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AMEB news – November 2015

Message from the Chairperson

photo of Chairperson

Dear musical colleagues, students, parents, teachers and examiners,

I am delighted to greet you all as the new Chairperson of AMEB (NSW).

I have come through the AMEB system myself as a young person and teacher and know how important it is for people to receive a fabulous, structured and creative musical education. While I am obviously still a musician, my brother – who had the same formative experience as me – is not. Instead, he loves music, understands it and attends a variety of different concerts, as do his children. AMEB plays a significant role in the preparation of musicians and serious listeners of music.

Music is the most marvellous of art forms as it enables us to relax and enjoy quiet times. It is also the most provocative of art forms as it is the sound of protest, change and culture. Being a part of the AMEB allows people of all ages to come to understand the importance of music both on a personal level and of playing music with others.

This year the AMEB expands its offerings with the addition of an exciting new Musical Theatre syllabus as well as delivering Rockschool examinations. We hope that these new offerings will enable students to experience a huge variety of styles of music in addition to our regular Music and Speech & Drama syllabuses. I¹d like to thank the AMEB administration team, the examiners and the teachers for their wonderful efforts throughout the year.

I do hope that you enjoy your next year of creative activity with the AMEB.


For they are jolly good Fellows..

photo of Timothy Liu
photo of Henry (Han Yi) Liang

We congratulate two talented young men who both received the Fellowship in Music Australia (FMusA) after their outstanding recitals in September. The FMusA is the highest and most prestigious award offered by AMEB. It is a highlight for any state to boast a recipient of this award in any given year, so to have two successes in the one year is a rare treat.

Pianist Timothy Liu, 21, most recently graduated with Honours in a Bachelor of Science and a Diploma in Music. He was awarded his LMusA in Piano at the age of twelve and his AMusA in Cello at fourteen. He continues to study piano and, whatever his future may hold, Timothy knows that music will always play an important role in his life.

Flautist Henry (Han Yi) Liang, 26, played traditional Chinese bamboo flute (dizi) as a child in Southern China. He took up the Western concert flute at the age of 8 and moved to Australia to further his flute studies. He is a graduate of the Bachelor of Music (Performance) from the Sydney Conservatorium and is currently the President of the NSW Flute Society and also a serving member of the Royal Australian Navy Band.

Along with other outstanding Music and Speech & Drama diplomates, we look forward to their performances at the 2016 AMEB (NSW) Diploma Presentation Ceremony, which will be held on Sunday 13 March 2016 at the Clancy Auditorium at UNSW. Contact the AMEB (NSW) office in January to book your tickets for this exciting event.

The secret life of an AMEB examiner

photo of Jason Noble

A woodwind examiner for both grade and diploma examinations, Jason Noble is certainly a busy man going places. He is a core member of the leading Australian contemporary music group Ensemble Offspring. They have just celebrated a successful sold-out 20th anniversary concert at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music and headlined in the Philip Glass extravaganza ‘A World of Glass’ at the Canberra International Music Festival.

In his work as an AMEB examiner, Jason has travelled this year as far north as Lismore and as far west as Wagga Wagga, but his other musical pursuits lead him even further afield. A passion for combining teaching with performance has led to two trips to the January Winter Academy at the Afghanistan National Institute of Music in Kabul. As a guest teacher, Jason was privileged to spend two weeks on each visit, assisting the aspiring wind musicians at the Institute. From beginners to university level, the school aims to preserve the astounding musical history of the country. The Institute gives tuition to boys and girls in both Afghani and western instruments, and takes in orphans and many disadvantaged children.

Jason commented ‘it was amazing to be teaching in a place where ten years previously music was banned by the Taliban. The experience certainly highlighted the beauty in music transcending language and opportunity. The desire of these children to learn and also teach me the value in music education will always stay with me.’

Jason is also a cast member in the Shaun Parker and Company production of ‘Am I’, a show that combines contemporary dance with a new score that fuses world, classical and electronic music. In 2014 the production toured to Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide festivals. After touring this show in Malaysia in August, he fitted in some AMEB examinations before heading off to perform with Ensemble Offspring at the Shanghai New Music Festival in September. As we go to print, Jason is once again travelling the world, performing in ‘Am I’ in Sweden, Germany and Luxembourg.

If you missed the Sixty Minutes interview with Jason talking about the power of music in the lives of Afghan children, you can view this at the following link:

Musical Theatre

It is with great excitement that AMEB introduces the newest syllabus, Musical Theatre! This syllabus will be examinable in 2016.

Developed by George Torbay, the new AMEB Musical Theatre syllabus will foster a love of singing and storytelling. It contains technical work that is focused and relevant to developing the skills a good musical theatre singer needs. There are songs representing over 450 different musicals and many musical styles, with repertoire from the 1920s through to pieces composed earlier this year.

The focus of this syllabus is to create performers who sing with a free, open tone, and who understand the dramatic arc of a song. Students are challenged to use everything and anything in their arsenal to effectively convey a story.

Workshops are being held in 3 locations:

Each of these will be a full day workshop hosted by George Torbay who will provide information about the Musical Theatre syllabus, examiner expectations regarding technical work requirements, the sight reading requirements and more.

Repertoire from each grade will be showcased and participants will receive valuable teaching and performance tips. In the final session of the day there will also be a Master Class opportunity for a few selected attendees.

Limited spots are available. Book now from the following link:

Grade Books and other resources

The new Musical Theatre Grade Books are also available to purchase via the TryBooking link, and will receive free postage until the end of February 2016.

For more information, contact AMEB (NSW):

Accolade for AMEB (NSW) Strings Advisor

photo of Denise Lawrence

In July 2015, the National String Conference was held in Brisbane. The Australian Strings Association (AUSTA) honoured Denise Lawrence at this event with an award for outstanding contribution to String Education in Australia. We congratulate our AMEB (NSW) Strings Advisor for receiving this prestigious award, which is only presented every three years.

Federal news

New Syllabus

Musical Theatre
AMEB is proud to announce the launch of its entirely new Musical Theatre syllabus, available for examination in all states from 2016. The syllabus is accompanied by a series of supporting publications, including:

Grade books from Preliminary through to Grade 4; the Technical work book covering Preliminary through to Grade 8; the Sight Reading book covering Preliminary through to Grade 8; and a set of recorded accompaniments for Preliminary to Grade 3. This is the AMEB’s first dedicated Musical Theatre syllabus and we hope that it proves a useful resource for teachers and students at all levels.

For more information about the Musical Theatre syllabus go to

For information about Musical Theatre workshops in three locations throughout NSW, as well as product purchases, go to or call our office on 9367 8456.

Recorded Accompaniments

In 2016, AMEB will continue to release recorded accompaniments for use in study and examinations. Where AMEB recorded accompaniments are available, candidates may perform with those recordings in examinations as an alternative to using an accompanist. Recordings will be available as CDs from AMEB and Preferred Retailers and as downloads from iTunes and other digital music outlets. For more information, email:

Revised Syllabus


A revised version of the Musicianship Syllabus appears for the first time in the 2016 Manual of Syllabuses. There have been no changes to Grades 1 – 6, these grades remain the same as previously published. Grades 7 and 8 have been removed so that candidates now progress from Grade 6 to Diploma level. Two new diplomas have been added at Associate and Licentiate level.

The marking for the new Associate and Licentiate Diplomas allows for an Award at 65% and an Award with Distinction at 85% (refer to Regulation 29 in the 2016 Manual of Syllabuses).

New Examinations


The Directors of AMEB Ltd are pleased to announce a new partnership to deliver Rockschool exams and syllabuses in Australia through AMEB.

Rockschool is a vibrant, contemporary music program of exams and qualifications for guitar, bass, drums, vocals, piano, band-based keyboards and bands. Based in the UK, Rockschool specialises in music of the most popular genres in a range of rock, pop, metal and funk styles. Its qualifications are globally recognised, with tens of thousands of exams conducted in the UK and 33 countries around the world.

Exams will be scheduled and administered by the AMEB State Offices. For more information go to or

Withdrawal from examination

From the beginning of 2016, the following syllabuses are no longer available for examination:

Only the form of these syllabuses printed in the most current Manual of Syllabuses will be able to be presented for examination.

Syllabus Reviews

The Trumpet, Trombone and Euphonium syllabuses will continue to be reviewed in 2016.

The Oboe syllabus review will also continue in 2016.

If you wish to participate in the syllabus review process, please visit the Federal Office website,

Online Theory courses

AMEB now offers interactive online courses in Grade 1 & 2 Theory and Grade 3 Theory of Music will be released in the near future. AMEB Online Theory courses allow students to learn music theory at their own pace, independently or by supporting what is taught in the classroom or private music studio. Online theory courses are available from

For the complete Federal news update, please see the AMEB (NSW) 2016 Enrolment Handbook or the front matters in the 2016 Manual of Syllabuses.

Don’t forget to vote!

The AMEB (NSW) Board is a dedicated and energetic group of individuals who play an important advisory role in shaping examination policies. All eligible music teachers are encouraged to vote to elect your three Private Music Teacher representatives to the AMEB (NSW) Board for the next two years. Similarly, Speech & Drama teachers are asked to vote to elect their Private Speech & Drama representative and AMEB Examiners can vote to elect two Examiner representatives.

For the first time this year, voting will be conducted online. Eligible voters should have received an email with voting information. After reading the biographies submitted by the nominees, please cast your vote(s) by following the prompt.

We encourage everyone to actively contribute to this important process. Voting closes on Thursday 31 December 2015. Results will be announced in the AMEB eNewsletter.

Talent in stereo

photo of Nicholas and Jackson Arico

Identical twins Nicholas and Jackson Arico can rest easy now they have completed their Piano for Leisure Grade 7 examinations. Earlier this month, Jackson and Nicholas had examinations back to back with the same examiner (playing the same pieces!) so she must have done a ‘double take’ when twin number two began his program.

The boys have been learning piano for six years and are currently in Year 10 at a school in the Hills District. They feel they are both extremely similar in terms of their dedication to practice and enjoyment of playing. Jackson is looking forward to studying Music at HSC level and plans to continue playing through adulthood, and perfecting famous pieces he enjoys listening to. Nicholas enjoys expressing emotion through his music and hopes to continue developing his skills so he can teach students in the future.

We wish the boys every success as they continue with their music studies.

Staff news

Many of you have cause to contact us throughout the year and it's always nice to put faces to the people in our office that help you from the point of enrolment to the delivery of your certificates. Here's three of the lovely "United Nations of AMEB" office team who take your calls during our busiest times.

photo of Cecilia Gribble

Cecilia Gribble

Born and raised in Malaysia, Cecilia worked in Singapore for 10 years as a flight attendant with Singapore Airlines before moving to Sydney. She has been working for AMEB (NSW) for the past 8 years as a casual Administration Officer and her duties have included supervising exams, scheduling and reception duties.

photo of Siobhan Luddy

Siobhan Luddy

Born in County Cork, Ireland, Siobhan completed a degree in Business and Management in the UK before moving to Australia two years ago. She has been working as a Client Services Officer with AMEB (NSW) since September 2014 and we are thrilled to have her as part of our team.

photo of Savitha Narayan

Savitha Narayan

Born in Saudi Arabia and raised in Australia, Savitha has been part of our team since March 2015. Although law is her passion, Savitha also enjoys carnatic singing (South Indian classical singing). We wish her every success when she begins her career as a lawyer with the Immigration Department in Canberra next year.

Important policy changes

Postcode periods

To streamline our services and ensure that all candidates can be accommodated, the postcode period policy has been amended for 2016.

An enroller is a teacher, parent, candidate over 18 years of age, a music school or a BOSTES registered school.

Regardless of the venue requested, or where a person teaches, the residential address of the enroller will determine the period in which candidates will be examined.

The AMEB (NSW) may ask for proof of address and/or identity to maintain accurate postcode records.

Candidate proof of ID

For examinations from Grade 8 and above in Music and/or Speech & Drama, it will now be necessary for candidates to provide proof of ID to the examiner when attending their practical examination.

Period changes for Regional first session

Examination periods in the Regional first session have been changed for 2016 due to school holiday dates in 2016 as well as date clashes with the Newcastle and Maitland Conservatoriums' activities. An additional period has been created, and Period 2 will now encompass Newcastle and Maitland with examinations held from 27 June to 16 July. Other periods have some minor date changes. Please check page 7 in the 2016 Enrolment Handbook carefully before enrolling.

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