About the Conservatory Program

In order to plan the Fall 2018 schedule with RCM theory/aural skills classes that match the student needs, every student will take a placement exam during the month of May. This written placement exam will have questions that get progressively harder and should complete all the questions on the test that they can. Students will receive the test from their teacher, complete it at home, and turn it into their teacher before June 15, 2016. In the RCM curriculum, written tests begin at Level 4. Students not yet at this level should still take the placement test. OCM will still offer beginning level theory classes for Conservatory Program students to prepare for the written exams at RCM Level 4.

The exam results will be captured by OCM and used to place each student in the appropriate RCM theory level, regardless of whether they decide to enroll in the Conservatory Program. This information will allow OCM to know exactly what levels of theory classes need to be offered in the fall to match enrollments for the Conservatory Program. It will also be an invaluable tool for artist-faculty to see where their students place in theory and aural skills.

Please return your pre-test by June 15.


QUESTION: Why should a student enroll in the Conservatory Program?

ANSWER: Becoming a well-rounded musician includes having an understanding of music theory, harmony, and historical context. When we increase the base of knowledge we have in any area, the learning is faster and also deeper.

Q: If a student decides to enroll in the Musician Program, can they still take RCM theory classes for their level?

A: Yes! They would enroll on ActiveNet and pay the appropriate fee for a class. However, there will be cost savings for those students who enroll in the Conservatory Program for the entire year.

Q: Can a student enroll in the Conservatory Program mid-year?

A: Students will be able to move from the Musician Program to the Conservatory Program, or vice versa, at the end of first semester but must enroll one level below where they tested. (For example, a student who tested into
RCM Level 7 but waits to enroll until mid-year should register for RCM Level 6.)

Q: Will OCM still give graduation pins at recitals for students who are not enrolled in the Conservatory Program?

A: Yes! All of the current awards for RCM performance requirements and other distinctions will remain the same.

Q: How will the Conservatory Program students be adjudicated?

A: Students enrolled in the Conservatory Program will be adjudicated by an OCM artist-faculty member who is not their private teacher. Students must have all 3-4 required pieces for their RCM level memorized and ready to play at the jury. Students will be able to choose the first piece; all other pieces will be chosen by the OCM artist-faculty adjudicator. This adjudication will also provide preparation and practice for a formal evaluation by RCM adjudicators should a family decide to register for this evaluation at an official RCM testing site.

Q: Should a Conservatory Program student who is being adjudicated also play on the artist-faculty’s studio recital?

A: Of course!

Q: How will students know they passed Conservatory Program RCM grade-level equivalents?

A: There are several components to completing OCM’s RCM grade-level equivalents: final theory exam, aural skills assessment, and playing portion. OCM acknowledgement of graduation from RCM grade-level equivalents will be announced to the OCM community through its official communications. Conservatory Program graduates who passed their RCM grade-level equivalents will be honored at a special OCM celebration.

Q: Would passing the RCM grade-level equivalent at the Omaha Conservatory of Music be recognized as official graduation by the Royal Conservatory of Music?

A: No. Official graduation from an RCM level must be adjudicated by an official judge from the Royal Conservatory and cannot be done by the institution where the student studies. These RCM adjudications also include technical requirements and additional fees. This type of adjudication will be available next year at other sites in the Midwest. Students would be responsible for registering for the official exam and travelling to the location. Official RCM evaluation at OCM may be available in later years.

Q: What if a student doesn’t pass one portion of the assessment?

A: There will be a secondary test date in early fall. Before this date, students can practice theory modules and try to retake the theory exam. If they do not achieve a passing score by the deadline, the student will need to enroll in that RCM grade-level equivalent for the coming year. There will be theory and aural skills modules available in the computer lab for additional practice. If a student does not pass the playing portion of the exam, they will need to enroll in that RCM playing-level equivalent again for the coming year.