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  • No School - Spring Vacation Day - April 15
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  • No School - Prof. Development Day - April 25
The student voice of Sycamore High School in Cincinnati, Ohio

The Leaf

The student voice of Sycamore High School in Cincinnati, Ohio

The Leaf

The student voice of Sycamore High School in Cincinnati, Ohio

The Leaf

Music Development Program inspires desire to aspire

“The MDP really made me focus on the technical part of music (scales, chords, arpeggios, etudes etc.) which has helped me grow as a musician overall,” said Asha Sethuraman, 10. Many who have started from a young age hope to make it their goal to finish the program before leaving for college. The program is also an opportunity for many music theory majors in college, like CCM students, are encouraged take the Royal Conservatory Music Development Program.
“The MDP really made me focus on the technical part of music (scales, chords, arpeggios, etudes etc.) which has helped me grow as a musician overall,” said Asha Sethuraman, 10. Many who have started from a young age hope to make it their goal to finish the program before leaving for college. The program is also an opportunity for many music theory majors in college, like College-Conservatory of Music students, are encouraged take the Royal Conservatory Music Development Program. Image by Brenda Shen.

An exam requiring yearlong prepping is not atypical for the numerous students taking AP tests and final exams, but some students are preparing for another type of assessment. The Royal Conservatory Music Development Program (MDP), originally funded by Carnegie Hall, is recognized as the national standard of music success.

“This national standard lets students be rewarded for their accomplishments no matter where they go,” said Sheila Vail, director of Indian Springs Academy of Music, a founding school.

The school provide certificates for musicianship through practical and academic (theory and history) assessments. What makes the program unique is it that it is a national, rather than regional, assessment system.

With up to 10 levels and then a diploma level, “graduating” from level 10 gives musicians certification that qualifies the ability to teach.

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“Upon passing level 10, students would have developed all areas of music equivalent to third year music majors,” said Vail.

The assessments are conducted with a single examiner or judge to score the student on their prepared program of repertoire along with conducting ear training, sight, reading, and technical tests.

“The MDP definitely helps students progress in whichever instrument they play, and the theory exams, although tedious, makes interpreting the music easier. The studying and practicing takes a long time, but ultimately the feeling of completing an exam is totally worth it,” said Chun Wong, 12.

Their mantra encompasses the evolvement in four areas: Repertoire, technique, musicianship, and music literacy. These subjects force players to not only focus on actually playing their instrument, but also improving ear training, sight reading, and academic subjects.

“It’s interesting because I ended up learning things about music that I never would have by just playing the piano. For example, I learned about the history of opera and strings from all time periods,” said Wong.

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About the Contributor
Brenda Shen, Assignment Editor
This is my fourth year on The Leaf staff (senior at last), and my current responsibility is assignment editor. I have previously been managing editor and news chief. Though I wish to pursue a career in medicine and not journalism, my experience with The Leaf has taught me lessons that cannot be learned in my book heavy courses. The Leaf has created a foundation for me in the importance in communication and the creation of a network. In this final stretch of high school, the time has come to finally crack down on the future. Some possible areas of interest for me are majoring in math or physics while minoring in music theory or piano performance. I started the playing the piano at five, and I have completed my certificate with the Music Development Program along with playing a senior recital. In honor of my Asian heritage, I have started a collaboration blog regarding Asian Americanism. Visit www.walk-the-wok.tumblr.com
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Music Development Program inspires desire to aspire