Certificate Advancement Program

A Message from the Coordinator

We are excited to share with you that Indiana will host an ASTACAP (American String Teachers Association Certificate Advancement Program) in Fort Wayne, Indiana. This is an annual program which helps assess and motivate the youngest to the most advanced string students (pre­K-­12) with a leveled certificate festival.

Students from the Foundation Level through Level 10 (professional/collegiate difficulty) may participate in this extremely beneficial process to receive feedback, suggestions, and recognition on their stringed instrument studies. The festival provides a very organized system of levels which are available on the national ASTA website under Member Resources: Certificate Advancement Program. The repertoire eligible for use in the festival is very flexible and accessible, having been reviewed at the national level by many well ­known pedagogues in each instrument ­specific area. Students and teachers have great academic freedom in literature, etude, and scale selections for the exams, which are designed to be positive experiences. It’s a great way to get more mileage from repertoire rehearsed for ISSMA.

Students prepare their music for the exam with the teacher and an accompanist, if applicable. At the festival, they will play only for the judge without an audience. Some students find this to be a welcome relief where they can focus on their music without cameras and distractions. The judge will then provide feedback on each musical component of the performance and assess if the student has passed the level. When a student passes a level, they earn a certificate for that level. If a student passes a level but wishes to stay in that repertoire track for another year, they would be able to enter it again, with designation of Level B.

We hope you will be able to join us. ASTACAP is running in other states across the nation. It can help validate your teaching even further with your students as they receive feedback and recognition from other pedagogues in a structured and positive format. I have had many successes with students who decided to pursue the certificate program. I really appreciate the literature selected and the latitude teachers are given.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. If you haven’t joined ASTA, we encourage you to do so, but you may still register for the festival as a non-­member teacher. Please visit the website www.astaweb.com to explore the musical choices for your students!

A History of the ASTACAP

ASTACAP (formerly, the Certificate Program for Strings) was developed and introduced by highly experienced pedagogues of the ASTA MD/DC Chapter in 1998 under the leadership of Lya Stern, who was the state chapter president at that time. Other members of MD/DC Chapter who were the original committee members and contributors are: Margaret Wright, Judith Shapiro, Elsa Brandt, Lisa Cole Sadowski, Ronald Mutchnik, Judith Silverman, Mark Pfannschmidt, Cecylia Barczyk, Denise Nathanson, Bai Chi Chen, Eleanor Woods, Patricia Braunlich, Catherine Stewart, Margaret Motter Ward, and Lorraine Combs.

The program was designed to support studio teachers’ quest for commitment to long-term instrumental study and higher standards of performance on the part of their students. Although similar programs have been used with great success in Canada, Great Britain, and Australia, the CAP was the first one designed for American string teachers and students. Hallmark characteristics of the American program are: a graded list for each instrument, flexibility in the choice of repertoire presented for exams, and the utilization of string specialists as examiners.

Lya Stern organized and has subsequently run the exams, which have been held annually in Maryland and the District of Columbia since 1998. In 2001, the CAP was introduced to New Jersey by Leslie Webster, ASTA/NJ President, and in Virginia by Lynne Denig, VASTA President-elect.

With Lya as the leading advocate of the CAP on the national level, along with Leslie and Lynne, the three together formed the committee that made annual presentations at national ASTA conferences and became the guiding force for the introduction of the program in several additional states: Florida and Hawaii in 2003, and Oregon, Washington, and Wisconsin in 2005. To date, thousands of students have taken the CAP exams, and their teachers are enjoying their students’ growing progress.

ASTACAP received the enthusiastic support of ASTA National Presidents Robert Jesselson, David Littrell and Robert Gillespie. Anticipating the long-reaching benefits that the program would bring to teachers and students of stringed instruments, the ASTA National Executive Board voted to adopt it as an ASTA-sponsored program in 2004.

The ASTACAP Handbook, offered to all ASTA members, is available for download on the National ASTA website, Certificate Advancement Program page. It is the result of hundreds of hours of work by members of the committee, reviewing the levels, expanding the Curriculum Guide, streamlining the rules, devising simple and easy ways for starting the program and providing all instructions and necessary forms for doing so.

Information for 2015 Testing

2018 ASTACAP Registration Form

Postmark Deadline Date – January 11, 2018
Testing Date – February 11, 2018

Testing Location:
Canterbury Middle School
5601 Convington Road
Fort Wayne, Indiana 46804

Need Help? Contact

Why the ASTA CAP?

• Uniformity of expectations between states.

• Continual feedback through an examiner’s comments on student progress.

• Documentation of achievements that can be used when applying to youth orchestras, summer music camps, and college admission.

• Professionally designed and printed certificates for students.

• Member access to the ASTACAP handbook online.

• Access to a marketing brochure about the ASTACAP program to usefor recruitment.

• Use of a specially designed ASTACAP logo for teachers to use on materials and cards.

• Listing of participating teachers on the ASTA national website.

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