rules and penalties

All contestants must bring with them, at the time of the contest, a clean, legible score of the music to be performed or they cannot win a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place trophy.

Contestants cannot bring photocopies of published music that is currently available (i.e., available in a text or method book or sheet music), or they cannot win a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place trophy.

Music purchased online and Public Domain Music are acceptable but must be submitted to the judge with a receipt or proof of purchase.  [Be sure to make the proof of purchase or the Public Domain information apparent (highlight, circle, etc.) so the music isn’t mistaken as a photocopy.]

  1. All music must have measures numbered or the contestant cannot win a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place trophy.
  2. Numbering of the first measure of each line is acceptable as are pre-numbered measures by the publisher.
  1. Names of contestants or music studios must not appear on music submitted to the judge to maintain the anonymity of the student. The judge is not informed as to the identity of the student or their teacher.  
  2. Since students in the same class may play the same selection, the contestant number should be written on the top of the music.
  1. All solos must be played from memory.
  2. If the contestant needs to look at their music after being called to perform, the contestant cannot win a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place trophy.
  3. Duets, trios, and ensembles need not be memorized.

Repeat signs in music are optional unless they are integral to the piece, or noted as necessary on the required music list.

  1. Senior level performances will not exceed 8 minutes.
  2. Virtuoso level performances will not exceed 10 minutes.
  3. Vocals will not exceed 6 minutes.
  1. All contestants may do a short warm-up exercise, immediately prior to their competition performance (limiting the warm-up to a scale, arpeggio, short finger/vocal exercise, etc.).
  2. Contestants may not use any part of their competition piece as a warm-up.
  3. After warming up, contestants should not start their actual performance until the judge tells them to begin.
  4. Vocal, Guitar, and String contestants may vocalize or tune in the designated warm-up room or area.
  5. There are no warm-up rooms for Piano.
  1. Contestants will be judged on their accuracy of music notation (i.e. notes and rhythms), and general musicianship (i.e. expression, interpretation, phrasing, use of piano pedals, etc.).
  2. Prizes are awarded to the best performances in each class. A good musical performance and attention to detail serves as criteria for the judges.  What may impress the audience with its apparent difficulty can only be considered for a prize if it is also played cleanly and musically.  It is also necessary to judge the contestant according to the edition being used.  Editions differ as to “MM” markings, expression, etc., and the student can only perform what is in their edition.

Contestants playing in classes with required music must play the notes and rhythm unaltered.  However, if the teacher chooses to alter the editor’s other markings, these alterations should be made apparent to the judge in the edition being used. On the other hand, the judge must not feel compromised by these editions, as it is the teacher’s responsibility to teach the student what is musically correct, even if the edition used may not.

If a contestant pauses or stops briefly, yet continues playing, the awarding of prizes will be at the judge’s discretion.

  1. If a contestant stops within the first phrase and re-starts the selection from the beginning, the awarding of the trophy will be at the judge’s discretion.
  2. If a contestant stops after the first phrase, and re-starts the selection from the beginning, the contestant cannot win a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place trophy.

If a student changes a selection, the new selection must be chosen from the same class level and music list as was entered on the original registration form.  The student shall make their change known when their music is collected at the start of their class.  Prior notification to the IMA committee is not necessary.

  1. If a student changes their selection, the new selection must be chosen from the same class level, OR, for Vocals, the same category as was entered on their original registration.
  2. The new musical selection must be submitted 60 days prior to the contest date for approval.
  1. For Guitar contestants, only pre-recorded accompaniment is allowed (a piano is not provided in the contest room).
  2. For Vocal and String contestants, pre-recorded accompaniment is allowed, and a piano will also be provided.
  3. If a student is using a form of pre-recorded accompaniment, such as a phone, tablet, or computer, the student must provide their own device and be able to operate the device competently and at an adequate volume level or have someone capable of doing so.
  1. Appropriate footwear needs to be worn; contestants need to wear footwear that will not impede their performance.
  2. Piano contestants must wear shoes which are suitable for playing the pedals.
  3. Any contestant playing in bare or stocking feet cannot win a 1st, 2nd, or 3rd place trophy.
  1. Parents, teachers, and students are not allowed to speak directly to the judge in regards to disputes. Instead, any issues should be directed to contest officials in the contest office.
  2. Contestants must not practice in the corridors or contest rooms, or they will be subject to disqualification at the IMA’s discretion.

The use of audio or video recorders is permitted to record your own performance or to record your student’s performances.  Audio or video recorders are for your own personal use only.  Recordings will not be accepted as criteria regarding the judging.