Newsletter (February 2016)

Hello NIMCon Members,

It’s contest season and here is everything you need to know. If we forget anything, please, leave a comment below.

Solo & Ensemble Contest

Solo & Ensemble Contest is just around the corner! All around Northern Illinois students are working hard toward perfecting their music. What an awesome thing to contemplate. Music making is happening everywhere!

Contest is on February 20 at Lake Forest Country Day School. Thank you to LFCDS directors for their hard work in hosting contest this year.

Below are a handful of reminders about the big day.

Remember to Practice Your Scales / Rudiments!

As a membership, we value the idea that instrumental soloists need to learn the scale that makes up their piece. With that in mind, you probably noticed that the rubric for soloists includes a score of 1-3 points for the student’s performance of a scale. As a friendly reminder, be sure you are preparing students to perform a scale that makes sense for their piece.

Because this may be a new process for everyone participating in NIMCon, here are the details for each instrument type.

Winds & Strings will play a scale in the key of the solo being played. The scale should be up and down and at least one octave. Tempo and note length are at the soloist’s discretion. Beginning students may play the scale in split octaves, that is, a beginning clarinet player may play CDEFGA (drop the octave) BCB (back up the octave AGFEDC. Similar accommodations might be made for other instruments.

Percussionists (mallet players) will play a scale from the Scales for Mallet Players sheet.

Percussionists (snare drum) will play snare drum rudiments. Students should prepare all designated rudiments based on their years of experience.

Percussionists (drum set) will play drum set patterns. Students should prepare all designated patterns based on their years of experience.

Instrumental Ensembles & Vocal Performers do not need to play / sing scales.

S&E includes Short Clinics

Performance time slots have been expanded to 10 minutes to allow for a short clinic where the judge can work with the student. Please, prepare your students so they expect a short clinic where the judge may ask them to play various sections again as well as try different things.

S&E Scoring Rubrics

To provide meaningful feedback for students, performances will be evaluated based on the scoring rubrics below. Along with the rubric system comes a scoring system where students score up to the division rating. If you haven’t already seen the scoring rubric sheets, we encourage you to check them out below.

Rubric scoring sheets allow our judges to select areas of solid playing / singing, or areas that need work. Ample space is provided in each box to make a comment, a note, a rhythm, a dynamic, etc. Judges will receive a sample scoring sheet with their contest information. Several of our hired judges have already expressed excitement about our scoring rubrics!

Best of all, the scoring rubrics are based on the 2014 Music Standards from the National Association for Music Education.

Special thanks to Elise Matusek and Carolyn Awe for the research, writing, rewriting, and reformatting of the new rubric sheets. As we proceed through this first contest season in the new format, please don’t hesitate to forward any thoughts, comments, and suggestions regarding rubrics.

Organization & Jazz Contests

March contests will be here before we know it. Thank you to the directors at Woodland MS in Gurnee for hosting Organization Contest (Mar 11-12) and Nippersink MS in Richmond for hosting Jazz Contest (Mar 17).

Stay tuned for more information. Be sure to visit the event pages as they are updated.

Organization Contest includes a Short Clinic

Performance time slots have been lengthened slightly to allow for a short clinic where the judge can work with the ensemble. All ensembles should make every effort to enter and perform promptly to maximize their time for the clinic.

Please, prepare your students so they expect a short clinic where the judge may ask them to play various sections again as well as try different things.

Organization Contest Rubrics

Ensembles will be evaluated based on the following rubrics.


If you are judging for us, thank you! Be sure to visit the various event pages and Judges page for all information.

Contest Rules & Procedures

As always, you can view the Contest Rules & Procedures at any time.

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