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For new applicants and former members wishing to reinstate, all required membership and reinstatement applications and documents, along with correct payment, must be submitted to the MTAC State Office by July 31st, in order to participate in Certificate of Merit®. Please note that MTAC cannot be responsible for lost or late submissions. Exceptions to the deadline cannot be made.


[box type=”elegant”]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.[/box]


  • 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.
  • Students and teachers work together on level-appropriate selected literature, technique elements, sight reading, theory, and ear training.
  • As of June 2012, MTAC has closed down “Path B” Certificate of Merit Evaluations. All CM Evaluations are operated through MTAC’s affiliate Branches only. MTAC does not condone the issuance of “Path B” Certificates, or teachers or studios purporting to offer “Path B.”  If you receive materials indicating or promoting Certificate of Merit “Path B” Evaluations, please report it to us by contacting the MTAC State Office.
  • All Certificate of Merit® Syllabi are published by The Music Teachers’ Association of California® and are available for purchase exclusively through the MTAC State Office. To place an order for a Syllabus, if you are not an MTAC member, go to our Online Store. If you are an MTAC member, log in, and go to the Shopping -> MTAC Store page. You can also order with a credit card by calling 1-800-834-3340 ext. 1 (24 hour automated service) or send check payment to: MTAC, 2121 N. California Blvd, Suite 1030 Walnut Creek, CA 94596
  • Additional Certificate of Merit® publications are available through the MTAC State Office.


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


  • Students must be age 5 or older by October 31 to participate.
  • Teachers register their students in the Fall; only MTAC teachers who have paid their membership dues by July 31 may participate in Certificate of Merit®.
  • Registration fees are non-refundable

For more information, contact: cminfo@mtac.org.