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Classical Instrumental

If you participated in last year's program and were selected to be a Semifinalist or Honorable Mention in January 2019, you will bypass the Preliminary 1 video audition and advance to Preliminary 2 to schedule your live audition.  

What’s required of me for my Classical Instrumental Preliminary 1 video audition

All students begin with a Preliminary 1 video audition. Those scoring highest will advance to Preliminary 2 live auditions in December, 2019. Those scoring highest after Preliminary 2 will advance to the Semifinals

  • Prepare and perform two solo pieces. Your classical and contemporary pieces may be played with sheet music. If you advance to semifinals/finals, all music must be memorized
  • One of your pieces must be from the Baroque or Classical periods (1650-1820 Example: Bach, Mozart, Vivaldi, Beethoven, Haydn, etc.)  If no Baroque or Classical music is available for your instrument, please emails us at
  • Your second piece must be from the Romantic, Impressionistic, or Contemporary periods (1820-present Example: Chopin, Tchaikovsky, Debussy, Stravinsky, Bartók, Hindemith, etc.)
  • If your instrument does not have Baroque or Classical material written for it, you may play two Contemporary pieces. Please email us the name of the composer of your contemporary pieces for approval at 
  • Franz Schubert may be considered as either a Classical or Romantic period composer. Both audition pieces cannot be composed by Schubert
  • Both pieces together must fit within 10 minutes. In other words, one piece may be 3 min and the second may be 7 minutes; or any version of the time in order to fit within the total 10 min time frame.  Please eliminate repeats or make cuts in longer pieces. The judges will not judge negatively should you make cuts to fit within the allotted time
  • Piano: Concertos are not allowed; only solo piano pieces
  • All other instruments: Pieces written with accompaniment must be performed with an accompanist
  • Pre-recorded accompaniment (i.e. Music Minus One ©) or a capella performances of works requiring accompaniment are not allowed
  • If you advance to Preliminary 2 in January, you may change both of your pieces for the next round if desired
  • If you choose a contemporary piece as your second selection, please email us the name of the composer of your contemporary piece for approval at
  • Original compositions are not allowed
  • You may only apply to this category with one instrument

Guidelines for Recording Your Audition

  • Your recording device can be a cell phone, tablet, camera, etc. You do NOT have to rent fancy recording equipment. We will refer to the recording devices as "cameras"
  • Before recording your pieces, film a test. Perform the first few notes of one of your selections, then watch and listen to it on playback  
  • Use a fixed point of view for your camera with you being the main focus. Shoot straight on, leaving the camera in one location. Do not pan or move the camera. Camera should be no closer than waist up
  • Ensure recording captures good quality image
  • Check for appropriate balance with the accompanist
  • Make sure there is 1-3 seconds of silence before the beginning of the piece
  • No sound enhancements are allowed
  • If you are playing from memory, be sure there is no music on the stand
  • Make sure your music stand is not blocking your hands or our view from seeing you
  • Hands and fingers must be visible
  • Make sure the acoustics in the room are suitable for a recording. Practice your piece in the space. Make sure there is no noise coming from other rooms near you as you record
  • When recording with a tablet or cellphone, use the landscape/horizontal mode for best results

How to Submit Your Audition Video

  • After you have recorded your pieces, watch them in playback to make sure you can be seen and the music heard
  • Save and name your files with their titles and upload each selection as a separate video file
  • When uploading, be sure to upload to your computer first and verify that image is upright (not sideways) and plays smoothly
  • Please do not do any of the following as it may disqualify you:
    • Do not edit within a piece; no effects or post performance alterations
    • Do not use special effects, dissolves, fades or wipes
    • Do not submit pre-recorded live performances, such as recitals, concerts, or competitions

What Are Judges Looking For

  • Tone Production - the ability to achieve a quality of sound appropriate to the instrument and to the style of the music
  • Technique - the degree to which the performer has acquired control of the instrument
  • Rhythm - the ability to establish, maintain and project rhythms of a wide range of complexity
  • Intonation - proper tuning of the instrument and in-tune playing
  • Interpretation - the ability to project a convincing conception of the selection
  • Phrasing - sensitivity to the need for phrasing and the ability to execute it

Please be sure you follow all requirements related to your application. Failure to comply with any of the requirements listed below may result in disqualification during the review process and/or make your application ineligible for an award.

Click here to open the Guidelines in another tab where a printable version is available.


If your application is already open, simply click on the Acceptd tab on your computer to return to it. 

Got Questions??? Email us at 

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