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MMTA Piano Contest and Exams

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 by Betsy Breaker | Uncategorized

As a member of the MMTA, I encourage you to consider participation in one or several of the MMTA evaluation programs for your student. Students across the state participate in these programs offered at various dates and locations fairly convenient to all. The closest judging location for most programs is New Ulm, however the Twin Cities has at least one and often several dates and locations. I’ve tried to capture the essence of each program below, but if you are considering any of the programs please contact me for further information. Please note that registration fees for these programs are not covered by your tuition, and all travel is on your own. A summary graph is provided. Note, fall evaluations are also offered for students who are willing to begin preparations over the summer months.

Piano Contest: Mostly performance based

  1. Student prepares and memorizes a piece from the repertoire list for their age level for preliminary judging
  2. Top performers from prelims may choose to proceed to final judging (additional cost) playing the same prepared piece
  3. Top performers from finals may choose to play at the Honors Concert which is a mass ensemble performing a new piece that must be learned and memorized
  4. There are 4 mandatory rehearsals prior to the Honors Concert held in the Twin Cities
  5. Students at the Intermediate A level (ages 13-14) and higher must have passed Theory Exams 1 and 2 by the Final Exam date

Piano Exams: Well-rounded evaluation of all aspects of piano study

  1. Encompasses the areas of Keyboard Skills, Theory, Sightplaying and Repertoire which can be done in full as a Comprehensive Exam; the components (except Repertoire) may also be done separately
  2. Our studio’s Keyboard Karate program follows the Keyboard Skills syllabus
  3. Repertoire for Comprehensive Exams is selected from an approved repertoire list, a much broader range of choices than with the Piano Contest (pieces do not overlap). The number of pieces required varies by age/level from 2 to 5 pieces of contrasting styles and genres.
  4. Students may jump in at any level and may also skip levels
  5. Upper levels of Comprehensive Exams have Theory Exam prerequisites
  6. If a student does not wish to do the repertoire component, they may do Sightplaying and Keyboard Skills without Theory prerequisites

Popular Styles Exams: Comprehensive evaluation in contemporary genres

  1. Playing and listening skill assessment of folk, blues, jazz, rock, pop and other popular styles
  2. Arranging and Improvising from lead sheets
  3. There is a workbook specific to this program to ensure students are fully prepared for the exam
  4. Students prepare and memorize a piece from a repertoire list (typically 2-3 years of piano study likely needed for this level of repertoire)

Programs Offered

Registration   Deadline

Judging Date at   Closest Judging Location

Closest Judging   Location


Piano Contest Preliminaries



New Ulm


Comprehensive Piano Exams



New Ulm

$21-$118 depending on level

Popular Styles Exam



University    of St. Catherine

$28-33 depending on level

Piano Contest Finals (if selected at Prelim)



U of MN Minneapolis


Piano Contest Honors Concert (if selected at Final)



MinneapolisConvention Center


Piano   Contest Honors Concert Rehearsals

Rehearsals are mandatory

4/7, 4/21, 5/5, 5/19

TBD – Twin Cities Area