Michael Houstoun

"Good evening, everyone -

As Patron of the New Zealand Music Examinations Board it is my great pleasure tonight to announce that this young and fired-up organisation has just been given course approval by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority.

Beverley Read tells me that the big import of this is the credibility it bestows on the Board. But as far as I'm concerned credibility has never been an issue. Tremendous thought, care and attention has gone into designing every aspect of the Board's operations. High standards and commitment are demanded of the teachers who choose the NZMEB as their preferred examination system, but those same teachers are offered very real support from the Board. There are two tiers in all the grades through all the instruments, the &lsquot;For Pleasure&rsquot; tier being less strenuous and so less discouraging for those who enjoy playing but do not want the pressure of high-level examination.

The repertoire lists are very good, and up-to-date. The examiners are drawn primarily from our own universities and so are familiar with the way we do things in the Shaky Isles - and we definitely have our own approach, an approach which perhaps could be characterised as leaning towards the natural, the sincere, and the truly amateur, in the best sense of that word. I should mention too that the NZMEB uses specialist examiners - flute candidates, for example, will be examined by a flute specialist, not a pianist or organist.

That the NZMEB exists is a testament to our maturity as a musical nation. There is no need to look beyond our own shores for guidance - we know what we're doing down here!

Special thanks are due to Sally Greenaway who has defly prodded and guided the development team into writing an Operating Manual.

Also to Andrew Buchanan-Smart whose savvy regarding the NZQA has been invaluable, in fact crucial to obtaining their course approval.

I would encourage all the teachers here to seriously consider the NZMEB when selecting an examination system for their studios. It is the only system in New Zealand with NZQA course approval.

I'm happy to tell you too that the NZMEB is providing the champagne, wine and juice to accompany your meal this evening. So drink up, enjoy yourselves, and best wishes to each and every one of you for a very happy year ahead."

(Delivered by Michael Houstoun on 20 January 2010 at the IRMT conference in Hamilton)

<% }); %>