Instrumental – Solo and Ensemble

Goals for All Music Competitions

  1. To give honor and praise to God for the wonderful gift of music. 
  2. To encourage the study of music among our young people. 
  3. To encourage mastery of performance and musical technique.
  4. To provide a unique forum for the sharing of music with peers. 
  5. To give recognition to, and praise God for, those who excel in this gift. 


The Instrumental music competition is open to both piano and instrumental soloists and ensembles. An ‘ensemble’ is defined as two or more performers. An accompanist will be allowed if needed.

Contestants will be judged in the following categories. 

  1. Accuracy
  2. Rhythm 
  3. Musicianship
  4. Technique
  5. Other Performance Factors 

Awards for Music Competitions

Points             Placement     Award             Division Rating

22-25              First                Blue                I

17-21              Second                                  II

10-16              Third                                      III

Students are judged on their own performance, not compared to other performers. Awards will be given for blue ribbon winners. The judges’ rating sheets, with valuable comments, will be given to each school at the closing of L.E.S.T. Northwest. 

Piano, Instrumental, and Instrumental Ensembles

  1. Regarding the use of Arrangements 
    Literature played must be written for the instrument and not an arrangement from a different genre (i.e. theme from a piano concerto, movie theme, etc.). Contestants may play an arranged piece and be evaluated, but they may not be eligible for an award. Transcriptions of music after the year 1900 are allowed, but these entrants should realize that they are competing against others who play Bach, Mozart, Haydn, Clementi, etc. The decision of the judges is final. L.E.S.T. Northwest reserves the right to make adjustments on requirements for this competition from year to year.
  2. About the Schedules 
    Due to the many unforeseen events, all scheduled times are subject to change. At L.E.S.T. Northwest, multiple events are usually proceeding simultaneously. Outcomes are often unpredictable. The music judges will do their best in preparing and maintaining a schedule. If someone comes early and is prepared to play, they may be requested to appear before someone who is late or is delayed by another L.E.S.T. Northwest event. It is very important that the individual registration forms be filled out completely with particular attention being paid to the part where a listing is given of other L.E.S.T. Northwest events in which the individual will be participating. This can help prevent potential conflicts in scheduling performances.  
  3. Pianos will be provided for the competition. If an instrumental piece is written with a piano part, a piano must be used. All other instruments must be brought by the student/school.
  4. Music stands and chairs will be provided for instrumentalists. 
  5. There is NO EXIT or ENTRANCE during a performance. This behavior is discourteous and disturbing to the performers. Do not bring food or drink into the performing areas. 
  6. There is NO TALKING during a performance. Please keep small children as quiet as possible. We are here to help build everyone up, not provide interference with them doing their best. 
  7. Contestants must provide an original piece of their music for the judge. NO PHOTOCOPIES. This is illegal and would violate U.S. Copyright Laws. 
  8. Instrumentalists must provide their own accompanist (if needed). Instrumental pieces which were written with an accompaniment must be heard that way. Only pieces which were truly written as “solo” may be heard without accompaniment.  
  9. Arrive at least 10 minutes early before your scheduled time. 
  10. Memorization of music is strongly encouraged. 
  11. Upon acknowledgement by the judge, each contestant should begin with the announcement of their name, their school name and location, followed by the title and composer of their piece. 
  12. Total time for each performance may not exceed six (6) minutes. 

How to Participate in Piano and Instrumental Events

Pre-registration is necessary for proper planning of this event. Please list performers on individual registration forms. PLEASE FILL THE REGISTRATION FORM OUT COMPLETELY. The registration for Ensembles has a different registration form than individual performers. Because of limited time and facilities, there is a limit on the number of entries from each school. The following formula for the 5th and 6th grade competition in piano, instrumental, vocal, and ensembles, and the 7th and 8th grade competition in piano, instrumental, vocal, and ensembles will be used: 

  • Schools with enrollment of 75 students or less in grades 5 – 8 may enter eight (8) participants in each grade combination (i.e. – eight in 5th/6th and eight in 7th/8th) for instrumental, eight (8) participants in each grade combination for piano, and four (4) ensembles for grades 5 – 8. 
  • Schools with enrollment of more than 75 students in grades 5 – 8 may enter 10 participants in each grade combination (i.e. – 10 in 5th/6th and 10 in 7th/8th) for instrumental, 10 participants in each grade combination for piano, and five (5) ensembles for grades 5 – 8. 


Individual adjudication forms should be filled out on the top half and sent in with the L.E.S.T. Northwest Registration Form by December 6. Changes to the name of the pieces to be played can be made by sending the name of the new pieces to the L.E.S.T. Northwest Director.

  1. Any adjudication forms received after December 6 may not be able to be included in the final schedule for participation in L.E.S.T. Northwest.
  2. The top of the adjudication form needs to be completely filled out.

%d bloggers like this: