I’m not sure if I have touched on this already, but I’m moving information across from my music blog to here. I think this post had a little more infomation than what I had put on this website. Apologies if it is similar. This entry was dated 7 March 2010:-
I attended an information session with the Australian Music Examinations Board NSW and took a guided tour by the magnificent Melinda at the conclusion of the seminar.
It is where my students (both piano and violin) do their examinations so I had been able to have a look inside one of the examination rooms previously, but I hadn’t had a really good sticky beak. It was great to do so today.
Everything looks so clean and tidy, the pianos are new, there are different sized rooms for different examinations, there is also a warm up room with two pianos available that comes with a 5 minute time limit (to allow other exam students a turn).
All the piano stools are adjustable. You are allowed to bring in a foot stool if you have littler students whose feet don’t reach the floor.
I mentioned a problem I had with my last violin students being in Room 9. The examiners must sit within view of the glass panel of the door as per the child safety regulations. In room 9 this meant that because of where the examiners’ desk is, and the position of the piano, my students had to play with their back to the accompanist. This threw my students off quite a bit as they are taught (and quite correctly) to interact with the accompanist, and to at least have eye contact.
I was told to put in a special request to avoid Room 9 with my violin students. Trouble is that two of my students are already enrolled for an exam in May, and it’s too late to include a special request. I think I may have to send off an email to the lovely AMEB workers and request that at least string players not be examined in that room as they can’t see the accompanist. I can also see that any other instrumentalist (woodwind, brass etc) is also going to have a problem not being able to see their accompanist. Something the AMEB definitely have to take into consideration.
I have also heard that there is a slight downside to playing on new pianos, and that is that they’re a tougher to play, haven’t been ‘broken into’ yet which apparently can take a few years. Consequently you may have some students who end up receiving comments from the examiner about lacking finger strength or evenness in tone and that’s just because littler fingers aren’t used to playing on keys weighted so much. The new pianos do look amazing though, especially the grand used for the higher grades
Have you had any scary exam piano experiences? Let me know.