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Learning to Play
Interested in learning to play the carillon? Click here for a list of carillon instructors in North America, including the North American Carillon School which provides carillon education to a wide variety of musicians who desire to begin, improve or polish their carillon-playing skills.

The purpose of the Guild examinations is to certify and acknowledge performance proficiency, including competency in musicianship and carillon technique. Two levels of examinations are offered:

  1. the Associate Carillonneur Examination, which evaluates a candidate's skills at an intermediate level utilizing carillon repertoire of moderate difficulty.
  2. the Carillonneur Examination, which tests a candidate's skills at a more advanced level and requires performance of more advanced carillon repertoire.

By offering two levels of examinations, the Guild recognizes that its membership comes from diverse backgrounds, and that individuals have varying levels of achievement and professional goals. The common goal of the examinations is to encourage professional development at whatever level is appropriate for an individual in his or her own personal circumstances, and to certify and recognize professional growth and achievement. Successful completion of the Associate Carillonneur Exam awards an individual a certificate of accomplishment, and passing the Carillonneur Exam advances an individual to Carillonneur membership. It is not necessary to pass the Associate Carillonneur Exam before attempting the Carillonneur Exam.

Following is a brief description of each exam. A complete description of each examination process, along with application forms, may be accessed through the menu items at the left for each exam.

Associate Carillonneur Examination

  • At any time of year an Associate member of the Guild in good standing may apply to take the exam. The application fee is US $20.
  • The candidate may play his or her own instrument, which can be of any size, including a two-octave range.
  • Required repertoire pieces are from Playing the Carillon: An Introductory Method by John Gouwens (2002 or 2010 edition). Two-octave repertoire is from The Belmont Carillon Book, Volume II.
  • In addition to a playing evaluation, there are two instructional components: carillon history and program creation.
  • The candidate will record and submit two of the required pieces and enough other music of moderate difficulty for a total recording time of 10 to 15 minutes. The submission must also contain a video of the candidate playing all or part of one of the two chosen required pieces. All other recordings are to be audio only.
  • The recording is submitted to the chair of the Associate Carillonneur Examination Committee. The judges will know the candidate's identity, and may communicate with the candidate to offer helpful suggestions.
  • The judges will listen to each candidate's recordings and evaluate the written material submitted. The chair will notify the candidate of their decision. It is possible that a candidate will be asked to resubmit a part of the exam.
  • Only successful performers' names will be released to the membership.
  • No vote by the guild membership is required.
  • Successful performers will receive a certificate suitable for framing, be recognized in a Carillon News article and have the code "AC" attached to their names on the GCNA membership list.
  • The candidate is not required to play an examination recital at the Congress.
  • Candidates may contact the committee chair to ask questions at any time during the process.

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Carillonneur Examination

  • Any Associate member (including Associate AC member) of the Guild may take the exam.
  • Signature of the candidate's teacher is required on the application.
  • The candidate will choose one required piece from each of the two categories (technically difficult and expressive) and prepare recordings of these pieces, along with enough other repertoire for a total of 12 to 17 minutes of playing time. Pieces chosen for the recordings should be comparable in level of difficulty to those on the required pieces lists.
  • The recording and pdf's of the scores are submitted to the Co-Chairs of the Carillonneur Examinations Committee. The recordings and scores are distributed to the jurors for evaluation. The identity of the candidate is known only to the Co-Chairs.
  • Four out of five jurors must vote to pass the recording in order for the candidate to advance to the Congress exam stage.
  • The Co-Chairs will notify candidates if they have passed or not passed. If the candidate passes the recording stage, he/she is invited to perform an examination recital at the following Congress. The candidate submits copies of the scores of the pieces to be performed to the Co-Chairs (the jurors will select the required piece to be played as well as one piece from the candidate's repertoire).
  • The candidate plays an examination recital at the Guild Congress and is evaluated by the jurors. Again, the candidate's identity is known only to the Co-Chairs, and not by any of the jurors. Three out of five jurors must vote to pass the recital in order for the candidate to be recommended for Carillonneur membership.
  • Successful candidates will be voted into Carillonneur membership by carillonneur members at the Congress. After this final step, the identity of the candidate (new Carillonneur member) is shared with those in attendance and published in the following edition of Carillon News.

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