2024 Festival Rules and Guidelines

Festival: April 15–25, 2024


Schedule 2024

Showcase Concert: Saturday, April 27, 2024

Purchase tickets online →

The Polaris Theatre
Bay #7 - 261051 Wagon Wheel View   RockyView County   View Map

Doors: 6 PM     Curtain: 7 PM
General: $20    Youth: $10
Babes in arms permitted (no charge). Must occupy same seat as adult.
PLEASE NOTE: Due to fire regulations, strollers and carseats may not be left in aisles. They can be checked at the Box Office.


To all Competitors, Conductors and/or Teachers

  • Participants will be eligible to compete at the Alberta Provincial Music Festival. The 2024 Provincial Festival will be in person in 2024.
  • For the 2024 Festival year, we are offering the classes for these disciplines:
    • Classical Guitar / Ukulele
    • Community Choir
    • Musical Theatre
    • Piano
    • School Choir
    • Speech
    • Strings
    • Vocal
  • We will not be offering Band Sessions in 2024.  We will re-evaluate the inclusion of these disciplines for 2025.  
  • All selection of music is expected to be of a serious (“classical”) nature (excluding Musical Theatre and Pop in Vocal entries).
  • Read through 2024 Festival Rules and Guidelines.
  • Be familiar with the meanings of terms contained in the Glossary.

To all Participants


Festival: April 15–25, 2024



Schedule 2024

For all past entrants:

  • An email was sent to your parent and/or teacher. Your login information was included in this email.

NEW, SINCE 2021: 

  • All users must complete a Photo/Video Release form before registering for any classes. For any performers 18 years of age or under, your teacher or parent will be the one to complete this release form. You will NOT be able to register for 2022 until this has been completed. It is very easy to do.
  • Log in to register on musicfestivalsuite.com. You must complete this form before you can even proceed to register.   

For all NEW USERS:

  • Please go to musicfestivalsuite.com and register under the Airdrie Rotary Festival of Performing Arts User Login section. 
  • The date of birth for each soloist and each member of a duet or trio MUST BE ACCURATELY ENTERED online
  • The age of a participant is established as of DECEMBER 31st of the preceding year.
  • A profile for teacher, parent and student must be created during the registration process.  Email addresses must be included on all profile registration forms for contact purposes.  
  • In fairness to ALL participants, we cannot accommodate individual requests.
  • Scheduling will be based on the performance time stated on the entry form. Please be as accurate as possible when completing your online registration.
  • No entry will be accepted without the appropriate entry fee.
  • All solo selections must be memorized in order to qualify for a scholarship.
  • Unless otherwise noted, the performance time limit in each class is 20 minutes.
  • The Airdrie Rotary Festival of Performing Arts reserves the right to refuse any entry.
  • The closing dates for entries must be strictly observed. No late entries.

About Fees

Registration fees cover only 1/3 of the costs required to run the Festival. Financial support from the community helps to cover remaining costs.

What do fees cover?

  • Awards / Scholarships
  • Adjudicator expenses
  • Printed materials and online subscription services 
  • Staging (when required)
  • Computer services
  • Office
  • Provincial fees

Where does money come from to supplement the entry fee?

The Festival relies on generous donations from businesses, service groups and individuals from our community to supplement entry fees.
View more information on sponsoring »

Fees for Solos and Small Groups [2024]:

12 years & under as of Dec. 31, 2023 $25
13 to 20 years as of Dec. 31, 2023 $25
21 years & over30 as of Dec. 31, 2023 $40
Concert / Recital classes $40
Duets $40
Trios $60
Quartet / Quintet $75
School, Community Choir, Ensembles (6 to 12 persons) $150

We will not be offering Speech or Band Session in 2024. We will re-evaluate the inclusion of these disciplines for 2025.


  • The term “selection” in this Syllabus is defined as “a single movement composition or one or more movements of a multi-movement composition.” A song cycle is considered a multi-movement work. In some cases, more than one movement is required to satisfy the grade level.
  • No one is permitted to replace any selection listed in the Syllabus without the approval of the Festival Coordinator.
  • Names of publishers are included for guidance only. Any standard edition of a selection may be used.
  • A competitor may perform a selection only once using the same solo instrument during a given festival.
  • Selections MUST BE MEMORIZED. Selections NOT MEMORIZED will receive adjudication only.
  • To be eligible to receive scholarships or awards, performers MUST enter a minimum of 2 classes using the same instrument (Musical Theatre not included).
  • No medleys, collections or song cycles are permitted.
  • All duets must enter the higher age level or grade level of the 2 performers.
  • Piano / Vocal / Choral / Band Instrumental & Strings classes:
    A published copy or a certified copy of each selection MUST be supplied to the adjudicator. A 2nd original copy is NOT required. Photocopies will be accepted. Each selection should be clearly marked with the class and competitor number.
  • Each bar at the beginning of each line in the music score given to the adjudicator must be numbered.
  • Participants may enter either PLAN I or PLAN II PIANO CLASSES AS LISTED IN THE SYLLABUS. Do not choose classes from both plans.


  • No refunds will be given due to cancellations.
  • The Festival Committee determines the order of performance in each class.
  • If last-minute changes need to be made, they need to be approved by the Festival Coordinator and a fee of $25 will be charged to the participant.
  • Accompanists are permitted to play from photocopies to ease page turning, provided the original is with the adjudicator.
  • At no time may a teacher, parent or performer engage the adjudicator in conversation prior to, during, or after any performance. Doing so may result in the competitor’s disqualification.
  • Complaints or protests will not receive official consideration unless made in writing directly to the Festival committee within three days of the close of the Festival, accompanied by a fee of $30. Under no circumstances are such complaints or protests to be made to the adjudicator.
  • The adjudicator shall have discretionary power to stop any performance at any time and/or to instruct the omission of repeats.
  • A competitor must be present and ready to perform 15 minutes before a class is scheduled to begin. The Airdrie Rotary Festival of Performing Arts reserves the right to disqualify any competitor who is not ready to perform when called.
  • Since this is a teaching/learning Festival, it is requested that performers stay to the end of their class adjudication, which could last an hour or more.
  • No person off-stage or in the audience may augment or coach a performance.
  • The use of recording devices will be permitted to record your family member ONLY, provided the user remains stationary and unobtrusive.
  • Please turn off flash.
  • Adjudicators’ comments may not be recorded.
  • The Airdrie Rotary Festival of Performing Arts reserves the right to restrict the amount and type of recording equipment.


  • Each Festival is managed by a committee. Questions concerning a festival should be directed to the local contact person. Decisions of the committee are final.
  • Each Festival reserves the right to delete classes or to add classes upon request.
  • Adjudicators’ decisions regarding performance are final.
  • At no time may a teacher or competitor engage the adjudicator in conversation prior to or during any performance for that adjudicator. Such an approach may result in the competitor’s disqualification.
  • A protest can be considered only if it is made in accordance with regulations established by the Festival.

Grading System

Distinction 90% and over Gold Seal
First Class Honours 85% to 89% No seal
Honours 80% to 84% No seal
Good 75% to 79% No seal
Participant Below 75% No seal
  • Memorization is required for Distinction awards.
  • Numerical grades will not appear on adjudication comment sheets.
  • All participants will receive certificates along with adjudication sheets in person for a Live festival. If we have to switch to virtual, these sheets will be sent out by email within 2 weeks of the conclusion of the 2022 Festival.

Award Policy

  • If there is only one entrant in an award category, the award will be granted if the adjudicator determines that the standard of performance is at a suitable level.
  • The Festival committee will determine the value of each award. The number of awards may vary from year to year according to the number of Festival entries and budgetary considerations.
  • The Festival Committee, on the basis of Adjudicators’ decisions, will grant all awards.

Guidelines for Festival Dress


  • Buttoned-up, tucked-in shirts
  • Dress pants (no khakis or jeans)
  • Dress shoes (no runners)
  • Ties and jackets are optional


  • Skirts and dresses are appropriate for any festival performance.
  • Dress pants (no khakis or jeans) are acceptable for instrumental performances.
  • Skirt lengths should be at or below the knee.
  • Dress shoes (no runners or flip-flops)
  • Pantyhose, tights or dress socks (no sport socks)
  • Check necklines, slits in skirts, no bare midriffs — make sure your clothing is appropriate whether you stand or sit to perform.

NOTE: If you are singing in an opera class, you must wear Concert Dress.


  • Unless otherwise stated, competitions are open to ‘amateurs’ only. The Glossary defines ‘amateur’ as: “A person whose principal means of livelihood is not obtained from the performance of music in the particular discipline in which they are competing. This stipulation does not, however, preclude such a person having occasionally received remuneration for musical services rendered, even in the area in which they are competing.”
  • A member of a duet or ensemble may enter more than once in a class, provided that he or she performs a different part or plays a different instrument.
  • If a solo competitor is unable to perform, no one may take his or her place.
  • Participants may not enter the same class in any subsequent year unless he/she was the only entrant in the class and their age follows the Festival guidelines (exception: 19 years and over classes).


  • In every class photocopies may be used ONLY if one original or certified copy of the piece has been given to the adjudicator.
  • A photocopy of an accompaniment may be used to ease page turning provided the original or certified copy has been provided to the adjudicator.
  • Photocopied selections from anthologies are accepted to be used by the performer if an original or certified copy has been supplied to the adjudicator.
  • A photocopy of any “Own Choice” selection which is required to be used by the performed is permitted only if a published copy is available for the adjudicator.
  • To qualify for awards and scholarships, competitors must perform from memory. Competitors performing with music will receive adjudication and will also be awarded with fair grade based on the level of performance.
  • Accompaniments must be played as written (exceptions: Folk Song classes, Musical Theatre classes).
  • Recorded accompaniments will not be allowed.
  • Any transposition is permitted.

Rules for 2024 Group Classes

  • TBD

Glossary of Terms

Accompaniment – A subordinate part for instruments, voices, or ensembles — usually piano; although, one or more instruments are allowed in some classes.

Action Song – A song having definite actions that all ensemble members are expected to perform.

Adult – Of legal age in Alberta.

Amateur – A person whose principal means of livelihood is not obtained from the performance of music in the particular discipline in which they are competing. This stipulation does not, however, preclude such a person having occasionally received remuneration for musical services rendered, even in the area in which they are competing.

Aria – An elaborate, accompanied, vocal solo from an opera, operetta, or cantata.

Art song – The Art Song was a creation of the late 18th and early 19th centuries, and continues into the 20th and 21st centuries. Composers were inspired to write music to enhance existing poetry. These songs were written for voice with accompaniment (usually piano).

Associate Standard – Refers to a selection of advanced difficulty that must be of at least post-Grade/post-Level 10 or equivalent level/standard. Lists are available in the RCM and Conservatory Canada syllabi.

Ballad – (as used in Musical Theatre) – A ballad is characterized by the legato feeling of the music. A ballad contains reflective lyrics that causes the character (or character they are singing to) to reexamine their priorities. Generally, a ballad will contain sustained notes and emphasize longer musical lines and phrasing. The majority of a ballad will generally feature tempo markings such as largo, andante, adagio, etc. See Up-Tempo →

Ballad / Traditional AirSee Traditional Air →

Baroque music – Music composed in or around the Baroque period; circa 1600-1760.

Cabaret (Musical Theatre) – A Revue or other song in the Musical Theatre genre, but NOT from a staged production.

Canada West Performing Arts Festival (CWPAF) – The CWPAF is a partnership between the Provincial Festival Associations of British Columbia, Alberta, and Saskatchewan and the CWPAF will feature the top amateur music and speech arts competitors from each partnering province’s provincial performing arts festival. Competitors will compete in three different age categories in a variety of solo disciplines as well as Chamber and Choral. Eligibility requirements may be found in the Rules Governing Local Festivals and Rules Governing the Provincial Festival. albertamusicfestival.org/cwpaf

Canadian Composer / Author – A composer/author born in Canada, one who has resided in Canada for at least five years, or a naturalized citizen.

Canadian Poetry – Published poetry written by a Canadian author (including those works that are in books printed at direct cost to the author).

Chamber Music – Refers to music written for two, three, four, or more instruments played with one instrument to a “part”, all the parts having equal importance. See Ensemble →

Choral Speech – Is the speaking of a piece of literature by a speech choir. It differs from Choric Drama in that the prime emphasis is on telling the story, rather than acting it out. The focus is on the language and the speaking of the text. There is no movement around the stage, but gestures and simple in-place movements may be used. Variety may be provided through the division of voices, use of solo voices, the physical arrangement of the choir, use of props, and the suggestion of a simple costume.

Choric Drama – Is distinguished from Choral Speech in that the choir enacts the story, as opposed to just telling the story through language. The choir may use theatrical elements such as dialogue, characterization, and movement around the stage. Solo voices are featured and blocking (grouping) of individual speakers may be incorporated. Other theatrical elements such as scenery, costumes, and props may be used.

Chorus/Choir – A group of 13 or more members performing as a single unit. See Ensemble →

Class – Each discipline is divided into sub-categories by instrument, and/or by age, and/or by grade level. Each is identified by a five-digit number and is labeled a “class.” See the Alberta Music Festival Association website for guidelines regarding groups of local classes.

Classical Guitar –A plucked stringed instrument originating in Spain.

Classical Music (referred to as “Classical” in the Syllabus) – Refers to music of a serious nature which may include a variety of repertoire found in method books (for Piano Plan II, all repertoire must also be graded by RCM or Conservatory Canada for entry in the festival). Does not include pop, movie, TV, or musical theatre repertoire. Not limited to the “Classical Period.”

Classical Period – Music composed in or around the Classical Period, circa 1750-1820.

Classroom Music – Music designed to portray the many facets of the elementary school program. Singing is the main emphasis, but some movement/creative dance, and limited use of simple instruments is required. Costumes and stage props may be used.

Community Band/Choir/Chorus – A group of instrumentalists or singers performing as a unit. The term also refers to a group whose members come from two or more schools and who have been selected on the basis of performing ability.

Composition (Music) – Music composed by the competitor. Music Composition submissions must include complete manuscript. See Manuscript →

Concert Band – A group of musicians playing woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments under the direction of a conductor.

Concerted Work – Any composition originally written for solo instrument with orchestral accompaniment. In festivals, a piano provides the orchestral part.

Concerto – A composition written in several movements usually for solo instrument with orchestral accompaniment. In festivals, a piano provides the orchestral part.

Contemporary Era (Musical Theatre) – For purposes of AMFA, Musical Theatre music with a date of publication from 1990-present.

Contemporary Vocal – Is non-classical in style and includes Pop, Rock, Gospel, Jazz, Motown, Disco, R&B, Rap, Punk, Emo, Folk, and all Country genres. Does NOT include Musical Theatre or any Classical repertoire. Description of genres:

  • Contemporary Sacred: Sacred music performed by a solo performing artist or a sacred group in the popular style. This is music typically heard on sacred radio.
  • Country: Music derived from or imitating the folk style of the South or the West. Country Music is typically characterized by simple harmonies, repeated choruses, and often narrative lyrics, usually accompanied by stringed instruments (such as guitar, fiddle, banjo, etc.).
  • Disco: A genre of dance music and subculture popularized in the 1960s and 70s, characterized by syncopated bass lines, strings, horns, electric piano, synthesizers, and electric rhythm guitars.
  • Emo: A subgenre of rock music focused on emotional expression. Lyrics are deeply personal and often a confession, and songs tend to use irregular song structures, and extreme dynamics.
  • Folk: Combines the traditional elements of folk music with the instrumentation and energy of rock music. See Folk Song →
  • Jazz: Jazz is characterized by swing rhythm and blues notes, complex harmony, syncopated rhythms, and regularly features improvisation/scat singing.
  • Motown: A style of Rhythm & Blues (R&B) from the 1960s, named after the Motown Record Company in Detroit. Known for its polished songwriting, strong rhythm, layered instrumental sound, and memorable hooks.
  • Poetic: Poetic and lyrical texts (often original lyrics written by the recording artist with the intellectualism of classical literature and poetry) which are usually set to basic chord changes.
  • Praise/Worship: Music written in a popular style, originally written for use in congregational settings with the anticipation of the congregation joining in the music.
  • Punk: Emerging in the mid-1970s, Punk rejects mainstream rock excessiveness and instead uses short, fast-paced, aggressive songs with hard lyrics, often political and anti-establishment in tone.
  • Rap: Rhythmic and rhyming speech that is chanted over a beat.
  • R & B (Rhythm and Blues): A style of music originating in African-American communities in the 1940s. Elements of pop, gospel, blues paired with driving rhythms.
  • Sacred R & B/Traditional Gospel: Gospel is a popularized form of impassioned rhythmic spiritual music rooted in the solo and responsive church singing of African Americans in the Southern United States, central to the development of Rhythm and Blues and of Soul music.

Creative Story Telling – The story may be either an original work by the performer, or a traditional story, folk tale, family tale, legend, fable, or myth. Entrants submit a brief plot outline to the adjudicator. Appropriate sounds, props, and/or movement may be incorporated into the performance provided there is no disruption of the smooth delivery of the story. The performance MUST be in the teller’s own words.

Discipline – A discipline is a particular area of musical or speech study. A discipline may be for a group such as Band and Chorus or may be for a soloist such as Piano, Vocal, Speech, and a number of different instruments.

Dramatic Improvisation – The unified presentation of an idea or theme through action and dialogue. It must be spontaneous, unscripted and have clarity and purpose.

Duet – Two individuals performing different parts as a unit.

Duologue – A speech selection for two individuals performing different parts.

Early BroadwaySee Tin Pan Alley →

Ensemble – A small group, the required size of which depends upon the class entered. In Choral, an Ensemble is 8-12 singers. In Chamber, an Ensemble is 2-6 performers.

Family Music – Music performed by a group all of whom are members of the same family. The accompanist MAY be a member of the same family.

Fiddle – Any instrument which has strings and is played with a bow. Fiddle music is typically written for dancing, with associated quick note changes, whereas “classical” music tends to contain more vibrato and sustained notes. Fiddle music is also open to improvisation and embellishment with ornamentation at the player's discretion.

Finger-style Guitar – Describes a manner of playing in which the fingertips are used to pluck the strings.

Flamenco Guitar – Describes accompaniments used in gypsy folk songs and dances of Spanish music.

Folk Guitar – Describes accompaniments of folk songs employing simple chords and arpeggios. Includes Blues.

Folk Song – Music which has entered into the heritage of the people and which can usually be assigned to no composer, school, or period. It has been fashioned and refashioned through many generations by countless individuals and was usually passed on orally.

Full Orchestra – A large group of musicians performing as a unit and using string, woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments.

General Classes – Syllabus classes NOT identified as “School classes.” General classes are intended for students receiving private lessons. In a choral context, non-school choral groups or school groups from two or more schools selected on the basis of ability. See School Classes→

Gesture – Movement of the hands and arms, that clarifies or emphasizes the meaning and emotional content of a performance.

Golden Age Era (Musical Theatre) – For purposes of AMFA, Musical Theatre music with a date of publication from 1943-1964.

Grade – “Grade” has a specific meaning for specific disciplines. In Band and Orchestra, grade refers to the level of the repertoire played by the ensemble. In Piano (Plan II), grade refers to the grade or level the piece is classified as in a recognized syllabus. In most school classes, grade may also refer to school grade of the competitor.

Graphic Score – A graphic score uses images, shapes, and pictures instead of traditional music notation. Composers use graphic scores to express musical ideas that could not be described by traditional notation.

Group Competitor – Two or more individuals performing as a unit.

Group of Classes – A competitor may enter only once in a single class or Group of Classes. A Group of Classes is determined by a single heading in each discipline. For example, in Piano, “PIANO SOLO – OWN CHOICE” and “PIANO SOLO – BAROQUE” are two separate groups/headings.
See 2024 Rules Governing Local Festivals. See the Alberta Music Festival Association website for guidelines regarding groups of local classes.

Group Study – A method of teaching a group collectively rather than teaching each person individually.

Handbell – A musically tuned bell with a handle made of leather or plastic that allows it to be held in the hand.

Handchime/Tonechime – A metal tube slotted and cut to produce a musical sound.

Impressionism – The style of music composed at the time of Debussy and continued by his followers. It conveys moods and emotions aroused by the subject rather than portraying a detailed tone poem.

Instrumental – Generally refers to the string, woodwind, brass, and percussion families, but may include the singing voice and the speaking voice as separate instruments.

Lead Sheet – A form of musical notation that specifies the essential elements of a contemporary song: the melody, lyrics, and harmony (chord symbols). The melody is written in modern Western music notation, the lyric is written as text below the staff, and the harmony is specified with chord symbols above the staff. Lead Sheets are not suitable for submission in Music Composition.

Lieder – A distinctive type of German vocal solo composition that was an outcome of the Romantic Movement of the late 18th and early 19th centuries. In Lieder, the quality of the verse is very important. The piano part is more than an accompaniment and, as does the vocal part, demands artistic interpretation.

Light Opera/Operetta – A type of comic or light-hearted opera containing spoken dialogue.

Lyric Poetry – Is distinguished by its intense personal feeling and unified by the poet’s consistent response to an incident or idea. Lyric poetry frequently exhibits a graceful, fluid rhythm and an evocative pattern of sound. It is reflective poetry, and although a lyric may relate an incident or episode, the story element is of secondary importance. Movement and gesture, if any, should be restrained and should never draw attention away from the language. See Narrative/Dramatic Poetry →

Madrigal – A composition for several voices, performed unaccompanied. The texts of a madrigal are usually secular.

Manuscript (for Music Composition) – Manuscript must include full notation of melody and harmony or a complete graphic score. Chord charts, lead sheets, or other incomplete manuscripts will not be accepted at the Local or Provincial Festival for any Composition classes. See Graphic Score →

Medley – A piece composed from parts of existing pieces, played one after another, sometimes overlapping.

Mime – A silent art form that uses body and face as instruments of communication. The art of mime is based on careful and sensitive observation, and the translation of that observation, along with thoughts and emotion into movement and expression so as to express a mood or present a scenario. The performer must communicate character, storyline, location and emotion clearly. Skills such as economy of movement, eye focus, the ability to position objects, and maintain consistency of distance are vital. While classical mime skills may be incorporated into the mime work, the focus is on the piece as an artistic whole — as a scene driven by personal communication.

Mixed Choir / Chorus – A group of singers of different voice parts performing as a unit (typically SATB or SAB).

Modern – Music composed in or around the Modern Period, circa 1900-present. For Speech, works written after 1850. For Musical Theatre, dates of publication 1965-1989.

Modern Era (Musical Theatre) – For purposes of AMFA, Musical Theatre music with a date of publication from 1965-1989.

Movie Musical (Musical Theatre) – A staged production, recognized revue, or movie musical that incorporates the elements of acting, song, and movement. See Revue →

Music CompositionSee Composition →

Musical Theatre – A staged production, recognized revue, or movie musical that incorporates the elements of acting, song and movement. See Revue →

Narrative / Dramatic Poetry – Is poetry that tells a story and stresses plot and action. It often contains dialogue, characterization, and conflict. Although narrative/dramatic poetry may contain lyrical or descriptive passages, it usually minimizes or ignores the poet’s expression of personal feelings. Movement and gestures should flow naturally from
the text and the performer’s interpretation. See Lyric Poetry →

Obbligato – An accompaniment that has a distinct character and independence providing special or unusual effects, and is an integral part of the composition.

Operatic AriaSee Aria →

OperettaSee Light Opera/Operetta →

Oratorio – Drama which may be sacred or secular and is set to music. It contains all the elements of an opera, but is seldom staged.

Partner Song – Two different songs that have a similar harmonic structure and length, so they may be sung together.

Piano Quick Study – A class in which a competitor performs a selection within 24 hours of receiving the music.

Plectrum Guitar – Describes a manner of playing in which a small piece of plastic is used to strum the strings.

Private Lessons – Regular scheduled instruction on a continuing basis under the guidance of a recognized instructor receiving compensation for such instruction.

Production Number – A vocal presentation assisted by a background ensemble.

Professional – A person whose principal means of livelihood is obtained from the performance of music or speech in the particular discipline in which he or she is competing.

Props – Objects used to enhance a presentation usually in musical theatre, some solo speech classes, choral speech, and choric drama. They may be hand-held (a purse, a glass, a mop), or be stage props (an upright hat rack, a rehearsal block, a table, a chair). Stage props are set up before the performance begins. In all cases, props should be simple, limited in number, and an integral part of the performance.

Prose Solo – A prose selection may be fiction or non-fiction from a published story, essay, novel, or the like.

Public Domain – Works by an author that has been deceased for at least 50 years. Public Domain works can be copied/used without license. Copyright laws change regularly so the competitor must do their due diligence to ensure a work is Public Domain if they intend to use it as such.

Quartet – Four individuals performing different parts as a unit.

Quintet – Five individuals performing different parts as a unit.

Readers Theatre – Is a form of group interpretation that can represent the staging of all kinds of literature. It is a presentational, non-realistic form of production that includes the audience’s imaginative participation as a scripting and staging principle. It emphasizes the experience in the text and appeals to the audience’s ability to imagine. The actors may be seated, movement is limited, and scripts may be used as props.

Revue – A topical, satirical theatrical entertainment consisting of a series of scenes having a central theme, but no plot. See Musical Theatre →

Rhythm Band – A group of performers playing very simple instruments, usually percussive. A component of the elementary school program.

Romantic Music – Music composed in or around the Romantic period, circa 1820-1900.

Sacred – A selection using a religious theme or a religious text set to music. For all classes except for Contemporary Vocal, it should be “classical” in style, but NOT an oratorio.

Sacred Reading – The oral communication, in English, of a passage taken from any faith’s holy text.

School Band / Choir / Chorus – A group, usually from one school, performing as a unit. For School Chorus, there must be at least thirteen singers.

School Classes – Intended for students receiving musical or speech instruction in a classroom setting. That does not preclude receiving extra coaching from their school teacher. Students receiving private lessons may not enter classes identified as “school classes” unless part of a group entry. See Private Lessons

Sea Shanty – A song originally sung by sailors or those on the coast. Similar in origins to a folk song.

Selected Voice Choir / Chorus – A choir or chorus whose members are selected or “hand-picked.” The standard of performance is higher than that which is expected of an unselected choir.


  • A stand-alone piece of music.
  • One, and only one, stand-alone portion of a song cycle
  • One, and only one, piece from a collection of pieces, or as prescribed as a requirement in either the Royal Conservatory of Music or Conservatory Canada syllabus.
  • One or more movements of a multi-movement composition: e.g.: sonata, concerto, or concerted work.
  • Piano Plan I – 1 (one) or more movement(s) of a multi-movement Piano Selection may be used as ONE selection as long as they keep within the allotted time limit.
  • Piano Plan II – 1 (one) or more movement(s) of a multi-movement Piano Selection may be used as ONE selection, but MUST keep to the grade/level standards as put forth by the Royal Conservatory of Music or Conservatory Canada syllabus.

Senior – Usually refers to the level of achievement. In Provincial classes, refers to those 17 years and over.

Sight Singing/Reading/Playing – The performance of a selection by a competitor who has had only a few minutes of preparation.

Sonata – A composition usually written in three or four movements for solo instrument with or without piano accompaniment. The solo instrument and accompaniment are of equal importance; although generally, only the soloist is adjudicated.

Song Cycle – A song cycle is a group, or cycle, of individually complete songs designed to be performed in a sequence as a unit. For AMFA’s purposes, Solo Motet Cycles are considered Song Cycles. A specific, individual selection within a song cycle will usually be performed in a solo selection class (rather than multiple movements of such song cycle).

Sonnet Sequence – Two sonnets with a similar theme, not necessarily by the same author.

Special Study – Classes for competitors who are in the beginning stages of study.

Spiritual – A song of a deeply religious or emotional character that originates during times of slavery. Often derived from the combination of European hymns and African musical elements.

Story Telling – See Creative Story Telling →

String Orchestra – A group of musicians using only string instruments, and performing as a unit.

Tin Pan Alley / Early Broadway (Musical Theatre) – For purposes of AMFA, Musical Theatre music with a date of publication 1942 or prior.

Traditional Air – A narrative poem, often of unknown origin and written in short stanzas. Was originally sung to a repeated tune.

Transcription – The arrangement of a composition originally written for one instrument but adapted for another.

Transposition – Means playing or writing music in a way that makes it sound higher or lower. This can be done by playing or writing the music in a different key, or by playing or writing it up or down an octave, without changing the key.

Trio – Three individuals performing different parts as a unit.

Unaccompanied – A selection written for solo or group, and performed without instrumental assistance.

Up-Tempo – An Up-Tempo selection contains comedic or deft lyrics and may feature complaint or self-pity. Up-Tempo may feature a lively dance break. Music is often of a quicker tempo. The majority of the selection will generally feature tempo markings such as fast, lively, allegro, etc. See Ballad →