Strings Rules

Please read the entire rules thoroughly before filling in the application form.
Be sure to keep these rules as a reference for important competition information.

Strings Divisions
Level I: grades 7–9
Level II: grades 10–12
Level III: college freshman through age 23
Level IV: age 24-28

Strings Rules PDF

General Rules

Preliminaries: Saturday, March 19, 2022, 8:00am–5:30pm

Finals: Sunday, March 20, 2022, 9:00am–4:30pm

Competition Location:
Macalester College
Janet Wallace Fine Arts Center, Music Building
130 S. Macalester St.
Saint Paul, MN 55105

Winners Recital – Musicians on the Rise: Saturday, April 2, 2022, 1:00pm

Winners Recital Location: Ordway Concert Hall, Saint Paul, MN

Applications Open: October 1, 2021

Rules, application forms, and other materials will be available at 

Application Deadline: Monday, January 31, 2022

  • Completed applications with fee must be received online or by mail no later than Monday, January 31, 2022. Incomplete applications will not be accepted.
  • Applicants will receive an email acknowledgement within a week of submitting.
  • Notifications of performance times for the Preliminaries will be emailed the week of March 7, 2022.

Fee: All applicants are required to submit one non-refundable $45 fee with their applications.

  • Those intending to compete in two divisions must submit two application forms but pay only one fee.
  • The fee may be paid through Schubert Club’s online payment system, check, money order, or cash.
  • Online payments are received through Schubert Club’s online payment system at 
  • Offline payments must be sent to Schubert Club, Attn: Competition, 75 West 5th St., 302 Landmark Center, Saint Paul, MN 55102
  • If you need assistance with this fee please contact Kate Cooper at

Age: The age of contestants is determined as of September 1, 2021.

Eligibility Requirement: Applicants must be a resident of or enrolled in a learning institution within the 5-state region (MN, WI, SD, ND or IA).

  1. Schubert Club staff, Board or Board Committee members, and immediate family members of full-time or administrative staff may not participate in the competition for cash prizes during their time of service and up to 6 months (to the competition event date) following their departure. They are, however, welcome to participate for judges’ comments only with the application fee waived. 
  2. Immediate family members of Board members, Board Committee members, or part-time non-administrative staff may compete for cash prizes. However, the Board member, Board Committee member, or staff member may not participate as a volunteer or paid staff for that year’s competition.
  3. Previous winners: No past 1st Prize winner in a division level may compete again in that same division level. You must wait until you qualify for the next age level in order to compete again.

Competitive Divisions & Prizes: 1st and 2nd Prizes will be awarded in each Finals division level. Cash awards are $2,000 for 1st Prize and $1,500 for 2nd Prize (for exception see “Minimum applicants required” below). Applicants agree to use their prize to further their musical education. 

Repertoire Changes: Repertoire changes will be accepted until Monday, February 28, 2022.

Limits on Enrollment: Only the first 30 applications received for each division level will be accepted.

  • Some division levels may fill prior to the deadline – especially Strings Level II and Level III.
  • Submitting an application by the deadline does not guarantee that space to participate will be available.
  • Complete applications received after a category is full will be placed on a waitlist. If we are not able to admit you from the waitlist, your application fee will be refunded. 

Competing on two instruments: Applicants may perform on two instruments as long as they are not in the same instrument division (e.g. may perform on violin and piano but may not perform on both violin and cello). Please fill out an application for each division. Only one fee is required.

  • Different Pitched Instruments: Brass and Woodwind applicants may perform on multiple pitched instruments within the same family during the same audition (e.g. on soprano and alto saxophone or piccolo and flute, though NOT saxophone and trombone).

Minimum applicants required: A minimum of ten applicants is required in a division level for a Preliminary competition to be held.

  • If at least five but fewer than ten students apply in a division level, competitors will perform at Finals only and Schubert Club may elect to award only one, rather than two prizes.
  • If fewer than five applications are received for a division level it will be canceled. The applicants will be notified and any fees submitted will be refunded.

Scheduling: Performance division levels are scheduled for various blocks of time during the Competition day.

  • Special scheduling requests for you and/or your collaborative pianist for both Preliminaries and Finals must be submitted with your application.
    • Please state the span of time when you can be at the Competition location. Include travel and warm-up time in your calculation.
    • We do our best to consider requests within our basic schedule, but cannot promise accommodation of conflicts.
    • For Finals, there is very little leeway for special scheduling since the number of finalists is small in each level.
    • It is up to you to anticipate absences from important events and rehearsals on our competition days. If you have an MYS rehearsal, please tell us the rehearsal time. Also, if you are in high school, some standardized tests in the spring may be slated for one of our competition dates.
    • We may not be able to schedule around these conflicts but will do our best. 

Compliance: By submitting your application, you agree to submit an honest and complete application, to follow the procedures and rules for performance, and (if applicable) to secure a collaborative pianist prior to submitting your application.

  • Performance repertoire must be chosen according to the classifications required by the Schubert Club rules.
  • Competitors must perform in person in both Preliminaries and Finals (unless only a Finals is scheduled) to qualify for prizes.
  • Recipients of prizes from Schubert Club agree to use their prize money to further their musical education. 


Performance Requirements

Memorization: Required

Musical Scores: Music does not need to be provided for the judges at Preliminaries or Finals. 

Collaborative Pianists: Competitors must provide their own pianists.

  • Please arrange for a commitment from your pianist as soon as possible. We base our scheduling in large part on accommodating collaborative pianists who are playing for several different competitors across multiple divisions on the competition days.
  • Collaborative pianists are limited to working with no more than 12 competitors. 
  • If both of your selections are unaccompanied works (e.g. Bach’s Partita for Solo Violin), please indicate in your application notes that you will not have a collaborative pianist for your audition. 

Performance time:

  • Preliminaries: 5 minutes
  • Finals: 10 minutes

Options for dividing the performance time between your two selections:

  1. You may determine the exact division. In rehearsal prior to the competition, you determine the division of time between both works keeping in mind that you must demonstrate mastery of two different styles. This option allows you to include for example an important climax or a specific technical passage in one piece while still allowing time to present a solid portion of the second selection. In the competition, you perform what you have planned and the timer stops you only at the end of the allotted time.
  2. You may ask the Schubert Club volunteer to stop you at the halfway point—either 2 ½ minutes at Preliminaries or 5 minutes at Finals—so that you may begin your second piece. For this timing option, the halfway point and end are the only allowable stop times.

Repertoire Requirements:

  • Two contrasting selections
  • Selections must differ in tempo and technique 
  • Selections must be from two different time periods as listed below.
    • Pre-1827
    • 19th Century/Romantic
    • Impressionistic & Early 20th Century
    • Mid 20th–21st Centuries
  • Competitors are not required to perform each piece starting at the beginning or at the start of a movement, allowing a student to feature a segment of the piece that showcases more technical or musical skill.
  • Eliminate all repeats. 
  • If choosing a sonata, please include the opus number and key. Also indicate the specific movement(s) that you are performing by number and tempo (e.g. Coleridge-Taylor, Samuel: Violin Sonata in D minor, Op. 28, mvt. 3, “Allegro vivo con fuoco”).


Performance Procedure and Atmosphere

  1. Check in with the Registration Desk. You will be directed to warm-up rooms and the performance room for your division.  Competitors must keep track of the time and go to the performance room at least 5 minutes prior to the scheduled performance time.
  2. A Schubert Club volunteer announces each competitor’s performance number and their choice of first performance selection to the Preliminary judges. The competitor enters and the collaborative pianist may briefly test the keyboard prior to performing. A volunteer is present to time each performance.
    • At Preliminaries each division level performs before three judges, and at Finals, all division levels are evaluated by a single judge.
  3. Immediately following the Preliminaries, names of finalists will be posted near the registration table and on social media. Finals will take place on Sunday, following the day of Preliminaries. You will be emailed your competition time for Finals on the evening of Preliminaries. Finalist and Scholarship Winner names will be posted on the Schubert Club website on Monday morning.
    • All competitors will receive the judges’ written critiques by mail during the week following the competition.
  4. At Finals, competitors will perform for a single judge using the same procedure as for Preliminaries. The judge will write critiques and select 1st and 2nd prize winners. Winners’ names are posted on social media, announced at the Competition site, and put on the Schubert Club website. Winners are also notified by mail. All competitors will receive the judge’s critique by mail.
  5. There is no direct communication between the competitor and the judge(s).
  6. No observers are allowed in the performance rooms for the Preliminaries. However, they will be allowed at the Finals.
    • If a competitor has a compelling reason for not having observers in the room, they may request that observers wait outside during their performance. However, this request must be submitted directly to Competition Manager, Kate Cooper ( one week in advance of the Finals. Last minute requests will not be acknowledged.
  7. 1st prize winners will be invited to play at the Winners Recital scheduled on Saturday, April 2, 2022 at 1 pm at the Ordway Concert Hall. Instructions will be emailed during the week following the competition and performers will be asked for specific repertoire information. 2nd prize winners will be invited to perform if the 1st prize winner declines.
Important Dates
  • Applications Open: October 11, 2021
  • Applications Due: Monay, January 31, 2022
  • Repertoire Changes Due: February, March 28, 2022
  • Preliminaries: Saturday, March 19, 2022, 8:00am–5:30pm
  • Finals: Sunday, March 20, 2022, 9:00am–4:30pm

 Musicians on the Rise

Winners Recital: Saturday, April 2, 2022, 1:00pm

Ordway Concert Hall
345 Washington Street
Saint Paul, MN 55102

More Info

Scholarship Competition Categories

Note: The age of contestants is determined as of 09/01/21.


Level I: Grades 7, 8, 9
Level II: Grades 10, 11, 12
Level III: College Freshman through age 23
Level IV: Age 24 through 28


Level I: Grades 7, 8, 9
Level II: Grades 10, 11, 12
Level III: College Freshman through age 23
Level IV: Age 24 through 28

Combined Brass and Woodwinds

Level II: Grades 9, 10, 11, 12
Level III: College Freshman through age 28


Grade 9 through age 28


Level I:  Age 18 through 21
Level II:  Age 22 through 25
Level III:  Age 26 through 30

Organ: for information about the organ competition, please contact Dr. Mary Newton at

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