Achievement in Music (AIM) Exams
The Achievement in Music Program, also known as AIM, is an exciting and motivating program for students developed by dedicated members of the Illinois State Music Teachers Association (ISMTA).
AIM is designed to develop strong performance and technical skills as well as a thorough understanding of musical theory. There are 12 levels in the program, with Level 1 divided into 3 parts, Levels 1A,1B, and 1C. Each level has theory, performance, and technical requirements that follow a logical progression from early elementary through advanced.
Students generally prepare one level each year and demonstrate their competency at annual exams, which are conducted by experienced judges in a comfortable setting. Students are not in competition with other students but are evaluated individually on their accomplishments. Students are recognized with a pin for passing the theory exam, and a certificate for passing both the theory and performance exam. Upper level students receive a plaque and subsequent bars.
Theory and keyboard skills include:
- Sight reading
- Aural Skills
- Written Skills
- Score Analysis
Technique skills progress from five-finger patterns to scales, chords and arpeggios. Students perform repertoire from various musical style periods which can be chosen from flexible required repertoire list. Two pieces must be memorized. If the particular level requires more than two pieces, bonus points are awarded for any additional memory work.
Students in the highest level have an additional choice of offering a Level 12 recital instead of the performance exam. This allows family and friends to gather, enjoy the music and celebrate the student’s achievement. In case of recitals, the technique portion of the performance exam is tested on the April date.
Locations and Fees
AIM exams are held on Sundays at various locations. Please click the links below to learn about fees, exam dates and directions:
To prepare for the Exams students must take Enhanced Individual Theory Lessons or Theory Group Lessons (if a group is available for that particular level). Please see Tuition and Fees page for Theory Lessons rates.
Levels 2-8 require 45 min. sessions and levels 9-12 1 hour and up.
Each level requires a work book that can be purchased at www.ismta.org or I can purchase it for you and the cost will be added to the tuition.
1. Students who pass both Theory and Performance at one level usually proceed to the next higher level.
2. Students who do not pass both Theory and Performance may retake a level or advance to a higher level at the discretion of their teacher. Students pay a new participation fee when they retake a level.
3. Students may skip a level at teacher discretion, but do not earn awards or certificates for the skipped level. Care should be taken to cover the skipped material because skills and concepts are cumulative.
4. Students may only register for performance exams after passing the corresponding theory level.
5. Students may skip the performance exam and proceed to higher theory levels earning a theory pin but no certificate.
6. Students may take the theory level one year and the corresponding performance exam the next year. Students earn a theory pin the first year and a certificate the second year.
7. New repertoire must be performed at each exam level.
The Royal Conservatory Certificate Program (RCM)
The RCM Certificate Program is a comprehensive and effectively sequenced program of music study and assessment, beginning with the Preparatory level(s), followed by levels 1 to 10, and concluding with the Associate Diploma of The Royal Conservatory of Music (ARCT). A Licenciate Diploma of The Royal Conservatory of Music (LRCM) is available for piano. At each level, a Certificate of Achievement can be earned by successfully completing a Royal Conservatory practical examination.
High quality: The Royal Conservatory offers a rigorous, internationally renowned standard of music education, discipline and assessment.
Comprehensive: The RCM Certificate Program incorporates repertoire, etudes/studies, sight-reading, ear training, technique and theory for multiple disciplines.
Structured: The program provides a clear levelled path for well-rounded musical training, and a consistent and meaningful structure for recognizing achievement, and rewarding excellence.
Recognition of Achievement: Student performance is recognized at each level through examinations and regional and national awards. Students can celebrate their accomplishments and track their progress. Many school systems recognize RCM examinations for credit towards secondary school graduation. Please check with your guidance counselor for more information. This document provides you with details on the RCM program that will be helpful for school administrators in assessing the program for high school credits and excused absences for examinations.
Lifelong Enjoyment of Music: The skills that students acquire through The RCM Certificate Program will give them the musical proficiency and the tools they need to enjoy playing music for the rest of their lives.
Please see guide for parents here.
Locations and Fees
To learn about locations,dates and fees, please click here.
To prepare for RCM Exams students must take Enhanced Individual Theory Lessons or Theory Group Lessons (if a group is available for that particular level). Please see Tuition and Fees page for Theory Lessons rates.
Levels 2-5 require 45 min. sessions and levels 5-10 1 hour and up.
Each level requires a work book that can be purchased at www.bookstore.rcmusic.com or I can purchase it for you and the cost will be added to the tuition.