AMEB Singing Exams: Singing vs Singing for Leisure vs Musical Theatre
Are you or your child taking singing lessons?
Then you’ve probably heard of the Australian Music Examinations Board, or AMEB.
The AMEB runs exams for all the instruments we teach at Aeolian Music Academy, including exams for singers. Over the years, the organisation has developed a number of syllabuses, which means that any singing student can now choose between three main singing exam options: Singing, Singing for Leisure, or Musical Theatre.
Of course, more choice may be a great thing, but it does raise the question: which should you choose?
While you should always consult with your singing tutor when making decisions about
exams, we’ve put this blog post together to help you get informed about your AMEB singing
The Differences: An Overview
AMEB Singing is the traditional singing syllabus. With a classical and technical focus, it’s been run by the AMEB for many years. Although it’s regularly updated in order to keep it fresh, it is strictly classical repertoire.
AMEB Singing for Leisure is a newer syllabus. It focuses on a broader range of music than the traditional Singing syllabus. As such, it includes many popular music pieces, though it also incorporates classical options for each grade.
AMEB Musical Theatre is the newest singing syllabus. In fact, it only launched in 2016. This syllabus features songs from popular and lesser-known musical theatre productions, with a large range of repertoire for each grade.
The Breakdown: Grade 5 Example
In order to properly compare each syllabus, it’s useful to look at them side-by-side.
Here’s how the grade 5 singing syllabuses compare:
||Singing for Leisure
||4 songs, each from a different list, and 2 extra list pieces
||3 songs from the grade book, or 2 songs from the grade book and one own choice song
||3 songs, each from a different list, and 2 extra list pieces
|Flexibility and Choice
||Large range of classical pieces to choose from
||Large range of popular, musical theatre, and classical pieces to choose from; added flexibility with own choice piece
||Large range of musical theatre songs to choose from
|Sight-Reading and Aural
||8 bars sight-reading in 6/8 timing; aural tests as per the
Manual of Syllabuses
||Choice between sight reading and aural tests (only have to do one)
||Up to 8 bars sight-reading in 6/8 timing; aural tests as per the Manual of Syllabuses
||High general knowledge required
||High general knowledge required
||High general knowledge required, including knowledge of the original dramatic context of the song (e.g. musical name, character name, etc.)
||Preliminary to Grade 8, Certificate of
Performance, AMUSA, LMUSA
||Preliminary to Grade 8, Certificate of Performance
||Preliminary to Grade 8, Certificate of Performance, AMUSA, LMUSA
||Classical, popular, and musical theatre
Making the Choice
Any choice you make between the AMEB singing exams should be done in consultation with your singing tutor. They know you and have been working with you, so they can help you choose the right exam for your goals and interests.
As a general rule, if you have a preferred musical genre, you should probably choose the exam to match. For example, if you love popular music, you’ll probably want to choose Singing for Leisure. The main exception to this would be if you wish to study AMUSA or LMUSA, as the Singing for Leisure syllabus does not go that far.
Training obviously also plays a role – if you’re classically trained, AMEB Singing makes the most sense. However, chances are you’re learning to sing in the style or genre that most appeals to you, so picking a relevant exam shouldn’t be too hard. And if you want to branch out, Singing for Leisure is perfect, as you can sing both the style you’ve trained in, and the style/s you’re learning.
AMEB’s singing exams are a great way to measure your progress as a singer. They’re also
recognised by Australian universities, and they can contribute to your OP and/or ATAR. Best of all, with three main singing syllabuses, you can pick the exams that best suit your interests and goals.
So, which will you pick? Let us know in the comments below.
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