NCMTA Young Composer Contest is a great opportunity for students

NCMTA Young Composers Contest

The NCMTA Young Composers Contest is an annual event that encourages young musicians to practice the craft and experience the joy of composing their own music. All composers will receive a grade and comments from a judge, and will be compete within their own age bracket as described below.

2024 Contest registration open now through 7/21/24!

Contest Eligibility

  • Students must study with a music teacher.
  • NCMTA Teachers must hold current membership with NCMTA.
  • Non-Member Teacher Fee is $50.00.
  • The teacher, the student or the place of instruction must be located in North Carolina.

Composition Manuscript

  • Each student may enter only one (1) composition. 
  • Each composition must be at least 16 measures in length, and should be the student’s own original work (arrangements of existing music by other artists will NOT be accepted.)
  • The score should be clear, legible, and accurate, either written in the composer’s handwriting or produced with music engraving software (preferred) by the composer. A fully realized score is required.
  • The composition should be written for no more than 9 performers.
  • Any student who would like to compose for multiple instruments is highly encouraged, but keep in mind that a performance of the piece is expected from each winner. Additional performers at the State Conference Composition Recital are not guaranteed, but the student can invite a musician they know to be part of the performance, or can present and introduce a pre-recorded live or MIDI demo, as long as it is fully notated and limited to 9 or fewer instruments.
  • Measures should be numbered at the beginning of each system.
  • Score should be labeled with the student’s name and category (Elementary, Junior, Senior or Young Artist)
  • The teacher’s name should not appear on the manuscript.
  • Students are encouraged to design or illustrate a title page (with title and student’s name). 
  • All scores should be submitted in PDF format (no hard copies accepted).

Entrant Information (Student’s Age as of January 1 of current year)

  • Elementary Fee (Ages 5-10) $20.00 Maximum time 3 minutes
  • Junior Fee (Ages 11-14) $25.00 Maximum time 3 minutes
  • Senior Fee (Ages 15-18) $30.00 Maximum time 5 minutes
  • Young Artist Fee (Ages 19-26) $35.00 Maximum time 7 minutes

Composition Submission

  • Students must enter a different piece from the MTNA Composition Competition.
  • All winners from previous contests are required to submit a new composition, and not allowed to submit a composition that previously placed 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or as an Honorable Mention.
  • Each score must be submitted as a single PDF, with file name as follows: lastname_category_title.pdf
  • An audio file (mp3) is required for each entry. Both “Live” and MIDI/electronic renderings are acceptable.
  • No changes may be made after submitting the composition.
  • Score PDF and mp3 recording should be attached to a SINGLE email with subject line “NCMTA Young Composers Contest 2024,” and sent to David Lane (composition chair) at
  • The body of the email should contain the student composer’s name and age, and the title of piece(s) with timings.
  • Deadline for submission of all materials (and registration) is July 21, 2024.


  • The compositions will be adjudicated by one judge.
  • The judge may determine winners: (1st Place, 2nd Place, 3rd Place, HM)

State Conference Composition Recital

  • The State Conference Composition Recital will host performances of the winning compositions. 
  • Memory is not required, but the performance must be well prepared.
  • Winners are responsible for providing performers or a well-recorded presentation for the recital.
  • Hard copies of all winning manuscripts will be requested for display during the recital. These should be retrieved at the close of the recital.
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Contact David Lane

NCMTA Young Composers Contest Chair

(336) 829-1231