News‎ > ‎

Ban Pre-recorded Accompaniments for Exams

posted Feb 25, 2015, 5:40 PM by Nicholas Trevatt   [ updated Feb 25, 2015, 5:41 PM ]
AMEB have made the decision to allow pre-recorded accompaniments instead of a real live pianist during grade examinations.  We believe this is a terrible decision which will only dilute a students musical education and experience.  

As professional accompanists who regularly accompany candidates for exams we know how important it is for a performer to have a professional pianist to support them in their exam.  The ability to "follow" the student when things don't go to plan and immediately adjust is just one of the important reasons to use a good accompanist.  When a student skips a bar, repeats a line, slips, slows down or hesitates then we adjust to match them!  Just imagine what examinations will be like when a nervous student has a slight problem, a pause perhaps, and is now out of sync with the CD.  The whole performance is likely to be a disaster!  How will an examiner judge this?  When a candidate plays very well but completely out of sync with the CD music.  I pity examiners who must endure this kind of exam.  

Playing with pre-recorded music also removes the ability for a student and teacher to choose their own tempo and interpretation of the music.  Talk about robot students!!!  Of course those teachers who want to interpret the music themselves can always use a real accompanist but I can see many arguments to be had with parents who don't see the value in that proposition and just want to get through the exams as cheaply as possible to get their extra QCE credit points.

This also introduces technology into the equation which can be great when working but a real pain point when it doesn't .  What happens when a student forgets their accompaniment CD or CD player?  What will they they do when 'murphy's law' hits and the CD starts to skip and jitter or worse, just doesn't work!  

Please tell me that this decision and mindset has been passed down from a heavy-handed AMEB corporate who is only interested in commercialism and profit.  I thought our industry had a higher calling than money.  I certainly didn't choose classical music and music education for the dollars!

To support the cause to ban pre-recorded accompaniment please like the official facebook page.