Popular Styles

MMTA's Popular Styles program offers an opportunity for students to learn and perform both solo and combo-style arrangements of jazz, rock, musical theater, and folk tunes that might fall outside the traditional piano repertoire.  The professional contemporary musicians on the Popular Styles development team continue to produce and revise materials to provide students with this valuable part of their music experience.  The program also places an emphasis on listening to performances and recordings of popular music, and learning by ear.

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The MMTA Popular Styles exam program is available in four levels, roughly corresponding to Piano Exam levels 2-5.  There is no MMTA program prerequisite for Popular Styles, but students should be finished with level 1 of a piano method or equivalent.

Exam workbooks for levels 1-4 were first published in June 2013 in an electronic-only format; a year later, the first print versions were made available under the moniker “2014 Edition”.  In June 2015, the workbooks were updated with corrections, clearer formatting, and expanded guidelines, and entitled “2014 Edition, Revised”.  For this revised edition, no substantive changes were made, so, either the “2014” or “2014, Revised” editions may be used for exams.

There is no syllabus per se for the Popular Styles program.  Instead, an exam workbook is offered for each level, serving two purposes:  1) students and teachers use it together to prepare for the exam; and 2) the student brings the workbook to the exam itself, which is open-book.
For their own use, MMTA members may order print editions of the exam workbooks, or download them from the Materials - Popular Styles Exams page for free.  For each student, though, MMTA members are asked to order the print editions whether the student takes the exam or not.   

Thinking about registering students for an event?  

  • Review the General Rules and Procedures for All MMTA Programs prior to registration.
  • Visit the Events page to find the desired event.
  • Current MMTA members may log in, then register students online.  Non-members may download registration forms using the link(s) provided on Popular Styles Event pages, then submit by mail with a non-member fee.

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