California State-Wide Testing Program

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. At Inspire Academy we prepare students for evaluation opportunities in Piano, Violin, Viola, and Voice. Our students receive scores of 93% and above on CM Theory Exams.

Goals of the CM Program

  • Provide a systematic and comprehensive plan to develop performance skill, technique, ear training, sight reading/singing and understanding of music theory.
  • Develop practical goals to help students maintain a steady and focused approach to their musical studies.
  • Encourage students to strive for musical excellence.
  • 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 with set requirements for achieving 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 five or older as of November 15 (the 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 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 their evaluation may be selected to perform at annual MTAC State Convention Recitals.
  • 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.


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