I randomly recalled this memory amidst some piano lesson talk with one of my cousins recently. When I took piano lessons growing up, my teacher(s) followed the Certificate of Merit leveling system. It was pretty straight forward; memorize some songs, play some scales, do some sight reading and then take a music theory test. Of course, with each level, it got harder. If I recall correctly, my last test had me memorizing four songs. And some of those songs ran a good five minutes from start to finish.
As for the theory tests, they could only test you on so much. Past level 6 or 7, it didn’t get too much harder for 8, 9, 10 and up. You would just be tested on the same things, but more. For example, instead of naming 2 Baroque composers, you would have to name 4. And thanks to my super strict piano teacher, I was proficient to say the least.
Now, for my violin lessons, I didn’t have a teacher that followed Certificate of Merit until high school. When I finally had a chance to look at a violin theory test, it was a joke compared to piano theory.
I’m explaining these things all to speak of this one year where both my theory tests were scheduled at the same time. Granted, most people don’t take that long to finish, you are given an hour and half to complete it. Luckily, all these tests took place in the same area. After finishing my piano theory test, I remember having to run down some stairs and then finding a bungalow to take my violin theory test. I think the proctor had me on a list or something as she seemed to be expecting me to run in late. She handed me my test and replayed the listening portion (just for me I think). Afterwards, I blazed through the test and finished it in what felt like 10 minutes. As I walked up to the front to the turn it in, I could see the rest of the kids perk their heads up as I walked out (like a boss?).
It’s silly. I was just a high schooler, but I felt pretty great for being able to do that. Weeks later, my violin teacher would congratulate me on getting a 100% on that test. So thankful for my strict piano upbringing.