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MTAC Certificate of Merit logo

Certificate of Merit




To Parents and Students,
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, Violin, Cello, Viola, Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Saxophone, Bassoon, Horn, Voice and Harp.

Goals of Certificate of Merit:

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 September 15 through November 15. Your child’s teacher will register your child through a secure online database. Students must be age 5 or older as of November 15 (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 held from mid-February through April.

From the evaluation, students receive a written assessment.

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

Upon successful completion of all segments of the evaluation, students receive an official MTAC CM Certificate.

Senior medallions will be awarded to eligible high school seniors.

Students who demonstrate exceptional skill at his/her evaluation may be selected to perform at annual MTAC State Convention Recitals.

Your child(ren) will benefit tremendously from this wonderful educational opportunity and experience. Please consult with your child’s teacher for more information regarding registration and preparation.

General Information:
Any teacher who is an active, provisional, Cal Plan or student member of MTAC may enroll students in the Certificate of Merit program.  Enrollment is limited to teachers in good standing who are California residents and who are affiliated with a local branch of MTAC. Students are evaluated on an assigned date at a site determined by the local branch of MTAC. These evaluations are administered by state-appointed evaluators.  Evaluations include all elements of the CM program: performance, technique, ear training, sight reading and written theory tests.  The branch fee for participation is $12.

The Certificate of Merit Syllabi are published by The Music Teachers' Association of California and is available for purchase exclusively through the MTAC State Office. To place an order for a Syllabus, go to MTAC's Online Shopping Page. You can also order with a credit card by calling 1-800-834-3340 extension 1 (24 hour automated service) or send check payment to: MTAC, 833 Market Street, Suite 900, San Francisco, CA 94103. Member and non-member prices are listed for each Instrument Syllabus.

Syllabi for other instruments and additional Certificate of Merit publications are also available through the MTAC State Office.



February 28, 2016 -  CM for Strings
Piano Play
Chair: Hilary Smith
Assistant Christopher Ahn


March 6, 2016 -  CM for Winds
Los Angeles Valley College
Chairperson Denia Bradshaw


March 12 and 13, 2016 -  CM for Piano
Los Angeles Valley College
Chair: Sharon Shaheed
Assistant: Pam Prasarttongosoth



Certifcate of Merit Honors Festival

The 2016 CM Honors Festival will take place on April 3 at Los Angeles Valley College
Chairperson - Roger Eshleman,  Assistants: Laura Halladay & Constance Kuhne
Registration Deadline March 25

The Festival is for students who were awarded honors in the Certificate of Merit program. There is no enrollment fee for participation in this festival.

To be eligible, students must be Level IV or higher, pass the theory exam (70% or better), receive average, good or excellent in sight reading, receive good or excellent in technique, and receive a 5+, 5 or 5- for the chosen piece that must be memorized. (Keyboard only).




Link to CM Registration Login on the MTAC State Website

Link to MTAC State Website


Certifcate of Merit Newsletters

MTAC CM Newletter December 2015

MTAC CM  Newsleter December 2013

MTAC CM Newsletter February 2013

MTAC CM Newsletter December 2012

Branch CM Info Newsletter and Calendar of Events 2012 - 2013

MTAC CM Newsletter October 2012

MTAC CM Newsletter August 2012

MTAC CM Newsletter June 2012

Branch CM Newsletter January 2012

MTAC CM Newsletter December 2011

MTAC CM  Newsletter August 2011