The Carnegie Hall, aiming improving the quality of the music education on pre-college level in US, was thoughtfully searching for the best program to establish it as a unified standard in US. Quite recently Carnegie Hall in conjunction with the Royal Conservatory in Toronto announced The Achievement Program as a National Standard in US. Royal Conservatory program has been adjusted for US educational conditions and has been widely implemented throughout the country since then (www.theachievementprogram.org/about-us/endorsements).
I have registered for this program and launching it at my studio as currently the most adequate to the European pre-college programs in US. The program orientation on upbringing of a well-rounded musician, no matter on which instrument a student performs, profoundly matches my own pedagogical approach.
In accordance with the program definition, “The Achievement Program is a sequenced course of musical study appropriate for all levels and ages. Many adults participate in The Program, as they consider the assessments to be a clear and rewarding way to motivate and guide their study. They also appreciate receiving constructive and valuable professional feedback on their growth and development.”
Carnegie Hall Royal School The Achievement Program starts from Level A to 10 and awards students with the internationally recognized Certificates after each level test and Diplomas (Associate Performer’s Diploma in Piano Performance and Associate Diploma in Piano Pedagogy) for those who are interested to proceed to the Diplomas level assessments.
Flexibility of the program is very appealing to any age and level. Students can enroll at the grade they feel confident and can skip levels depending on their preparedness.
The Achievement Program has three assessment sessions per year: in fall, winter and summer. The Program consists of several sections: Performance, Technique (scales and technical exercises-Etudes), Sight-Reading, Ear Awareness, and Musical Terminology. A separate Theory assessment (test) will require Theory Rudiments for Level 1-5 and more complicated subjects for levels 5-10 and Diploma (Harmony, Counterpoint, Analysis, and Music History)
Though rooted in the ABRSM program (Royal School of Music, London), it is better balanced with the Performance section. ABRSM doesn’t require memorization, what is essential for the future pianist or any instrumentalist. In distinct from ABRSM, The Achievement Program requires memorization and includes technical pieces (Etudes) as an undeniable necessity for developing and reinforcing technical abilities of a performer. Better variety and larger choice of compositions in the repertoire (from 3 to 5) will convince any dedicated teacher to work within the program.
The best benefit of this program is upgrading of the standard in all USA states and made it comparable to the standards abroad. “A national standard ensures the equality of all students, no matter where they are located.” Currently more and more colleges in US accept the Certificates and Diploma and waive some college pre-requisites.
In spite of the comprehensive scope of the subjects of The Achievement Program, applicants have to realize that “The Achievement Program is designed for a wide range of students, not limited only to the exceptionally talented or those focused on a musical career.” (For more information visit www.theachievementprogram.org)
ABRSM program is still available at my studio for those who would like to continue London Royal School of Music system.