Certificate of Merit Program:

The Music Teachers Association of California (MTAC) sponsors a music program entitled Certificate of Merit (CM), which was initiated in 1933. The CM program now involves approximately 30,000 students annually statewide. There are evaluation opportunities for students of Piano, Violin, Cello, Viola, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Saxophone, Bassoon, Horn, Voice and Harp.
​ Certificate of Merit exams consist of two portions - written (testing students' knowledge of music theory, music terminology, and music history), and performance (repertoire, technique, sight reading). 

Why is Certificate of Merit so popular? 

Each year, over 29,000 music students in the state of California enroll in Certificate of Merit annual exams. Many piano students choose the Certificate of Merit program in order to track their music lesson progress. Even adult students decide to enroll in Certificate of Merit to give themselves an additional external goal to keep up with piano practice!

The Certificate of Merit program was designed with the following goals:

• To provide a systematic and comprehensive plan to develop performance skill, technique, ear training, sight reading, and understanding of music theory.
• To develop practice goals to help students maintain a steady and focused approach to their music studies.
• To encourage students to strive for musical excellence.
• To create opportunities in which students may share their music with others.

How Certificate of Merit works:

• A detailed CM syllabus has been created and designed for each of the above mentioned instruments.
• There are specific set of requirements for each of the eleven levels.
• Student registration takes place from October 1 through October 31. Your teacher will register your student through secure online database. Parent payment must be made Nov. 1 - 10.
• Student must be 5 years or older as of October 31 to participate in the CM program.
• Students work with their teachers on selected literature, technique elements, sight reading, theory and ear training.
• Registered students participate in an annual evaluation held from mid-February through April.
• From the evaluation, students receive a written assessment.
• Students will also complete a written theory exam, which includes an ear training component.
• Upon successful completion of all segments of the evaluation, students receive an official MTAC Certificate of Merit Certificate.  
• Senior Medallions will be awarded to eligible High School seniors.
• Students who demonstrate exceptional skill at his/her evaluation may be selected to perform at annual MTAC Convention Recitals.        

Certificate of Merit

Certificate of Merit in San Diego


Oct 1- 31, 2016 ​CM Applications & Enrollments accepted.

CM level, school grades, instrument, Senior Award, Advanced Panel must be entered by Oct.31, 2016

Nov 1 - 10, 2016 ​Parent payments must be made. Parents have to log onto new.mtac.org and click "MTAC store" to pay. PayPal,any Major Credit Card, or Visa gift cards accepted.

  • ​​No Application changes (such​ as students' name, CM level or school grade) can be made after payment is submitted!

​Oct 1, 2016 - Jan 15, 2016 Teachers can start entering Repertoire, Branch Honors, Convention, Improvisation.

Jan 2 - 15, 2017 Schedule preference can be entered. For example, Day 1, 2 or 3; AM/PM


​Piano schedule - Mar 26, 2017 (day 1), Apr 1, 2017 (Day 2), Apr 2, 2017 (Day 3) at SDSU

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 The Music Makers - Certificate of Merit

Certificate of Merit in San Diego
Certificate of Merit in San Diego

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