About Certificate of Merit® (CM)

Certificate of Merit

The Music Teachers’ Association of California® (MTAC) sponsors the music study program Certificate of Merit® (CM). The program provides a standard of curriculum that requires students to strive for focused musical excellence in performance, technique, ear training, sight reading/singing, and music theory.

Initiated in 1933, the annual statewide program involves approximately 30,000 students in piano, violin, cello, viola, flute, French horn, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, bassoon, baritone/euphonium horn, voice, and harp. Students benefit tremendously from this educational opportunity. Please consult with your child’s teacher for more information regarding registration and preparation.


  1. Each instrument has its own 10-level or 11-level syllabus, detailing a specific set of requirements. Teachers will decide the appropriate level for each student.
  2. Students and teachers work together on level-appropriate selected literature, technique elements, sight reading, theory, and ear training.


  1. Students participate in an annual Evaluation between mid-February and April and receive a written musical performance assessment.
  2. Students complete a written theory exam which includes an ear training component.
  3. Upon successful completion of the Evaluation, students receive an official MTAC CM Certificate for their level.
  4. Senior medallions are awarded to eligible high school seniors.
  5. Students demonstrating exceptional skill at his/her Evaluation may be selected to perform at annual MTAC State Convention Recitals.

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