2020-21 AIM Theory Remote Exams

AIM Exam Location Coordinators:
Lake Forest:        Jennifer Cohen,  lfaimtheory@gmail.com
Northwestern:    Jia-Yee Tang, nuaimtheory@gmail.com

Video Recordings

Click any of the titles below to view video recordings from the January 14th meeting.

This video is the recording of the Zoom AIM Theory Judges Meeting on 11-16-20.
The long meeting is divided into specific topics with time stamp included after each topic.

Start 0:00
NSMTA Website: AIM home page 3:10
General AIM Information 5:42
Slides Table of Contents 11:24
Volunteer and Registration 12:51
Levels 3-12: Online Keyboard Skills Exam via Zoom (for Judges) 17:56
Levels 3-12: Online Keyboard Skills Exam via Zoom (for Students) 28:16
Levels 3-12: Self-Monitored Aural Skills and Written Exams 35:37
Levels 1-2: Online AIM Exams via Zoom (for Judges). 46:47
Levels 1-2: Online AIM Exams via Zoom (for Students) 49:58
Levels 1-2: Video/Music Submissions (for Students) 52:04
AIM Exam Location Coordinators 54:52
Additional NSMTA Website and Registration Information 1:00:05

Step by Step Instructions and Timelines

Click any of the titles below for summarized timelines and instructions.

Submission Links (for Students)

Detailed Theory Exam Information

Click on any of titles below to expand the section.

Due to the continuing challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s AIM Theory Exams for levels 3-12 and AIM Exams for levels 1-2 will be taken remotely.

AIM Theory Exam for levels 3-12 are divided into these components:

  • Online Keyboard Skills Exam with a Judge via Zoom
  • Self-monitored Written and Aural Skills Exams for levels 3-12 (Proctored exams have been eliminated)

AIM Exam for levels 1A, 1B, 1C, and 2 are divided into these components:

  • Online AIM Exam with a Judge via Zoom for all technique, keyboard and aural skills
  • Repertoire Performance by video submissions
  • Self-monitored Level 2 Written Exam

Exam Period Overview

  • Students and judges will be assigned to one of the six (6) 3-hour Exam Periods offered, based on preferences selected during the Volunteer and Registration forms.
  • Within the 3-hour Exam Period assigned, students will be scheduled to a specific Online Keyboard Skills Exam time with a Judge via Zoom.
  • Judges will host the Zoom exams from their own account and will send their zoom links to all students they are scheduled to judge.
  • Students must complete all applicable components of their AIM Exams within the assigned 3-hour Exam Period.  All completed exam pages are due to each exam location coordinator* by the end of their assigned Exam Period.

*Jennifer Cohen (LF) and Jia-Yee Tang (NU)

The six (6) Exam Periods offered are:

Saturday, January 30, 2021 9:00am – 12:00pm
Saturday, January 30, 2021 12:00p – 3:00pm
Saturday, January 30, 2021 3:00pm – 6:00pm
Sunday,    January 31, 2021 9:00am – 12:00pm
Sunday,    January 31, 2021 12:00p – 3:00pm
Sunday,    January 31, 2021 3:00pm – 6:00pm

Teacher Volunteer Form Submission

  • Teachers must fill out and submit the online Volunteer Form available on the NSMTA website before registering their students.
  • All teachers will be expected to administer online keyboard skills exams via Zoom.
  • Depending on comfort level, support will be provided as needed.
  • Teachers will have the opportunity to select levels they feel comfortable to judge.
  • Coordinators will schedule judges in a 3-hour Exam Period based on preferences selected.
  • Teachers that have 15 or more students enrolled may be asked to judge more than one exam period.

Online AIM Theory Exam Registration Period is November 16 – December 11, 2020

  • The online AIM registration process will be very similar to pre-COVID procedure for ALL levels.
  • Teachers will fill out and submit the volunteer form first.
  • Teachers will register and pay all student enrollment fees via the online registration form.
  • Exam schedules and other pertinent information will be made available in NSMTA member accounts by early January.

Hosting and Administering Exams via Zoom

  • Judges will need an established Zoom account (Basic or Pro) to host online keyboard skills exams.
  • Online keyboard skills exams are scheduled in 10 minute increments which will include: sight reading, sight rhythm (levels 3-10), pre-chosen harmonization, prepared transposition in 2 keys, and melody playback (levels 3-6).
  • Judges will schedule and host one Zoom meeting (with waiting room enabled) for the entire duration of the 3-hour exam period.  
  • Judges will email assigned students with the Zoom exam invitation link OR Meeting ID at least 1 week prior to the exam date, and strongly encouraged to confirm again on exam day.

Receiving Judges Sheets

Judges will be mailed the following items at least 2 weeks prior to their Exam Period:

    1. Judging schedule with contact information (email and phone number) of all students they are assigned to judge
    2. Hard copies of all Judges Sheets and Theory Score Sheets for the levels they are to judge

Filling Out and Returning Completed Theory Score Sheets

While administering exams, judges will write scores and comments onto the hard copies of the Theory Score Sheets. Judges are only responsible for tallying the section A. Keyboard Skills score. Upon completion, they are to scan and email back to coordinators. 

All completed scores are expected to be submitted by the end of the Judge’s scheduled Exam Period.

Exam Schedule and Zoom Meeting Notification 

  • Students will be assigned a specific exam time, within the 3-hour Exam Period scheduled, based on preferences selected at registration.
  • Parents of young students are required to be present during the entire exam.
  • Judges will contact students directly with Zoom exam invitation link or Meeting ID at least 1 week prior to the assigned exam time. 

Receiving Exam Pages and Instructions

Students will receive by email 30 minutes prior to the start of their 3-hour Exam Period:

  • The following attachments:
      1. Keyboard Skills Student Sheet: sight reading, sight rhythm (if applicable) and pre-selected harmonization. Students are instructed not to view these pages until he/she is connected with the judge for the online keyboard skills exam.
      2. Aural Skills Student Sheet
      3. Written Exam file
  • URL address of the online Aural Skills Player and unique access code (9-digit number, for example: xxx-xxx-xxx) to take the online Aural Skills Exam.
    More information on the online Aural Skills Player is further down in this document.
  • Instructions for camera device set up and other pertinent information for optimal online exam.

Upon receiving these emails, students will be responsible to print out all pages of the files to complete the exams OR students may import files to an app that allows annotation (such as Noteability) to take the exam directly from the app.

Student Preparation Prior to Exam

  • Print out the Keyboard Skills Student Sheet OR download the PDF file and open for reading on a 2nd device.
  • Ensure good internet connection, with a cell phone available for backup.
  • Set up camera device (per instructions).
  • Students should join the Zoom meeting at least 5 minutes prior to exam time and remain in the waiting room until admitted by the judge.

Online Aural Skills Player Overview

  • Aural skills exams will be taken at home via an online Aural Skills Player.  Students will need internet access to take the aural skills exam.
  • The URL address of the online Aural Skills Player and unique access code (9-digit number, for example: xxx-xxx-xxx), along with complete instructions are included in the email that students will receive 30-minutes prior to their 3-hour Exam Period.

CLICK HERE to take a Practice Test via online Aural Skills Player.

The audio files for these Practice Tests are from the Sample Tests in the 2014 AIM Syllabus.  
Please provide your students with the appropriate level of the Aural Skills Student Sheet from the syllabus.

Procedure:

  • Students will take the Aural Skills and Written Exams at home within the assigned 3-hour Exam Period.
  • Aural Skills and Written Exams may be taken in either order.
  • Each exam should be taken in a single sitting, away from the piano and outside distractions, anytime within the 3-hour Exam Period.  A break between exams is allowed.
  • No study guides, including AIM workbook, piano/keyboard or internet access is allowed, except to access the online Aural Skills Player.

Levels 10-12: Proctored Aural Skills and Written Exams via Zoom
**This is no longer required and has been eliminated entirely**

Returning Aural and Written Exam Pages

Students are to send completed Written and Aural Skills exam pages electronically via email.  We will no longer have a porch drop off option.

  • Scan all pages of both exams into a single PDF file (or export directly from annotation app)
  • Title the PDF with the Teacher Code, Student Name and Level
  • Email as an attachment to LFaimtheory@gmail.com or NUaimtheory@gmail.com. Students may also reply directly to the email that was sent 30 minutes before the Exam Period.
  1.  

All completed aural skills and written exam pages must be returned by the end of the student’s Exam Period.

Hosting and Administering Exams via Zoom

    • Judges will need to have an established Zoom account (Basic or Pro) in order to host the online AIM exams.
    • Online AIM Exams are scheduled in 20 minute increments.
    • Judges will schedule one Zoom meeting (with waiting room enabled) for the entire duration of the 3-hour exam period.
    • Judges will email assigned students with the Zoom exam invitation link or Meeting ID at least 1 week prior to the exam date, and strongly encouraged to confirm again on exam day.

Receiving Judges Sheets

Judges will be mailed the following items at least 2 weeks prior to their Exam Period:

  1. Judging schedule with contact information (email and phone number) of all students they are assigned to judge. This may include level 3-12 Keyboard Skills exams.
  2. Hard copies of all Judges Sheets for the levels they are to judge

Receiving Videos: Video Evaluation Period:  January 24 – 31, 2021

Coordinators will forward repertoire video links to assigned judges by January 24, 2021

Judges may evaluate the videos anytime within the one-week evaluation period.

  • The judge may choose to evaluate repertoire videos during the Exam Period. The first half of the 20-minute time slot for each student will be spent evaluating technique, keyboard skills and aural skills live on Zoom. Then the judge will release the student from the meeting and spend second half of the time evaluating the pre-recorded repertoire.
  • Videos may be evaluated ahead of time. However, please keep in mind the 20-minute time slots cannot be shortened. 

Filling Out and Returning Completed Theory Score Sheets

All online Keyboard Skills exam scores will be submitted digitally by filling out a Google Form specific for each level.

Teachers who still prefer to hand-write onto hard copies may download and print their own score sheets (available in the Members Only section) but will still be expected to submit scores via the Google Form

All completed scores are expected to be submitted by the end of the Judge’s scheduled Exam Period.

Exam Schedule and Zoom Meeting Notification 

  • Students will be assigned a specific exam time, within the 3-hour Exam Period scheduled, based on preferences selected at registration.
  • Parents of young students are required to be present during the entire exam.
  • Judges will contact students directly with Zoom exam invitation link or Meeting ID at least 1 week prior to the assigned exam time. 

Receiving Exam Pages

Students will receive by email from the appropriate exam location coordinator, 30 minutes prior to the start of their 3-hour Exam Period:

  • One of the following Keyboard Skills Student Sheet attachments:
      • For Levels 1A and 1B:  Sight Reading Example
      • For Level 1C:  Sight Reading and Harmonization example
      • For Level 2:  Sight Reading Example, pre-selected Harmonization, and Written Exam
  • Instructions for camera device set up and other pertinent information for optimal online exam.

Upon receiving this email, students/parents will be responsible to print out all pages of the file(s) prior to their AIM exam time.  Students are instructed not to study these pages until he/she is connected with the judge for the online exam.

Student Preparation Prior to Exam

  • Print out all the Keyboard Skills Student Sheet(s) OR download the PDF file and open for reading on a 2nd device.  Printing out page(s) is strongly recommended for younger students. 
  • Ensure good internet connection, with a cell phone available for backup.
  • Set up camera device (per instructions)
  • Students should join the Zoom meeting at least 5 minutes prior to exam time and wait until admitted by the judge.

AIM Level 2:  Taking and Returning Completed Written Exam

Students will take the written exam at home, anytime during their 3-hour Exam Period at home.

Parents of very young students who may not yet read may offer limited assistance as needed.

Written exams must be returned electronically via email.  We will no longer have a porch drop off option.

  • Scan all pages of both exams into a single PDF file (or export directly from annotation app)
  • Title the PDF with the Teacher Code, Student Name and Level
  • Email as an attachment to LFaimtheory@gmail.com or NUaimtheory@gmail.com. Students may also reply directly to the email that was sent 30 minutes before the Exam Period.

The completed written exam must be returned by the end of the student’s Exam Period. 

Video and Music Submission Period:  January 8 – 22, 2021

Video and Music Preparations for Submission

Please follow these steps to prepare and submit the repertoire videos and music files for evaluation:

  1. Students will record each piece as separate videos and upload them as Unlisted videos to student/parent’s own YouTube channel.  DO NOT USE TEACHER’S ACCOUNT.  Title each video with Composer/Method Book and Name of Piece.  For example:  Vandall – Stuck on C or Faber lesson 1 – The Juggler.  
  2. Students will create an Unlisted YouTube playlist (titled with the student’s name and level) and add the 2 videos.  For example:  Mary Smith Level 1C. 
  3. Students will scan all pages of the purchased copy of each piece into separate PDF files.  Title of PDF file must match title of video.
CLICK HERE to watch a video on how to upload as Unlisted videos on YouTube and create an Unlisted YouTube playlist.
 

Video and Music Submission Process:  Submission Period is January 8-22, 2021

Anytime during the Video Submission Period, send an email to the appropriate exam location coordinator, the following items:

  • Copy and paste the Unlisted YouTube playlist link in the body of the email
  • Attached the 2 PDF music files
  • Enter the student’s full name and level in the subject line.  For example:  Mary Smith Level 1C

To ensure that NSMTA follows appropriate copyright laws and protection, students should send scanned copies of their purchased music electronically.

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