Making the most of the AMEB Manual List | The Piano Teacher Magazine

Making the most of the AMEB Manual List | The Piano Teacher Magazine

ameb manual listHow should I use the Manual List?

While the Australian Music Examinations Board  (AMEB) releases music books for each grade level whenever they update their exam syllabuses, there is a wealth of other great pieces listed permanently in the syllabus under the “Manual List”.

Remember that the exam books for each grade only feature around three pieces for each list, with the manual list containing scores of other great options. While it’s easy to get into the habit of just buying the current exam book for a student, exploring the manual list can be a really rewarding experience.

Which pieces are the best?

Sure, you’ll need to set aside some time to find out what’s available, but this is all great professional development. Teaching new music will keep you and your students more inspired and motivated than just doing the same thing year after year.

There are, of course, two problems with using pieces from the Manual List:

  • Knowing which pieces are the best to use
  • Knowing which books to find the pieces in

For parents, the second problem is often the most relevant: they want to buy as few books as possible and get the most mileage out of them! It’s great therefore knowing which books have pieces that span a number of grades so students can use them in future years. Similarly, you want books that include more than one piece so parents get ‘bang for their buck’.

What are the best books for manual list pieces?

While I’ve previously given my own suggestions about the best manual list suggestions in my posts Best of the AMEB Manual List – Level 1 and Best of the AMEB Manual List Level 2, (see comments for other readers’ suggestions), I’ve got a link to another great resource for Australian teachers using the AMEB exam system.

A couple of issues back, The Piano Teacher Magazine, produced by Hal Leonard Australia, featured a double-page spread of books which feature works from the “Manual List” of AMEB exams. Each title shows which grades of manual list pieces are found inside. Many have multiple grades spanning a wide range of exams.

This is a great resource for teachers looking for the most cost-effective way to start using non-list pieces. 

Check out the PDF here:

Manual list suggestions – Piano Teacher Mag

What are your favourite pieces from the AMEB manual list? Here are a few of mine:

  • Grade 2: Bartok – Gypsy Dance – LIST C (this is my all-time Grade 2 favourite. Boys love it)
  • Gade 4: Heller – the etudes are great and the B Minor No 11 is only 1 page! – LIST A
  • Grade 4: Shostakovich – Clockwork Doll – excellent as program music, fun for kids – LIST C
  • Grade 6: Norton – Preludes II and V – LIST D
  • Grade 7 – Beethoven – C Minor Sonata 3rd mvt – LIST B

Tim Topham

Tim Topham is the founder and director of TopMusic. Tim hosts the popular Integrated Music Teaching Podcast, blogs regularly at and speaks at local and international conferences on topics such as integrated teaching, creativity, business, marketing and entrepreneurship. Tim has been featured in American Music Teacher, The Piano Teacher Magazine, California Music Teacher and EPTA Piano Professional. Tim holds an MBA in Educational Leadership, BMus, DipEd and AMusA.

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