Stepping Stone 2017 / Rules

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 Stepping Stone 2020.

The Stepping Stone competition reserves the right to amend its rules until February 12, 2016.

1. Registration

  1. The Stepping Stone is open to Canadian citizens and permanent residents (a proof of citizenship or permanent residence is required, see rule 5.4).
  2. The Stepping Stone is open to voice, piano, violin, viola, cello, double bass, flute, oboe, clarinet, bassoon, saxophone, French horn, trumpet, trombone, tuba, harp, harpsichord, recorder, guitar, and keyboard percussion.
  3. Past First Prize winners may not re-enter the competition.
  4. The registration form is available online.

2. Age limit

  1. 16 to 28 years old (except for voice: 31 years old) as of January 1st, 2017.
  2. A proof of age will be required upon registration (see rule 5.4).

3. Deadline

  1. The completed registration form must be submitted electronically by 11:59 PM local time.
  2. Applications sent after this date will not be accepted.

4. Registration fee

  1. The Stepping Stone is breaking new ground and distinguishes itself from other competitions by integrating candidate’s pre-selection within a Great National Audition, prior to the regular Competition, which will be held in each section. A Stepping Stone candidate’s experience will be enhanced from an educational point of view: they will obtain written comments from five judges from the pre-selection process held in each section and will also be able to meet them (if the schedule permits it). This way, the Stepping Stone is affirming itself as a preparation for international competitions.
  2. The Canadian Music Competition is undergoing a remodeling process and registration fees for the Stepping Stone have been standardized everywhere in Canada. You can find all the information in the registration fee section.

5. Material to submit

  1. The required repertoire for the pre-selection, first round, semi-final and final (see rule 7.0). Please note that for the pre-selection process, the repertoire must be submitted through a specific form that is clearly identified during registration.
  2. A biography, including educational background, performances, professional experience, awards, etc. (maximum 400 words).
  3. One recent photograph in high resolution
  4. A proof of age AND of Canadian citizenship or Canadian permanent residency are required. The following documents are accepted: birth certificate, passport, Canadian citizenship certificate and permanent resident card. A copy of one of these documents must be sent by email.
  5. All documents must be submitted online before by using the Stepping Stone’s SlideRoom platform. Information regarding this platform will be given out during registration.
  6. The repertoire is submitted with the registration form and the SlideRoom platform.

6. Competition procedure and selection process

  1. Pre-selection process:
    1. A preselection jury composed of five judges will chose a maximum of 30 candidates. Candidates will be chosen within all Stepping Stone candidates heard during the Great National Audition prior to the regular Competition. The 30 selected candidates will be notified early June. The jury’s decision will be final and without appeal.
    2. Just like in a professional audition, the candidate will have to be able to play the entirety of the submitted repertoire. Specific parts will be chosen by a jury and the candidate can be interrupted at any time by this jury. Please note that this is not a blind audition.
    3. For this part of the Competition, candidates must participate in the region where they live/study. If there is no local chapter in your region, please contact the National Office before registering. List of local chapters of the CMC.
    4. Candidates that are currently studying abroad and can’t show up to a pre-selection audition can register by submitting prerecorded material. They have to communicate with the National Office and have their application approved before registering. With fairness for other candidates that will play in front of a jury in mind, judges will be aware of the candidate’s identity before listening to the recordings. Always with fairness in mind, the Stepping Stone will choose the same jury that evaluated musicians in the candidate’s region of origin.
  2. Official competition:
    1. The Stepping Stone is composed of three rounds.
      • First round: 30 candidates
      • Semi-final: 12 candidates
      • Final: 6 candidates.
    2. Candidates commit to be free from any other professional activity during the Stepping Stone which takes place from June 27th to July 5th 2017 inclusively. In case of absence, refer to point 12 of Rules.
    3. A candidate that cannot perform at the required moment will be disqualified unless he justifies his absence to the National Organization in advance. The National Organization might be able to, at its sole discretion, change the order of appearance of candidates.
    4. Candidates who are not selected to proceed to the following round will receive their comment sheets and meet with the jury members immediately after the announcements of the results.
    5. The six finalists will receive their comments and meet the jury members at the awards evening. Please note that candidates must plan some time to assist to the results announcement (a precise schedule will be published in due time).

7. Repertoire guidelines

  1. To know the specific repertoire required for each instrument, please refer to the repertoire section of the Stepping Stone
  2. Works must be different in each round. Multi-movement works such as a concerto, sonata, suite, opera, etc., cannot be split over multiple rounds.
  3. The program may include one or more works included in the pre-selection audition.
  4. Selected works performed on a previous edition of the CMC can be played as part of the Stepping Stone. However, a candidate who won first place in the CMC cannot replay the same selected works for the Stepping Stone.
  5. A major work for solo instrument and orchestra can replace a concerto or a movement of a concerto.
  6. Works with orchestra accompaniment must be performed with piano accompaniment. A formal request for use of a harpsichord for accompaniment purposes must be submitted in advance to the National office.
  7. Time limit: During the pre-selection process, there is no time limit for the submitted repertoire but candidates will be heard for 15 minutes by the jury. Specific parts will be chosen and candidates can be interrupted at any time by this jury. For the official Competition, selected candidate must make sure that their performance does not exceed the time limit (40 minutes for the first round and 60 minutes for the semi-final). Candidates may be interrupted by the jury when they reach the time limit. There is no time limit for the final round.
  8. Repeats are permitted providing that the maximum time limit is respected.
  9. It is forbidden to make any cuts in the pieces or movements except for the tutti sections of concertos. Cadenzas are mandatory.
  10. Candidates must indicate the precise timing of all works on the registration form.
  11. Memorization: For the first round and semi-final, memorization of every piece is compulsory, except for sonatas with accompaniment and compositions written after 1950, for which it is permitted to have the music. Memorization is compulsory in the Final.
  12. Compulsory Canadian work in the semi-final. A compulsory new Canadian work will be sent to each of the candidates approximately six weeks before the competition; memorization is optional. The timing for each of the instruments will be provided during the registration period.
  13. During the audition, the presentation order of the selected works can be modified. Scores must be submitted according to the presentation order.
  14. In each round, all pieces and movements registered must be performed. No substitution is permitted.
  15. The selected candidates have until March 1st, 2017 to submit any modification to their repertoire list for the preselection audition and until for the Stepping Stone. After this date, no changes will be allowed. Any modification shall be submitted by email to

8. Punctuality

  1. Candidates must be backstage fifteen minutes before their performance.

9. Copies of Scores

  1. Candidates must provide five copies of each score and five copies of the program order for the jury prior to each round.

10. Expenses

  1. All lodging, travel expenses and accompanist’s fees are the candidate’s responsibility.

11. Cancellation

  1. Candidates who wish to cancel must notify the National Office as soon as possible to facilitate the organization of the schedule.

12. Disqualification

  1. Candidates not complying with these rules may be disqualified.
  2. An incomplete or inaccurate registration form may result in disqualification.
  3. Use of the audition hall and/or the piano without authorization is strictly forbidden.

13. Other

  1. Any situation not covered by these rules shall be referred to the Board of Directors, whose decision on such matters shall be final.