TAP to Carnegie Hall

TAP to Carnegie Hall

Carnegie hall Attention: Music Teachers! Do you know how your students can get to Carnegie Hall? Of course they have to “practice, practice, practice,” but you can increase their chances by recommending that they participate in The Carnegie Hall Royal Conservatory Achievement Program (TAP for short).

WHAT is it?

TAP provides a recognized national standard of musical success through an effectively sequenced course of study from beginner to advanced levels. First of all, a bit of recent history: last year The Royal Conservatory Program partnered with Carnegie Hall to create TAP. Prior to TAP, the program here in the United States was formerly called The National Music Certificate Program (NMCP) and before that, The Royal American Conservatory Examinations (RACE). Though it is fairly new here, the Royal Conservatory was founded in 1886 as the Toronto Conservatory of Music. Interestingly, its founder, Edward Fisher, was a young organist born in the U.S. The Conservatory offically opened in September of 1887 and is now celebrating its 125th year. The mission of The Royal Conservatory is “to develop human potential through music and the arts.” Notable alumni include Glenn Gould who graduated from the Conservatory with highest honors at age 12.

TAP encompasses four main areas: repertoire, technique, musicianship, and musical literacy. The program covers all instruments, voice, and the academic areas of theory, music history, and pedagogy. The Piano Syllabus consists of ten Grades with a theory assessment requirement beginning at Grade 5. Included also are elementary and intermediate piano pedagogy, as well as diplomas in Piano Performance and Piano Pedagogy.

WHEN is it?

Assessment sessions are offered twice per year in November/December and May/June. Winter assessments are now over, but registration for spring assessments opens on January 17 with a deadline of February 21. If you enroll a student in this first year of TAP, you can qualify as a Founding Teacher! Further information regarding location and dates can be found on the TAP website.

WHY do it?

Some states in the country (such as my own, Minnesota) already have well-established syllabus programs. So you may be asking, why do one more thing? For me, it is a way for my students to compare on a national level. There is a common language and recognition for high achievement. In fact, to celebrate its inaugural year, TAP is hosting a special event at Carnegie Hall on March 27, 2012: national top achievers will be selected to perform in a concert and radio broadcast with From the Top and host Christopher O’Riley. Furthermore, students may be able to receive high school credit for succesfully completing Grades 8 and beyond. Also, the adjudication is excellent. The adjudicating body is called the College of Examiners. A strict selection process, training, supervision, monitoring, quality control, and unbiased third party opinion ensures that a high standard of professionalism is maintained.

The supporting materials that are available through Frederick Harris are extremely high quality and include the Perspective Series as well as sight playing, ear training, theory, and history texts. By following the curriculum, a clear path for success is set. Additionally, as a teacher, I do not have to volunteer and I do not need to fill out registration forms. Parents can simply go online and do it themselves. Some teachers, however, do choose to fill out registration forms for their students. Personally, I like not having to do it! It is nice to have the administrative and online support that the website provides. Critiques and theory assessment results are available online and can be accessed and easily stored for future reference.

This is a very comprehensive program. My students really love it and it has been a pleasure to see the smiles on their faces, and the pride in their eyes after successfully completing an assessment! I have observed that those who participate grow into fine, well-rounded, independent musicians. It is a program that will motivate the student to reach his/her musical potential.

HOW to start?

It is very easy. Just go to the website: www.theachievementprogram.org and sign up to get your teacher number. Students can then begin enrolling for assessments with your teacher number. Jumpstart the new year and consider adding this program to your music studio!

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