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Certificate of Merit

As a member of the Music Teacher Association of California (MTAC), your teacher is allowed access to many great opportunities for her students such as Certificate of Merit (CM) and MTAC student recitals.

What is Certificate of Merit?

Certificate of Merit is a program where students are tested on technique (scales, chord progressions, arpeggios, rhythm, etc.), sight reading, theory, aural skills, and overall musicianship. Sight reading, technique, and two to four pieces are performed, recorded, and submitted depending on the level. The exam takes place between February and April once a year held online (or in person with an add fee). Preparation for the exam starts in the summer months (June, July or August).

How does this program benefit the student?

The benefits of participating in CM go far beyond gaining a certificate or passing a level. CM not only gives each student a goal to accomplish by the end of the studio year, but it allows each student to grow in their musicianship, honing in their skills and being able to enjoy making music at a new level. We spend much of our time polishing pieces we may otherwise not have the opportunity for. The sense of accomplishment at the end of CM is evident with each student's performance and sense of pride when they have a final product.

What to Expect:

There are 10 levels (Preparatory through Advanced) at which students may test. Students who want to participate in CM usually start when they are completing level three or four in the method books, but may wait longer depending on maturity of practice habits. If your child is participating in CM exams, it will take dedication at home, as well as in lessons. Daily, quality practice, as well as regular attendance of lessons will be necessary. Lessons will be at least 45 minutes in order to learn all material needed for the exam.  


This year’s important CM dates are:

Application Period: September 1 – September 30

Application Fee Period: September 1 - October 5

Last Day to Add Repertoire: December 15

Exam Day:

     Location: Online, February 13, 2024, Fee: $84-$110

     Location: In-person, April 1, 2023, Fee: TBD


MTAC website (

More information about MTAC can be found here:

More information about CM can be found here:

If the student is in level 3 or above in method books and you’d like to be considered for participation in the CM exam please indicate so on the registration form or contact your teacher.

If you have more questions about Certificate of Merit please contact your teacher.

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