Are You Prepared for Solo & Ensemble Festival?

Solo & Ensemble Performance Day Checklist

You’ve practiced, prepared, and now it’s time to perform! This is a quick checklist for what to take, event expectations, and how to conduct yourself on a Solo & Ensemble Festival performance day. Please read carefully!

  • Time Your Piece! The music needs to be at least two (2) minutes long for High School Solo & Ensemble Festival or one and one-half (1.5) minutes for Middle/Junior High School Solo & Ensemble Festival.
  • Score! You need an original full score with the measures numbered.
 Put event name, number, and school at the top.
 No music for the judge and you play for comments only.
  • Accompanist! All events must be accompanied if an accompaniment is written or no rating will be given. Make sure your accompanist is well-informed regarding location and schedule.
  • Instrument! Check your instrument: make sure it’s in your case, packed, and ready to go!
  • Dress the Part! Wear something nice (no jeans), but comfortable enough to breathe in.
  • Rest! Get lots of rest the night before. No loud music (rest your ears). Leave iPods/devices at home on performance day.
  • Arrive Early! Arrive 45 minutes early. Have your music, your instrument, and a check for your accompanist.
  • Check-in! Check-in with warm-up room chairperson. Let them know when your accompanist arrives.
  • Warm-up! Tell your accompanist about the accompanist warm-up room (you can play through your piece once). The warm-up room is to be used for the purpose of tuning and briefly warming up the instrument. No more than one soloist or one ensemble is to warm up at a time. Warm-up gently (30 minutes). Don’t play your piece more than once.
  • Be Ready! When your warm-up room chairperson calls you to go, someone will take you to the performance room (have your family with you or they will miss it).
  • Tune! Tune the ensembles before you go to performance room, don’t retune in front of the judge.
  • Performance Room Etiquette! When you brought to the performance room, wait until the last event before you vacates the room.
    • Give the score to the room chairperson.
    • Set up the music stand as you prefer.
    • Solos tune to the piano.
    • Don’t play again until you are announced, but keep warm air 
going into flute (don’t yak).
    • While being announced, take a deep breath – in and out.
    • After playing, the judge may call you over for a few comments always be courteous, then quiet on your way out afterwards.
    • Wait in the hallway for your rating, score, and medals card, but
keep center hall clear.
    • Redeem card as soon as possible (they often run out of medals late in the day).
    • Bring comment sheet to your music next lesson (your director will give it to you). Make copies for ensemble partners.
  • Break a leg!

About Solo & Ensemble FestivalMSBOA

Solo & Ensemble Festival is an opportunity for individual students to perform a selection of their choice for adjudication. Each student or group of students is evaluated by one judge and rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being the highest rating possible. Students or groups that earn a rating of 1 (or “Superior”) at the High School District Solo & Ensemble Festival qualify for State Solo & Ensemble Festival. State Festival Registration materials are available to those who qualify after District Solo & Ensemble Festival from your band director. At State Solo & Ensemble Festival, students are held to a higher standard. Soloists in grades 10 through 12 must perform Proficiency Exams which include scales and sight reading. 

MSBOA State Proficiency & Rules (pdf, 1.3 MB)

More Information:
Solo & Ensemble Festival Coaching
Michigan School Band and Orchestra Association (MSBOA)