• Contests FAQs

    Contests FAQs

    We have answers.

Do I have to be a member of AGM to enroll in a contest?

Yes. All teachers must be members in good standing in order to enroll students in the competitions.

I am a parent and my child's teacher is not an AGM member. Can we still compete?

Unfortunately, only teachers who are members in good standing may enroll students.

What does it cost to enroll a student in the AGM contest?

Depending on location and what the hotel costs are, student enrollment costs may fluctuate from year to year and location to location. Please consult the rule book for each contest as it is explained in there for each contest.

What kind of events are offered at AGM contests?

AGM offers competitive events for piano, organ, keyboard, accordion, voice (classical and broadway), string instruments, wind instruments, guitar, and drums/percussion. Categories for each group are Length of Study, Test List, Age, Pop, Evaluation, and our highest level of competition- the North American Invitational Championship. We also offer divisions for duets, duos, trios, combos, Battle of the Bands, and Show Choirs. Please see our rule book for further explanation of events.

Are there limits as to what my student can compete in?

Your student can compete in as many divisions for as many instruments as he or she is trained or taking lessons.

I am a teacher who has lost or forgotten my login information for online enrollment. How do I retrieve it?

Please email Rick Chizmadia (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) to retrieve your information.

Can I choose when my student competes during a competition weekend?

Unfortunately, due to the nature of our contests we cannot guarantee times for specific events.

After we received our schedule for the contest, we think there has been a mistake in my child's enrollment. How do we fix it?

First, please notify your teacher to verify that it is a mistake. If the teacher acknowledges there has been an error, ONLY THE TEACHER should contact Rick Chizmadia (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) or Gina Selvaggi (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) to explain the situation and work towards a solution.

Where are the contests located?

The Great Lakes Regional is held in the spring in the Metro Detroit area. The Toronto-Niagara Regional is held in the autumn. Other contests may be added in different cities in future years. Each July, the National Convention and Contest is held in a different city.

Do I have to qualify at a Regional in order to go to the Nationals?

No. All of the divisions offered at the Regionals are also offered at the Nationals, with additional events such as Sight-Reading, Convention Choir and Orchestra, Student Council, Cadet Teacher courses, and Composition Clinics. The North American Invitational Championships and the Age Finals are held at the Nationals, for which the student may pre-qualify at a Regional, but there are also Qualifications held at the Nationals. Many cash awards are also given at the National Contest.

What kinds of instruments do you have?

All instruments. The more popular ones have their own divisions and a few of the less entered instruments may be grouped together, but there is something here for everyone.

What is the range of the students?

From early beginners to extremely advanced, 3 years old and up through adult. Using length of study/age formulas we group everyone into divisions for the most possible equalization and fairness.

Which division should I enter?

Since the main benefit for the student is experience, a student could enter all the solo divisions, and many do. However, if they have never played a "Pop" piece, they probably should not be in that division. If they started late (age 14 or 15), they probably would not be a good candidate for the Age Achievement. Evaluation and Test List are designed so that everyone can enter, and the Length of Study is usually a very fair assessment, but the others may not be right for some students.

How many categories can my student enter?

There are no minimum categories a contestant may enter. Think of each category as a separate contest and enter them in as many categories as you feel they can handle. We suggest that all students participate in at least 3 categories. They can enter each of these solo categories once: Age Achievement, Evaluation, Length of Study, NAIC, NAOCC, Pop, and Test List. Group categories may be entered as well. We also offer written theory tests from Preparatory through Level 10.

Should I plan to be there every day or can I request which days I want to play? Can I request mornings or afternoons?

The full contest experience is enhanced by entering everything you can and staying the entire weekend. You will have a chance to interact with those from other studios, an opportunity to make new friends, access to the hotel pool, and somewhere to relax between events. You are not required to stay; however, it is impossible to pick and choose the days and times you will perform. Events are scheduled to run on specific days based on the number of entries received for each category and the availability of the rooms we have to work with. Participants are placed into divisions specific to age and length of study factors. In order to be graded fairly, students must perform in their proper division. You should tentatively plan to be available the entire duration of the contest. Your specific performance schedule will be distributed to your teacher approximately 10-14 days before the start of the contest.

Is there somewhere to practice? Can I warm-up before I perform?

Yes and yes, however times are limited. Vocalists and students with portable instruments (i.e. guitars, band instruments, etc.) may practice in their hotel rooms during reasonable waking hours. You may also warm-up QUIETLY in the general gathering spaces, provided you are not near any of the competition room doors. Pianists staying overnight at the hotel may sign up for practice at the AGM Registration desk. These rooms are not available until the close of competition each evening and times are limited! Times range from 5 – 20 minutes per student and will be assigned according to age, LOS, and number of events entered. Students are expected to reserve a time in advance. Whenever possible, we will offer digital pianos with headphones to warm up on throughout the day. These are available on a first come - first served basis. Another helpful hint: competition rooms are open for practice provided the adjudicator is not in the room. (i.e. Early in the morning right before we begin, during lunch break, or anytime the judge steps out for a break.)

Do I have to memorize my piece?

Yes, for all solo performances except Evaluations. Ten points will be deducted from your score if music is used. Use of music is allowed for Evaluations, Duets, Ensembles, and Groups. Also, music must be performed as written. Improvisation is not allowed except in Pop and Drum set divisions.

If I memorized my piece do I still have to bring my music? If I can't find my original, can I bring a photocopy?

You MUST bring ORIGINAL music to hand to the judge for ALL divisions except Pop performances. Make sure you have numbered each measure of the music! For duets, etc. where music will be used, a second ORIGINAL must be provided for the judge. Photocopies violate Copyright laws and will NOT be accepted. Ten points will be deducted from your score if you forget to bring your original music.

Is it okay to download and print sheet music from my computer?

Yes, provided it has been purchased for your use or is from a free music source. Bring the music and documentation/receipt to the score room for approval and signature from the Contest Director BEFORE your division begins.

What should I wear?

Dress to impress, somewhat semi-formal. T-shirts, tank tops, sweatshirts/hoodies, shorts, jeans, flip-flops, sneakers/sports shoes, hats, or anything with tears, rips, or offensive language are absolutely NOT allowed! If you are dressed inappropriately, you will not receive a score! You may be given an opportunity to change into appropriate dress or allowed to perform for comments only. Suggestions for the students: Male – polo, dress shirt, or sweater with slacks, or a suit with or without the jacket and with or without a tie; Female – anything from dress pants and a nice top to full evening dress. Also, contestants are required to wear proper dress shoes. Remember – any sort of jeans (even dark or black or your newest, very best ones) and any sort of flip-flop or running shoe are not appropriate for this event and may cause you to be disqualified.

How will I know if I won anything?

Once each division has finished performing, the score sheets need to be checked, double-checked, entered into our computer system, verified, and then sorted. The top 3 scores in each division are then transferred in random order to a Winner's List. That list is checked and verified again. We work as quickly as possible, but results are NOT immediately available. Please do not come to the score room to ask if you've won. Our priority is accuracy, not speed. As soon as we are able, we post that list online and at the Registration desk. If your name is on the list, you will receive some sort of award at the Award Ceremony. You will NOT be able to find out ahead of time your score, which place you received, or in which event. Please do not come to the score room to ask how you did. It is up to you to be at the Award Ceremony to find out! If you do not see your name on the list, there is a possibility your score sheet has not yet been entered into the system. Please do not come to the score room to ask if you will be receiving an award. Frequent inquiries simply slow down our tabulation process. Thank you for understanding!

How can I get my trophies?

Come to the Award Ceremony!!! Check your program for times. The Dress Code is in effect and you will need your badge in order to make it on the stage. If for some reason, you absolutely are unable to attend, you may choose to have someone stand-in for you, however, that person must follow the dress code and have your badge. Teacher/studio owners may pick up for any of their students, but ask your teacher, don't assume! Any trophies not picked up will not be available until the very, very end of the Grand Award Ceremony held on the last day of the contest. Trophies left behind can be obtained by sending a check to cover shipping charges, plus a Special Handling fee of $20 per trophy. Checks should be made payable to "American Guild of Music" and sent to P.O. Box 599, Warren, MI 48090. Contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to verify the exact amount due. Remember – these fees can be avoided by simply attending the award ceremonies and crossing the stage to be handed the trophy you worked so hard to earn!

How can I get my score sheets?

Your score sheets are placed into a Teacher's Packet along with those belonging to other students from your same studio. This Teacher's Packet will be available at the end of the Grand Award Ceremony held on the last day of the contest. This can be picked up only by the teacher or studio owner. An exception may be made if only one student is attending from the studio. In that case, the student may show their badge to receive the packet.

I am a teacher working at a music store. My store is not a member of the AGM but I want my students involved. May I become a member even though the studio isn't?

You most certainly may join, in fact we encourage all teachers to become members even if they teach at a studio or store that is already an AGM member.

I am a music teacher at a public school. Several of my students have attended the AGM contests with their private instructors. I wish to offer that to ALL of my students. May I become a member?

The American Guild of Music is open to all teachers of music whether in private situations or the public school system. All of your students are invited to participate.

Where can I get more information?

For immediate answers and information about the American Guild of Music or any of its contests, please visit our website at www.americanguild.org. For further information, write to American Guild of Music, P.O. Box 599, Warren, MI 48090 or email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The American Guild of Music supports the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and will make special provisions to comply in its competitions providing written notification is given prior to the event. Accommodation will be made for disabled persons on advance request.

The American Guild of Music, Executive Officers, and Board of Directors, either individually and/or collectively, cannot and will not be held responsible for injury, damage, or loss of property occurring to any person attending an American Guild of Music function. Persons attending an official function agree to release the above mentioned organization and its governing body from any liability as a result of an accident or misfortune. The American Guild and governing body will not be liable for injury, loss or damage to person and/or property as a result of the purchase of activity-related events.

All performances at American Guild of Music functions become property of the American Guild of Music and may be used in future promotions. All rights reserved.

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PO Box 599, Warren, MI 48090 | 248-686-1975