student development

Below you will find resources for local competitions, events, music organizations, and learning resources to help students do their best.

Exams & Contests

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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.

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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.

Performances, Camps, and Other Events

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Music at Menlo - Chamber Music Festival and Institute

(Ages 9-18)

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.

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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.


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.