level, you must have achieved the equivalent written theory (musicianship) grade. Following an examination, students are given a mark by the examiner from D though A, with A+ being the highest possible mark.

At the advanced level, students are not actually given a mark. Instead, they are simply presented with 'No Award', 'Award', or 'Award with Distinction'. The current pass-rate for candidates at the Associate level is 30%, giving an indication of the level of difficulty and overall expectation.

Beginner Level (Preliminary to Grade 4)

Students who achieve the first 5 grade levels (preliminary through to grade 4), will have sufficient technical ability to be able to confidently read music and play piano. The majority of students who choose to learn piano via the AMEB syllabus, often complete (at the very least) the first 5 grade levels.

Intermediate Level (Grade 5 - Certificate C.Mus A)

Students who make the decision to progress beyond the Beginner Level, will continue to develop their techniques and abilities to a much higher level. The intermediate level (often termed the 'development' level), prepares students for performance, whilst focusing on a more refined suppleness, interpretation, agility, endurance and playing integrity.

Certificate Level (C.Mus A)

The Certificate Level (C.MusA - Certificate of Music Australia'), is the last of the intermediate (or developmental) levels, and provides students with a transitional music certificate (just below that of undergraduate level in a conservatorium), as they prepare for the challenges of Associate Level.

Associate Level (A.Mus A)

The Associate Level (A.MusA - 'Associate of Music Australia') is considered to be the equivalent of an undergraduate qualification at a conservatorium, and prepares students for professional performance.

During an examination, the student must deliver a music program that exceeds 30 minutes in duration, and is no longer than 40 minutes. All music selected by the student must be committed to (and performed from) memory, whilst two (2) examiners are present.

Licentiate Level (L.Mus A)

The Licentiate Level (L.MusA - 'Licentiate of Music Australia') is the highest possible level achievable through the Australian Music Examination Board, and requires students to have achieved near-perfect mastery of the piano.

With a rigorous examination process (often termed a 'federal' examination) and a program that is approximately 1 hour in duration, the Licentiate qualification is the holy grail of piano qualifications, with a national pass-rate of just 10%, once again giving an indication of the level of difficulty and overall expectation.

As with the Associate Level, all music selected by the student must be committed to (and performed from) memory, whilst two (2) examiners are present.

Fellowship Level (F.Mus A)

The Fellowship Level (F.MusA - 'Fellowship of Music Australia') is considered to be more of an honorary title, generally acknowledging the outstanding mastery of a particular musician on a particular instrument. It is expected (although not a requirement) that honorary members have achieved their A.Mus A or L.Mus A.

Read More at the AMEB Web Site Here

Practical - Syllabus RequirementsPractical - Syllabus Requirements

The AMEB publishes a Manual of Syllabuses each year, in order to maintain relevance, and to avoid courses becoming stale. As a result the piano syllabus is updated annually, with a range of fresh new works and pieces.

The general format of the piano syllabus is such that, pieces are selected by students or teachers from a range of suggested sources and publications.

Musical works are grouped into categories or lists (List A, List B, List C etc.), and are generally categorised according to their chronological period in history, or their technical difficulty. For example, List A pieces may be from the Baroque period.

Read More at the AMEB Web Site Here

What Grade Level Should I Start At?

Technically speaking, you can commence AMEB grades starting at any level. However, this can be a trap for students who are looking to climb the music ladder quickly, since it is the earlier grades that provide the musical grounding for tackling the higher grade levels.

Technical - Syllabus RequirementsTheory - Syllabus Requirements

The Manual of Syllabuses provides grading information regarding music theory, including information about when each theory grade should be undertaken. Unlike the practical syllabus, there are fewer theory exams, with exams being designed to accompany specific practical grade levels.

For example: Students playing specific practical piano grades, cannot officially be awarded their certificate (if they pass), until they have completed the correlating theory grade.

Examination Dates & LocationsExamination Dates & locations

AMEB exams take place several times each year and are split into two distinct sections, regional and metropolitan. You can select either section to do your exams, the main difference is that the examination venues vary between regional and metropolitan.

It is also important to book your preferred examination date well in advance, to ensure that you get your selected venue and examination date.

Read More at the AMEB Web Site Here

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