Young Composers Competition

New Jersey Young Composers Composition: Information & Registration  

The New Jersey Music Educators Association is proud to announce the 2019-20 Young Composers Competition. The competition will include two divisions, one for middle school students in grades 6 – 8, and one for high school students in grades 9 – 12 (graduating June 2020). 

Finalists will be invited to attend a interview and critique session to be held in during the NJMEA State Conference at the Atlantic City Convention Center in February, 2020. In addition, the winning composer(s) will be announced at that time and awards will be presented. All other participating student composers are welcome to attend. The exact time and location will be announced in January 2020. 

The deadline for online application submissions is December 1, 2019. Endorsement page and application fees must be postmarked by December 1, 2019. 

Questions about the competition may be directed to Dr. Andrew Lesser, NJ-YCC Chairman at:

Categories for Submission
Composers may submit works in the following categories. All works must be 100% original. No arrangements or transcriptions will be accepted. Compositions may include combinations of instrumental and vocal parts:

• Solo Player (including piano)
• Small Instrumental/Vocal Ensemble (2 – 10 parts/performers) 
• Large Instrumental/Vocal Ensemble (11 or more parts/performers)

Competition Guidelines
1. Applicants must be New Jersey residents and must be sponsored by a current NJMEA/NAfME member.

2. Students may submit multiple selections in each category. However, a $20 application fee is required with each selection. Each entry must be have a separate completed application form and entry fee in order to be considered for eligibility. 
3. All compositions must have a title or opus number, and all names must be omitted from the score, program note and audio file so that submissions may be judged anonymously. 
4. Students must include a brief program note that includes the composition title with composer name omitted, describing the composer’s intention of the work. 
5. All scores must be submitted as PDF’s using a standard notation program, such as Sibelius or Finale. No handwritten scores will be considered for entry. 
6. All measures must be numbered in the score.
7. Students must submit an audio recording of their composition in MP3 format, a PDF (digital copy) of their score and PDF of composition description/program note. Submissions without recordings or PDF score will not be considered for entry.
8. While the applicant will retain ownership of their submission, all submissions will be kept by the NJMEA. No materials will be returned to students. NJMEA reserves the right to use student submissions for publicity and/or display. Finalist compositions will be posted on the NJMEA website. 
9. Submissions must be no longer than 7 minutes in length and within the difficulty range of Grades 2-4.

Evaluation Criteria
Evaluation of all submissions will be received by NJMEA approved Competition Judges. This panel will judge all works according to the following guidelines: 

• Originality: Demonstrating a personal/unique style showing individual creativity. 
• Compositional Technique: Must have identifiable form, structure, and development. Correct usage of musical notation and score markings.
• Accessibility: Must be playable by student ensembles on limited rehearsals.
• Compositional Maturity: Knowledge of medium, effective use of instruments/voices, and look of professionalism in score and recording.
• Overall Appeal: Must be innovative, imaginative, and enjoyable. 

Suggestions for Students and Teachers
• Remember that the submission must be able to be played by a student ensemble on limited rehearsal time. Make sure to adhere to the grade level and length specifications listed in the guidelines. 

• Parts must adhere to the generally accepted instrument and voice part ranges for grade 2 to 4 music.
• Remember, neatness counts! An excellent piece will lose credibility if the score is sloppy or shows careless errors. 
• Consider all aspects of a good piece when writing: dynamics, articulation, variety of melodic and harmonic ideas, orchestration and timbre, etc. 
• Above all, this piece should be personal and meaningful to you. You must consider your creative ideas above anything else combined with your musical knowledge.