MTNA Competitions: For Judges

Thank you for agreeing to serve as a judge for the Pennsylvania state level of the MTNA competitions (click here for directions, parking, campus map and hotel information). Please check in at the registration table in the main lobby 30 minutes prior to your first assignment and someone will direct you to the appropriate room. If possible, plan to stay through the announcement of the winners following the balloting to visit with the students.

Please take some time to read the following information as it pertains to your judging assignment.

Guidelines for MTNA Performance Judges

The purposes of the Music Teachers National Association performance competitions are to provide educational experiences for students and teachers and to recognize exceptionally talented young artists and their teachers in the pursuit of musical excellence. The state competitions are considered the primary educational level with the division and national levels showcasing outstanding performance and honoring significant pedagogical achievement.

  • Judges must hear a composition from each of the required categories and write comments on all repertoire performed.
  • Entrants must be allowed to perform as much of their program as time permits. Time taken to write comments between compositions or movements should not delay the entrant’s performance.
  • Written comments should be tactful and in a manner to encourage improvement.
  • Judges should not confer during the competition and must refrain from any verbal response to the entrant’s performance.
  • Judges in all competitions are not permitted to declare a tie and may not write any rating or indicate a winner on the comment sheet.
  • A Winner and Alternate must be selected.
  • Judges’ decisions are final.
  • The entrant selects the first work to be performed; the order of the program is then determined by the judge(s).
  • Entrants may be stopped during the performance of any work due to time constraints.
  • The timing of the performance is the responsibility of the designated monitor and the Competition Coordinator.
  • All reproductions of music have been previously approved by competition officials.
  • Judges do not have the authority to disqualify entrants.
  • Judges should refrain from conversation with anyone other than competition officials until the results of the competition have been announced.

Judges Orientation Meeting

  • Judges must attend an orientation meeting.
  • Judges should designate one spokesperson to stop the entrant during a work or request the next work.
  • Judges should make decisions for each level of the competition based on the following information:

Junior Performance Competitions

  • The entrant begins with the work of his or her choice. Memory is required for piano only.
  • Judges then select the remaining order of performance.
  • All students will be allotted twenty (20) minutes maximum performance time.

Senior Performance Competitions

  • The entrant begins with the work of his or her choice. Memory is required for piano and voice only.
  • Judges then select the remaining order of performance.
  • Piano, Brass, String and Woodwind at the State level will be allotted twenty-five (25) minutes maximum performance time.
  • Voice will be allotted twenty (20) minutes maximum performance time.

Young Artist Performance Competitions

  • The entrant begins with the work of his or her choice. Memory required for piano and voice only.
  • Judges then select the remaining order of performance.
  • Brass, Woodwind, Piano, String, and Voice will be allotted thirty (30) minutes maximum performance time.

Chamber Music Performance Competition

  • The ensemble chooses the first work.
  • Judges then select the remaining order of performance.
  • Ensembles will be allotted thirty (30) minutes maximum performance time.

Competition Awards

State Competitions

One (1) Winner, one (1) Alternate, one (1) or more Honorable Mentions [number decided by individual states]. Honorable Mention(s) do not have to be declared. A tie is not permitted.

The Balloting Procedure

A. Winner

  1. 1. Judge(s) ballot for a single Winner without consultation.
  2. 2. Competition Coordinator tabulates the ballots. If there is a majority for one (1) entrant, that entrant is declared the Winner and the procedure continues with item B below. If there is no Winner, the Coordinator informs the judges of the entrants [by number] who received votes on the ballot, and the judges again ballot without consultation.
  3. 3. Competition Coordinator tabulates second set of ballots. If there is now a majority for one (1) entrant, that entrant is declared the Winner. If there is no representative chosen, the Coordinator informs the judges of the entrants (by number) who received votes on the second ballot, and the judges discuss the issue with the Competition Coordinator serving as moderator, until a decision is reached.

B. Alternate

  1. 1. Judge(s) ballot for a single Alternate without consultation.
  2. 2. Balloting procedures are followed as outlined above (A2, A3) to determine the Alternate.

C. Honorable Mention(s)

  1. 1. State/Division level: The number of Honorable Mentions selected is left to the discretion of the State/Division.
  2. 2. Balloting procedures are followed as outlined above (A2, A3) to determine the Honorable Mention(s).

D. Completion of Balloting

  1. 1. Once the ballot process is completed, the Competition Coordinator completes the Decision of Performance Competition Judges Form, and each judge signs the form.
  2. 2. The Competition Coordinator will keep all ballots and the Decision of Performance Competition Judges Form on file for a period of one year, or until after the competition for the next competition year is completed.

Repertoire Requirements

The repertoire for each entrant has been approved and accepted by the national competition coordinators. The complete programs will be emailed to each judge by the competition coordinator.

MTNA Performance Competition Comment Sheet

Competition comment sheets which are given to student entrants will include the following information:

Competition ______________________________________________

Date __________________________

Entrant Number ______________

Instrument or Voice Category______________________________________

Judges will be guided in their remarks by the following considerations, as applicable:

  • Interpretation: style, tempo, dynamic control, phrasing
  • Technique: rhythmic accuracy, articulation, intonation, tone
  • Memorization, Stage Presence, Artistic Maturity

If additional pages are used, write the Entrant Number at the top of each page.

Composition/ Composer/ Duration

Signature of Judge