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AMEB Theory subjects

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AMEB Theory subjects

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AMEB offers a number of theory subjects for students to undertake.

Students should consult their teacher or the AMEB Manual of Syllabus for further details if they are unsure which subject is the right one for them.

From 2020, all theory exams are taken online. Theory of Music exams can also be taken as a face to face exam:

  • for the last time in 2022
  • for grades 1 to 6
  • for groups of a minimum size of 10 across all grades, eg enrolled by schools, teachers or studios, under strictly controlled conditions
  • at an approved venue provided by the enroller, on the date specified on the current Exam Dates page.

Practical music exams for the higher grades of both the Comprehensive and Repertoire format require a theory subject to be undertaken to complete the exam and release the exam certificate.  Similarly, diploma theory exams require a certain level of practical exam to be completed.

Theory of Music

(online and face to face)

This syllabus offers a traditional approach to music theory and students sit for one written exam. There is no aural component. Content includes:

  • keys and scales
  • intervals
  • chords
  • time and rhythm
  • transposition
  • terms and signs
  • rhythmic invention

As the grades progress, creative aspects are introduced, such as harmonisation, melody writing and general knowledge questions.


(online only)

The Musicianship syllabus has similar content to the Theory of Music syllabus up to Grade 3. From Grade 4, Musicianship introduces an aural component.

The short aural section of the exam expects students to recognise:

  • scale forms
  • intervals
  • triad positions
  • motion
  • cadences

Music Craft

(online only)

Music Craft is the most recently introduced written music syllabus. It covers the theoretical and aural aspects of music in different ways from Theory of Music and Musicianship. Exams have a written and an aural component at every grade level. This syllabus most closely aligns with current music teaching at the HSC and tertiary levels.

Teacher guides are available from AMEB Connect that cover all areas of this syllabus in detail and include examples. Student workbooks for each grade are also available as a study aid, divided into 40 short lessons per grade. These workbooks include CDs that cover all the aural material.

Speech & Performance Theory (part of the Speech & Drama syllabus)

(online only)

Speech and Performance Theory students learn how to master communicating in the English language. Speech and Performance Theory is a requirement for students of all Speech and Drama syllabuses. Students focus on the theory and analyse the functional framework of English communication.

Students explore linguistic tools, vocal modulation, the use of phonetic tools and the study of theatre and communication theory.