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#1282218 - 10/07/09 07:21 AM A few questions about the AMEB AMus/AMusA exam?
EternallyKnown Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/06/09
Posts: 1
I have my exam in about a week, and I'm really worried. I've been playing about 7 hours a day to make up for the lack of practice I've done earlier in the year, and so I've been wondering a few things:

1. Is the pass rate really around 25-30 percent?

2. If you slip up a few times, or the timing in once piece is a tiny bit off in one place, is that a definite fail?

3. And adding to that last question, if, during the general knowledge section, you accidentally get one modulation wrong, will that impact badly on your chances?

4. One last one: I'm debating whether or not to do a piece by memory. I know it well, but I get extremely nervous before exams, and that tends to make me forget and play badly. Will the examiners disapprove if I don't do anything by memory?

I'm feeling sick with worry, as my Grade 8 experience was pretty bad. I only got a C, and the examiner then is one of the ones I'm going to get this time. Although, I guess it's my fault for getting such a grade, considering the fact that I barely practiced all year round except for 4 days before the exam, and the person I had to flip the pages couldn't read music, so I continually had to indicate when they had to turn pages, which was pretty distracting.

Thanks to anyone who replies smile

Edited by EternallyKnown (10/07/09 07:22 AM)

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#1282589 - 10/07/09 05:41 PM Re: A few questions about the AMEB AMus/AMusA exam? [Re: EternallyKnown]
20thCentury Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/17/09
Posts: 27
Loc: Melbourne, Australia
Hi EternallyKnown,

First of all, I'd suggest you go back a couple of pages in the Pianist's Corner and look at the topic 'Anyone that knows anything about the AMEB AMusA (piano)?', as we provided a lot of similar information to the OP there. But I'm happy to help you with your specific questions here too.

1. I don't have any official statistics about the pass rate- there are various rumours that float around about figures but to my knowledge the AMEB hasn't actually said. What they do say is that the pass rate is much lower than for Eighth Grade. At a conference I went to this year, I was told that the AMEB are getting a lot tougher about awarding the diploma.

2. No, that's not a definite fail by any means. Examiners do not expect perfection. Remember that this is a PERFORMING diploma, so what is very important is the ability to show performance attributes- i.e. professionalism, attention to detail, ability to develop and show a convincing and music interpretation of a work, and being able to carry on even if there is a mistake! It all really depends on the context in which a slip occurs, but confidence is the key here. If you play a wrong note or have a slight rough spot, that doesn't automatically mean they will fail you.

3. Again, no- perfection is not expected. And they may not ask about modulations at all! The important thing with General Knowledge is that it is a discussion between you and the examiners- they want to see that you can talk about the piece confidently, that you know about its historical context, form, structure, etc. Refer to the Manual of Syllabuses for more info, but a wrong answer on its own isn't going to cost you the diploma. They may comment on it- but it all depends how everything else went.

4. Playing from memory is good and examiners will often look favourably upon it, as it can add to professionalism and the performance attributes. However, if you feel that you are more than likely to slip up, it's better to use the score. The examiners will not 'disapprove'- there is no memory requirement for AMusA (unlike LMusA); you are simply encouraged to play from memory, so they may just comment on it as an area for future development. If you've tried performing from memory before and you feel it has made you more insecure, then that's a signal that it's better not to this time round- but a great area to explore further at another time!

If you got a C for Eighth Grade, this doesn’t mean you will fail AMusA if you’re prepared enough. However, be aware that the standard is much higher and the AMEB recommends you have passed Grade 8 with a B or above if you want to do the diploma. Avoid too much last-minute practice as this will only make you even more nervous; just stay calm and remember that perfection is not expected- they want to see how musically you can play in a proper performance situation. If you do not pass, that is not the end by any means- you can always try again and there is now the new Certificate of Performance for those who are not quite ready for AMusA, if you want to go back and do that. Have you managed to perform your program through for others? This can really help with nerves and give you a sense of what the exam might be like. And what are you playing?

All the very best for your exam and do let us know how you get on!

Andrew smile

P.S. It's always better to have a page-turner who can read music!

#1282596 - 10/07/09 05:48 PM Re: A few questions about the AMEB AMus/AMusA exam? [Re: 20thCentury]
currawong Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 6085
Loc: Down Under
Great advice from Andrew. Basically I was going to answer your questions thus:


Like Andrew, I don't have statistics on [1], but I'd expect it to be a bit higher than that. What I do know is that there's certainly no "quota for the day". And in the very unlikely event that 95% of candidates in any year satisfied the requirements, they would pass.
Du holde Kunst...


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