This afternoon I was putting together lesson plans for my students and started to think about how much we need to cover in a flute lesson - lots! Most of my students don't do music at school and only have the basic music theory that I teach them as part of their lesson. This means there are often gaps in their learning which only become apparent when we start preparing General Knowledge and Aural for their AMEB exams.
I turned to Facebook to find out more about AMEB written exams and other alternatives for teaching the basics. This is what I learnt about exams.
1. AMEB offers three different courses - Theory, Musicianship and Music Craft. Most people find Musicianship to be the best course overall.
2. The AMEB offers their lower level Theory, Musicianship and Music Craft as online exams. This online examination centre gives the flexibility to complete examinations anywhere at a time that best suits you. Students can also participate in online tutorials and practice examinations to prepare for the real thing. https://www.amebexams.edu.au
3. You can do some of the lower grade Theory as an online course. I tried a sample. It's a bit dry but it does teach the basics like intervals and scales.
4. Many people recommended the Blitz Books to prepare for the exams or just work through to increase knowledge. Students are generally able to use these books fairly independently. http://www.blitzbooks.com.au
There was also a lot of discussion about finding the time to teach the material. Most people agreed it was difficult to fit it into a regular lesson. Here are some alternative suggestions that would also work well for Aural and General Knowledge preparation before practical exams.
1. Organise groups lessons for students at a similar level. This could work as a regular class (maybe not every week) or in preparation for an exam.
2. An extra lesson in the holidays.
3. If you aren't so interested in teaching this material then perhaps there is a music teacher in your area who is? Maybe even an advanced student?
4. For bright students cramming several grades over a month or so can work...
5. Setting students one page a week of Blitz Books can work if you're organised.
Not sure what approach I'm going to take but definitely food for thought!