Certificate of Merit

What is Certificate of Merit (CM)?

CM is MTAC’s sponsored comprehensive music study program of ten levels since 1933. 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.

Students are evaluated by qualified examiners in Theory and Performance.  Students study to earn certificates of achievement, special recognition of senior students, and performance opportunities at the State Convention. The Young Artists Guild aids those seeking professional careers.

Per MTAC, Active/Provisional/Student/CalPlan Member Teachers are eligible to enroll their students in the Certificate of Merit in October.


State Honors

All enrolled students are automatically considered for the State Honors. They are awarded by MTAC CM State Office for students who meet the following requirements:

  1. pass both Performance Evaluation and Theory for their enrolled CM Level that year;
  2. receive a “Good” or “Excellent” rating for Technique, Sight Reading/Singing, and Repertoire;
  3. receive at least 80% or above on the Theory Test for their enrolled CM Level that year.


Senior Award

Recognition of graduating High School Senior who has fulfilled the CM requirements for the medal award. To qualify for Senior Award, the graduating high school senior student MUST:

  1. enroll in CM Evaluation at CM Level 7 or above;
  2. enroll in CM Evaluation for three (3) years during school Grades 9 through 12 (consecutive or non-consecutive years), including in their final year of high school; 
  3. pass all components of CM Evaluations (e.g. Performance and Theory) for each Level, in each of those three (3) years.

*If a student play two (2) instruments, the student MUST complete the requirements for EACH instrument. Cannot combine two (2) or more instruments for one award.


Young Artist Guild (YAG)

The Young Artist Guild is awarded upon recommendation by a panel of evaluators to the most gifted musicians in the Certificate of Merite® program. The 5-year Guild membership offers the student members semi-professional paid performance opportunities through MTAC branch-sponsored concerts.

Convention Recitals

Evaluators select students from the annual CM Performance Evaluations to perform at  MTAC’s annual State Convention.

113th Annual Convention will happen from June 30-July 2023, at Hyatt Regency, Santa Clara, CA

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If you have any CM related questions, please visit your MTAC Teacher Portal or contact the MTAC CM State Office directly.

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