A number of questions arise each year on the organisation and administration of the festival, conditions and details of entry and other associated matters. These pages set out a number of these points for your information. If your question is not covered here, please email using the contact us section or contact the relevant Section Secretary or other Officer of the Festival who will be pleased to deal with it. In some cases these points amplify matters already set out in the General Rules of the Festival: these FAQ pages are not a substitute for a proper reading and understanding of the General Rules.

Organisation, Rules and Forms

1.1 How is the Festival organised?

The Festival is a Charitable organisation and its administration and organisation is in the hands of a Committee, the members of which are listed on the "General Information" page of this site and in the Syllabus. Each section of the Festival has its organising Secretary who is responsible for the syllabus and administration of his or her section, assisted by a team of volunteer helpers.

1.2 What are the dates of the Festival?

The Festival classes take place on various dates in June of each year. The dates are published as soon as they have been confirmed

1.3 How do I enter the Festival?

Entries are submitted using the Festival's entry form which is included in the Syllabus, or copies can be downloaded from this website when the current year syllabus is in circulation.

The syllabus is published usually around the end of the calendar year and the closing date for entries is 15th March for all sections.

1.4 Where can I get a copy of the Syllabus from?

You can obtain a copy of the syllabus from the relevant Section Secretary listed on the page of contacts, or from this website. The Syllabus is available for download from a link on this page when it has been finalised

The syllabus will also be available from main music shops in the area.

1.5 Where do I get an application form from?

The application form is contained in the printed syllabus and can be downloaded from the website. 

1.6 What are the General Rules covering the Festival?

Details of the Festival's General Rules and the further Regulations specific to the operation of individual sections of the Festival are available here on the website for viewing. They are also printed in the syllabus

Choice of pieces and sending your entries

2.1 How do I choose what to play?

It is not possible for us to be specific. But in general, and above all, we would suggest that you choose a piece with which you are comfortable and can perform well. Do not always go for "show" pieces because you think that this will attract higher marks if you do. Adjudicators generally are looking for good performances, musicianship, faithfulness the to composer's directions, your current ability, and an assessment of your potential. A less showy piece played well may attract better marks and comments than a show piece played badly. One of your current exam pieces might be suitable. Discuss this with your teacher. See also the adjudicators' section notes (Section 4, adjudicators).

2.2 Can I play the same piece in more than one class?


2.3 Can I play a piece from a "set piece" class in an "own choice" class?


2.4 Can I play an "own choice piece" in more than one class?


Also - from the 2009 Festival there was a significant change in the rules on this point. Not only may you not perform an own choice piece in more than one class in this year's Festival, you may also not repeat one that you performed last year.

2.5 What do I do if I want to enter classes in more than one Section?

You need to submit a separate entry application form for each section if you enter classes in more than one section and send each to the appropriate section Secretary. You may enter several classes on a single form as long as they are within the same section.

If you enter the instrumental recital class, you would be wise to send a separate entry form to the Secretary responsible so that this is identifiable separately from your other entries.

2.6 Where do I return the application form to?

Completed application forms together with the fees and a stamped addressed envelope should be sent to the relevant Section Secretary to reach the Secretary on or before the closing dates. We do not yet have an online facility for submissions but this may be available in future.

2.7 What happens if I miss the closing date?

Regrettably, entries received after the closing date cannot be accepted and will be returned. If you are concerned that an entry might not have arrived with the Section Secretary (for example if you do not receive a ticket or other necessary paperwork, or correspondence has gone un-answered) then you should contact the relevant Section Secretary as soon as possible.

Approaching the Festival

3.1 What do I do if I am ill or going to be unable to attend for any reason?

Please let the Section Secretary know as soon as you aware that you will not be able to attend. We shall be disappointed that you are not able to be with us on the day. Regrettably entry fees cannot be refunded once an application has been accepted.

It is a particular courtesy to us to let the Section Secretary know as soon as possible, so that if you have requested an official accompanist they can be advised that you will not be attending and avoid wasting valuable time practicing pieces that are not going to be performed on the day. We can also make adjustments to the timetables of the day and avoid embarrasing silences when competitors are called and they are not present.

3.2 Can I change my choice of piece(s)?

Once your application has been submitted, you cannot change your pieces. The Section Secretary, in consultation with the Adjudicator on the day has the right not to allow you play if you present the wrong piece on the day of the competition. In case of doubt, their decision will be final.

3.3 What copies of music do I have to submit, and when?

If you are entering a class for which you have requested an official accompanist, you should submit a copy of your music to the Section Secretary to arrive at least three weeks before the date of your class(es).

You will be required to bring with you on the day a further copy of your music for the adjudicator. You should give this to the adjudicator's steward (not to the adjudicator) at the beginning of your class.

Please see the important information in 3.4 below on photocopying of music.

3.4 Can I use photocopies of music?

Please refer to the detailed rules regarding the use of photocopies. You must perform from an original copy of the solo part and the accompanist must be provided with the original of the piano part. The adjudicator must be provided with the music for every piece. If the piece is taken from a bound volume, then a single photocopy may be provided for their use only to save the cost of providing two volumes. If the piece is "sheet" music, then a second original must be provided, preferably the full score, but as a minimum, the solo part.

These arrangements may appear harsh, particularly if you are entering several festivals with the same music, but they are available to Festivals under special copyright conditions, and therefore, to avoid any misunderstanding and embarrassment on the day of your classes, you should note that the Festival will retain all photocopies provided and they will be destroyed afterwards in accordance with these special arrangements.


4.1 Who are the adjudicators, and how are they chosen?

Adjudicators are chosen from a list of people experienced in their fields. Their names and biographical details will be published in the programme and can also be viewed from this page when the details have been finalised.

4.2 How does the adjudicator judge my performance?

The Adjudicator will consider your technical performance of course, but also how well you interpret and "put over" your understanding of the music and its period, and whether you are sensitive to the composer's intentions. In "own choice" classes in particular there can be a wide range of music performed and taking into account these factors is essential in arriving at a balanced result for the class.

Consider that the most florid and technically brilliant performance may not necessarily give the best marks if the "performance" is missing – the choice of a piece which you are most comfortable with and can perform to the best of your ability (and so that you can enjoy your performance on the day) may well make a better impression and give you higher marks.

4.3 What feedback to I get?

At the end of each class, the Adjudicator will discuss the performances that have been presented, and as time allows, make comments about individual performances. It is helpful for all competitors to hear comments about each of the other performances and gain experience of hearing different styles and interpretations of performance.

Adjudicators are sensitive to the fact that you might not have played at your best on the day, and make every effort to encourage you in your technical and performing skills. In all cases, you will receive a written adjudication sheet with personal comments and your individual mark.

4.4 I know that I am the only competitor in my class, or perhaps one of only two. Is there any point in coming to the Festival?


There are a number of aspects to this question. Whilst it is true that in many cases there are trophies or monetary prizes awarded to the "winner" of the class (as long as the minimum standard is achieved), this is not the only motive for taking part. You wish to improve your playing, gain experience of performing in public, and receiving an independent view on you performance. By attending, you will receive that experience and feedback, verbally and in writing. If you gain additional rewards, then that is a bonus.

A second consideration comes from adjudicators themselves. It is not unknown for our excellent adjudicators to express the view that they in fact dislike having to rank performances in order to determine winners and runners up etc: they are far more concerned to listen to and review your performance for what it is and to help you with constructive observations.

There are other observations which could be made, but one in particular recurs. We have on a number of occasions been delighted when competitors have said to us that whilst they were disappointed not to have had some "competition" in their class (and after all this is a competitive festival), they have been delighted with the feedback from the adjudicators, and so pleased to have been persuaded to take part. In some cases, new relationships have been established between competitors and adjudicators on a private basis for further more advanced studies.

The Festival Competition

5.1 Where are the Festival classes held?

The principal locations for the festival are: at Radford Road Church, The Royal Spa Centre, Holy Trinity Church, The Sydni Centre, Dale Street Methodist Church, and at The Kingsley School (near Binswood School and Holy Trinity), all in Leamington Spa. A map is available in the syllabus and from this page (at a future date) and this download copy includes the post codes of the venues if you need to check the location using online map services or for "satnav" purposes. The venues for each section are shown on the Festival dates page. Details of the appropriate location for your class will be confirmed when you receive your ticket.

5.2 Can I park at the venue?

On-street parking is available near each of the venues but this is limited and entirely dependent upon availability. You are strongly advised to arrive as early as possible so that you are not anxiously looking for parking spaces rather than preparing for your class. If you require disabled access, please let your Section Secretary know when you submit your application.

Whilst there may be some parking on site at a venue, it is likely that this will be required by Festival staff, adjudicators and accompanists and their equipment and this will reduce the availability of any spaces available for competitors and friends.

5.3 What happens when I arrive?

Remember that classes will probably be in progress. You should present yourself and your competitor's ticket at the door where a steward will meet you and give you directions as to where your class is being held. Access to a competition room will not be possible until all competitors in a class have completed their performances.

Where facilities permit, you will be shown to a room suitable for you to warm up prior to your class.

5.4 What do I do if I am late for my class?

Above all, don't panic! We want you to be able to perform if possible, and at your best. Some classes can have a larger number of competitors and therefore take some time, so you may not miss it altogether.

When all competitors present have performed, the platform steward will call the names of all those who have not played in case of late arrivals, and you will be able to perform at this point. Once names have been called, and the adjudicator starts the formal adjudication, then regrettably further performances will no longer be possible.

Where possible we will try and enable you to warm up if there is time, but this may be limited or not possible, depending on the circumstances.

5.5. How do you decide in what order competitors perfom?

Generally in the order in which entries are received. However if there are small classes with similar competitors, orders may be changed to try as far as possible to avoid you playing again in quick succession. If you think that there may be a clash if you have entered classes in more than one section on the same day, then you should contact the Section Secretary(ies) as soon as possible.

5.6 Can I record my performance either on audio or video tape

Under no circumstances may your, or any other performance, be recorded in any medium, including still photography, for reasons of copyright and performing rights. Nor may you make any recording of the adjudicator making his or her adjudication as this is also covered by copyright provisions.

These provisions are also required to comply with the Festival's Child Protection Policy. Notwithstanding the copyright and perfoming rights provisions, and whilst we expect that a recording would only be for proper personal purposes, sadly we are all aware that there are dangers that recordings may be made for less than proper purposes. We wish that all attending the Festival should be content that we take such responsibilities seriously and it is for this reason that the general provisions of the Child Protection Policy have been developed.


These provisions will be strictly enforced, offending material destroyed, and any individual involved may be requested to leave the venue. Please ask parents and friends to respect this as we would wish to avoid the embarrassment to yourselves and us that results when we have had in the past to take such action.

You will note in the Child Protection Policy that we may, for publicity purposes, ask to take photographs of class/trophy winners and these may be included on the Festival website. We will always ask your permission, or those of a parent, guardian or other accompanying adult if the competitor is a minor, before taking and displaying any photographs. You may refuse your permission under any circumstances and this will be respected. You may alternatively wish to give permission for publicity in "hard copy" publications but not on the website. Other than a name and perhaps a general locality (as in the programme), no other personal details will be released to any other party which would identify your address.

5.7. Do I need to bring a music stand?

The festival will provide sufficient stands for solo and duet performances. If yours is a larger group then you should bring additional stands sufficient for your numbers.

5.8. Do I need to bring a tape recorder or CD player?

Where the syllabus indicates the requirement or option for you to perform from a CD normally a player will be provided. However if you are in doubt, please check with the Section Secretary - do not assume that your CD can be played.

You should also check that there are no mechanical copyright issues involved with the playing of a CD for an own choice piece as the Festival cannot be responsible for this. These aspects will have been dealt with by the Festival in the case of a set piece class.

5.9 If I win a medal or a trophy, do I keep it?

Trophies are kept for one year and must be returned to the Section Secretary in good (and clean!) condition by 1st May next year. Medals are yours to keep.


6.1 Do you provide accompanists?

Yes, we have a panel of experienced accompanists who are available to play for you at no extra cost. They are named in the syllabus for the relevant classes and sections that they will be playing for. You should indicate on your entry form in the relevant box if you would like the official accompanist to play for you.

Please note that an official accompanist will not be available for schools or adult choirs. In classes for adult choirs, the conductor is not considered to be a member of the choir and so may act as accompanist, but may not sing with the choir.

If you ask for the official accompanist, you must use him or her on the day and not turn up asking for your own teacher or accompanist to play for you. The official accompanist will have spent time preparing your music for you to provide the best support possible, and this needs to be respected. You also risk disqualification under the Festival rules.

See the instructions on the application form and in section 3.3 of this page (under approaching the festival) regarding advance submission of music for the accompanist's practice. You do not need to submit copies of set test pieces.

6.2 Can I bring my own accompanist?

Indeed you can. If you are playing a particularly difficult piece or programme you may find it reassuring to you to bring an accompanist with whom you have worked before, but do be sure that they will be available on the day and at the time of your class!

If you find that you have elected to bring your own accompanist with you, but then find at some stage between entry and competition day he or she cannot play for you, contact the Section Secretary immediately and they will consult with the official accompanist to see whether they will be able to play for you - do not leave it until you arrive as the accompanist may not know your piece sufficiently to support you, and a decision at that stage will be entirely at his or her discretion.

6.3 Can I rehearse with the official accompanist before my class?

This is possible, but you need to make separate arrangements directly with the accompanist and the Section Secretary for your section will give you their details. Although there is no fee for accompanying you on the day, you should expect that the accompanist might wish to negotiate a fee with you for additional rehearsal. If your music is challenging, additional rehearsal time may well be helpful to you – and to the accompanist!

Other general matters

7.1 Can relatives/friends/teachers attend my class?

Friends, family and teachers are very welcome indeed. The Festival is a public event and anyone is welcome to attend. There will be a ticket charge on the door to contribute towards the overall Festival costs, but a ticket will cover all the events taking place on that day, not just your class, so it is good value!

Everyone is encouraged to become a Member of the Festival for an annual subscription. This will include admission to all events on any day throughout the several weeks' duration of the Festival. If you or other members of your family are involved in a range of classes in different sections, then this is an attractive option. For further information contact the Festival Secretary or Treasurer.

7.2 Are refreshments available?

It depends on the location, the timetables and the classes. Please contact the relevant Section Secretary for further information. Where refreshments are available these are likely to be light (teas, coffees, squash, biscuits etc). No lunches or teas can be provided to candidates or visitors. Water is always available - you might like to bring the customary personal bottle!!









































































































Additional information