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#1247702 - 08/12/09 02:23 AM Have you heard of California Certificate of Merit?
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
I'm searching for a piano teacher for my children, and when I ask teachers in my area whether they prepare their students for examinations such as the ABRSM, RCM, or NMCP programs, several teachers told me they only prepare students for the California Certificate of Merit. No one was familiar with ABRSM, RCM, or NMCP.

I am looking for some opinion on the CM program. Does it serve the same purpose as other national programs? Is it recognized by universities in my area (UC Berkeley, Stanford, etc)? Is there a disadvantage in enrolling students into a California state program rather than a national one? Does achieving Grade 8 in the CM program indicates the same accomplishments as Grade 8 in RCM/NMCP or ABRSM?

My preference is for the children is enroll in a national program (preferably internationally recognized) rather than a state based one; is that misguided?

Thanks for your comments/opinions.
_________________________
Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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#1247760 - 08/12/09 07:42 AM Re: Have you heard of California Certificate of Merit? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
Kreisler Offline


Registered: 11/27/02
Posts: 13825
Loc: Iowa City, IA
CM uses the same syllabus as RCM. We have some users here who live in California who should be able to give you some more information.

Paging AZN... laugh
_________________________
"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#1247958 - 08/12/09 01:47 PM Re: Have you heard of California Certificate of Merit? [Re: Kreisler]
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1269
Loc: California
Certificate of Merit is MTAC's big evaluation held every spring. I don't know how it compares with RCM or ABRSM, but several music publishers make a great effort to level their music to coincide with CM levels.

The program consists of technique, repertoire, sight reading, ear training, optional improvisation, and a written theory exam. Students who complete thru level 9 or Advanced will many times test out of first year college music theory.

It's a challenging program and not all of my students will participate. I have more students do Guild than do CM (but all of my CM students will do Guild).

My understanding is that many teachers outside of California have used the CM syllabus and materials for their own studios.
_________________________
Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild

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#1247989 - 08/12/09 03:16 PM Re: Have you heard of California Certificate of Merit? [Re: dumdumdiddle]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5965
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: dumdumdiddle
Students who complete thru level 9 or Advanced will many times test out of first year college music theory.


That is exactly what I did. I passed CM Level Advanced in high school then passed the college theory placement test with flying colors. However, CM is not completely aligned with the college theory requirements. For example, there is no dictation or composition (4-part writing and voice leading). There are some concepts that may or may not be covered in first-year theory (Neapolitan chord, augmented 6th chords) that CM doesn't touch. CM barely touches modes and serialism. And the ear training portion is a joke. So, all through second-year theory in college, I kept looking back to teach myself the stuff I skipped.

In my opinion, kids who blaze through CM should also take AP Music Theory in high school in order to get a complete musical training.

I don't know about other states, but here in California EVERY college knows about CM. Each year, they receive thousands of applications with CM level somewhere in the paperwork. It has become a "keeping up with the Joneses" of music achievement.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1248273 - 08/13/09 06:26 AM Re: Have you heard of California Certificate of Merit? [Re: AZNpiano]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
Thanks for the feedback. If I understand it correctly, its really the only system in California, and ends up being highly competitive among teachers, students, and parents. I just want to the kids to have some sort of incentive and goal, and might as well get some credit for putting in all the effort. I just feel some form of objective evaluation is helpful in providing a metric for their efforts.

I almost feel that we should do something completely different like the NMCP so there isn't so much competitive comparison with their peers with their Advance CM, AP classes, Eagle Scout, 4.3 GPA, 2100 SAT, varsity sports and on and on (our oldest is entering Berkeley in the Fall, so we just went through all that exhausting non-sense). I think it's kind of hopeless as it seem difficult in finding a teacher who does NMCP or ABRSM instead of CM in California.
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Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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#1248376 - 08/13/09 10:23 AM Re: Have you heard of California Certificate of Merit? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
childofparadise2002 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/13/04
Posts: 547
I'm a parent and an adult student, not a teacher. But from what I know, I find it hard to believe that it's so hard to do ABRSM, NMCP and things other than CM. My child did ABRSM in California, and that was the preferred exam of his music school. I also know another music school nearby which also preferred ABRSM. I actually didn't know there is a CM. Maybe it depends on your location, but if you really want to, asking around a bit more might give you more options.

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#1248379 - 08/13/09 10:26 AM Re: Have you heard of California Certificate of Merit? [Re: 4evrBeginR]
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1269
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: 4evrBeginR
Thanks for the feedback. If I understand it correctly, its really the only system in California, and ends up being highly competitive among teachers, students, and parents.


I wouldn't really say that. The students aren't competing against each other but rather a standard (like Guild). CM is a wonderful comprehensive program for both students and teachers. It gives both a goal to attain. There are additional competitions and evaluations students can enter that ARE competitive.

The various MTAC branches in California have their own personality. I've heard of branches in the Bay Area and in LA where there's always competition amongst teachers, not just CM but other things; our branch is smaller and we don't seem to have that problem.
_________________________
Music School Owner
Early Childhood Music Teacher/Group Piano Teacher/Private Piano Teacher
Member of MTAC and Guild

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#1248408 - 08/13/09 11:11 AM Re: Have you heard of California Certificate of Merit? [Re: dumdumdiddle]
AZNpiano Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5965
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: dumdumdiddle
The various MTAC branches in California have their own personality. I've heard of branches in the Bay Area and in LA where there's always competition amongst teachers, not just CM but other things



I call it "turf war." The only way to get ahead is by stepping on other people.
_________________________
Private Piano Teacher and MTAC Member

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#1248889 - 08/14/09 01:26 AM Re: Have you heard of California Certificate of Merit? [Re: childofparadise2002]
4evrBeginR Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/27/09
Posts: 1607
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: childofparadise2002
I'm a parent and an adult student, not a teacher. But from what I know, I find it hard to believe that it's so hard to do ABRSM, NMCP and things other than CM. My child did ABRSM in California, and that was the preferred exam of his music school. I also know another music school nearby which also preferred ABRSM. I actually didn't know there is a CM. Maybe it depends on your location, but if you really want to, asking around a bit more might give you more options.


There are ABRSM teachers in the major cities San Francisco, Oakland, San Jose, but we live far away from the cities, so it would be tough, especially with traffic near these cities in grindlock all the time. I will ask around though.

I contacted our local NMCP exam center contact and found out there is no NMCP teacher in my area. The NMCP contact told me there is a shortage of teachers in the program. The closest one is in Berkeley, depending on traffic that could mean 40 minutes or 1.5 hours away.

We'll keep our options open and get informed as much as possible (which Piano World is a wonderful resource). All the programs have their pros and cons it seems.
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Art is never finished, only abandoned. - da Vinci

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