Best of the AMEB manual list – level 1


It’s sad that so many teachers stick only to the AMEB grade books when there is so much great music out there, and quite a few gems are already listed in the syllabus under the “Manual List” for each grade.

The only problem is, unless you learned those pieces when you were a kid, it’s difficult to know what’s good without listening to them all on youtube!

Hence my post today… my aim today is to recommend some of the “manual list” pieces (i.e. pieces that students may present for an exam that aren’t currently in the published exam books) for each grade that I believe are excellent teaching pieces and that my students have enjoyed playing (the most important thing!).

Please take the time to watch these on youtube if you are unfamiliar with them – you may find some gems that really suit your teaching style!

Another great reference for pianists and teachers (although not related to exams) is Jane Magrath’s Piano Teaching and Performance Repertoire.

This is a summary of pretty much all the great piano pieces written in the Baroque, Classical and Romantic periods that would suit students up to about AMEB Grade 8 level.

The book is sorted by period and composer and has very detailed notes and recommendations, including approximate level of difficulty.

Anyway, back to my list!

Please note I haven’t listed all the details about each piece, rather I’ve just given enough information for you to find them on the syllabus (pls excuse any spelling mistakes – took a while to type!). Let me know your thoughts! Level 2 pieces to come…


Milne – Chase – LIST C

Norton – Struttin – LIST C (great fun – all my kids like it)


Burgmuller – La Candeur No 1, L’arabesque No 2 – LIST A

Duvernoy – Moderato No 3 – LIST A

Steibelt – Adagio – LIST B

Bartok – Toyshop Tune, The Lost Cat – LIST C (good for something different)

Norton – A Short Walk, Rag Time, Down South – LIST C

Shostakovich – March No 1 – LIST C


Anon/Bach – Minuet in G major, D minor, C minor, D major – LIST A (all these are worth studying)

Burgmuller – Innocence, Tendre Fleur, Inquietude – LIST A

Duvernoy – Study No 4 and no 15 – LIST A

Kabalevsky – A little fable – LIST A

Purcell arr Milne – Air in D minor – LIST A

Attwood – Sonatina – LIST B

Beethoven – movements from Sonatina in G Major – LIST B (I prefer the 1st movement, but both are similar)

Clementi – 3rd mvt from Sonatina in C Major – LIST B

Lichner – various – LIST B (worth looking into)

Bartok – Gypsy Dance – LIST C (this is my all-time Grade 2 favourite. Boys love it), also The Vagabond

Gillock – I like Gillock generally but haven’t investigated these yet. Worth looking into. LIST C

Kabalevsky – Night on the River – LIST C

Norton – Foot Tapper is a huge winner, Skipping Rope and Cheeky also good – LIST C


Bach – Praembulum and Preludes listed – LIST A

Bertini – Study in D major – LIST A

Duvernoy – Allegretto in A Minor – LIST A

Heller – Study in C major No 1 – LIST A

Beethoven – movements from Sonatina in F Major – LIST B

Kuhlau – movements from Sinatina in C Major – LIST B

Norton – all are great fun!! – LIST C


Bach – invention 1 and 4 – LIST A

Bach – any of the little preludes, but I particularly like E minor – LIST A

Burgmuller – L’hirondelle – LIST A

Heller – the etudes are great and the B Minor No 11 is only 1 page! – LIST A

Kabalevsky – Etude in A Minor – LIST A

Clementi – movements from Sonatina in G Major – LIST B

Kuhlau – Allegro 1st mvt from Sonatina in F major – LIST B

Mozart – listed movements from Sonatinas 1, 4 and 6 – LIST B

Bartok – Tanzlied – LIST C

Goedicke – Miniature – LIST C

Norton – any listed! Favourites are Rhapsody and Habanera (but they are tricky). Haiku and Wombling – LIST C

Shostakovich – Clockwork Doll – excellent as program music, fun for kids – LIST C


More resources

I found some more great articles about choices for AMEB exams at the pianopiano blog:

Grade 3 List B

Grade 4 List A

Grade 4 List B

Grade 4 List C