The next session for AMEB practical exams is from April to June next year. The closing date for entries will be in Week 2 of the first term next year. Our "rule of thumb" for entries is for students to know all their technical work by the closing date. That way we have plenty of time to work on repertoire in the last term without the stress of having to nag about "new" scales as well. So, if you'd like to enter this session, now is the time to be working hard on the technical work! We have several "improve your scales" books and resources available so please let your teacher know if you'd like some additional material.
At Windworks we encourage our students to do their general knowlegde for their pieces as they learn them, rather than having a mad cram the week before the exam! For lower grades you need to know all terms, signs, note values, meanings of titles and the translations of any foreign words. You can find this info in music dictionaries (let us know if you'd like to borrow one!) or by googling the terms. You also need to make sure you are clear on the time signatures and keys of your pieces. In addition to this , for higher grades, composer's nationality, eras (dates of the musical period to which the piece belongs) and characteristics of the eras, form (musical structure) and modulations (changes of key within the pieces) also needs to be known. If you work on the general knowledge as you are learning a piece, it will help you to play stylistically and broaden your musical knowledge. It's a good idea to photocopy whatever piece you're working on and make notes on the photocopy. (Any pencil markings on the original need to be erased prior to the exams otherwise the examiner will be unable to asses the general knowledge component and this will bring your mark down.) We encourage our students to research their own pieces as this learning process is more beneficial in the long term than having your teacher just write out all the answers for you. Of course, please ask us for help if you're stuck!
Aural and sight-reading need to be practiced regularly. We have a strong aural focus in our group music craft lessons (Fridays at 5pm) so please consider attending these if you'd like help with this area. For sight-reading, regular ensemble work is the best way to improve. We have a huge library of duets, so we are encouraging our teachers to sight-read duets with students regularly throughout the year. You also might like to consider joining one of our flute ensembles. Flute choir for students who are approximately AMEB grade 4+ rehearses fortightly on Fridays at 5:45pm. We would also like to start a junior flute ensemble this term, so if you are an interested beginner (preliminary to approximately Gr 3), please let us know, and we'll let you know when we can arrange some sessions for you.
We'd also like to encourage you to have plenty of rehearsals with our accompanists. It's important for you to learn how the flute and piano parts fit together, and how crucial good rhythm is to good ensemble performance! Don't wait until the last minute to arrange an accompanist for your exams or performances....they are very busy people!! Many of our flute pieces are found on Youtube, and we also have a large collection of flute CD's which you're welcome to borrow, so please listen to as many recordings as you can. For more advanced players we also recommend purchasing a subscription to an online accompaniment program (www.smartmusic.com) so you can work at home with the accompaniment played on the computer, and record yourself each time you practice. This also helps with intonation, rhythm, articulation and tempo....great benefits at a very low cost!
Exams are a great way to set a goal, structure your learning and to keep you motivated throughout the year. Please do keep in perspective that the most important part is the work you do in the lead up, and a great mark on the day is a bonus!