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 Instrumental Events

Pre-registration is necessary for proper planning of this event. Please list performers on the L.E.S.T. registration form. PLEASE FILL THE REGISTRATION FORM OUT COMPLETELY. Because of limited time and facilities, there is a limit on the number of entries from each school. Schools may enter no more than ten (10) instrumental solos each grade combination (i.e. – 10 in 5th/6th and 10 in 7th/8th) and five (5) instrumental ensembles each grade combination (i.e. – 5 in 5th/6th and 5 in 7th/8th). 


    Individual and ensemble adjudication forms may be accessed by clicking the appropriate buttons below:

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