AMEB Second Metropolitan Examinations 2010

Posted by on October 25, 2010

I had some of my piano and violin students sit their exams today.  Boy am I glad those exams are over!  There is so much work and preparation involved in making sure everything is perfect, it seems, just to please an examiner.  It appears today that the examiners my students had were very hard markers.  Perhaps with the change in the AMEB Examining Board, they have reverted back to marking half a mark lower than what they have in previous years.  I have to say I was a little surprised at some of the marks, granted, I wasn’t sitting in the room listening to the student at all times so I can’t say for sure how they played or how they answered questions.

If you’re interested in knowing how marks are given in AMEB examination, here they are:-

Guidelines for marks in examinations

(an excerpt from Knowing the Score)

The following guidelines are used by AMEB examiners in each State to determine grades to be awarded for Level 1 and Level 2 practical examinations.

High Distinction (A+)

In addition to satisfying the requirements for an A grading (below), the candidate demonstrates outstanding achievement in meeting the syllabus objectives in all Sections, including performance flair, consistent technical fluency and penetrating stylistic insight.

Honours (A)

The candidate demonstrates an overall superior level of achievement in meeting the syllabus objectives in all Sections, in terms of musicianship, security of technique (including intonation, tone, phrasing, articulation, rhythm), and stylistic awareness.

Credit (B+)

In addition to satisfying the a requirements for a B grading (below), the candidate demonstrates meritorious achievement against most of the syllabus objectives.

Credit (B)

The candidate demonstrates an overall creditable level of achievement, with appropriate development of musicianship, technique and stylistic awareness in accordance with the syllabus objectives. Some unevenness of achievement in meeting the syllabus objectives or between different Sections of the examination, may be apparent.

Satisfactory (C+)

In addition to satisfying the requirements for a C grading (below), the candidate demonstrates more than adequate achievement against some of the syllabus objectives in each Section.

Satisfactory (C)

The candidate demonstrates an overall adequate level of achievement in musicianship, technique and style in accordance with the syllabus objectives. Considerable unevenness of achievement in meeting the syllabus objectives, or between different sections of the examination, may be apparent.

Not Satisfactory (D)

The candidate demonstrates an overall inadequate level of musicianship, technique and style and does not satisfy the syllabus objectives. Often this has resulted from inadequate preparation. Presentation is often hesitant, evidencing technical errors and/or an inappropriate sense of style.

 I do have one gripe though.  When I walked in after my first student, the examiner was telling my student that their violin should have been tuned beforehand.  What the…?  The student’s violin WAS tuned beforehand, because I tuned it personally however violins are required to be tuned to the piano that the accompaniment is being played on (aka the piano in the room). Ummmm Ms Examiner, this was a First Grade exam.  Only students from 5th grade onwards are required to tune their violins – according to the Manual of Syllabuses.  It just gets students off to a bad start in their exam.

I was informed today that the AMEB (NSW) have their pianos tuned every second Monday, and that in theory, if I tune to the piano(s) in the warm up room, they should be the same pitch as the pianos in the examination room.  After a brief chat with the gorgeous Maree (the fantabulous receptionist who is always there to greet me each exam session and is always a pleasure to deal with), we tuned up the violin to the grand piano in the actual exam room, then took the violin into the warm up room.  There are two upright pianos in the warm up room and the one closest to the doorwas slightly out of pitch.

Maree then spoke to the Cello teacher (different examiner examining those students – a pleasant examiner who would have made a great Santa Claus).  The Cello teacher said they noticed a discrepancy in the pitch between the piano they tuned to in the warm up room to the one in the exam room.  Maree said she would take the matter upstairs (to the Examining Board).

My issue was that unless a student is grade 5 or above, the examiner cannot tell a student they should have tuned their violin beforehand.

I am going to do a whole separate post about the warm up room, because the rules about the use of that room seem to keep changing.

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