Document Type


Date of Degree

Fall 2015

Degree Name

DMA (Doctor of Musical Arts)

Degree In


First Advisor

Huckleberry, Alan

First Committee Member

Tsachor, Uriel

Second Committee Member

Lecuona, Rene

Third Committee Member

Muriello, John

Fourth Committee Member

Eberle, Katherine

Public Abstract

The Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) is the leading Canadian music education organization whose curriculum sets and supports standards in music education across the nation. In addition to the RCM, there are other Canadian organizations with similar standards and curriculums. The popularity and nationwide acceptance of these conservatories and examination systems demonstrate the importance and benefit of standardized leveling and sequencing in music education. The syllabi of these conservatories place a heavy emphasis on the inclusion of 20th and 21st century Canadian music. This is further supported and supplemented by other organizations including the Alliance for Contemporary New Music Projects (ACNMP). The ACNMP has a more detailed syllabus of Canadian new music that are supplemental to the RCM and other conservatory curriculums.

The immense support and encouragement of promoting and performing Canadian contemporary music makes it possible for students to enrich their musical experience by playing a new and avant-garde piece in every level of their development. Including contemporary music in any piano curriculum is something about which I feel very passionate. It is important to support present-day composers and their music and give students the opportunity to interact with living composers. Contemporary music provides students with unique creative opportunities and encourages experimental approaches to the instrument, thus enhancing all other areas of their pedagogical function.

This essay will discuss the twelve levels of the RCM examination system from preparatory through advanced levels and what a student should achieve upon the completion of each level. Through close involvement with the ACNMP, I was asked to help update their syllabus by inputting new compositions. I was given a list of over one hundred compositions from a variety of composers, levels and contemporary idioms. I graded all of these works and placed them in the appropriate level. Between two and four compositions were selected from each level and discussed in detail with regard to extended techniques, pedagogical challenges and unique characteristics.


publicabstract, Canadian, contemporary, pedagogy, piano


xii, 128 pages


Includes bibliographical references (pages 125-128).


Copyright 2015 Christine Tithecott

Included in

Music Commons