Certificate of Merit

Goals of Certificate of Merit:

To provide a systematic and comprehensive plan to develop performance skill, technique, ear-training and sight reading skills, and understanding of music theory.
To provide practical goals to help students maintain a steady and focused appreciation of their musical studies
To encourage students to strive for musical excellence
To create opportunities in which students may share their music
The Certificate of Merit Program provides a systematic and comprehenesive plan to develop performance skill, technique, ear training, sight reading/singing and understanding of music theory.

The Certificate of Merit evaluations are held every year in March.
Each category has its own fee:

Levels Prep and Level 1
Levels 3, 4 and 5
Levels 6 and 7
Levels 8 and 9

The registration deadline is November 15th. The fee is paid directly to Anne. Fees can not be refunded under any circumstances if the student cancels their evaluation after the deadline of November 15th. Also, the teacher reserves the right to cancel a student’s participation in the evaluation if their preparation is inadequate. Fees will not be refunded for inadequate preparation.

Extra workshops are presented in January and February for the CM students to help them prepare for the evaluations.

The preparation for the evaluation includes memorizing the technique for the level entered and a minimum of two pieces memorized. One piece must be selected from the State Syllabus and all pieces must be original compositions, not arrangements. Assigned theory work needs to be completed for each lesson. There will be practice tests from past years to complete after theory book assignments are done. At the extra workshops in January and February we will be going over the theory, taking practice tests and playing their pieces. Please make sure that all books, including theory books and worksheets are brought to every lesson.

At the assigned evaluation day and time, the student will play for one teacher, privately. They will play the technique, the pieces and will be asked to sight read a short piece that is two levels below the level they enter. The evaluator will rate these areas as excellent, good, fair, or needs work. Comments will also be written about the pieces.

The location for the playing part will be announced in February. The evaluations are held in a teacher’s studio with the Contra Costa Branch.

The written test is taken at a local hotel, location will be announced later. The student may take this part of the test any time between 9 and 5 on the same weekend they are scheduled to play. The areas tested consist of vocabulary words and signs, scales, chords, key signatures, rhythms, and listening.

Here are the minimum requirements for number of pieces and amount of playing time for each category. All pieces must be memorized if entering the audition for Branch honors or State Convention.

Levels Prep, 1, 2: 2 pieces by memory 10 minutes evaluation
Levels 3, 4, 5: 3 pieces (2 must be by memory) 15 minutes evaluation
Levels 6, 7: 4 pieces (2 must be by memory) 20 minutes evaluation
Levels 8, 9: 4 pieces (2 must be by memory) 25 minutes evaluation
Advanced: 4 pieces (2 must be by memory) 30 minutes evaluation
Etude must be by memory