The AMEB (Australian Music Examinations Board) has just signed a historic agreement to export the AMEB Syllabus and examinations to Vietnam.

Bernard Depasquale, the CEO of AMEB, and Mike Tyler, the Chair of the AMEB Board of Directors, were both in Hanoi this week for the Memorandum of Understanding with the prestigious Vietnam National Academy of Music (VNAM) which took place on Monday.

Left to right: Dr Le An Tuan, HE Craig Chittick, Mike Tyler, Chair of the AMEB Board of Directors, Dr Tanya Nguyen, AMEB Ambassador to Vietnam, Bernard Depasquale, CEO AMEB and conservatorium staff at the signing of the Memorandum in Hanoi. Photograph supplied

“This is the most exciting international partnership in the history of The Australian Music Examination Board (AMEB). As an iconic Australian organisation, we are proud to begin this association with The Vietnam National Academy of Music which represents the highest level of music education in Vietnam,” said Tyler.

The AMEB is one of the most distinguished and recognised music examination boards in the world. This significant export move is in response to continuing discussions with the VNAM, following AMEB recognising the need for consistent and high-quality music education across Vietnam.

Speaking to Limelight from Hanoi, Depasquale said: “The partnership with the VNAM is vital because it sets up AMEB as a serious player in the market in Vietnam. We have to counter the fact that our competitors, particularly ABRSM [The Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music] and Trinity [College London] have been in the market in Vietnam for nearly 10 years. The relationship with VNAM lifts AMEB to a higher level in the minds of Vietnamese people.”

Depasquale said that the partnership came about through an approach from Tanya Nguyen – an experienced AMEB teacher who comes from Vietnam originally but now runs a large studio in Sydney. “We first met about two years ago and made our first visit to Vietnam 15 months ago,” he said.

As part of the partnership, AMEB has committed to over 500 examinations for 2019, and a number of Australian teachers and examiners will travel to Vietnam to train local teachers in the AMEB model and syllabus. “Initially numbers [of teachers] will be small– it may be one or two for a few weeks but, as our numbers develop this will grow,” said Depasquale.

The examiners will then become part of the international panel of AMEB examiners. Dr Dao Trong Tuyen (Head of Piano Department) and Associate Professor, Dr Nguyen Huy Phuong (Deputy Head of Piano Department), will take the lead in teaching the AMEB syllabus at the Vietnam National Academy of Music and oversee the significant move to allow their students to play some repertoire from AMEB publications in their formal exams. 2020 will also see the launch of a Music Centre in the Vietnam National Academy of Music that will teach piano using AMEB syllabuses and examinations.

“AMEB will be gradually incorporated into the curriculum of VNAM, particularly for their school age students. This will provide them with a much more current curriculum and pedagogy than the one currently delivered which comes from Russia in the 1950s,” said Depasquale.

The AMEB has also signed agreements with the Ho Chi Minh Conservatorium and a number of private music centres in Vietnam.