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Start Here: An Introduction

Start Here: An Introduction to Our Certificate Program
For over 130 years, the RCM has been a leader in developing human potential through music education and the arts.

Our program is used by over 30,000 teachers to support 500,000 students across North America. Our more than 5 million RCM alumni have built careers in a wide range of fields, including medicine, law, journalism, and professional athletics.

  • The Benefits of a Formal Music Education

    The quality of a child’s music education is linked to their academic achievement.

    20 Percent Increase Graphic
    Research shows that formal music education contributes to cognitive development. Elementary school students in higher quality music education programs saw a 20% improvement in standardized tests of English and math.*

    Comprehensive musical training benefits both brain structure and brain function. Just like well-exercised muscles protect the bones and joints, reduce blood pressure and increase energy levels, music education produces bigger, better-functioning brains—a benefit to people of any age.

    Brains of Musically Trained Individuals Graphic

    * Source: Johnson, CM and Memmott JE, Examination of Relationships between Participants in School Music Programs of Differing Quality and Standardized Test Results, Journal of Research in Music Education (Winter 2006), Volume 54, Number 4
  • Why Study The Royal Conservatory Certificate Program?

    Developing human potential lies at the heart of everything we do

    The Royal Conservatory Certificate Program is a comprehensive system of music study and assessment from Elementary through to Advanced levels. In many countries, it is considered the gold standard for developing high-calibre musical literacy.  

    At each level of the RCM Certificate Program, students are supported with accompanying publications to help them develop into well-rounded musicians.

    With a focus on nurturing creativity and developing self-confidence, our program allows students to work at their own pace.

    Our integrated curriculum encompasses repertoire from classical to contemporary, as well as etudes, ear tests, sight reading, technique, and theory for over 20 instruments, voice, and speech arts and drama.

    Individual student examinations, delivered by one of our 300+ accredited examiners, enable students to track their progress and celebrate their accomplishments.
  • Tracking Progress: RCM Exams and Why Take Them

    Examinations are available for both Practical (performance) and Theory (written).
    • Practical examinations evaluate the performance of repertoire, etudes or vocalises, aural skills, sight reading or singing, and orchestral excerpts for string, brass, and wind instruments.
    • Theory examinations evaluate the understanding of theory basics such as musical notation. Advanced levels include harmony, counterpoint, analysis, and history.

    The Benefits of Exams
    • Build self-confidence
    • Encourage goal setting
    • Provide a national standard for students to track their progress
    • Promote well-rounded musical training 

    What to Expect at an Examination
    • An objective assessment of the student’s skill for that level
    • A friendly yet professional atmosphere
    • Personalized feedback and marks available online within a few weeks
  • Recognizing Achievement: Certificates, Diplomas, Awards, and High School Credits
    • A Certificate of Achievement can be earned at each level of study by successfully completing all the requirements for each level of The Royal Conservatory Certificate Program.
    • The ARCT Diploma is recognized internationally and is one of the highest academic credentials awarded by The Royal Conservatory.
    • All examination candidates are eligible to receive Gold Medal awards from The Royal Conservatory. These awards are based on examination results.
    • Many school systems recognize RCM examinations for credit toward secondary school graduation.
  • Tips for Supporting Music Study
    • Communicate regularly with both your child and teacher
    • Support your child during practice sessions either as a coach or an engaged listener
    • Encourage improvisation and student-driven exploration of the instrument
    Students and Parents:
    • Create time for consistent, dedicated practice
    • Collaborate with your teacher to establish achievable short- and long-term goals
    • Celebrate success and accomplishments!