Preparing for Piano General Knowledge: Questions parents can ask their children.

Students need all the help they can get!

Parents are probably one of the best resources for assisting students to prepare for the general knowledge section of their practical examinations.

This section of the exam, also called “Musical Knowledge” (Trinity) or Viva Voce for some exam boards, is an important component of the practical examination, allowing students to show that they have a broader understanding of the context of their music. It also shows an understanding of the composers and their periods, the notation directions and that they can talk authoritatively about music.

I ask parents to quiz their children as much as possible in the month or two leading up to an examination. Even if they don’t know much about music, they can ask set questions to be sure their children can answer confidently under pressure.

I’ve compiled as list of questions that I forward to parents which you can access below.

Please note that these are just examples and they are designed for AMEB, ANZCA and Trinity exams at the lower grades (diploma-level candidates need to go into far more detail than suggested by these questions).

If you’re looking for a Diploma-level General knowledge teacher, please contact me and I’ll put you in touch with some of my colleagues who are specialists in this area.

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Tim Topham

Lead blogger and coffee snob
Best-known for his blogging and teaching, Tim is also a well-respected presenter, performer and accompanist based in Melbourne, Australia. You can check him out on Google+, Facebook and Twitter.
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  • Rebecca Stewart,

    I agree – parents can help the children prepare to explain what they know out loud. It is very different than being asked by your teacher – often teachers jump in and finish the child’s sentence, or ask them with a one-word answer in mind (which, as you said, is a NO NO.)
    Some other ideas for parents helping their kids prepare are here: