• To receive a rating, you must have an ORIGINAL part for the adjudicator, not a copy. For solos, it is best to provide just the solo part. For ensembles, you must provide a score. A "score" is defined as a vertically aligned set of all parts being played in the ensemble, where all parts can be read simultaneously. Remember to return to your performance room after you perform to get your music back.

  • The adjudicator's score must have the measures numbered. Number straight through and do not count incomplete measures (pick-ups, etc.)

  • It is also wise to number the measures of your own part, in case the adjudicator refers to particular measures or you and your accompanist/partners must stop and re-start part way through.

  • Label your music and adjudicator's score with the following information: school name, your name, section number, and event number. This is to help with the return of your music. Use pencil.

  • If you are making cuts or playing only certain movements, etc., note this clearly on your music.


  • Look nice, neat, and well-groomed. Jeans, tennis shoes, etc. are not appropriate. Dress up and make a professional impression; stage presence is an important part of any performance. Look your best. This also demonstrates respect for your own preparation and for the festival.


  • Minimum 2 minutes, maximum 7 minutes. Time your piece! Below 2 minutes = no rating (comments only). If your piece is quite long, the room chairman might stop you before the end of your piece in order to provide time for written or verbal comments. This does not affect your rating.


  • Breakfast items, lunch, and snacks will be available for purchase, usually in the high school cafeteria.


  • Bring your copy of the Pioneer schedule of events and map. Check your Warm Up Room Number (section number), Performance room number, and performance time.

  • Make sure your accompanist is well-informed regarding site and schedule.

In the Warm-up Room

  • Report to your warm-up room no less than 30 minutes before your performance. If you perform in "Section 9" , then your performance room is "P 9" and your warm-up room is "W 9".

  • Upon arrival in the warm up room, you will be asked to fill out a "Performer Information Card" with names, title of piece, composer, name of school, section and event number. You will give this card to the room chairman along with your adjudicator score, who will transfer both to the performance room chairman.

  • Warm-up in your room only with the permission of the room chairman – he/she may enforce the "one- event-at-a-time" rule, so your warm-up time may be quite limited. You would be wise to use your waiting time to do finger/tongue/stick/wrist exercises, sing and finger your piece, set tempi, visualize your performance, do breathing exercises, etc. Don't over-warm up and tire yourself out.

  • The warm-up room chairman will call your event when it is time to warm up and also when it is time to perform.

  • If playing an ensemble, make sure you tune carefully with your partners. Start each section of your music to get tempos and style clearly in mind.

In the Performance Room

  • Make sure your music stand(s) (and chair(s) if needed) are set appropriately, facing the best direction, and that you have great eye contact with your accompanist/partners.

  • After providing your numbered and labeled adjudicator's score and your "Performer Information Card", tune again (to piano or partners). It is good idea to tune your most resonant "true" pitch, plus the first (or last in some cases) chord of the piece. If you have a very long wait in the performance room while the adjudicator comments on the preceding event, you can even start a couple of sections of your piece in order to stay warm and ready. Don't hesitate to do this.

  • After your formal introduction by the performance room chairman, it's time to make music!

  • After your performance, smile and bow simply. Definitely make eye contact with your audience. A smile, nod and a sincere facial expression of "thank you" is fine. Remember to acknowledge audience applause politely: "Stand-Eye Contact-Smile-Bow". Don't reach for your music until this has been accomplished with class.

  • The adjudicator may want to make some verbal comments. Be receptive; these are designed to help you improve. This is why we hire the judges! After these comments, return to the warm-up room.

Back in the Warm-up Room

  • You may pack up your instrument and music. After about ten minutes, your rating will be posted in the hallway outside your warm-up room door. You may then pick up your adjudicator's score and medals slip (if you receive a 1st or 2nd division rating) from the warm-up room chairman.


  • Since the cost of medals has already been included in your event entry fee, your 1st or 2nd division medals card allows you to pick up your blue or red medal near headquarters. Only one medals card is provided for each event (not each person) in the warm-up room. This single slip is your authorization for medals for your entire ensemble.


  • Prepare ahead of time by:

    • Recording yourself a few times and listening for improvement

    • Performing for parents, friends, dog, goldfish

    • Breaking in extra reeds ahead of time, so that you have a back-up ready to go

    • Taking care of instrument maintenance issues early

    • Planning your practice times with accompanist and/or ensemble members

    • Scheduling "Practice Performances", going through the whole performance day routine

  • Spend enough time at the festival to listen to some other events. This would be interesting, educational and beneficial to you. You'll get some good ideas!

  • Sit in your own performance room ahead of your performance time to get the "feel" of the room.

  • Get a drink of water before performing; take water with you if you tend to dry up

  • Plan well ahead exactly how you will set up for your performance.

  • Stand, don't sit, for the best stage presence. Make sure you practice this, too. Don't lean excessively on one foot — get balanced and project yourself professionally.

  • Remember to thank your accompanist and treat him or her courteously. A card with your check would be a nice touch.

Aim for a great performance! Good Luck!