G r o w w i t h O p u s 1


——————Professional Organizations——————


Music Teachers’ Association of California

In 1897, seven people created a legacy; today more than 4,700 members are part of that growing legacy. With twelve budding educational programs and active branches, the Association continues to adhere to the ideals that guided the founders over 100 years ago. Their vision is fulfilled every day in the lives of the students, teachers, and volunteers who help run the Music Teachers’ Association of California®. This is the top-tier organization for California music teachers and provides various student opportunities through its membership in addition to events for teachers.

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Palo Alto Branch of the Music Teachers’ Association of California

This is the local branch of the MTAC and provides several events and opportunities throughout the year. The branch provides different events centered around student activities and teacher group events.

——————Student Opportunities——————

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ABRSM (Associated Board of the Royal Schools of Music)

  • Practical Exams

  • Theory Exams

The ABRSM Exams are the most popular exams enrolled by students at Opus 1. The Practical Exams require 3 exam pieces (non-memorized) that are pre-selected, scales+arpeggios+broken chords, sight-reading, and aural training. The grades are “Distinction,” “Merit",” “Pass,” and “Not Pass.” There are materials specific to the exams including the specimen books (best for student use) and Aural Training in Practice, which is a guide for teachers on how to instruct the aural training portions of the exams. Any age may participate.

The Theory Exams are a great and professional way to teach students the science of music and what goes into creating a piece. Please note: In order to take the Grade 6 Practical Exam, students must have passed the Grade 5 Theory Exam.


Royal Conservatory of Music

The Canada-based organization is a similar entity to the Royal Conservatory of Music with a slightly different format and curriculum. The RCM has both a Practical, Theory, Harmony, and History exams. Components of the Practical exam include repertoire, etudes, technical exercises, and aural skills. Grades span 1-10 and teachers should be diligent about reviewing the requirements for advancement into the next grade as students develop.

Please note: Opus 1 is not involved in any of the registration logistics for this exam, unlike the ABRSM exam.


Certificate of Merit (CM) Exams - Presented by the Music Teachers’ Association of California

The Certificate of Merit Exams is the regional curriculum for local students. The Music Teachers’ Association of California® (MTAC) sponsors the music study program Certificate of Merit® (CM). The program provides a standard of curriculum that requires students to strive for focused musical excellence in performance, technique, ear training, sight reading/singing, and music theory.

Initiated in 1933, the annual statewide program involves approximately 30,000 students in piano, violin, cello, viola, flute, French horn, oboe, clarinet, saxophone, bassoon, baritone/euphonium horn, voice, and harp. Students benefit tremendously from this educational opportunity. Please consult with your child’s teacher for more information regarding registration and preparation.


U.S. Open Competition (piano only)

Since 1992, The United States Open Music Competition has promoted the best of classical treasury among young musicians through its annual piano competition events and is committed to expanding the competition to include all aspects of classical repertoire in solo, duet, ensemble, and concerto events. The contest ranges from open solos to pianistic merits, focusing on sight reading and accompaniment. The competition receives students from local, national, and international regions. The recommended starting contest is the “Open Solo” event while the “Showcase” is an event for exceptional students.

Syllabus with repertoire, deadlines, fees, etc. is released annually in early August.

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2019 Thera Rabinowitch Memorial Competition (piano only)

The Rabinowitch Competition was established in memory of the piano teacher and Palo Alto Branch president, Thera Rabinowitch, by her family, to reward students of the Palo Alto Branch for outstanding musical performance. The competition is part of the Palo Alto branch of the Music Teachers’ Association of California. The competition is open to students grades 5-12 for piano. Students play two contrasting pieces and length increases as grade level rises.


——————Local Arts Organizations——————

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Silicon Valley Boychoir

The Silicon Valley Boychoir is a professional choir serving boys ages 7-18 in various concert groups. They rehearse in downtown Palo Alto.


Symphony Silicon Valley

The Symphony's artists, nationally recruited, locally resident, with an average performance tenure in San Jose of over 20 years, are recognized as among the best in the greater Bay Area. Led by an exciting roster of distinguished guest conductors on the European model, the Symphony is an anchor tenant of San Jose's magnificently restored downtown California Theatre, one of Northern California's most outstanding music halls. There, audiences and critics alike greet its concerts with enthusiasm.

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Music at Menlo - Chamber Music Festival and Institute

Located in neighboring Menlo Park, Music@Menlo’s Young Performers Program provides an incomparable experience for some of the most outstanding young musicians from across the country and abroad. Designed for enthusiastic and dedicated string players and pianists ages nine to eighteen, the program immerses students in a rigorous, nurturing environment where they will explore three pieces of repertoire, culminating in weekly performances. Students should be at an advanced level and have studied privately for at least three to five years.


Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts

The Mountain View Center for the Performing Arts enriches Silicon Valley audiences through enjoyment, celebration and interaction with the arts.

The Center is the vibrant heart of downtown Mountain View, home of world-class theatre, dance, and music along with visual arts exhibits, lectures, and corporate events. Since opening in 1991, millions of patrons have experienced thousands of amazing performances on the Center’s three stages.

——————Miscellaneous Resources——————

Below are resources you may find helpful for both you and/or your students. Browse, reference, use, and enjoy!


Petrucci Music Library

The Petrucci Music Library is a free online resource for sheet music. You can access nearly every published work that is in the public domain (the copyright has expired). Everything from Beethoven sonata, Schubert lied, Clementi sonatinas, and everything written by Bach is on the site. Not only is sheet music available, but you can also access arrangements, transcriptions, and even recordings of the pieces. You can now download the new IMSLP app to your mobile device for easy navigation. The site requires you to wait through a countdown before being able to download your selection. You can skip this by paying a monthly fee. It’s a great resource - you can print the music, save it to your mobile library, and access on your tablet.

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8notes.com (Free Sheet Music Resource)

This website is a terrific resource for in-the-moment searches for students during the holidays. Many teachers use it to find free printable music for Christmas and Halloween pieces. The downside is it doesn’t have anything beyond the notes usually, so plan on writing in fingering, bow marks, etc. You’re welcome to use the Opus 1 printer for student pieces such as this, though don’t over-do it.


Living the Classical Life

This is a great resource to watch interviews with prestigious international musicians. It gives an introspective look inside the daily lives of some of our most beloved musicians. Many famous musicians such as Steven Isserlis, Yuja Wang, Joshua Bell, Emanuel Ax, John Corigliano, and many more give long segments where they give a personal snapshot of their life, approach to music, and insights that can only be learned through an in-person interview.


San Francisco Symphony - Teacher Resources

The SFS has a useful website providing resources for teachers. There is information on the composers, technique, history, and more. It’s a terrific source for new ideas and fresh material to help students study either at home or in their lesson with your guidance. You can also share with students that the SF Symphony provides student discount seats and has several concerts throughout the year intended to appeal to families, including live music for popular movies.