VMEB Music Exam Overview
Music Exam of Vienna Music Examination Board (“Wiener Musik-Prüfungskommission”) is a "performance-focused" music examination. All exams contain no scales, aural, sight reading or other supporting tests. Marks and comments for the examination are heavily based on candidates’ overall performance skill.
There are a total of twelve levels, including one Elementary Grade, eight Secondary Levels (Grade 1 to Grade 8), and three Upper Levels (TMPZ, CPPZ and SSPZ). There are no prerequisites for all the exams. Candidates may enter any grade without having previously taken any other exams.
The music that candidates play in the examination may be drawn from the VMEB Music Exam Syllabus or from syllabus of other music examination boards. No programme approval is needed. However, the programme must demonstrate a comparable level of technical and musical demand to the correspondence grade in the syllabus of Vienna Music Examination Board.
For exams taken at Vienna, it will be supervised and examined by the Board's Certified Examiners directly.
For exams taken at exam centres in overseas, examination will be supervised by the Board’s Exam Supervisor. The whole examination will be recorded by video and the exam centre will then submit a DVD consists of a well-polished performance video of repertoires of correspondence grade together with other required documents to the Board for examiners’ evaluation. Marks and comments on the overall performance will be given by the Board’s examiner, not by the Exam Supervisor during the examination.
Certificate will be issued to candidates who have successfully passed the examination.
VMEB Music Exam is available for the following instruments:-
Examiners will evaluate candidates’ performance based on the following criteria:-
Elementary: Candidates should demonstrate instrument practical skill with at least 1 year of learning.
Grade 1: Candidates should demonstrate instrument practical skill with at least 2 yeas of learning.
Grade 2 to 4: Candidates should demonstrate instrument practical skill with at least 5 years of learning. Difficulties increase according to grade level.
Grade 5 to 8: Candidates should demonstrate instrument practical skill with at least 9 years of learning. Difficulties increase according to grade level.
Performance (TMPZ): Equivalent to a first year student in a full-time music bachelor degree course.
Performance (CPPZ): Equivalent to a final year student in a full-time music bachelor degree course.
Performance (SSPZ): Equivalent to a final year student in a full-time music mater degree course.
Note accuracy, intonation, tone quality, tone control, blend, vibrato.
Rhythmic accuracy, steadiness of tempo.
Choice of tempo, change of tempo, dynamic contrast, expression, phrase shaping, creation of motion in melodic line, mood contrast, vitality, artistry, appropriate style and consistency.
Fluency, appropriate and consistent articulation, bowing control, breathing, finger dexterity, physical balance, ease of movement, use of pedals.
Dynamic balance, ensembleship (rhythmically with piano), tuning.
Stage presence, appearance, posture, general musicianship, technical balance of the programme, compliance to Exam Regulations/Rule.
A Statement of Results will be issued by the Board within 60 days after examination. Depending on examiners' preference, the Statement of Results may be written in German or English.
Certificates will only be issued to candidates who have passed the examination (i.e., “Sufficient” (genügend) or better results).
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: Since all levels of VMEB exam contain no scales, aural, sight reading or other supporting tests, does it mean that those training are not important?
Answer: NOT AT ALL. Those are the most important fundamental training in learning musical instruments. However, the Board has considered that those tests might not be significantly revealing the ability of the student, and the level should not be measured progressively in grades. Take Sight-Reading ability for example, Fritz Kreisler, an Austrian-born violinist and composer. One of the most famous violin masters of his or any other days. He denied the position at the Vienna Court Opera Orchestra (allegedly owing to poor sight reading skills), eventually made his solo debut with the Berlin Philharmonic in 1899, and yet we still listen to his records and play his compositions nowadays; Scales trains the speed, control, precision, agility, independence, coordination, dexterity, and strength of all of the fingers, which could already be revealed in running passages within the pieces the candidates play; Without aural ability, there will be no ensembleship with the piano accompaniment.
Candidates are expected to perform with a relatively higher quality in VMEB examination than attending conventional examination of other boards.
Q2: Why does VMEB accept syllabus of other music examination boards?
Answer: There is a significant importance of cultural context in music education and the cultural implications on music education. It is impossible to find two pedagogists of different cultural background with no significant pedagogical preferences. For the convenience of international candidates and tutors, the Board has made a few modifications to its original structure. Candidates and tutors could finally select their pieces in a flexible way, allowing them to play to their own strengths, pursue their own interests and show their enjoyment of music-making and learning. Motivation is a key element of music education.
Q3: I am an international candidate living overseas, can I take the music exam in Vienna?
Answer: Yes. Candidates can choose to take the music exam at the Board’s exam centre in Vienna or overseas by registering for the exam using the Exam Registration Form applicable for the region/country. Candidates should arrange directly with exam centre to reserve their preference date and time of the examination.
Q4: How does VMEB exam result more objectively revealing the ability of candidates?
Answer: Assessment and marking of candidates’ exam will only be evaluated by the Board’s examiners (who are normally professors in reputable conservatories or universities in Vienna or professional musicians playing that specific instrument). All candidates are expected to receive constructive comments and more objective results.
Q5: Would the quality of the video recording device affect my exam result? Can I trust the video quality of the exam centre?
Answer: To minimize the video and audio quality differences and to maintain a fair environment for all candidates, all exam centres received a clear guide on how to make a qualified Exam Video. Lists of specification requirement are to be followed strictly.
If you are still in doubt, you may choose to take the music exam at the Board’s exam centres in Vienna. All music exams taken at exam centres in Vienna will be supervised by the Board’s examiner directly (who will also give marks and evaluation on your exam) and no exam video recording will be made.
Q6: Can I specify a date for my exam?
Answer: Candidate must take the exam before the exam due date specified in the Exam Notification Letter (the exam due date is usually 6 months from the issuance date of the Exam Notification Letter). Candidates should arrange directly with exam centre to reserve their preference date and time of the examination.
Q7: Can I use the expired syllabus of other music examination boards for my exam?
Answer: Yes. VMEB exam accepts pieces listed in both valid and expired syllabus of equivalent grade of other music examination boards.