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Use of External Venues Policy

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Use of External Venues Policy

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From time to time AMEB (NSW) sends examiners to external venues to examine students. External venues (previously known as Private Studios) include

  • NESA-accredited schools
  • Privately owned music schools
  • Spacious residential private music studios

The AMEB Clarence Street Studios, Sydney Conservatorium, JMC Academy and Joan Sutherland Performing Arts Centre are used as AMEB venues, and are NOT external venues.

This policy ensures that examinations are conducted in a safe and suitable environment.

Before scheduling an examiner to an external venue, a timetable of four hours (or six hours on a Saturday) of examining per instrument category, or speech and drama, must be in place.

Becoming an approved external venue

To apply to become an AMEB (NSW) external venue please complete an External Venue Application or Renewal form. Complete online, save to your computer then email the saved form as an attachment.

Renewing an approved external venue

To renew your status as an approved AMEB (NSW) external venue please complete an External Venue Application or Renewal form. This must be completed each year. Complete online, save to your computer then email the saved form as an attachment.

When using external venues

Candidates, accompanists, parents and visiting teachers must respect the facilities at the private venue. They should:

  • wait quietly in the area directed by the host teacher or the host’s representative
  • leave the premises upon completion of examinations and
  • not interrupt examinations in progress.

Learn more about requesting a venue for an exam.

AMEB (NSW) will not provide lists of approved external venues to enrollers.

Venue inspections and feedback

AMEB (NSW) examiners may submit an External Venue Report to the AMEB (NSW) after an examination day. Venue owners must address any issues identified before further exams are scheduled.

AMEB (NSW) reserves the right to inspect the venue to ensure that it continues to meet the criteria.


  • The studio must be set up at least 30 minutes before the start time of the first examination
  • The host (or host’s representative) will meet the examiner and escort them to the examination studio
  • Teachers are not to discuss their students with the examiner
  • Recording of any part of the examination is not permitted under any circumstances
  • Notes, cards, gifts or other tokens are not to be offered to visiting examiners. They will not be accepted under any circumstances.
  • Government and/or AMEB (NSW) directives in respect of electronic check-in arrangements have been implemented.
  • Appropriate distancing and hygiene measures must be in place.


  • Timetables must not be changed on the examination day. An AMEB (NSW) examiner may mark a student ‘absent’ if they do not attend at their allocated time.
  • If teachers need to rearrange a candidate's examination time, they must contact the AMEB (NSW) office at least five business days before the examination date.
  • Teachers or studio hosts are NOT to make contact with examiners regarding timetables.

Criteria for Use of External Venues

External Venue owners/managers must:

  • complete the External Venue application each year and
  • meet the standards expressed in the criteria.
  • provide all documentation requested to support the application.

Exceptions to the External Venue Policy criteria may be considered if requested at the time of enrolment.

External Venue minimum standards

Examination room

Examination room must be:

  • Clean, tidy and comfortable
  • Well ventilated with suitable heating/cooling.
  • Well-lit
  • Free of disturbance from external sounds, such as students warming up in other rooms
  • No visible access from other rooms.

It must also have a performance space of adequate size for the syllabus being examined. For example, a piano studio must be at least 3 metres x 4 metres. Other instruments, voice and speech and drama examinations will require larger spaces.


Easy access for disabled persons should be provided at the venue for the use of:

  • Examiners
  • Candidates
  • Accompanists

Venues should also have access to:

  • Onsite parking or free untimed parking within walking distance
  • Public transport for metropolitan studios


  • A separate waiting area with seating for candidates and accompanying persons
  • Clean and accessible toilet
  • Hand-washing/drying facilities including disposable paper towels or a separate hand towel for the examiner
  • Tea/coffee facilities for the examiner
  • Lunch venues nearby


Venues must be able to offer a piano:

  • In good condition with an even and responsive touch
  • With a standard size keyboard
  • Tuned within one month prior to the examinations to C=522

Digital pianos may only be used for Level 1 piano examinations:

  • P Plate Piano
  • Preliminary
  • Grade 1-4

A firm, stable chair or piano stool, preferably adjustable, must also be provided.


A solid desk/table for the examiner to write on:

  • must be at a reasonable height and size (90cm x 60cm)
  • have a clear working surface (free of table cloth, vases etc)
  • card tables are not acceptable

A chair for the examiner:

  • must be a suitable height to the desk/table
  • preferably adjustable
  • garden chairs are not acceptable

If required:

  • A stable adjustable music stand for instrumental and Voice candidates
  • A suitable chair for the page turner
  • A suitable chair for instrumental music candidates or Speech & Drama candidates
  • A suitable sound system that has been tested and is in working order

Studio requirements

Furniture arranged appropriately for the instrument being examined:

  • Piano: examiner must have a clear view of the candidate’s hands and the keyboard
  • Other instruments and Voice: examiner must have a clear view of both the candidate and accompanist
  • Candidate: must have eye contact with the accompanist
  • Examiner: must have a clear view of the candidate.
  • Speech and Drama: examiner must have an unobstructed view of the candidate/s.

Health and safety

  • Emergency exits marked and clear of any obstacles or debris
  • Provision of a First Aid kit


Venue owners are responsible for ensuring they have current Public Liability Insurance policy. The policy must cover a business run from the home or studio, and must be for a minimum of $20 million.