Wisconsin Music Teachers Association

Affiliated with the Music Teachers National Association


WMTA District Auditions gives students from grades 1-12 and adults an opportunity to play memorized pieces for an adjudicator and receive written comments for the student and teacher to review.  (There are also options that allow students to perform with their music.)  The student also takes a Music Theory Test (musicianship) that is appropriate for their age and skill level.  Points are earned by participating in both of these activities.  The points accumulate from year to year which results in students receiving incentive awards for continued improvement.  All teachers who enter students in District Auditions are expected to volunteer in the planning of their district’s Audition Day and to attend on Auditions Day.  Depending on the size of the district, number of teachers and students, a participating teacher may need to be available to work the whole auditions day.

District Auditions are open to every WMTA teacher and their students.

Non-members must submit a non-member fee to the local event chairperson at least three weeks before the event entry deadline in order to gain access to the Ovation registration program – refer to the “HOW TO ENTER” page.

This is often the first WMTA event a student is involved in.  The event is held in many areas throughout the state, so that teachers and students can conveniently participate.  It is also a prerequisite for participation in the WMTA Badger Competition.  Find more information about the Badger Competition under “Student Events”.

For questions about participation in the District Auditions, please contact the District Auditions Chair, Sandra Statz, at sandra@statzmusic.com.


MTNA Competitions are separate events from the WMTA Competitions.  Those events are:  MTNA Composition Competition, MTNA Junior Performance Competition, MTNA Senior Performance Competition, MTNA Young Artist/Chamber Music Performance Competition

Information regarding the MTNA Competitions can be found here.


Vocalists:  ALL vocalists entering State Track auditions must perform a Baroque or Classical piece.  (In the past, some vocalists did not have this requirement based on their number of years of study).

Instrumentalists:  if performing a concerto movement that has a cadenza, the cadenza (or an accepted version of a cadenza) must be performed.

Summary of Updates and Clarifications from 2016:

Entry Fees
District 2 and District 2NM: $20.00.
District 3, State Track, and Duets: $25.00.
Badger Competition: $25.00.

iPad Music
Accompanists may perform reading their music off of an iPad. This MUST be approved with the district chairperson in advance of the auditions day for copyright verification purposes.

Downloaded Music
Legally purchased/downloaded music is still permitted. What’s new: If a student will be providing a judge’s score that has been downloaded, the teacher MUST seek permission from the district chairperson before the Ovation freeze date/entry deadline. The district chairperson will approve this if the teacher provides written verification or printed receipt of the piece of music being legally downloaded in advance of the deadline.

Extended Audition Times
State Track students that are either juniors or seniors in high school (who may be preparing for college auditions), may request a longer district audition time slot to be scheduled. The teacher must request this from the district chairperson in advance of the Ovation freeze date/entry deadline. The maximum allowed time is 20 minutes.

Accompaniment for instrumentalists and vocalists
Only one selection of the student’s performance is required to be accompanied. But, if a selected piece was composed with an accompaniment, it must be used. Guitar and percussion auditions may contain all unaccompanied selections.

Teachers may not enter students who study with a different teacher as their own.

A student’s repertoire and/or theory test level cannot be changed after the freeze date/entry deadline.

Registering students in another district
For students that will perform in a district outside of their usual “home” district: teachers must send the entry fees to the district chair where the student will be performing – not their home district chair.

Theory Test Requirements
Students that are registered in state track auditions in piano AND another area (such as piano and voice, or piano and violin) may elect to take two different levels of theory tests to accommodate the different minimum levels that are required for each area, or they may elect to take only the more difficult theory test to count for both auditions.

Numbering Measures
For students in grade 7 or older, if the measures are not numbered in the judge’s score, the student will lose one point from their total performance score (not one point off of every piece that’s not numbered). This rule has been in place for some time, but was accidentally omitted in last year’s online handbook. Note: ALL students should have measures numbered for the judge’s score as a courtesy to assist in writing comments – but students in grade 6 and younger will not lose any points if measures aren’t numbered.

Page-turners are not provided by WMTA for accompanists, or students participating in non-memorized categories. As a reminder: the teacher may not turn pages for their own student.

Original Scores for Accompanists
There MUST be an original score for the accompanist AND for the judge, even if the accompanist chooses to perform from copies (for ease of page turns or an unruly book that won’t stay open). To phrase it a different way, there must be TWO ORIGINAL SCORES in the room. Please don’t assume any rules for WSMA festivals transfer to WMTA events.

Adult Students
Adult students who participated in WMTA events in high school may continue to accumulate points toward WMTA awards.

The definition of disqualification is thus: A student will be allowed to perform their pieces for the judge and receive comments, but will not receive points. Examples of rules infringements that result in disqualification are: having unauthorized photocopies in the room (accompanists may use copies if the original score is also present), parents or teacher discussing a student’s performance and scoring with the judge, use of any recording equipment in the performance site, not providing a judge’s score, performing a piece(s) different than the one(s) that was registered in Ovation, and parents or teachers challenging or arguing the final decisions made by the judge and/or district chairperson.


Summary of Updates and Clarifications to 2016 HANDBOOK ON COMPOSITION RULES

For piano solo:

Arrangements are not allowed, except for folk songs. The definition of a folk song is thus: A folk song does not have any one composer in particular (lyrics don’t count). Examples of allowable folk songs include Amazing Grace and Shenandoah. A common piece that is NOT a folk song is easily traced to a specific person, via Google or Wikipedia. Examples of common pieces that are NOT allowable are Oh Susannah and Happy Birthday.

Pieces by Anonymous are not folk songs but yet still allowable, because those pieces were specifically written down and composed for a specific instrument, and the period in which they were written can be accurately traced. In these cases, we know that a specific person wrote the piece, but the name has been lost to history.

For all vocal selections:
Instead of having both “Broadway” and “Musical Theater” as categories, we will now use “Musical Theater” exclusively.

For instrumentalists ,vocalists, and piano duets:
Arrangements of compositions are allowed; please list arranger if possible.

Composers in two different time periods:
When a composer is listed as being in two different periods, each specific composition by this composer is already listed in Ovation under the period they best fit under. Pieces by that composer no longer count toward both periods. Any duplicates in Ovation under multiple time periods will be deleted.

Classic 20th Century and Trans 20th/21st Century:
The boundaries for Classic 20th Century and Trans 20th/21st Century will now overlap slightly. The newly defined periods and examples of each are below.

Classic 20th Century: 1900-1975
Bartok, Dello Joio, Joplin, South American/Brazilian Masters, Russian Masters (except Tchaikovsky/some Rachmaninoff)

Trans. 20th/21st Century: 1960-present
Gillock, Glover, Nakada, “Belwin Contest Winners” series, All Major Method books, including Suzuki

Always check the database to make sure the piece has not been already entered, and search carefully. For instance, Debussy’s “Clair de lune” appears as “Suite bergamasque, III. Clair de lune.”

Always cite the arranger for all arrangements, such as “Tchaikovsky, arr. Matz” and “Folk Song, arr. Faber”.

Always cite the instrument for all non-piano pieces in the title, such as “Minuet in G, for violin”. Otherwise, the piece will be assumed to be a piano solo, be subjected to piano solo rules for compositions, and possibly deleted.

Always note if the piece is a duet. Otherwise, the piece will be subjected to rules for solos on that instrument and possibly deleted.

There will be a reference list of examples of ineligible pieces for piano solo provided on the “Help” page of Ovation. This will give examples of pieces that are not eligible to be performed by students in the WMTA District Auditions or Badger Competition. 

For any questions on composition rules, or entering compositions into Ovation, contact Emily Schultz at wmtacompositionhotline@gmail.com.


1. CURRENT MTNA/WMTA MEMBERS (including collegiate members): membership dues must be paid (renewed) by October 15 (prior to the spring event) to enter students as a WMTA teacher.

2. NEW MTNA/WMTA MEMBERS: newly joining members must pay their dues by the audition entry deadlines for that year.  See “Location/Contact/Fees” for this information.

3. NON-MEMBER TEACHERS: teachers who are not MTNA/WMTA members but wish to enter students in the auditions should contact the chairperson in their district two to three weeks before the entry deadline.  Non-member teachers must pay WMTA an entry fee of $100 in addition to their student(s) participation entry fee(s).  See “Location/Contact/Fees” page to contact the district chairperson.  Checks for fees are written to WMTA and need to be sent to the district chairperson before the entry deadline.

TEACHERS WHO ENTER STUDENTS are expected to be available to help work on the day of the auditions.  Depending on the size of the district and the number of teachers and students, a participating teacher may need to be available to work the whole auditions day.  If the teacher is not able to attend on the event day, a reliable substitute may fulfill the work shift.  Please be courteous of your site chairperson and provide as much advance notice about any assigned work changes as possible.  If a teacher has been assigned to work on the event day and does not arrive and has not provided a substitute, a fine of $75.00 will be charged to the teacher.  If the fee is not paid within 30 days of being issued, the teacher is not eligible to enter students in the event the following year.  This also applies if the teacher or substitute does not fulfill the entire assigned work shift.  The event chairperson may waive the fine based on circumstances as they see fit.


ALL registrations for participation in the District Auditions must be submitted online.  Teachers, not students or parents, must enter their students using the “Ovation” online program.   Teachers collect fees from their students and then are responsible to turn in the entry fees (one check for the total, payable to WMTA) to the district chairperson before the entry deadline.  See the “Locations/Contacts/Fees” page for more details.

New members who have paid their dues should email Sandra Statz, the WMTA State Chairperson for District Auditions, at sandra@statzmusic.com, to have their profile added to the “Ovation” website database.


If a teacher wishes to enter a student in District Auditions in a district other than the teacher’s Home District, permission must be obtained from that district’s chairperson BEFORE that district’s entry deadline.

1. Teachers must use the online “Ovation” program for registration.
2. All records remain in the home district where the student and teacher reside.
3. All audition fees (payable to WMTA) need to be sent to the the District Chairperson where the student performs.  See the Ovation help page for names and contact information.
4. If a student has registered and paid his or her fee for auditions in one district and then chooses to enter in a different district for any reason, he or she must submit a new audition fee payment.
5. Audition fees cannot be refunded or transferred to another district.
6. After the District Auditions, the certificate, the judge’s comments sheets, and graded theory test will be sent to the student’s teacher by the district chairperson in the district where the student participated.
7. Awards will be ordered and given by the chair in the home district where the teacher resides, not by the chair where the student participated.

WMTA District Map_no text

2017 Entry Fees for Participation in WMTA Auditions

District 2:                   $20.00
District 2-NM:           $20.00
District 3:                   $25.00
State Track:               $25.00
Duets:                         $25.00

Students should pay the entry fee by writing a check payable to their instructor.  Then, each instructor writes one check to WMTA for the total of all his/her student’s entries.  This check should be sent with the fee summary sheet to the district chairperson before the entry deadline. The fee summary sheet can be printed from the Ovation site.  Email the district chairperson for their postal mailing address if needed.



Learn more about

Printable Version: WMTA District Auditions Handbook Highlights .pdf
This document is meant to be a quick reference and provides only the basic District Audition Rules.  Teachers are encouraged to read the complete, detailed rules on this website and are responsible for following those rules if they will have students participate.

– General Rules and Requirements for District Auditions
Specific Rules and Detailed Guidelines for District Auditions
– Choosing Repertoire for District Auditions
– Musicianship/Music Theory Test Requirements for District Auditions


For information about teachers who can enter students and how to register, see the “How to Enter” page.

TEACHERS WHO ENTER STUDENTS are expected to be available to help work on the day of the auditions.  If the teacher is not able to attend on the event day, a reliable substitute may fulfill the work shift.  Please be courteous of your site chairperson and provide as much advance notice about any assigned work changes as possible.  If a teacher has been assigned to work on the event day and does not arrive and has not provided a substitute, a fine of $75.00 will be charged to the teacher.  If the fee is not paid within 30 days of being issued, the teacher is not eligible to enter students in the event the following year.  This also applies if the teacher or substitute does not fulfill the entire assigned work shift.  The event chairperson may waive the fine based on circumstances as they see fit.

These following guidelines are a direct result of the feedback from the 2004-2005 Adjudication Workshops that were given around the State of Wisconsin.  These comments and concerns are coming from judges and teachers who attended the workshops.  They are meant to enhance your students’ experiences as they work towards the goal of entering the WMTA District and State Auditions.

1. Be sure to read the “Information for WMTA event judges” so you know what the adjudicator will be looking for.  That way there will be no surprises.  Find this judging information on the WMTA website.

2. If you as the teacher are going to add or delete details within the piece, please write your intentions into the music.  Judges have been directed to consider any markings you add or delete in determining the student’s grade.

3. Do not send students who are not prepared for the audition.

4. Be sure you have followed the guidelines for each specific entry level (D2, or state track, etc.)

5. It is common courtesy to make sure that all students have their measures numbered for the judge – but, Grades 7-12 MUST NUMBER EVERY MEASURE for the judges.  One point will be deducted from their score if not done correctly or if no measures are numbered at all.

6. Advise the student not to wear jewelry that rattles or is tight around the wrist.  This will inhibit them from performing their best.

7. The performance is given an overall rating.  This includes aural as well as visual components.  Advise the student to wear appropriate clothing that will enhance their appearance but not hinder their performance.  Have students understand the importance of proper shoes for pedaling purposes.  Flip-flops and tall high heels do not give the student the appropriate leverage for clear pedaling.  Judges will have the right to take off points if the pedal is not clear due to any reason, including inappropriate shoes.  Also advise the student not to wear clothing that is so tight that they cannot cross over appropriately or lift their leg to work the pedal.  It is preferred that no “skin” is showing in the midriff area in the front or in the back.  Such an appearance does not maintain the high standard WMTA is looking for in these auditions.

8. The piano rating sheet includes a place for the judge to check that the student took advantage of the opportunity to try out the piano in the performance room.  There is no grading of the warm-up, just a check next to the item.  All piano students should be prepared to warm up on the piano in the audition room.  The students should be instructed by their teachers what to play for a warm-up 2-4 weeks before the audition date.  It can be an exercise or an excerpt(s) from a piece, including audition pieces.  This will only enhance their overall performance and grade by being comfortable at that particular keyboard.  Each student will be given this opportunity, so have him or her take it.

9. Vocal students should not warm up in the audition room.

10. Instrumentalists (non-piano) should not warm up in the audition room, other than to tune to the piano.

11. Direct the younger students to ask the room monitor for help in adjusting the bench appropriately.

12. Musicality in all levels is the priority.  If you choose repertoire that does not have any markings in it, such as:  dynamics, ritardandos, staccatos, etc., please add these to the music or choose different repertoire for the child.  There needs to be something tangible for the judge to adjudicate within the piece.  Performing just the notes will not guarantee a “5” rating.

13. Music that is too difficult can result in technical insecurity and a lack of stylistic understanding, and will not contribute to a positive learning experience in the performance.

14. In the more advanced levels, students might listen to recordings of the repertoire to better understand the comments that the adjudicator may make regarding style and details.   Many times the student is on the right track with the piece, but just needs to hear the nuances that needed to make the piece stylistically correct.

15. Please discuss with your students that judges have been asked not to let personal preferences influence their evaluation of the way the repertoire was performed.  However, judging is somewhat subjective.  Everyone has his/her own way of listening, and different judges may emphasize different things when evaluating a performance.  This is an opportunity for students to learn and deepen their understanding.

Revised Summer 2015  (Teacher Guidelines Only)

Ovation Online Student Registration Website
If the link doesn’t work, please type “ovation.wmta.net” into your search bar.

Ovation Users Guide-2017
This guide will provide further instructions for teachers and judges who are utilizing the Ovation program.

If you are a new member and have paid your membership dues, to become registered for the Ovation website, please contact Rita Schuman, WMTA State Chairperson for District Auditions, at ritaschuman1@gmail.com.

If you are a current/renewing member and are having trouble accessing Ovation, contact Rita Schuman at ritaschuman1@gmail.com.


Points awarded are based on performance and music theory test grades.

Students may earn up to 5 points for each piece performed, unless entered in Track D2-NM where 4 points is the maximum.

Students may earn up to 5 points for the Music Theory Test.

Music Theory Test points are awarded as follows:

90 – 100% = 5 points

80 – 89%   = 4 points

70 – 79%   = 3 points

60 -69%    = 2 points

50 – 59%   = 1 point

These points are to be awarded to Adult students as well.


Points earned in different areas (composition points) or different instruments (piano, voice, brass, strings, woodwind, percussion) are totaled separately and will not be combined.  Students will earn separate awards in each area.

NOTE:  all points earned for the same instrument WILL be combined.  For instance:  piano solo points (from both district auditions and Badger competition), any piano duet points (from both district and Badger) and High School Virtuoso piano points will all be added together toward awards for that student in the area of piano.  If they enter another instrument, or voice, that would be totaled separately.  And, again, any composition points for that students are also totaled separately.


  • Each student who participates will receive 10 points.
  • Winners will receive 5 additional points and a trophy.
  • Runners-up, if chosen, will receive 4 points.
  • Honorable Mentions, if chosen, will receive 3 points.


The first award is a 22-point plaque.  The subsequent bars are to be attached to the plaque and this continues as the plaques and bars accumulate.


1. The Award of Excellence awards are presented to WMTA member teachers based on participation of their students in WMTA auditions.

2. One point is given to the teacher for each award their students earn through WMTA/MTNA events.

3. Teachers receive an award certificate after earning 10 points, 50 points and again after 75 points.  When a teacher has earned 100 points, a plaque is awarded followed by bars in 25-point increments (in the same manner that the students awards are distributed.)

4. To receive any of these awards, the teacher should submit a list of students and the awards they have won to the Teacher Award of Excellence Chair.  See the WMTA Newsletter for WMTA Officers list.

Information About Student Auditions for Parents

The Wisconsin Music Teachers Association sponsors this event for students in grades 1-12 at both the district and state levels.  The auditions provide young musicians with an opportunity to receive an evaluation of their performance and musicianship skills. Participating in the WMTA auditions provides students with a specific goal, additional performance experience and the opportunity to have another reputable teacher offer comments as to how their playing could be improved.  All students who participate will receive the judge’s written comments, a certificate of participation, and points toward WMTA awards.

What does the student do the day of the auditions?

1. Performs the number of solos required according to the level entered (also referred to as “track” entered).  See the entry options below.

2. Completes a written music theory test – most of the test is written, a small part is aural (listening).

 How does the points system work?

1. Students can earn up to five points maximum for each solo performed. (Except for District 2-NM entries, see below).

2. Students can also earn up to five points on their musicianship (theory) test. The number of points is determined by the percentage scored.

3. If a student participates more than once, their points accumulate from year to year. After a student has earned 22 points, he/she will receive a WMTA plaque.  When a student earns 50 points, and later 75 points, he/she will receive a gold bar that can be attached to the plaque.  At 100 points, another plaque is awarded – the process continues with more awards for further points earned.

 There are four options for participation available to the student:

THE DISTRICT 2 (D2) OPTION: ENTRY FEE:  $20.00.  The student performs two memorized solos and completes a musicianship test.  The student is not eligible to advance to the state level Competition.

THE DISTRICT 3 (D3) OPTION: ENTRY FEE:  $25.00.  The student performs three solos, two of which are memorized and completes a musicianship test.  The student is not eligible to advance to the state level competition. This option is only available to students in grades 7 – 12.  Only available for piano solo.

THE DISTRICT 2 NOT MEMORIZED (D2-NM) OPTION: ENTRY FEE:  $20.00.  The student performs two solos, with their music (not memorized). These students can only earn a maximum of four points on each piece performed and are not eligible to advance to the state level competition.  This is only available to students in grades 7 – 12.  Only available for piano solo.

THE STATE TRACK OPTION: ENTRY FEE:  $25.00.  The student performs three memorized solos.  Each student who receives 14 out of the 15 possible points and earns a score of 80% or higher on the appropriate level musicianship test is eligible to advance to the Badger Competition. Only 4th grade and older students are allowed to advance.  3rd graders and younger:  the student performs three memorized solos and takes their appropriate level musicianship test.  They will receive points but are not eligible to advance to the state level Badger Competition.

The students are carefully guided in selecting appropriate music and preparing for the written and aural tests.  As the audition day draws near, you will be provided with all the information you need regarding registration for the day, where to go and times designated for performances and musicianship tests. You pay the entry fee to your instructor and they pay one check for all students to WMTA.

BADGER COMPETITION:  If a student chose the STATE track option at the district auditions, is a 4th grader or older, scored 14 or 15 points on his/her performance and scored 80% or higher on the musicianship test, he/she is eligible to participate in the state level competition.   The student performs the same music prepared for the district auditions but the student does not have to take another musicianship test.  All students that perform will earn an additional ten points for participating and will receive the judges written comments.  A “winner” from each judging site (categorized by grade level) will be selected to perform in a recital at the end of the day.  A number of students are also recognized with “Honorable Mention”.  Pictures of these students will be taken and published in the WMTA newsletter that goes to all members in the state.

Information for adjudicators may be found here.

District Chairs:

Follow the links below to view or print detailed information. Additional information for judging such as forms, checklists, expense vouchers, can be found in Documents and Forms.

Timeline For District Chairs, WMTA 2016-2017

Judges Critical Checklist

Ovation Users Guide-2017