Answers to Frequently Asked Questions

We know that if this is your first experience with the Milton Young Musicians Festival you will have lots of questions. We have tried to anticipate as many as possible here. If you still have an unanswered question after reading through this material, contact the Festival Director, Mrs. Lynn Salmonsen either by email at moc.gnirpsdnim@snyl, or by phone at 617-835-8481‬.


The Milton Young Musician’s Festival is open to students in Grades 1–12 who take private music lessons.

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The Milton Young Musician’s Festival requires that an application form be filled out and returned, with payment, to Ms. Salmonsen. You may download a copy of the application from this page (print the form, then complete and mail it together with a check for the Application Fee).

There is an Application Fee which helps defray the costs of producing the Festival. The specific Fees are spelled out on the Application Form. If you perform on more than one instrument, an Application Form and Fee is required for each.

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In order to be evaluated fairly and appropriately, students participating in the competition declare a Skill Level on their application form. This Level should be indicative of their level of achievement with their instrument. There are six levels of entry for all categories: Level 1 is the earliest level, and Level 6 is the most advanced.

“So - how do I know what’s the Level that’s appropriate for me?”
Our use of the term “Level” is NOT the same as the Milton Public Schools’ use of the term. The Level at which the student enters is determined by that student’s ability to play the scale requirements and compositions consistent with those listed under the repertoire guidelines which the MYMF has established for each level. (These repertoire lists are intended as guidance; the student does not necessarily need to play specific pieces on these lists. The level at which a student competes is a decision determined by the student and music teacher collaboratively.) The prepared piece and the scales are equally important - in fact sometimes the difficulty of the scales will be the determining factor.

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In order to gain maximum benefit and enjoyment from participating in the Milton Young Musicians Festival, we feel that all students in strings, winds, brass, and voice should avail themselves of an accompanist. The accompanist is not only a pianist but a seasoned musician whose coaching can provide a student with valuable pointers, both on musicianship and on performance skills. In addition, working with an accompanist gives a soloist the opportunity to hear his piece as the composer intended, in all its rhythmic and harmonic richness. We hope you will seriously consider adding this valuable dimension to your child’s festival experience.

The Festival can recommend experienced accompanists as an option when you fill out your Application. These individuals are excellent with youth musicians and they have participated in the Festival for years. When you opt for an accompanist you will be contacted to make arrangements for rehearsal time prior to the Festival. The Accompanist Fee will be paid directly to the accompanist and is not included in the application fee.

You are certainly free to perform with your own accompanist. If you plan to perform with your own accompanist please indicate that on your application form along with your accompanist’s name — it gets very complicated to schedule musicians and the Festival accompanists without overlap on Festival Day, and it’s a big help to know when the Festival accompanists are committed.

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What will I play?

Your audition at the Festival is composed of two parts: scales and a prepared selection. The required scales for each instrument and level may be reviewed on the Scales Page. You get to select the prepared selection, so long as it is appropriate for your Level.

Guidelines for repertoire selections are provided on the repertoire page of this web site.

PIANO students must play the scale requirements for each level plus two pieces of contrasting musical styles from two different musical periods. On the festival day, Level One—Level Three students are allotted 15 minutes in which to play scales and his or her pieces. Levels Four—Six are allotted 20 minutes in which to play the scales and his or her pieces.

WIND and BRASS students must play the scale requirements for each level plus either two shorter pieces (or movements) or one longer work. On the festival day, Level One—Three students are allotted 15 minutes in which to play the scales and his or her piece(s). Level Four, Five and Six students are allotted 20 minutes in which to play the scales and his or her piece(s).

STRING students must play the scale requirements for each level plus either two shorter pieces (or movements) or one longer work. On the festival day, Level One—Three students are allotted 15 minutes in which to play the scales and his or her piece(s). Level Four, Five and Six students are allotted 20 in which to play the scales and his or her piece(s).

VOICE All vocal students should prepare two songs of contrasting style using the repertoire list as guidance. Students performing at Levels 4 — 6 must choose two contrasting songs in different languages.

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What do I need to bring to the audition?

Your instrument* and your music!

Sounds obvious, doesn't it? The important thing here is that you must have an original copy of the music and (if you are not playing from memory) a photo-copy for the adjudicators. The MYMF takes the music industry’s copyright protection laws very seriously. We must ensure that the student is playing from a score obtained legitimately. Whether you choose to play from the original or from a photo-copy you have annotated, there must be an original copy in the room when you perform.

(* Relax, pianists - an instrument will be provided for you!)

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How much time will my audition take?

Level 1—3 students are allocated a 15 minute audition time in which to perform their scales and repertoire pieces.

Level 4—6 students are allocated 20 minutes for their audition because their repertoire pieces are longer.

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Who are the judges?

Milton Young Musicians Festival hires professional musicians to be judges (or “adjudicators” ) in each category. Generally, teams of two adjudicators evaluate every participant to ensure a balanced critique. The adjudicators come from the Greater Boston area, and from as far as New Hampshire. They are all music educators, specializing in the area they are judging.

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What will I be judged on?

The judges, all professional musicians, will give written (and brief oral) critiques of each student’s audition regarding musical interpretation, phrasing, technique, diction (for voice), tone quality and stage presence. The judges’s decisions are final. Look at the Judging Forms for further information.

Points are awarded for each of several criteria; the points are totaled and the gold–silver–bronze medals are awarded at the end of the day based on that final total.

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May I listen to my friends? Can my parents listen to me?

You certainly may listen to others. In fact participants are encouraged to listen to other performers. Plan to stay! MYMF feels that a big part of learning is observing one’s peers! All events are open to the public. And family and friends are more than welcome to come and support the students.

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What should I wear for the Festival?

There is a dress code, in recognition of the fact that the participants have worked hard and take their performances seriously.

Girls are expected to audition in a “dressy” outfit; boys need dress pants, shirt and tie. While “dressy” may be subject to some interpretation, don’t arrive in sneakers or jeans. Participants who do not follow the dress code will not be permitted to perform. Should you qualify for the Gold Medal Concert, the same requirements apply.

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What will I get out of participating in the MYMF?

That’s an excellent question, and the answer comes in two parts.

First, we recognize that performing an audition takes effort, commitment and a certain amount of courage. Because we feel that should be rewarded, every participant, regardless of what Level they perform at or the outcome of their adjudication sheets, will leave the Awards Ceremony with a Bronze, Silver or Gold medal and a copy of their adjudication form.

The second thing you will get might not be something you can hold in your hand or display on a shelf, but is no less real for that. There is a sense of having accomplished something significant; there is a strengthened sense of self–confidence which comes from performing in public, even if you find that experience is somewhat uncomfortable for you; and there is a broadening of your awareness of and appreciation for the wider musical community. It’s both exciting and reassuring to be at an event full of other musicians, youth and adult, motivated and committed to excellence.

The experience you gain can influence your whole life, even if you have no intentions of becoming a musician. MYMF is a very supportive and nurturing environment in which to learn these important life skills.

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What do the different medals stand for?

At the end of the Milton Young Musicians Festival day, medals are awarded to all participating students. Because the student is evaluated against standards instead of against each other, each category may have multiple Gold Medal winners — or it may have none.

A GOLD MEDAL will be awarded to the student deemed to be outstanding in all judging categories. Any deficiencies in the performance are considered minimal. There shall be no significant weaknesses. The student shall have demonstrated outstanding musicianship.

A SILVER MEDAL will be awarded to the student who is excellent in the majority of major judging categories. There shall be few significant weaknesses. The student shall have generally demonstrated excellent musicianship.

A BRONZE MEDAL will be awarded to the student who demonstrates proficiency in some aspects of performance, but have a need for improvement in several categories. The student shall generally demonstrate basic musicianship.

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Gold Medal Concert Details

The Gold Medal concert is an opportunity to provide special recognition to participants performing with exceptional accomplishment in their Level. Because this is based entirely on individual achievement against standards, each category might have several Gold Medal winners. There is no “winner” of the Festival.

The Gold Medal Concert is presented at the East Congregational Church (610 Adams Street, East Milton). Again, refer to the Directions Page if you’re not sure where East Congregational Church is located.

Please review our Gold Medal Concert page for additional information and photos.