Junior Festival

Junior Festival is the National Federation of Music Clubs’ annual performance event for students of all levels of talent and advancement. It is administered at the local level by each local club, under the auspices of the State and National organizations.

Junior Festival is not a competition, but rather an opportunity for the students to perform two memorized pieces of music for an adjudicator and an audience. The student’s performance is judged individually and is not compared to the performance of other students.

By participating in Junior Festival each year students earn points towards receiving a National Gold Cup, or trophy. Each successive Gold Cup is a little bigger than the previous one. It takes a minimum of three years to earn each Gold Cup.

Junior Festival performance covers all instrument families, both solo and ensemble, as well as vocal performance. It also includes Hymn Playing, Theory, Composition, and Improvisation. Rules set by National must be adhered to. Registration fees are set by the local club, a portion of which must be sent to the State organization.

In Nebraska, students who receive four or more consecutive Superior ratings in one event may participate in the Nebraska Federation of Music Clubs Junior Division State Honors Recital.

There is also a category for physically or mentally challenged students. Exceptions to some of the National guidelines are made for these students.

Nebraska Federation of Music Clubs has three different festivals to choose from:
Omaha Junior Festival – March 13, 2021
Central City Junior Festival – March 13, 2021
Bellevue Junior Festival – April 9-10, 2021

Purpose: To provide a venue for students to perform and receive evaluation. It is not a competition between students but an audition that encourages a high standard of musical achievement.

General Rules: The National Federation of Music Clubs establishes the rules and guidelines for festivals. Site chairman implement these. See pages 1-6 of the Festivals Bulletin available from your site chairman or National Headquarters for a detailed listing of these rules.

Responsibilities of Teachers:

Pay state dues for the number of participants. Submit a list of student names with the dues form. (Students may change as long the number of dues paying students remains the same.)

Select repertoire for every student and supervise its preparation. See rules at the beginning of every section in the Bulletin. (For example: in the piano solo event, two pieces are played by memory – one required from the Bulletin and one choice piece.)

Complete an application form for every participant (these students are under the age of 19 – older students may participate in Adult Festival) Copy these forms for your records before you submit them (or keep on computer) as the information about levels will be needed in subsequent years.

Submit application and festival entry fee in a timely manner established by the director.

Be available to help at the site during the audition day. Duties to be established by the director.

Make sure that only published copies of music are brought to the event – NEVER photo copies.

Selection of Repertoire: See the Bulletin for specifics in every event. Examples: Some repertoire must be memorized and some does not. There are specific instructions for selecting composers in some events. Piano duets can use the same composer and same book. Read carefully and follow all rules.

Note: Music theory participants do not have to play in order to take the test.

Festival Cup Points: Participants earn points according to their ratings. For example, superior ratings receive 5 points. When a student has earned 15 points and multiples of 15 points, they qualify for a gold cup from National Federation. Records are kept at the local level and the program is administered at the state level. See the Festivals Bulletin pages 7-10 for rules governing the Festival Cup Plan.

Your State Chairman is always available to help you understand and interpret the rules, mentor new teachers through the process, provide suggestions for choice repertoire and make new information available to all site chairmen and teachers. Please feel free to contact the state chairman for help at any time.

To enter students in Junior Festival:

Contact the appropriate chair person. Make sure you are available to work all day at the festival audition site as a helper.

Decide on a name for your students’ Junior Club, such as My Music Club.

Ask students to participate who are able to memorize and perform two pieces from memory in front of an audience. Explain the program to parents.

Pick out repertoire for each student from the National Federation Bulletin. You may order this bulletin JR2-1 for $6 plus handling fees online at http://www.nfmc-music.org/Publications/publications.htm or from NFMC Headquarters at 317.638.4003, info@nfmc-music.org or from the local chair. One piece is required to come from this bulletin. You will determine your student’s level by your choice of repertoire. Better to go a little easier than the student’s actual level for the first year. Students must progress to a higher level each year if a Superior rating is achieved. Choose a second piece from the standard repertoire that contrasts style at the same level of difficulty. After Primary IV the choice piece must be from a non-American composer. Start working on at least one of the pieces in November.


Send Junior Club Dues of $2.50 for each student to the treasurer by November 1, 2019. After November 10, the fee is $5.00 per student, and after November 15, add another $5.00 studio late fee.

You will receive a packet of info from the local chair including two forms. Fill in your teacher info and signature. Then make enough copies for all your student entries. Most teachers add a little extra to the required fee to compensate them for their time. Fill in each student’s info. Collect fees from students. Return to local chair with one check from your studio by the deadline.

Your local Festival Chair will prepare a schedule for all students and teacher volunteers. This schedule will be mailed to you about 2 weeks before the Festival. It is up to each teacher to give the Festival audition number and time to each student.

Prepare your students carefully observing all markings in the written music. Students will perform from memory in front of an audience. Practice with students what to do if there is a memory slip. Do not expect to receive a Superior rating unless the piece is perfectly performed. Not all judges judge the same even when they all have the same guidelines to follow.

On the day of the festival audition, arrive early to perform your assigned duties. Do not expect to read the judges comments on that day. Judging sheets will be mailed to you after the grades are posted and recorded. The ratings are posted at the festival by student number so you can see the ratings that day.

With the judging sheets you will also receive a state and national certificate for each entry. Some teachers make copies for their files before presenting them to the students.

If you have a student who moves out of state, contact the Nebraska Festival Cup Chair for a letter that will transfer their points to the records of that state Federation.