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Home  / Certificate of Merit®  / For Parents

CM State Chair’s Letter to Parents

September 2015


Dear Parent,


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 annually statewide. There are evaluation opportunities for students of Piano, Harp, Violin, Cello, Viola, Voice, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Saxophone, Bassoon, Trumpet, French Horn, Trombone, Euphonium/Baritone & Tuba.


The goals of the CM Program are:


  • 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:


  • 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.

  • Student Registration takes place from October 1 through October 31. Your child’s teacher will register your child through our secure online registration system. Students must be age 5 or older as of October 31 (the CM Registration 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.

  • Registered students participate in an annual Evaluation program, which is conducted from mid-February through April throughout the state of California.

  • Based on the Evaluation, students receive a written performance assessment by a State-approved Evaluator.

  • Students will also complete a written theory exam, which includes an ear-training test component.

  • All written results and theory tests are provided to the student by their teacher after all evaluations are complete statewide.

  • 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 and demonstrate exceptional skill at his or her evaluation may be selected to perform in annual MTAC State Convention Recitals.


I know that you and your child will benefit tremendously from this wonderful educational opportunity and experience. Please consult with your child’s teacher for more information regarding registration and preparation.




Judi Sands-Pertel

CM State Chair

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