Conservatory Canada is a musical institution founded in 1891 in London, Ontario. They are similar to the Royal Conservatory of Music, offering practical and theory examinations, a carefully graded approach to learning (levels 1-10) and high school credit for completing levels 7 or 8. Although it tends to be lesser known (I had only discovered Conservatory Canada after moving to Ontario in 2013) I have been impressed by their:
- Curriculum: features more Canadian composers than the Royal Conservatory of Music and a wide variety of genres
- Testing for understanding: their exams feature “viva voce” where students must be able to name the piece, key, and composer, as well as any markings on the music. In this way, students receive a more “well-rounded” musical understanding compared to the Royal Conservatory of Music
- Flexible exams: students have the option of partial exams (dividing the exam into two parts beginning in grade 7), and may play a supplementary piece of their choice which does not require pre-approval.
- Exams with digital pianos: “Digital pianos that meet specific criteria are enthusiastically endorsed for examination purposes at all grade levels”
- eExams: students can take practical or theory examinations ANYTIME (not just during usual exam periods)
- Mini-lesson after the exam: students have the option to have a 15-min mini-lesson with the examiner! This is an invaluable opportunity to hear personal feedback for improvement, and anyone (parents, teachers) can even sit in and listen!
I encourage all students interested in exams to give Conservatory Canada a try!