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Literature Guidelines

Literature (Music Selection) Overview

Music Type

All types of music are allowed in the performances as long as they are school appropriate.  Choice of literature may be considered by the adjudicators in recommending performers for the Honors Concert.


Memorization is not required for performances, but it is strongly recommended.  Bonus points are given to all performers who perform their piece memorized, and memorization is a requirement for overall ranking of Superior in Piano and Vocal Divisions.

Young Musicians Festival
Two young boys play duo tubas. Honors Concert Performance at the Bowen Young Musicians Festival

Time Limits

There is a time limit for each piece, based on the performer’s Bracket:

  • Grades 5 and under = 3 minutes
  • Grades 6-8 = 4 minutes
  • Grades 9-12 = 6 minutes
  • Adult = 6 minutes

Performances may be cut short if they exceed this time limit.

Number of Performances

Participants may register for a maximum of 1 solo and 1 small ensemble per Division.


Within each Division all participants will be assigned to one of the following Brackets, based on their grade in school:

  • Grades 5 and under
  • Grades 6-8
  • Grades 9-12
  • Adult

Each Bracket will perform in one or more Performance Group.  Small ensembles will perform in the Bracket of the member in the highest grade.  Each performer will receive verbal feedback directly after their performance.

The adjudicator will score all performances and make written comments in three general categories:

  • Technique
  • Interpretation
  • Performance

Each category is worth 24 points, with the rankings defined as follows for the first two categories:

  • Superior (17-24)
  • Excellent (9-16)
  • Good (1-8)

The third category reflects level of difficulty of the music and is ranked as follows:

  • Advanced (17-24)
  • Intermediate (9-16)
  • Beginner (1-8)

All performers will receive a certificate for their scrapbook to remember their performance.

Superior Rank

All performers in the Piano and Vocal Divisions who perform their piece memorized and who receive a superior score in the first two categories are ranked Superior and receive a pin. 

All performers in the Band and Strings Divisions who receive a superior score in the first two categories are ranked Superior and receive a pin; memorization is not required.

All evaluation forms, certificates, ribbons and pins will be available at the front desk throughout the day after each Bracket finishes, no later than 4:15 p.m.


During registration, all performers must either opt in or opt out of the Competition.  After a performance, all three category scores and memorization bonus points are added together to reach a Total Score.  1st – 3rd place ribbons will be awarded in each Bracket in each Division, based on Total Score.  Additionally, cash prizes will be awarded to the overall top three scorers in each Division.  Place winners will be posted at the front desk throughout the day, after each Bracket finishes, and Division winners will receive their prizes after all Brackets have competed.

Honors Concert

The adjudicators will recommend some performers, including solos and ensembles, to perform at the Saturday evening Honors Concert, which begins at 6:00 p.m.  All Brackets are eligible to receive the recommendation. 

Adjudicators will be instructed to only recommend those performers who are ready to give a solid performance, and they are not required to consider Total Score or Superior rating.  They might consider such things as memorization, length of piece, stage presence, and audience appeal. 

Recommendation to the Honors Concert is not part of the official Competition aspect of the Festival.

A list of Honors Concert Invitees will be posted at the front desk and online around 4:30 p.m.  It will be the responsibility of all festival participants to check online or at the front desk at that time to see if their name is listed.  All invitees must accept or decline the invitation by 4:45 p.m.  Those who fail to contact the front desk in person or by using the listed phone number or email address will likely be eliminated from the concert.

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