Which AMEB Course Is Right For You?

We offer many things here at UGA, one of which is the AMEB course. But is this the right course for you?

The Australian Music Examination Board (AMEB) has music exams for a wide range of instruments. There are two options for guitar; Contemporary Popular Music (CPM) and Classical.


Anyone wanting to learn contemporary guitar should choose this course. Contemporary simply means modern, so you will be learning modern music from the last 40 years or so. Contemporary guitar can use a flat pick (that’s just a regular pick), thumb pick and also fingers to pick.


Classical guitar is a style of guitar playing where you fingerpick classical pieces, such as Fur Elise, Moonlight Sonata and countless other great pieces. It uses fingerpicking, though not all fingerpicking is classical. A great example of this is taking a modern song and arranging it for fingerstlye guitar. This is what Tommy Emmanuel often does, and can be done with basically any song. I actually taught a finger style arrangement of OneRepublic’s “Apologise” two days ago. The AMEB Classical course sticks strictly to classical music.

The Verdict

In my experience, both of these courses are best suited to serious guitarists, or at very least those who don’t mind spending a lot of time working on scales and songs that they don’t know. Both courses really do have great content, but the set works (especially in CPM) are mostly older songs that you’ll only know if you’re at least 20. Hell, I only know a lot of them because I teach AMEB. For this reason, I strongly recommend against the AMEB courses for anyone under 13. In my experience, the vast majority of students following it just simply don’t enjoy it and it’s quite counterproductive. As far as I’m concerned, a guitar course should make you WANT to play the guitar – this is one reason we created The Ultimate Guitar Method. Students are able to learn the music they know, like and enjoy, which means they are constantly inspired and motivated to learn.

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