Canadian Music Competition 2020 / Frequently Asked Questions

Historical Information

The information contained on this page is related to an older edition of the competition. It is made available for archival purposes only. For the most current information, please go to Canadian Music Competition 2021.

Why are there alternating instruments?

A number of categories of the Competition (Strings, Piano and Voice) are coming back on a yearly basis. The Winds and Percussion (group 1) as well as Guitar and Harp (group 2) will be open on an alternating basis. This way, candidates will have access to a balanced jury that is representative of the selected instruments that year. However, the Chamber Music category is open every year so that all instruments are eligible. As of now, the organ category will not be coming back to the competition.

What has changed since the 2017 edition?

The CMC has now two rounds instead of three. The new formula for the National Audition reinforces the educational and regional aspects of the Competition. Previously, when candidates’ progress stopped at the Regional Audition, they would have seen two adjudicators, whereas as now, they can present their repertoires in front of five adjudicators.

What is included in the $500 contribution when I register?

In 2017, the registration fees were standardized at $300 and the additional chapter fees were abolished. A number of chapters offer financial support to encourage the participation of candidates in their region. Chapters contribute to the exposure of the candidates in their region and on a nation-wide basis by providing scholarships. For more information regarding financial assistance, contact your chapter representative.

The actual cost of a candidate participating in the CMC is well above the registration fees charged; it represents a minimum cost of $1,000 per candidate. We hope that candidates who can afford it will contribute 50% of this amount; however, the donation part is considered to be at the discretion of the candidate. The amount of $500 includes the registration fees ($300) and a suggested donation of $200 (at the discretion of the candidate) for which an income tax receipt will be issued by the Canadian Music Competition. As the “donation” part is optional, this new structure guarantees appropriate funding to the National Organization, allowing the CMC to grow and develop. Remember that the CMC does not receive any grants from the federal government or the provincial government. The CMC returns year after year exclusively with the help of its donors and sponsors.


I need financial assistance, who should I contact?

Candidates must address financial assistance needs to the representative of their chapter. Each chapter or province is entirely autonomous regarding its financial assistance policy (rule 10.1). You will find contact information on our website by selecting your chapter, then clicking on “My chapter” and then “Contact Us”. A letter written by the instrument teacher regarding the candidate’s financial situation may be requested.

I got a very high mark during the Provincial Final. Will I receive a scholarship?

Following the National Audition, scholarships will be awarded at the discretion of the regional chapters and provincial committees (rule 10.1).

Why was I not awarded a National Final scholarship even if I came in 1st place in my category?

During the National Final, candidates are divided into four age groups, all instruments combined: 7 to 10 years, 11 to 14 years, 15 to 18 years, and 19 to 30 years. Scholarships are awarded based on the highest mark in each of these groups. Candidates do not receive scholarships based on their rank in their category (rule 10.2).

When will I know if I obtained a scholarship?

Scholarships are attributed and given in the fall, following the current competition. Scholarship winners are contacted at that time.

Competition procedure

When will I be contacted by the Competition?

Following your registration, you will receive an email confirmation that you have to keep. This email contains, among other information, the submitted repertoire which you will have to perform during each round. As most communications are sent by email, be sure to provide us with a valid email address.

This is my first time participating in the CMC. How does it work?

The Competition takes place over two rounds: the National Audition and the National Final. On your audition day, you are welcomed by CMC volunteers, to whom you must provide your music scores. If you wish, you can buy the Tour Book, which contains the detailed schedule of the competition, the names of the participants and their repertoire. Volunteers guide you to the practice studios or the music hall. You need to be in the hall and ready to play when it is your turn. The CMC coordinator will call your name and invite you onto the stage. After your performance, the adjudicators are given a few minutes to write their comments. The next candidate is then introduced. During the National Audition, the results are announced at the end of each session (a session lasts 2 to 3 hours). We announce the names of the participants who have made it through to the next round; marking and comment sheets are given at that moment. Then you have the opportunity to meet the adjudicators.

During the National Final, the results are announced on four occasions: during the results announcement ceremonies for each of the age categories. Candidates receive their marking and comment sheets. They also have the opportunity to meet the adjudicators at the end of the results announcement. If you are absent, the documents will be sent by mail. CMC encourages all candidates to attend those ceremonies; it is a valuable opportunity to interact with the adjudicators.

Following the National Final, the Gala Concert acts as a closing event for the year’s competition. At the discretion of the Competition, Grand Prizes of the age categories of 11 to 14 years old, 15 to 18 years old and 19 to 30 years old, along with the 1st place winner of the Stepping Stone, may be invited to perform with the guest orchestra. All traveling and lodging expenses are the winners’ responsibility.


Who do I have to notify if I have to cancel my registration?

Please notify the National Office by email ( as well as your chapter’s representative (rule 12).


When will the National Audition tour schedule be official?

Candidates receive the tentative detailed schedule by email in mid-January, then the official schedule in mid-February. Note that the convocation time indicates the beginning of a time slot that can stretch for several hours, usually for a maximum of 3 hours. For example, for a convocation at 9:00 a.m., a candidate could compete at 11:45 a.m.. CMC cannot inform candidates of their exact time of performance as the schedule may be adjusted if another candidate is absent or has withdrawn.


Do I have to memorize all the pieces I will present?

Memorization rules vary according to the instrument, the piece and the round. Please refer to rule 5.7 for additional information.

Copies of scores

How many copies of the music scores do I have to bring for each round?

Six copies, one original and five photocopies, for each round. Please refer to rule 8.1 for additional information.

Why do I have to write the bar numbers?

Candidates must write the bar numbers at the beginning of each line to facilitate the adjudicators’ work and to allow them to be more specific in their comments (rule 8.2).

Collaborative pianists

Does the CMC provide services of a collaborative pianist?

No, each participant has to hire his or her own collaborative pianist. During the National Final, a list of suggested pianists will be displayed on the CMC website.


Can I make changes to my repertoire after the registration deadline?

Yes, you can submit changes to your repertoire until the repertoire modification deadline, i.e. . Please refer to rule 5.10 for additional information.

Can I change the performance order of my pieces?

Yes. Simply present your scores in performance order. However, it is not permitted to switch pieces in between rounds (rule 5.8 and 5.9).

I did not have the opportunity to play all my pieces last year. Can I use the same repertoire this year?

Pieces that were not played previously can be submitted again; for example, repertoire that was submitted by a candidate for a round for which he or she did not qualify. However, if a piece was performed but the candidate was disqualified, this piece cannot be submitted again. Please refer to rule 5.1 for additional information.

Can I register two movements of the same work in two different rounds?

No, it is not permitted to play a movement of a piece in one round and then another movement of the same piece in another round. The same principle applies to opera arias and melody cycles. Please refer to rule 5.2 for additional information.

Is there a minimum length of time I must reach when I perform for each round?

No, there is no minimum length of time. Moreover, it is not mandatory to reach the maximum time limit.

Do I have to play the repeats?

No, repeats are not mandatory. Repeats are permitted, if the maximum time limit is respected (rule 5.5).

Do I have to play the cadenzas?

Yes, cadenzas are mandatory. If you intend to play a cadenza that is not featured in an official edition, you must obtain approval from the National Office first (rule 5.6).


How is my mark calculated?

National Audition: Each participant is heard by five adjudicators. Each adjudicator gives an individual mark for each piece. The average given by each judge is out of 20, to give a final score out of 100. Candidates must receive an average mark of at least 87% to proceed to the National Final.

National Final: Each participant is heard by five adjudicators. The average mark given by each judge counts for 20% of the final mark.

Can I meet the adjudicators?

If time permits, candidates are encouraged to meet the adjudicators after the results announcement, to receive additional comments and enrich their experience.

What is the difference between a winner and a Grand Prize winner of the CMC?

Candidates register to compete in the CMC in categories reflecting both their age and instrument category (for example, the piano 13 year old category). During the National Final, 1st, 2nd and 3rd places are awarded to the candidates who received the highest marks in each of these categories. The 1st, 2nd and 3rd place recipients are considered the winners of their respective categories. The marks from all of the National Finalists in all of the categories are then pooled, and the candidate with the highest score in each of four age groups — 7 to 10 years, 11 to 14 years, 15 to 18 years and 19 to 30 years — is named the Grand Prize winner for that age group.

My instrument is not represented this year; can I still participate in the CMC?

Some instruments are alternating: year 1 Winds, Recorder, Keyboard Percussion; year 2 Guitar, Harp. However, each year, all instruments can register in the Music Chamber category. The Piano, Strings and Voice categories are available every year. Note that Organ has been removed.

My teacher will be adjudicating for the CMC; is this a conflict of interest?

If a candidate is the student of one of the adjudicators, the teacher must report this situation to the National Office before the candidate’s evaluation. The teacher will still be able to evaluate and write comments to the candidate but his or her mark will not be added for this round.