June Session RCM Examinations

Bravo to the following students who were successful in their practical examinations in June:

Bridget Puhacz, Grade 5 piano, 88

Noelle Puhacz, Grade 4 piano, 87

Upcoming Events

August Session RCM Examinations

Good luck to the following students:

Bethany Hoang

Braeden Hoang

Leiya Jangam

Dinuri Punchihewa

Brianne Rutherford

This month's feature:  The Launch of the 2016 RCM Theory Syllabus

Theory has been an integral part of the RCM certificate program for over a century but has often been treated as a separate undertaking by students and teachers. The RCM is moving forward to change this with the introduction of their new theory syllabus which becomes effective September 1, 2016. There will be complementary theory requirements at every RCM level.

Why is this a good idea? Currently, theory requirements do not make an appearance until level 5 and so the inclination on the part of many teachers has been to focus on the playing aspects of learning an instrument and then to come back to teach theory at level 5, often as a separate intense activity of short duration. This strategy does work but I don't think it is the most effective way to encourage information retention among students. Learning theory concepts in small incremental steps that are aligned to the repertoire level that is being taught offers a greater chance for theory concepts to become so ingrained that they become nearly as second nature as breathing.

Are there any new requirements? Yes. Content has been enriched to include melody writing and guided listening activities at each level. Terminology has been updated to align with the approaches used in theory textbooks used in colleges and universities. Please be aware that although some of the names have changed, the underlying concepts have not. For example, a semitone will be called a half step but means the same thing. So don't throw away your current theory workbooks! Finally, the names for examinations have been changed to correspond to the RCM levels that they are associated with. For example, Basic Rudiments will be called Level 5 Theory.

Will there now be corresponding mandatory written theory examinations at every level? I am not clear on the answer to this but will provide an update when this information becomes available. At any rate, I would expect that a change like this, if it were to occur, would be phased in over time.

Am I excited by this change? Very much so. I have several creative students who will enjoy the inclusion of the melody writing activities. More than this, I think that in general, current students studying RCM repertoire will be receiving a musical education that is richer than the ones of their predecessors.