Skip to content

Music Composition Guidelines

MUSIC COMPOSITION is the process of creating a new piece of music. The composer (student submitting entry) is a person who expresses their own thoughts and ideas through the use of sound. The student composer may submit an entry performed by an individual or group and/or make use of a sound library generated performance of a composed score. Student composers are not required to perform their composition, but a recording of the composition must be included. Middle and high school grade divisions must include music score/notation, either traditional or tablature, or a written reflective statement that provides a musically technical explanation of how the music was created (100 words or less).

Reflect on the 2022-202Theme: Show Your Voice

Consider the following musical styles and instruments to portray your original composition: A Cappella, Blues, Choral, Country, Electronic, Hip hop, Jazz, Latin, Musical, Orchestral, Pop, R&B, Religious, Rock, Symphonic/Concert Band and Traditional.

All instruments, sounds, styles and combinations are accepted. Software may be used to produce an audio recording. Entriescontainingalgorithmic compositiontechniquesarenotaccepted.Anexplanationoftheoriginofthemusicand/or the significance of the music style might be a useful addition to the artist statement when submitting a music composition thatinvolvestraditional, culturalorregionalinstruments.Whetheranentrydisplaysformalcompositiontechniqueora simple approach, it will be judged primarily on how well the student uses his or her artistic vision to portray the theme, originality and creativity.

Suggestions for Audio Quality:

  • Do not place the recording device on top of an instrument(s) or speakers.

  • Turn off all noise-making devices in the room (air conditioners, fans, telephones, etc.).

  • Record a short test and listen to it. If needed, change the record volume or microphone location.

  • Make sure the music is audible on the recording.

  • Allow for two seconds of silence at the beginning and end of your recording.

    Notation & Score: (Middle School & High School Divisions Only)

  • Notation is required for the middle and high school divisions. Accepted notations/scores: traditional or tablature music score/notation or a written reflective statement that provides a musically technical explanation of how the music was created (100 words or less).

  • Accepted file types include PDF.

  • Notation software may be used to create a score.

  • Whether the score is hand-written or computer-generated, appropriate instrumentation and voicing are required

    for theperformance.
    Copyright: Use of copyrighted material is prohibited. Plagiarized entries will be disqualified.

    Submission Requirements:

  • Only new pieces of artwork inspired by the theme may be submitted.

  • Each entry must be the original work of one student only.

  • Audio recording must not exceed 5 minutes in length and 1,000 MB (1,000 megabyte) in file size.

  • Accepted audio file formats include: MP3 and WAV.

  • If necessary, label CD/DVD/flash drive with title of artwork, arts category and division.

  • Submit entry and student entry form to your PTA Reflections Chair.

All participants must also follow Official Rules for Participation