Benefits of Studying Music
Choosing the Right Teacher
Role of Parents
High School Accreditation


Benefits of Studying Music

Were you aware that the study of music has many other intellectual benefits that will help your child in his school studies and on into adult life?

*One group of 3 year olds received weekly piano lessons and participated in group singing. Another group did not. After a year, the musically trained children scored 80% higher on tests of spatial and temporal reasoning, an ability that underlies many kinds of mathematics and engineering skills. Playing music can increase the creation of neural pathways.

*In neurological research papers it has shown that when groups studying either piano or computers were compared, students in the piano program showed 34% higher scores in these important areas.

*Listening for 10 minutes to Mozart Piano Sonatas temporarily raised college students’ IQ by as much as nine points.

*Comparing the brains of 30 musicians it was discovered that music activates and enhances the cognitive processes involved in language and reasoning.

*When several American schools integrated music and poetry into their curriculum they found attendance up and behavior problems down.

*Research shows that 80% – 90% of the brain’s motor-control capabilities is devoted to the hands, mouth and throat. By developing the highly refined control in those areas a child is stimulating a large portion of the brain and that increased intelligence is therefore helped by participation in music.

*Remember that the root of the word “music” is “muse”, meaning to think, ponder or stimulate thought. We as music teachers are helping to develop the mind of a child! We must never forget that Music (arts) students continue to score higher academically.

Choosing the right teacher

Choosing the right teacher for your child is an important decision. While it is similar to choosing a dentist, or doctor for your family, there are factors that can make it more complex.

You can find a teacher through word-of-mouth from friends, neighbors, or school teachers, or you can contact the local branch of the Alberta Registered Music Teachers’ Association for a listing of members. In order to become members of the Association, teachers must have completed a diploma or degree in music, and have proven their ability to teach. This entitles them to put the designation RMT next to their names. If you choose a registered teacher, you are assured that the teacher is qualified. A professional teacher will be happy to inform you of their qualifications, and teaching experience.

Once you have made the initial contact with the teacher, probably over the telephone, it is a good idea to arrange an interview for yourself and your child. Many teachers will suggest this, but if not, then you can suggest it. This will allow the teacher to meet your child and assess him/her, but more importantly for you, it will allow you to see where your child will have their lessons, and to observe how the teacher interacts with the child. The teacher’s studio should allow for the lesson to be private and uninterrupted by family members or other waiting students.

How do I handle the interview?
What kinds of questions should I ask?

First of all you should determine with your child the type of program you and your child are interested in.

Do you want to do exams, music festivals, pop music, strictly classical or a mixture of everything. What do you and your child hope to achieve with these music lessons. Long term goals should be discussed. Make sure that you both are in agreement with the kind of program that you are looking for. If you have determined this with your child then at the interview discuss the teacher’s views on your expectations and desires. This is a very important step to a successful relationship that could last over many years. Once you have done this then you are ready to go to the interview.

The following is a short check list of important items to help you in the interview.


Does the teacher hold a recognized degree or diploma in music? If not, are they studying with someone who is qualified to supervise their teaching?
Are they professionally active? Do they perform accompany, belong to a teacher association, attend workshops, etc.?
Do you get the impression that the teacher enjoys her work?
What kind of program do they teach?
What are the cancellation policies?
What are the expectations for daily practicing?

Ask about the Royal Conservatory of Music and Conservatory Canada music programs. Have the teacher explain the grading systems of these programs and the high school credits that can be earned through private music lessons. that can be earned through private music lessons.

Outside of time spent with family, music lessons are one of the very few one-to-one situations for today’s youngsters. In later years the music student may not remember the specifics of the early lessons, but they will remember the personality and style of the teacher, so it is important to ask your child’s opinion of the teacher after the interview. Once you are assured of the teacher’s qualifications, use your instincts as a parent, and choose the teacher that you feel suits your child the best.

Role of Parents

Parents play a vital role in their child’s musical growth, both because they initiate the lessons and choose the teacher and because only they can create and maintain the atmosphere of interest and encouragement at home so necessary to real pleasure and progress in music study.

Here are some points to keep in mind:

*Provide a good instrument, keep it well tuned and in good repair.
*The instrument should be placed in an area free of distractions and good lighting should be provided.
*Find a qualified teacher and set up an interview with the teacher to be sure that your child’s needs will be met.
*see that your child arrives on time for lessons and with all the necessary books or materials.
*Keep and open mind if the teacher you have chosen teaches differently from the way you were taught or uses material with a different look.
*Help the child arrange a regular practice time and supervise the practice of a very young child.
*Take time to listen to your child regularly and encourage their playing for family and friends. Every opportunity to play for others will increase your child self-confidence, poise and enjoyment of music study.
*Listen to music together whether it be attending music recitals or concerts. This is a wonderful way to introduce the world of music to your child and to encourage goals. It is also a lot of fun and a terrific family activity that will be remembered for your whole lives.

High School Accreditation

Did you know that students can receive high school credits for their music studies? The following table serves as a guideline for students seeking high school accreditation for their music work.

*consultation with a school guidance counselor for further details is advised. In some instances the guidance councilor may not have all of the information. Check with your music teacher at school or your private music teacher for more information.
Accreditation policies are the jurisdiction of each individual province.
* Questions should be directed to your local board of education or high school.

Requirements for the Province of Alberta

Music Instrument RCM Examination Level Receive Credit for high school grade….
Voice Grade 6 Practical + Intermediate Rudiments
(Grade 1)
Grade 10
Piano, Strings, Accordion, Guitar Grade 6 Practical + Intermediate Rudiments
(Grade 1)
Grade 10
Woodwind, Brass, Percussion, Recorder Grade 4 Practical + Intermediate Rudiments
(Grade 1) 
Grade 10
Voice, Piano, Strings, Accordion, Guitar Grade 7 Practical +
Advanced Rudiments
(Grade 2)
Grade 11
Woodwind, Brass, Percussion, Recorder Grade 6 Practical + Advanced Rudiments
(Grade 2)
Grade 11
Voice, Piano, Strings, Accordion, Guitar, Woodwind, Brass, Percussion, Recorder Grade 8 Practical + Advanced Rudiments
(Grade 2)
Grade 12

If you have any problems getting correct information from your school the following may be helpful.

This information was taken from RCM Examinations 2010

Music – Private Study

When a student requests music credits for private study, in voice or an instrument, a principal may grant 5 credits for each of:

*Choral Music 10 for voice or instrumental Music 10 for an instrument.

*Choral Music 20 for voice or instrumental Music 20 for an instrument.

*Choral Music 30 for voice or instrumental Music 30 for an instrument.

Students are not to receive credits for both school music and music by private study when those programs are both instrumental or both choral (voice). The maximum credits a student can earn in either a Choral Music 10-20-30 program or an instrumental Music 10-20-30 program is fifteen. For example, a student cannot earn 15 credits in instrumental school music and another 15 credits in instrumental private study. This does not affect locally developed/acquired and authorized courses.

Credits for work in private music study completed in previous years may be applied to courses in advance of the student’s current grade level.

If a student presents an official transcript verifying that he or she has achieved the learner expectations required for the equivalent of Grade 12 credit, the principal is to recommend the awarding of a maximum of 15 credits in music (5 each for Grade 10, Grade 11, and Grade 12), whether or not the student has documentation for all the required components for equivalent credits for Grade 10 and Grade 11.

Similarly, if a student has achieved the learner expectations required for Grade 11 equivalency, the principal is to recommend the awarding of 10 credits in music (5 each for Grade 10 and Grade 11).

The principal is to evaluate the documents, using the evaluation form available from the Educational Information Exchange. The completed evaluation form is to be forwarded to the Educational Information Exchange. To obtain credit, students are to have passed both the practical and the theory components listed in the chart for that grade level.

Marks submitted by schools to Alberta Education should be calculated for each grade level as follows:

Practical Component (Grade Level) – 70% of mark submitted.
Other Components (Theory) – 30% of mark submitted.

Note: Principals are to recommend credits only on the basis of official transcripts as issued by Conservatory Canada, the Royal Conservatory of Music or Mount Royal College, Calgary. Diplomas, photocopies of diplomas or photocopies of transcripts are themselves insufficient for evaluation purposes.

In those instances where a student does not provide an official transcript for each lower grade level being evaluated, the principal is to report a mark of “P” or pass, rather than a percentage score, when recommending the awarding of waived credits.

What is a Registered Music Teacher?

THE ALBERTA REGISTERED MUSIC TEACHERS’ ASSOCIATION (ARMTA) is an organization representing and serving approximately 400 music teachers across the province. The organization began in 1932 as a group of music teachers who were interested in enhancing the quality of life by promoting the love and knowledge of music through teaching and by providing cultural events of a high standard in the community. These became our stated goals and objectives when we became a Registered Professional Association in 1982.

A professional organization is an important and positive influence in raising the standards of music teaching.

The designation RMT (Registered Music Teacher) is an assurance to the public that the teacher has met specified educational standards. Our members all hold degrees/diplomas from universities, colleges, and/or music conservatories.  

ARMTA teachers prepare candidates for all recognized examinations, festivals and competitions, but our principal aim as an organization is to educate musicians and music lovers.

ARMTA HAS AN ENORMOUS IMPACT on the communities in our province. At an average rate of 30 students per member, the ARMTA teachers directly touch the lives and serve the needs of over 12,000 Albertans.

ARMTA sponsors various educational programs such as the Intermediate Piano Workshop at Musicamrose, music writing competition, Canada Music Week activities, concerto competitions and a wide assortment of concerts and workshops. ARMTA participates in the largest music conference in the country, the Alberta Music Conference. ARMTA is also involved in local and provincial music festivals and offers a number of scholarships.

ENCOURAGING OUR YOUTH to achieve their highest musical potential is central to the heart of ARMTA.

LOCAL BRANCHES exist in Calgary, Edmonton, Fort McMurray, Lethbridge, Lloydminster, Medicine Hat and Red Deer. These branches cater to the regional needs of teachers and offer a wide variety of professional development opportunities to their members and students.

ARMTA is also affiliated with the Canadian Federation of Music Teachers’ Associations (CFMTA), a national organization of private music teachers with over 3,600 members.

ARMTA IS ALSO COMMITTED to providing continuing education opportunities for those in remote and/ rural areas.

THE SUCCESS of the Alberta Registered Music Teachers’ Association is attributed to the fine teachers which comprise its membership. As and active leader in the musical community for more than 50 years, ARMTA has become intrinsically woven into the cultural fabric of our province.

BEHIND EVERY GREAT MUSICIAN emerging from our homes, there is a great teacher…. most often a Registered Music Teacher of ARMTA.