The B.C. Registered Music Teachers' Association is a non-profit organization representing more than 1,000 highly qualified and experienced music teachers around the province.
"Often a parent will come to us looking for a good music teacher for their child," says Victoria Warfield, president of the Richmond branch of the BCRMTA. "Unfortunately, there is no mandatory requirement for music teachers to be a member of a professional organization such as the BCRMTA, so anyone can hang out their shingle and teach music."
The members of the BCRMTA are required to meet strict educational and professional standards before acquiring the Registered Music Teacher (RMT) designation.
"They need to have a degree or diploma from a recognized university," Miss Warfield explains, "and they need to demonstrate a level of experience in their musical discipline as a teacher, as we're a teaching rather than a performance organization. Potential members also need to show a level of success at the examination and competition levels."
While there are many benefits for music teachers registered with the BCRMTA, their students are also able to enter competitions, both provincially and nationally. Scholarships are awarded each year to students who have shown both talent and a dedicated level of music practice in all the musical disciplines: woodwinds, strings, voice, and piano.
"At the Richmond branch," Miss Warfield explains, "scholarships are awarded for the highest marks achieved in the examination process and include both performance and theory examinations. All the marks for exam sessions throughout the year are eligible and a scholarship is awarded at every grade level and in every musical discipline."
Scholarship amounts and eligibility are reviewed annually and amended as necessary. The awards are paid out in cash, with students deciding how the money should be spent.
"Sometimes students choose to go to summer school for music, or they may opt for extra lessons, or the scholarship could be used to recoup music education costs already incurred.”
Apart from the Branch-funded scholarships, piano students are also eligible to enter for a private scholarship.
"Winifred Proud was one of the original presidents of the BCRMTA, and she generously bequeathed a scholarship to be given out annually to the top level performance students in piano in Levels 9 and 10," Miss Warfield says.
Scholarships are open to all students of music teachers with the RMT designation in Richmond.
For more information about BCRMTA scholarships or to find a registered music teacher in your area, call 604.268.9559, email, or visit the website. BCRMTA's Richmond branch can also be found on Facebook.