Australian Music Examinations Board
Australian Music Examinations Board

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Syllabus in focus: New Musical theatre syllabus (2016)

musical theatre

At the end of 2015, the AMEB will launch an entirely new Musical theatre syllabus along with a series of supporting publications, including Grade books from Preliminary through to Grade 4; the Technical work book covering Preliminary through to Grade 8; and a set of recorded accompaniments for Preliminary to Grade 3. This is the AMEB’s first dedicated Musical theatre syllabus and we hope that it proves a useful resource for teachers and students at all levels.

 

We have engaged a committee of musical theatre experts from around the country to help guide the syllabus writing process, including teachers at primary, secondary and tertiary levels; performers; and academics. The AMEB must record particular thanks to Syllabus Consultant George Torbay, who continues to lend his considerable expertise, thoughtfulness and eye for detail as the syllabus and publications continue their development.

george torbay 

This project is being undertaken in response to public demand from students and teachers whose particular passion is musical theatre. The syllabus will present a broad range of musical theatre repertoire and a programme of dedicated technical work, focusing on developing a range of appropriate vocal techniques while building general musical, performance and presentation skills. We envisage that AMEB Musical theatre will serve a range of students and teachers, including those wishing to perform in amateur and school musicals, compete in eisteddfods, attend youth music academies and those preparing to be professional performers.

 

The repertoire selections for the 2016 syllabus and Grade books are all real musical theatre songs from real shows! From the very earliest levels, students will enjoy learning the songs they hear in the theatre, on soundtracks and in movies. This represents quite a contrast with most traditional ‘classical’ syllabuses, in which most of the beginner repertoire is written for educational purposes – students don’t usually get to perform ‘real’ music until they have been learning for a number of years. There is also a great breadth of repertoire proposed for the syllabus Manual Lists and AMEB Grade books. Students and teachers will have the opportunity to explore lesser-known gems as well as the old favourites.

 

The technical work component of the syllabus has been constructed to provide a focused, streamlined programme in which the acquisition of technical skills is intimately linked to the repertoire selections available in each grade. Custom-composed vocalises in typical musical theatre styles allow students to demonstrate a variety of technical skills in a musically satisfying and efficient way, while short dedicated exercises further encourage the accrual of a variety of vocal techniques, with an emphasis on vocal safety and an appropriate rate of development.

 

The AMEB Musical theatre syllabus has a strong focus on musical and vocal development, however candidates will be required to demonstrate aspects of characterisation and a knowledge of the dramatic context of the songs they perform, in line with a set of criteria developed for each grade. There will be no specific dance or drama requirements as such.

 

As with most AMEB syllabuses, Musical theatre will be divided into three Levels: Level 1 includes Preliminary and Grades 1 to Grade 4; Level 2 comprises Grade 5 to Grade 8 and is capped by the Certificate of Performance; and Level 3 includes the Associate and Licentiate Diplomas. The syllabus will therefore cater for teachers and students at all stages of development.


Stay tuned for more information! Follow us on Facebook (AMEBexams) and Twitter (@AMEBexams)

 

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