AIM – Achievement in Music

The Achievement in Music Program, also known as AIM, is an exciting and motivating program for students of all ages, designed to develop strong performance and technical skills as well as a thorough understanding of musical theory. There are twelve levels in the program, with Level 1 divided into three parts, Levels 1A, 1B, and 1C. Each level has theory, performance, and technical requirements that follow a logical progression from early elementary through advanced.

Students generally prepare one level each year and demonstrate their competency at annual exams, which are conducted by experienced judges in a comfortable setting. Students are not in competition with other students, but are evaluated individually on their accomplishments. Students are recognized with a pin for passing the theory exam and a certificate for passing both the theory and performance exam.

Achievement Level Progression

1. Students who pass both Theory and Performance at one level usually proceed to the next higher level.

2. Students who do not pass both Theory and Performance may retake a level or advance to a higher level at the discretion of their teacher. Students pay a new participation fee when they retake a level.

3. Students may skip a level at teacher discretion, but do not earn awards or certificates for the skipped level. Care should be taken to cover the skipped material because skills and concepts are cumulative.

4. Students may only register for performance exams after passing the corresponding theory level.

5. Students may skip the performance exam and proceed to higher theory levels earning a theory pin but no certificate.

6. Students may take the theory level one year and the corresponding performance exam the next year. Students earn a theory pin the first year and a certificate the second year.

7. New repertoire must be performed at each exam level.


First examMedal with ribbon to display pins.
Levels 1 and 2Pin and Certificate for passing the exam.
Levels 3 and upPin awarded for passing Theory exam.
Levels 3 and upCertificate awarded for passing both Theory and Performance.

Levels 9: A plaque personalized with the student’s name is earned at Level 9, or if the student has skipped levels, the first upper level passed between 9 and 12. The combined theory and performance scores must average 80 or higher to earn the plaque.

Levels 9 – 12: Gold bars that attach to the plaque indicate each completed upper level and are earned with a combined theory and performance average score of 80 or higher.

Theory Exam on Jan. 22 or 29, 2017      

Performance Exam on April 16 (levels 1 & 2) and April 23 or 30 (levels 3 – 12), 2017          

Location : Northwestern University Music Academy (Evanston)