Practical exams incorporate technical work, repertoire (at least 3 songs) and general knowledge, and depending on the syllabus choice may also include aural work, sight reading and improvisation.
Exam fees vary according to the grade; the higher level examinations take longer and thus have a higher cost associated with them.
Rockschool Practical Exams
Students only require the one piano book for Rockschool, as it includes the technical work for that level. (The Guidebook for Popular Music Theory is also recommended to be able to prepare for the general knowledge requirements).
All Rockschool songs, technical work, sight reading and improvisation need to be played along with backing tracks; the book has a unique code to be able to download all the tracks. It will be necessary to have a device (such as a computer or MP3 player) to be able to load the backing tracks onto and practise with once all the work has been prepared at the full speed.
AMEB Practical Exams
Piano (and Piano for Leisure) exams are held every week between April and November at the UWA Claremont campus (which is NOT the same as the main UWA campus in Crawley – see map).
Students will require:
- AMEB Technical Workbook – a once off cost, which will cover all grades (supplied first)
- How to Blitz General Knowledge – a once off cost, which will cover all grades (supplied closer to their first exam)
- The Repertoire Book for their exam level (one per grade)
- A metronome (many app choices available)
For those with an aural component to the exams, the AMEB AuralBook app can help with preparation (only available on iPad). The free version has 3 practise questions for each type of test; more tests can be purchased.
For those with a sight reading component to the exams, I highly recommending also working with Samantha Coates’ “How to Blitz Sight Reading” (1 book covers several grades).
Theory of Music
All students undertaking practical exams in piano or organ are encouraged to also complete theory of music exams. This gives the most thorough grounding required for the general knowledge component of the practical exams.
AMEB theory exams can be completed online. Students need to complete a theory workbook for their relevant grade (either Dulcie Holland’s “Master Your Theory” or Samantha Coates’ “How to Blitz Theory” books), plus I encourage students to also complete Dulcie Holland’s “Practise Your Theory” to test that they have adequately learned everything the need to for the exam.
For Rockschool students, there is a Guidebook for Popular Music Theory for Debut to Grade 5 (and a 2nd, more advanced Guidebook for Grades 6 – 8), plus a workbook for each Grade. The Rockschool theory exams are held three times a year, and must be sat at the given venue.