Contest Rules & Procedures

Contest Entry Procedures

  1. The President will prepare contest registration forms and information and have it available to the membership by November 1st.
  2. Contest registration materials will be completed by December 1st and sent to President through the NIMC website.
  3. Entry fees and a completed entry form will be sent by first class mail to the Treasurer and postmarked on or before December 1st.
  4. A request for a specific performance time must be requested on the website or on the organization entry card, including Friday or Saturday performances for organizations. Solo and ensemble contest requests will be “AM” or “PM” and only to be used in extenuating circumstances.
  5. Solo & Ensemble Contest requests will be “AM” or “PM” and only to be used in extenuating circumstances. Time requests should not exceed 10% of a director’s entries.
  6. Organizations canceling less than six weeks in advance of their contest will forfeit their entry fees. Upon cancellation there will be no refund of solo, ensemble, or piano fees.

Contest Procedures

  1. All schools must assist with hosting or co-hosting responsibilities. If all efforts have been made to help a school fulfill their duty and the school director chooses not to assist in the year they are assigned to do so, then the school willingly foregoes their right to participate in all NIMC contests until they have assisted with co-hosting a contest.
  2. Contest hosts shall email contest schedules no later than two weeks before the contest to participating directors.
  3. All students receiving a Division I or Division II rating at Solo and Ensemble Contest shall be awarded individual medals. Students receiving a perfect score will be awarded a medal with a different ribbon color.
  4. All Organizations receiving a Division I rating shall be awarded individual medals and a plaque.
  5. All Organizations receiving a Division II rating shall be awarded individual medals.
  6. Each member of an organization receiving a perfect score will be awarded a medal with a different ribbon color.
  7. Each participating school shall provide two adult chaperones to supervise their homeroom.
  8. It is mandatory that each music director attends the contest in which his or her students participate. Each school’s representative will be required to sign out after that school’s last students’ events have been posted and the contest host has processed that school’s last event.
  9. At the conclusion of each contest, the President will make a survey available to all participating directors.
  10. An ORIGINAL score must be provided for the adjudicator.  Photocopies are illegal and will not be accepted.  The penalty for violation shall be lowering of the rating by one step.


  1. Students participating in contests must be current students of the music organization they represent and shall be certified as such by their school principal or superintendent.
  2. A member school may enter more than one band, orchestra, jazz band, choir and show choir in the contest. Each group will be considered as a separate entry.
  3. An organization may elect to perform “For Comments Only”.  These groups will receive comments but no numerical rating, and no medals or plaque will be awarded.

Rules Governing Organization Contest

  1. Directors may proceed through their three selections at their own prerogative.
  2. All organizations shall use the designated warm up venue as their warm up space. All groups are allowed to play a brief sound check as a part of their allotted performance time.
  3. Directors must provide the host with three scores of each selection to be performed. The measures shall be numbered.
  4. Concert Bands and Orchestras will not exceed 40 minutes in the performance area including set up, performance, clinic and clean up.
  5. Jazz Bands, Choirs, and Swing Choirs will not exceed 30 minutes in the performance area including set up, performance, clinic and clean up .
  6. The performance of a piano part by an adult in an instrumental group is not allowed.
  7. No adjudicator shall hold the behavior of a special needs student against the performance of the organization.
  8. All organizations shall be rated in three divisions: Division I, Division II, or Division III. The final rating for all organizations shall be a majority of the adjudicators’ final ratings. Organizations receiving a I, II, and III will be rated Division II.
  9. Organizations shall not be marked down for stage entrance or exit.
  10. Concert Bands and Orchestras shall play three selections.
  11. Jazz Bands shall perform three selections, two of which shall be in contrasting styles.
  12. Choirs and Swing Choirs shall perform three memorized selections.
  13. Swing/show choirs may be accompanied by a combo consisting of adults and students. The combo shall not be judged or presented medals.
  14. Swing/Show choirs may be directed.

Rules Governing Solo and Ensemble Contests

  1. Students must provide adjudicators with a condensed or full score. Measures must be numbered.
  2. Participating schools will be allowed an unlimited number of entries.
  3. If the performance time exceeds ten minutes including clinic time, the adjudicator may stop the performance with no penalty to the students.
  4. Instrumental Solos and Ensembles may be read from a score. Vocal solos must be memorized.
  5. Directors are allowed in the performance room, but may only direct ensembles of 9 or more members.
  6. Acceptable solo instruments shall include voice, and any instruments used in bands or orchestras, including acoustic guitar. Piano solos and ensembles will not be accepted.
  7. All solos must be performed with accompaniment unless the accompaniment is optional in the score. Accompaniment is optional for ensembles.
  8. Students are allowed to perform one solo per instrument.
  9. Ensembles with missing members will be rated at the discretion of the adjudicator.
  10. Drummers may use only practice pads in the warm up and/or homeroom at the solo and ensemble contest unless a drum warm up room is provided.
  11. Ensembles may have from 2-24 members.
  12. The use of electronically recorded accompaniment shall be prohibited in contest.
  13. Students must perform a minimum of 16 measures from one piece of music.
  14. Melodic soloists will perform a scale in the key of the performed piece. Battery drum soloists will perform rudiments from the required list. Ensembles do not perform scales or rudiments.
  15. It is suggested that accompanists do not accompany more than 20 entries and when possible, should be assigned to similar instruments.

Rules Governing Honors Invitational Contest

  1. This event will be an upper level contest with the option for comments only and/or rating, plus a clinic.
  2. Organizations receiving a Division I rating at Organization Contest are eligible to participate.
  3. All participating groups will share the cost of the event. The anticipated cost is $100-$125 per group.
  4. Medals may be purchased for an additional fee.
  5. The rubric used will be the same one as Organization Contest.
  6. Contest will be held as long as five or more groups register for the event.


  1. Each year the Board of Directors shall appoint a judge’s evaluation committee. This group shall establish procedures for additions and deletions to the judges’ list. The chairperson of the committee shall make a report at the Annual Meeting.
  2. Every attempt shall be made to rotate organization judges to prevent them from adjudicating the same organizations two successive years.
  3. Three qualified judges will be hired to judge each organization type including band, jazz band, orchestra, and choir/swing choir.


  1. District membership fee- $75.00 per school district/private school organization
  2. Entry fees are as follows:
    1. $7.00 per solo/ensemble member
    2. $6.00 per organization member with medals
    3. $5.00 per organization member without medals
  3. In addition to the Solo and Ensemble entry fee, a clavinova fee (per middle school) as follows: 1-50 entries- $50; over 50 entries- $100.
  4. An admission charge will be made for all organization contests.  However, participants, directors, administrators, bus drivers, and children under 6 years will be excluded from the charge. The proceeds will go directly to the host school.
  5. Directors will be able to purchase additional medals on the day of the contest.


  1. Judges shall be paid $25 per hour. Partial hours will be rounded up to the hour.
  2. Solo and ensemble contest hosts shall be paid $250.00 per site host and $200 per site scheduler. Organization contest hosts shall be paid $100.00 per day and $25 per extra performance room.
  3. A registered nurse shall be hired at each contest site and paid up to $100.00 per day if the hosting school district does not pay.
  4. Stipends for the Board of Directors will be honored at the end of the fiscal year . Officers can waive portions of the stipend at their discretion. Per year, the President shall receive $2000.00 ,the VP shall receive $750, the Secretary $500 and the Treasurer $500. The adjudicator hirer shall receive $1875.00 and the webmaster $500.
  5. Members of the Board of Directors shall be compensated at the IRS mileage rate when their presence is required.
  6. The Treasurer shall be authorized to pay expenses for committees.
  7. All financial obligations must be submitted to the Treasurer by May 31st of the current school year.