Music Development Program

One of the additions I'd like to make to our studio offerings is enrollment in the Music Development assessment program.

Personally, I have been very cautious about looking at leveled assessments for students because I don't want anything that will conflict with our studio mission: to nurture a love of music in our students. Thus far, this mission has meant following a student's interest and abilities and curating an approach to music education that is both comprehensive and flexible. To add any exam prep would definitely be adding some rigidity to this approach. However, as I've researched, and spoken to and heard from other teachers, I think I have been introduced to a program that would be a good addition for students who are looking for a bigger commitment to piano practice and progress:

So let me tell you about the Music Development program. An off-shoot of Canada's Royal Academy of Music, the program is an internationally recognized series of assessments that encourages well-rounded growth and excellence. The exams are practical - performed for a judge- and include a rehearsed piece, technic, etude, sight reading and aural skills. You can sign up for levels as you are prepared, and begin on any level you choose; this maintains some flexibility in expected progress, rather than requiring a student be prepared for a test each year. The tests are priced based on level, taking into account the amount of time the judge will be spending with a student and evaluating their work. You can find more information about the program on their website.

Participating in such a program is a commitment to at least 30 minutes of practice each day, and practice would need to include sight reading and aural skills in addition to the assigned technique and musical works. There are apps and online games that will be available to you for developing these skills. To learn more about who should consider exams, and how you as a parent would be expected to support your child through exam prep, you can listen to this episode of the Piano Parent Podcast. In order for lessons to not become all about 'teaching to the test,' practice would need to be maintained so that other musical avenues could still be pursued. We still want to play lots of 'fun' music, work on improvisation, composing, learn repertoire beyond the assessment guidelines all while proper preparation is taking place. Once practice is incorporated as a non-optional regular part of each day, and good habits are in place, it can be incredibly rewarding for students who will find joy and excellence in their progress. This practice commitment is not going to be something every student is able to do, and that is 100% OK. If you have 72 extra curricular activities going on and are hardly finding time to practice as it is, please don't feel pressure to over-commit and sign up for this.

All that aside, I am excited to be announcing that this will be an option for my students, and if you would like to discuss further about possibly participating, or if you have any questions, please feel free to let me know!