Giving six to seven months of your year to music requires dedication, passion and so much hard work. That’s the average time it takes to prepare for a Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM) Examination. But for gold medalists, all the time, pressure, and stress is worth it. Whether these students are first-time participants at the Grade 1 level, or experienced young adults graduating at the Grade 10 level, these musicians need deserve a pat on the back.

Throughout October, November, and December, young musicians gathered from all over the country in Manitoba, Calgary, Saskatchewan, Ontario, Vancouver, and the Atlantic provinces. All these musicians who received top marks on their examinations have the chance to perform and meet with other youth that are as passionate and dedicated to music like they are. The winners, who are chosen from hundreds of students, are acknowledged for their hard work in pursuing accordion, brass or woodwinds, guitar, harp, organ, percussion, piano, speech arts and drama, strings, and voice, and get to perform a chosen piece of repertoire for guests and the other gold medalists. Truly an opportunity that is considered a grand achievement.

Many of you readers are possibly wondering, what is an RCM exam? What does it consist of? As an individual who has achieved honours and recognition for an RCM Grade 7 voice exam, let me tell you what is involved! Five pieces of repertoire are chosen from the list of the RCM Grade 7 voice syllabus. Students are required to sing at least one song in English and at least one in French, German Italian, Latin or Spanish. Next is a vocalise. A vocalise is a song that consists strictly of vowels, and focuses on specific technical components, kind of like the études that instrumentalists have to play. Students also have to prepare technical exercises, which are sung without accompaniment. For technical exercises, students must sing major, minor, and chromatic scales and vocal patterns. Finally, students must complete the following four tasks: distinguishing major, minor, and dominant seventh chords, singing back a melody, singing intervals, and finally sight singing. The exam takes only a rapid 15-20 minutes.

The Youth4Music team would like to congratulate all the gold medal winners! It takes a great deal to achieve honours, at any age, on any instrument, at any level. We acknowledge your hard work and wish you all the best in your future endeavours.