Music Teachers' Association of California
San Mateo County Branch

Certificate of Merit

The Music Teachers’ Association of California® (MTAC) sponsors a music study program entitled Certificate of Merit® (CM). Initiated in 1933, this prestigious program now involves over 27,000 students annually. There are evaluation opportunities for students of Piano, Harp, Violin, Cello, Viola, Voice, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Saxophone, Bassoon, Trumpet, French Horn, Trombone, Euphonium, Tuba, and Guitar. 

The Goals of the Program

  •  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. 

How the CM Program Works:

  • Any teacher who is an active member of MTAC may enroll students in the Certificate of Merit program
  • A detailed CM Syllabus has been created and designed for each of the above-mentioned instruments. There are specific set requirements for each of the eleven CM levels. Your child’s teacher will decide on the level that is appropriate. 
  • The Student Enrollment Period takes place from October 1 through October 31. Students must be age 5 or older as of October 31 (the CM Application Deadline) to participate in the CM Program. 
  • Students work with their teachers on selected literature, technique elements, sight-reading, theory and ear training for their enrolled level. 
  • Enrolled students participate in an annual Evaluation program, which is conducted from February through March. Students complete the evaluation process in the MTAC Online System and upload their completed recordings for online evaluation. 
  • Based on the Evaluation, students receive a written performance assessment by a State approved Evaluator. 
  • Students will also complete an online theory exam, which includes an ear-training component. 
  • All results and theory tests are provided to the student and teacher in the MTAC Online System after all evaluations are complete throughout the program. 
  • Upon successful completion of all components of the evaluation, students receive an official MTAC CM Certificate. 
  • Senior medallions will be awarded to eligible high school seniors. 
  • Students who have applied for Convention Recital performance and demonstrate exceptional skill at his or her evaluation may be selected to perform in annual MTAC State Convention Recitals. 

Parents please contact your MTAC teacher for further information about the Certificate of Merit Program.

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