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AACC, Carnegie Hall and The Royal Conservatory Partner

Dec. 13, 2011

      The first students to benefit from Anne Arundel Community College’s new partnership with Carnegie Hall and The Royal Conservatory came to the college’s Arnold campus this week to have their voice and instrumental music skills assessed based on national standards.

      AACC is one of two Maryland sites and one of 90 U.S. sites for “The Carnegie Hall Royal Conservatory Achievement Program,” a new voluntary national system of music study and assessment for both teachers and students. The college is a founding member of The Achievement Program.

      AACC was a natural partner for the program because its music curricula and teaching practices already meet The Achievement Program standards, said Douglas Brandt Byerly, chair of the college performing arts department. A second honor to AACC is that Helen Smith Tarchalski of Annapolis, a 10-year member of the college’s music faculty, is the only community college faculty member in the nation selected to be a regional leader of the program.

      “This is a great tribute to AACC and our faculty member,” Byerly said.

      The federal government had set national standards, or benchmarks, for voice and instrumental music instruction and skills assessment several years ago. However, the nation’s K-12 school systems and higher education were not mandated to adopt those standards and continued to offer assessments based on guidelines from music organizations or the institutions themselves. Through its membership in the program, AACC also is a site for teaching music teachers about the standards so they can rewrite their curricula to enable students to master the material.

      The Achievement Program is modeled after the internationally renowned exam system developed by The Royal Conservatory in Canada. The program offers sequenced courses with assessment for beginners and advanced students. Music educators who join this program gain access to comprehensive materials including official syllabi for individual instruments, sequential program guides, repertoire lists and online resources.

      For program information, contact Jeff Embleton, manager of publicity, The Royal Conservatory, at, 416-408-2824 x461 or (cell) 416-891-2785. For information on AACC’s testing and teaching site, contact Helen Smith Tarchalski at 301-529-3747 or