New Percussion Syllabus FAQs

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Q. How do I purchase the new 2014 Percussion syllabus?
A. The new Percussion syllabus is included in the current AMEB Manual of Syllabuses available to purchase from AMEB Victoria Office. It can also be purchased as a single syllabus in digital format, also available to purchase from AMEB Victoria.


Q. Which grades does the syllabus cover?
A. The new syllabus covers Levels 1-3 and features two new examinations, Preliminary at the beginning of the syllabus and Certificate of Performance as the culmination of Level 2:
Level 1 – Preliminary to Grade 4
Level 2 – Grade 5 to Certificate of Performance
Level 3 – Associate and Licentiate Diplomas.


Q. What’s new about the 2014 Percussion syllabus?
A. The 2014 Percussion syllabus represents a complete revision on the old syllabus:

  • The technical work is completely new and features custom-composed studies at each grade to streamline the learning and examination of technical work, and provide a musical context that will help to make the study of technical work more enjoyable for students and teachers.
  • All repertoire required for a Level 1 exam can be found in the Grade book for that grade; there are no Manual Lists in Level 1.
  • The Level 1 repertoire contained in the Grade books has been selected from a wide variety of existing publications as well as newly composed works by Australian composers, and is closely linked to the technical work at each grade. All Level 1 selections have been made with careful consideration of the logistics of examining Percussion.
  • The Level 2 and Level 3 Manual Lists are printed in the Manual of Syllabuses and feature hundreds of works from the best Percussion resources worldwide; clearly linking to the technical work at each grade where applicable. All Level 2 and Level 3 selections have also been made with careful consideration of the logistics of examining Percussion.

Q. What publications has AMEB produced to support the syllabus? A. AMEB has released a range of Percussion publications to support the new syllabus, including:

  • Grade books for Preliminary to Grade 4, containing all examinable repertoire for the first five grades of the 2014 Percussion syllabus.
  • Percussion Technical Work Level 1 (2013), containing all the technical work requirements from Preliminary to Grade 4.
  • Percussion Technical Work Level 2 (2013), containing all the technical work requirements from Grade 5 to Grade 8.
  • Percussion Sight-reading (2013), containing over 120 graded examples of sight-reading similar to that which may be encountered in an AMEB examination.

Q. How do I obtain repertoire for the new syllabus?
A. The entire repertoire for Level 1 is contained within the AMEB Percussion Series 1 Grade books, available from print music retailers, the AMEB Victoria Office, or AMEB’s Online Shop. The entire repertoire for Level 2 and Level 3 is listed in the AMEB Percussion syllabus; all repertoire is currently in print and available through print music retailers.


Q. Where do I find technical work for the new syllabus?
A. All technical work for the 2014 Percussion syllabus is contained in: Percussion Technical Work Level 1 (2013) and Percussion Technical Work Level 2 (2013). These books present the required technical work rudiments, studies, scales and arpeggios in a logical and straightforward manner.


Q. What other resources are available to students and teachers preparing for an AMEB exam using the 2014 Percussion syllabus?
A. As part of the Percussion publications range, AMEB has also released Percussion Sight-reading (2013). It contains over 120 graded examples of technical work, providing an invaluable resource for candidates and teachers preparing for the sight-reading component of AMEB examinations. One further resource may be of interest to those preparing for AMEB Percussion examinations: Aural Tests (2002). This volume includes a series of graded tests and recordings at each grade level to assist candidates preparing for Aural tests as part of an AMEB exam. The tests include exam instructions, task descriptions, recordings and helpful hints.


Q. What instruments do you need in order to prepare for an AMEB Percussion exam?
A. In the early grades, only minimal instrumental resources are required. All of the tuned percussion technical work and repertoire can be performed on any keyboard percussion instrument with sufficient range. All of the timpani technical work can be completed on a pair of low toms, and the un-tuned requirements can be covered with a snare and hand drum, with some pieces also involving a low tom and kick drum. From Grade 5 onwards, technical work and repertoire must be performed on the instrument stipulated by the composer. Where no instrument is stipulated, candidates must use an instrument with sufficient range that sounds appropriate for the work.


Q. Will I require an accompanist for AMEB Percussion exams?
A. In Level 1, all technical work studies are accompanied, while the repertoire features a mixture of accompanied and unaccompanied works. In Level 2, all technical work studies are unaccompanied and the repertoire features a mixture of accompanied and unaccompanied works. Certificate of Performance, Associate and Licentiate exams have no separately examined technical work component, and the repertoire features a mixture of accompanied and unaccompanied works. Recognising that access to an accompanist to prepare for an exam can be problematic for some students, AMEB Percussion accompaniments will be available for purchase in 2015. For more information, click here.


Q. How do I enrol for an AMEB Percussion exam?
A. On this page you will find information about how to enrol for Percussion exams, and on these pages you will find the centre codes, subject numbers and exam fees needed to complete the enrolment form.


Q. When do Percussion exams take place in Victoria?
A. Percussion exams, all conducted by a specialist examiner, will be offered in the July and November Special Subject sessions. Refer to the Exam session and Enrolment Dates page for more information. Alternatively, schools and private studios with 3 or more hours of examining time in Percussion can apply to be an examination centre, which may involve combining with another school or studio. This arrangement can be made outside the published session dates, subject to the availability of a specialist examiner.


Q. Who will examine Percussion students?
A. AMEB Percussion exams are conducted by specialist percussion examiners.


Q. How long will the “old” syllabus remain relevant and be examined?
A. The “old” Percussion syllabus (last published in the 2013 Manual of Syllabuses) will be withdrawn from examination at the end of 2015. From 2016, only the “new” Percussion syllabus will be available for examination.