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Lately I’ve been helping several students prepare for Australian Music Examinations Board (AMEB) piano exams. Often they are encouraged by parents with goals to get them into good secondary schools.

It’s not an easy endeavour and often causes stress in the leadup to the exams. Students need to spend many months practicing scales, sight-reading, aural and theory and more.

It’s important to look at the big picture though - preparing for exams are just one part of learning piano.

According to University of Melbourne, ‘AMEB examinations are not a prerequisite for entry to the Bachelor of Music’. What Melbourne Uni wants is students who understand and can perform pieces from different eras and genres.

Melbourne Conservatorium of Music Building

One of my students who finished AMEB grade 8 exam wants to apply for the Melbourne Uni music degree, but has less confidence having spent all her focus on the exam, and little learning other pieces from composers.

So i encourage students to not only focus just on the grind of the exam preparation, but try to make time to explore and learn different styles of music.

Not only is it useful for the future it’s also something that can help reduce the stress. After all, piano is something to be enjoyed!

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