Younger Beginners & Piano Exams (in Australia)

I’ve just completed a tour of the four of the major centres in Australia (Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide) and three of the smaller ones (Coffs Harbour, Launceston and Geelong) with the Australian Music Examination Board launching the P Plate Piano publications and assessments to groups of piano teachers. More of these launch events will take place in the first few months of 2010, but the eleven events we’ve already done gave a good insight into the issues piano teachers grapple with getting students ready for their first (Preliminary) AMEB exam. In my seminar I talk about the four pressures Australian piano teachers are feeling in regard to their beginners in 2009: The AMEB Preliminary examination has been getting steadily and substantially more difficult (comparing the syllabus repertoire in the mid-90s with that in 2009). Piano students are starting lessons younger. Whereas most beginners were 7 or 8 years of age twenty years ago, in 2009 beginners are often 5

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