Tag Archives: exam

Miss 11’s AMEB Cello Exam

Oooo..  AMEB Exams.

What a lot of muso kids dread.

Whilst we were helping Miss 11 practise (read…  forcing Miss 11 to practise), she asked, “Why do I have to do the exam?”

Wifey and I looked at each other, wondering how best to answer.

Yes, why?   “It’s a good goal to work towards so you can keep on improving.”

Not a very convincing answer for Miss 11.

It’s just a lot of work for no apparent reason.  AMEB Grade 4 cello is quite hard!  Lots of scales, some 3 octave ones that go into thumb position.  The pieces themselves are hard with double stops and shifts.

This is definitely a step up.

And poor Miss 11 was feeling it.  She’s reached that stage where, yes, she does have some “natural” talent, but she has to work hard too.  And working hard is often just repetition.  Practising the scales right, and repeating them even when you get them right.  It’s only that way that your brain will remember and form the neural connections to repeat it correctly the next time.    Part of that whole 10,000 hours to become an expert thing.

In the final week before the exam, we got her to practise everyday and she even had extra lessons.

And then suddenly it was the day of the exam.   I met up with Wifey and Miss 11 at the AMEB office.


A bit of a warm up, and then she was in.   For what seemed like quite a long time too!   Afterwards she seemed relieved in her non-emotional way, and then we went to a cafe for afternoon tea.

But the good news came yesterday – her teacher had the results and she got an A+!    Wifey and I were elated!  Definitely a great reward that shows that hard work does pay off in the end and I hope Miss 11 learns from this experience.   As for Miss 11..  she didn’t seem terribly fussed about the whole thing.  Maybe it’ll sink in later?

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First AMEB cello exam

It’s all happening for our Miss 10.  A couple of weekends ago she had her first WAYMA audition.  Today is her first AMEB cello exam.

It’s really quite hard!  She’s struggled to get her head around the different scales, harmonic and melodic minors as well as get all the exercises and pieces up to exam standard.   Her hands and fingers are still relatively tiny so shifting and extensions are even harder on the cello.   And there’s so much exam work that to get through that it takes over an hour to get through it in a practice session!

But the hardest thing I’ve noticed is trying to get her to not stop playing when she makes mistakes.  When she makes a mistake, Miss 10 will repeat the couple of notes again.  In an exam or performance situation, you just have to keep on going.  Sounds easy, but it’s something that has to be learnt and to get used to.

I know she can’t wait until it’s over so she can have a small break from cello.  Unfortunately, she’ll be diving straight into a school production performance, then her dance school concerts next weekend.

Wish her good luck!

Painting dance shoes

Each year the kids take part in some dancing exams for jazz and tap.  As usual, we’re slack parents and we suddenly realised that the exam is this Monday.   And…  the dance costume and shoes aren’t done yet!

I’m not sure how it happened, but a few years ago, I became the allocated shoe painter.

So, while the kids were watching their movie on Friday’s movie night, I started the ritual again…  anticipating the smell of newspaper, the blackness of my hands when I’m done, the smell of the paint, the joy of finding a corner of newspaper I can hold to turn the shoe upside down…

Painting dance shoes
Painting dance shoes