NC ASTACAP: ASTA Certificate Advancement Program.(ASTACAP). Students are judged in a non-competitive environment on technical & musical preparedness at specific levels (Foundation Level – Level 10)

  • North Carolina ASTACAP Exam Date(s) and Locations:
    • TBD @ Hayes School of Music (Appalachian State) Broyhill Music Center (2nd Floor rooms 225, 204, and 206)
      813 Rivers Street
      Boone, NC 28608
      Contact Event Host: Dr. Nancy Bargerstock for more information.

NC-ASTA is always looking for members interested in hosting ASTACAP exams anywhere in NC.  Please contact Bill Slechta at and/or Nancy Bargerstock  if you would be interested or to get more information.  We would especially like to get an ASTACAP site in the Triangle area.  Please see the ASTACAP page on our website (NC-ASTACAP exams).

The ASTA Certificate Advancement Program (ASTACAP) seeks to establish definite goals and awards for students of all levels through non-competitive examinations. Students are judged on technical and musical preparedness at specific levels (Foundation Level – Level 10) by an ASTA examiner of musical and pedagogical stature. A certificate of achievement is awarded for each level successfully completed.

ASTACAP Mission Statement
To establish national goals and awards for students of all levels through non-competitive examinations. Students will be judged on technical and musical preparedness in one of eleven levels by an examiner of musical and pedagogical stature.
Certificates of achievement will be awarded for each level successfully completed.

Why do ASTACAP?  Click HERE to find out!

Annual NC ASTA CAP Exam in Boone – May 15th, 2019!

Contributed by Nancy Bargerstock, DMA

A spring NC ASTA CAP exam occurred on Wednesday, May 15th at the Hayes School of Music on the campus of Appalachian State University in Boone.  Nancy Bargerstock was the event host / co-examiner, and although only violinists registered for the exam, there was a very high level of performance.  Two HSoM-ASTA Student Chapter members Danielle Cuntapay and Scott Faircloth monitored the event, assisting Kelsey Philbrick who served as the principle examiner.

The ASTA CAP program (Certificate Advancement Program) has existed on the national level since 2002, but the true value of this wonderful ASTA initiative is still not fully understood by many private string teachers, particularly in our state.  While attempts to include more teachers and students are made annually, proponents of the program in NC have not been very successful in convincing others of its value.  ASTA CAP examination events in Connecticut, New Jersey, Colorado, and Maryland report that 75 to 100 students turn up on exam days, including students of violin, viola, cello, double bass, harp, and guitar.  Sadly, the NC exam day numbers are not even close to that.

Perhaps there is some misunderstanding about what the program offers.  Students play prescribed scales, an etude, and select solo pieces for experienced examiners (who are also teachers) to receive comments on their annual progress.  Please note: grading is the smallest part of the experience.  It is NOT a competition. It is NOT an evaluation of the teacher.  Rather, it is a goal for which students strive in a non-competitive arena.

True fact: Students whose teachers use this program demonstrate greater growth from year to year.  This is due to the fact that they conform to a national standard set by our organization.  Teachers also greatly benefit from the ASTA CAP syllabus which is loaded with repertoire suggestions partnered with graduated technical requirements – all information that motivates both the teacher and the students.  The selection of etudes and repertoire is flexible and memorization of the solo pieces is not mandatory, although it is highly recommended.  In-person exams also include a small sight reading sample.

The ASTA CAP Handbook is free online to all members and offers directions for setting up an examination, templates for letters to examiners and parents, exam application forms, grading rubrics, as well as tips on examiner strategies from seasoned specialists.  Students are inspired by ASTA CAP.  Teachers benefit from it.  ASTA members pay annual dues to use it.  If you haven’t had a chance, please take a look at it!  Log into:, “Teaching Resources,” “ASTA Certification Advancement Program.”

There is also an online version of ASTA CAP with submission periods three times per year.  But many believe that the live exam is best!  For more information and/or advice, please feel free to contact past NC ASTA Presidents: William Slechta, Mira Frisch, or Nancy Bargerstock.