Rules, Regulations, and Adjudication

To view prizes and repertoire, please see the Divisions and Repertoire section of the website.



  • The competition is open to anyone who is a resident of the United States at the time of application.

  • Former first place winners are not eligible to compete in the same division.

  • An applicant may enter more than one division provided each application is made in accordance with the age requirements and other regulations.


  • Please determine the appropriate division according to your age as of December 15, 2019.

    • Age 30 and younger: young artist division (piano only)

    • Age 19 and younger: senior division (piano, violin, cello, flute, guitar, viola)

    • Age 16 and younger: intermediate division (piano, violin, cello, flute, guitar)

    • Age 13 and younger: junior division (piano, violin, cello, flute, guitar)

    • Age 10 and younger: primary division (piano, violin, cello)


  • The teachers of applicants participating in the Primary through Senior divisions must be members of the Society of American Musicians.

  • Membership applications and dues must be submitted by January 15th, 2020 in order for students to enter in the competition.


  • Applications and fees are due by December 15th, 2019. For Primary through Senior Divisions the application fee is $65. For the Young Artist Division, the application fee is $100.

  • Any applications submitted after December 15th will be considered late. Late applications must pay a $25 late fee in addition to the application fee.

  • The final deadline is January 1st, 2020. Applications will not be accepted after this date.

  • Applicants applying for more than one division/instrument must fill out a separate online application and pay an application fee for each division/instrument.

  • Contestants will not be allowed to compete if the appropriate fees are not paid in full. Refunds will not be given unless there is a cancellation of a particular division.

  • Teachers are responsible for reviewing all information pertaining to the competition, including rules and regulations, with their students.


  • If fewer than five contestants enter any division, the competition will be cancelled and application fees will be refunded.

Adjudication and Regulation Procedures

  • Judges are selected by SAM.

  • Any and all decisions made by the judges are final. If, in any division, the judges decide that no contestant is sufficiently qualified to receive an award, no award will be awarded.

  • Judges will be behind a screen for all divisions and instruments.

  • Based upon the number of participants, judges have the right to limit contestants’ playing times.

  • Judges are prohibited from judging their own students.


  • Contestants and their teachers will receive an email with information about the competition schedule.

  • Audition times for each contestant will be determined by random drawing.

  • Each contestant will be assigned a warm-up time at the competition location. If the participant misses their warm-up, another warm-up time will not be given.

  • Any contestant found warming up on the premises in a room and/or at a time that has not been assigned to them by the Artistic Director will be automatically disqualified.


  • The Society of American Musicians does not assume responsibility for the engagement or compensation of collaborative pianists for contestants or winners appearing in the recital.

  • Contestants are not guaranteed a warm-up time with their collaborative pianist.


Participants will be automatically disqualified under the following circumstances:

  • Any participant found warming up on the competition premises in a room and/or time that has not been assigned to them by the Artistic Director

  • Failure to bring two clean copies of their music to the competition where required

  • Appearance of the participant’s or their teacher’s name on the copies of music

  • Performing the incorrect repertoire

  • If the participant is found to have exceeded the age eligibility