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September 2020 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 27,000 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, Tuba, and Guitar.

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.

• The Student Application Period takes place from October 1 through October 31. Your child’s teacher will create an application for your child through our secure online system at Students must be age 5 or older as of October 31 (the CM Application Deadline) to participate in the CM Program.

• The Parent Payment Period takes place from October 1 through November 5. During this time, you can log-in to your Parent Portal at to pay for your child’s application.

• Students work with their teachers on selected literature, technique elements, sight-reading, theory and ear training for their enrolled level.

• Enrolled students participate in an annual Evaluation program, which is conducted from mid-February through March. This year, in response to the current pandemic, students will complete the evaluation process in the MTAC Online System through online evaluation and testing.

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

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

  • All 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 Recital performance 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.


Michelle Rumley

CM State Chair


 Music Teachers’ Association of California CERTIFICATE OF MERIT®
Instructions for Parents
CM Application, Enrollment, and Online Evaluations

MTAC uses an Online System that includes a Parent Portal through which parents can access and manage their children’s participation in MTAC programs, including our widely-popular Certificate of Merit® Evaluations program.

In order to apply for and enroll in the Certificate of Merit® Evaluations program, you will need a Parent Account and Student Account. If you do not already have these accounts set up, please contact your MTAC Teacher to initiate that process.


Your child’s MTAC Teacher must initiate the application process for the Certificate of Merit® Evaluations program. The application period is from October 1 through October 31, 2020. Late applications are not accepted.

Your child’s MTAC Teacher first creates the application in the Online System. After the application is created, Parents will receive an email to login to their account to pay the application fees (credit, VISA gift card, and PayPal accepted). Parents can pay only during the payment period of October 1 through November 5, 11:59pm (“Payment Period”). Parents will not be able to pay after the Payment Period.

Before making payment, check your child’s application details, such as child’s grade, Certificate of Merit Level, and personal information. If there are any errors with the level or grade, please contact your MTAC Teacher as soon as possible. If there are errors with personal information, please contact the MTAC State Office at If payment is not made during the Payment Period, your child’s application will be deleted from the Online System. If this occurs, your child will not be able to participate in the Certificate of Merit Evaluations program in the Spring of 2021.


After payment, your child’s enrollment is considered conditional until your MTAC Teacher has submitted and approved the student’s final Repertoire List by January 15 into the Online System. Once your MTAC Teacher has submitted the student’s Repertoire List by this date, enrollment is complete.


For 2020-2021 CM Evaluations: Due to the ongoing effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic, CM Performance Evaluations will be pre-recorded by the student in accordance with the CM Video Recording Guidelines (available December 1, 2020) and uploaded to the student’s CM Application in the Online System by the assigned submission deadline.

Performance Evaluation: Teachers, parents, or students record all components of the evaluation. All videos must be submitted by the submission deadline in the student’s application. The student’s performance evaluation consists of 3 parts:

• Technique – All technique elements are recorded in one video. Technique is performed from memory and music notation is not allowed on the music rack or stand.

• Sight Reading – Parents and students will be emailed a link to access the Sight Reading/Singing excerpt ten (10) days prior to the submission deadline. Students access the excerpt from a digital device, such as a tablet. The Sight Reading/Singing study period and performance are recorded in one video on a second device.

• Repertoire – Students will prepare all repertoire listed in the student’s CM Application. Each piece of repertoire performed must be recorded in its own video. For example, a student with 4 pieces of repertoire will have 4 separate video files of repertoire. The student must meet the minimum memorization requirement for his/her enrolled level. Repertoire performed from memory must not have music on the rack or stand. Repertoire performed with music must be performed from the original music; photocopied music will result in an Automatic Remain at Level and the student will not be evaluated. For questions about your child’s memorization requirement and copyright restrictions, please consult your child’s MTAC Teacher.

• Scores for Evaluator – Scores for the Evaluator must be scanned from the original music and must include a scan of the book cover, if applicable. Each score for each repertoire must be scanned in its own file. For example, a student with 4 pieces of repertoire will have 4 separate music score PDF files. Music from a CD or downloaded source must include the authorized logo or source in the scan. Scans from photocopies will result in an Automatic Remain at Level.

Online Theory Test: Parents and students will be emailed a link to access the Online Theory Test ten (10) days prior to their submission deadline. Students can complete the timed test on a computer or tablet. MTAC does not recommend for the test to be completed on a phone. The test must be completed and submitted by the submission deadline in the student’s application.


You can confirm the status of your child’s application at any time by logging into your Account. You can check on the status of any of your children’s applications by clicking on the MTAC Student ID Number, which will bring you to the Student Profile. Click on the Application ID Number to see your child’s application details including enrollment status.

Thank you for your continued support of MTAC’s mission to pursue excellence in music education through innovative programs that foster artistic growth and achievement. We wish you all a musical year! 

Enrollment Guide for Parents
Enrollment .pdf
Adobe Acrobat document [324.8 KB]
Keyboard and Staff Paper
Adobe Acrobat document [114.1 KB]