MCAA Student Receives VA Top Performer Accolade 

Posted on December 04, 2020 by Zi Wang

Academy piano student, Anna Fulmer, received the Virginia State Top Performer Certificate Award and performed in the “Celebrations of Excellence” online ceremony in November.

Hosted by the Royal Conservatory of Music, the examination assesses students’ music study through several testing components such as performance, sight-reading, aural skills, and technical tests. Students progress through levels of difficulty from Preparatory A to Level 10. Fulmer surpassed Level 2 requirements.

“Fulmer is always a confident performer!” said Teaching Artist Faith Zúñiga, who started teaching Fulmer private lessons in 2015. “I’m always impressed with how well she plays modern classical music, even when it has very unusual harmonies and rhythms, in such a convincing manner.”

Fulmer first joined the Academy in our Piano Beginnings class then transitioned to private lessons with Ms. Zúñiga. In addition to her weekly lesson, Fulmer actively participates in the Academy’s other programming, including Piano Adventures, Piano Academy, and the Vivacé Music Enrichment Program.

“Ms. Zúñiga has been so great to me during quarantine and has really helped me develop a deeper love of playing the piano,” shared Fulmer. “It’s been important for me to practice a lot every day. By doing this, I’ve improved so much over the past year, and this award is the result.”



Fulmer has performed in the Academy’s music recitals and concerts around the Northern Virginia area. Last fall, Fulmer was selected to perform at Carnegie Hall along with four Academy piano students and dozens of young performers from Costa Rica.

“I remember she volunteered to play at her first-ever studio class when she was little,” said Ms. Zúñiga. “Fulmer has a wonderful ear for music and excels in the ear training portions of her exam preparation. She surprised me this semester with her composition, which she performed for the studio class and me. She’s quite a good composer already!”

Despite all the challenges due to the pandemic, Fulmer is determined to complete several Royal Conservatory of Music exams in the coming year. The family is thankful that Fulmer can continue her music lessons with the scholarship support from the Play It Forward fundraising campaign.

“The scholarship has helped us keep Anna in a world-class music education program despite the economic downturn. It’s truly been a blessing for us!” Landon Fulmer, Anna’s father, said the Play It Forward scholarship helped provide a sense of normalcy for Anna after the lockdown and social distancing rules.

“Music lessons are so important for kids during these troubled times,” Ms. Zúñiga added. “The focus and effort required for music lessons help students to concentrate on something other than the global pandemic. Music exams, festivals, and recitals give students goals and a sense of achievement and progress to combat the feeling of time standing still while everyone is locked in at home.”



Since its launch in May, the Play It Forward campaign has helped many students continue their music studies. On December 8, 2020, the Academy will launch a fundraising challenge to raise $5,000 to support families who need tuition assistance for music, acting or visual art classes in 2021. Please consider donating to help more students like Anna continue their arts journey! To donate, visit Play It Forward Campaign Homepage