Music Examinations

Certificate of Merit (CM) & Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM)

Dedicated students may be qualified to participate in music examinations held various times of the year. These programs require year round preparation and the study of Performance and Music Theory.


The Music Teachers’ Association of California (MTAC) sponsors a music study program entitled Certificate of Merit (CM). Initiated in 1933, the CM Program now involves approximately 30,000 students pannually statewide. There are evaluation opportunities for students of Piano, Violin, Cello, Viola, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Saxophone, Bassoon, Horn, Voice and Harp.

Goals of Certificate of Merit:

  • To provide a systematic and comprehensive plan to develop performance skill, technique, ear training, sight reading/singing and understanding of music theory.

  •  To develop practical goals to help students maintain a steady and focused approach to their musical studies.

  •  To encourage students to strive for musical excellence.

  •  To create opportunities in which students may share their music with others.


For over 125 years, The Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) has provided an internationally renowned standard of music achievement through an effectively sequenced course of study from beginner to advanced levels. The program inspires excellence through individual student assessments at each level, and allows students to celebrate their accomplishments and track their progress with others across the country and around the world.

The Certificate Program is a comprehensive and effectively sequenced program of music study and assessment, beginning with the Preparatory Level(s), followed by Levels 1 to 10.  At each level, a Certificate of Achievement can be earned by successfully completing a Royal Conservatory practical examination.  Many school systems recognize RCM examinations for credit toward secondary school graduation.


The Royal Conservatory’s assessment program develops complete musicianship by including technical tests, etudes, repertoire, ear tests, and sight reading in each practical examination. The program accelerates the development of musical literacy, increases understanding of the vocabulary, grammar, and syntax of the musical language, and encourages an enriched understanding of stylistic and structural awareness.