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Certificate of Merit

A+ Educational Centers is working with teachers accredited by the MTAC in administering the Certificate of Merit program for the local San Fernando West Valley Branch. Students move through various levels in a prescribed manner and excel through the Advanced Level.

What is the Certificate of Merit (CM)?

A statewide program of graded music education made available to you by music teachers who are members of the Music Teachers' Association of California (MTAC).

The General Idea of CM

Teachers plan annual music instruction using a carefully researched syllabus for the Certificate of Merit program.

Students of piano, voice, strings, and woodwinds can participate. Each instrument has a different syllabus graded from preparatory to Advanced.

A syllabus as developed by the MTAC is probably the most thorough and widely used of its kind in the United States.

Certificates of achievement from MTAC validate your child’s success at each Level.

The Music Teachers’ Association of California

The Music Teachers’ Association of California, the sponsoring organization for the Certificate of Merit, is a professional organization of music teachers. It has 57 branches throughout the state with almost 4,000 members, all certified as qualifies music teachers. It has rigorous requirements for membership, a code of ethics, and benefits for its members. Participation by members in conferences, workshops, and regular meetings inevitably nriches the quality of teaching studios. Your students benefit.

Why “professional” music teachers? Of over 400,000 music teachers in the Unites States, only 30,000 belong to a professional organization. Parents have few ways to evaluate teachers. Certification through an organization is something you should consider basic.

Give Me More Details

CM enrolls students of all ages and is designed for progress at the rate of one level a year.

Teachers may modify the rate of progress if they have good reason for doing so.

Areas of study in the Certificate of Merit program include sight reading, music theory, aural awareness, technique, and repertoire. This provides your child with an understanding of music history, styles, composers, musical forms, harmony, and contemporary idioms.

After twelfth grade, your child has many options. First, colleges look favorably on applicants who have finished a recognized music program such as CM. It demonstrates discipline, perseverance, appreciation for the arts, and an aesthetic sensibility. These attributes are desirable for persons in many careers: business, science, government service, medicine, and those directly related to the world of music.

Over 28,000 Californian and out-of-state students participate annually – the MTAC shares the syllabus with two other states.

How Do Students Get Started?

Students become involved when they are registered by their teachers. Teachers decide the Level for students to achieve.

Teachers choose repertoire and make other assignments according to syllabus requirements.

The deadline for registration is the second week of November.

What About the Annual Evaluations?

Evaluations are held in early Spring. Some branches like to schedule the process for one day. However, large Branches may need to use two days or even two weekends.

Students are tested at their specific Levels in sight reading; technique such as: scales, arpeggios, and chords; performance of pieces; aural recognition; and written theory.

Each Branch manages local details. Much time and organization goes into the planning stages. Teachers and volunteers help to make the vent run smoothly and on time – down to the minute!

Judges (the CM term is “Evaluator”) are assigned by the state organization from outside the local area.

How Long is the Evaluation?

Here’s what happens: time with the Evaluator is 10 to 30 minutes, depending upon Level. The Evaluator tests for sight reading, technique, and performance. The Theory test is written at a second site and can take 30 minutes to over an hour. Ear Testing, which takes about ten minutes, is conducted at another site.

Altogether, the beginning Levels, prep through 2, will take 30-50 minutes; upper Levels can take up to 2 hours.

What is Expected of the Parent?

Arrive early – a half hour or more before evaluation time. It takes time to park your vehicle and register your student. Be confident that your child will be escorted or directed to the various places he/she needs to go.

Wait while your child is being evaluated. Bring reading material or something else to occupy your time.

Make sure your child knows where to find you when he/she is finished.

Be encouraging and positive. Perhaps you can provide a special reward for a job well done.

If you’re curious, ask yourteacher to show you the actual Certificate of Merit Syllabus. You’ll be surprised at its detail and comprehensive scope.

What’s After the CM Evaluations?

One great benefit of participating in the Certificate of Merit is the opportunities offered to enrolled students. Recitals showcase those who are selected by the judges: Branch Honors Festival Recitals are available in the local area; MTAC Convention Recitals exhibit performances of superior students.

Students may apply for special honors, awards, and even scholarships. Ask your teacher.

Certificate of Merit route can lead to enrollment in major music schools and to careers in music.

What Happens If We Change Teachers or Move Away?

Certificate of Merit status is transferable! Your child’s new teacher will know exactly what has been achieved and can continue your child on the path already begun.


The Certificate of Merit is a great program. It’s no wonder that the number of students enrolling is increasing every year.

Teachers like it because it motivates students and provides goals for achievement.

Students like it because of the measurable progress. They also recognize that may of the best music students are in CM and they want to be on the winning team, too.

Parents like it because it provides assurance of success.

A+ Educational Centers would love to help your child succeed.

Contact A+ TODAY, so that we may assist you on your way to your FUTURE!

(800)700-A PLUS