General Participation     |     Auditions     |     Festivals     |     All-State

What student programs does ILMEA offer?

ILMEA currently offers a district festival experience for Elementary through Senior High students in Illinois. This includes general music events, band, chorus, jazz and orchestra ensembles.

The ILMEA Composition Contest is open to students in grades 6-12. All students entering the contest receive feedback on their musical work and high school students who are honored with 1st, 2nd or 3rd place can participate in the All-State Composition Track.

The Future Music Educators Seminar (FMES) is a program to encourage high school students who are interested in music education as a career gain more practical understanding of the profession. (ILMEA Policy Manual, Participating School Policies - III.b and IV.a)


How do we get involved?

Student programs are organized around nine geographic districts. Schools within these districts become ILMEA Participating Schools, which allows the music educators at the schools to nominate students for ILMEA programs.

Educators and schools interested in participating should visit Participation Page to find out how to become an ILMEA participating school.


What level should I use to nominate - elementary, junior or senior?
Elementary levels include K-5th or 6th grade students.*
Junior Levels include 6th-8th or 9th grade students.*
Senior Levels include 9th-12th grade students.

*Please check with your ILMEA district to verify what grades are included for Elementary and Junior Level programs.


Participating School Fee Payment and Deadlines

Schools must pay the Participating School Fee by the deadline, before being allowed to nominate students for participation or auditions. Fees are $50 for junior and senior level schools or $35 for elementary level schools. Schools need only pay for one fee per building for the oldest participating level. If a school is K-8 and participates in both elementary and junior level programs, then they need to pay $50, but that unlocks both levels. If a school is 6-12 and participates at all three levels, the $50 will unlock all three levels of participation. Visit the Participation Page for more information and to get started!

When do I need to pay my audition fees?

Audition fees need to be paid prior to the day of auditions. When submitting payment to a school or district office, please check with all nominating directors in your school to be sure all students are entered and on the billing sheet.


How do I change or cancel an audition?

Directors will be able to change instruments or voicing for their students up to the day of auditions. After the nomination window has closed, directors must alert District Presidents in writing/via email to changes if it is within one week of auditions.

If a director needs to cancel student auditions after the nominating window has closed, those need to be submitted in writing/via email to the District President prior to the day of auditions. Audition fees for students who are not cancelled prior to the day of auditions will still need to be paid.


If my student is auditioning on Harp or Piano, where do I nominate them?

Students auditioning on Harp will be nominated under Strings. Students auditioning on Piano will be nominated under Percussion.


If my student wishes to audition on an auxiliary instrument, how do I nominate them?

Students wishing to audition on auxiliary instruments must be entered as an additional entry on that auxiliary instrument. Auxiliary instruments are considered a 2nd full audition.

Auxiliary instruments to be considered are: Piccolo, English Horn, Eb Soprano Clarinet, Contra-Bassoon, Piano

All students 10th grade-12th grade who audition on auxiliary instruments will be audio recorded and submitted to State audition committee for possible selection to All-State ensembles.

Piano students may audition regardless of whether the literature selected at our district festival contains a piano part. English horn, etc. students should audition on those instruments regardless of whether the district music literature calls for it.


I am a parent; Can I nominate my student myself?

Students must be nominated through a school music program and must participate in the school ensemble to be nominated.

ONLY in cases of an ensemble not being offered in the school (ie: no orchestra for a violin player, no choir for a vocalist), may a student be nominated without being part of a school ensemble. (ILMEA Policy Manual, Audition Eligibility, IV)

If a student is homeschooled, the family or homeschool co-op may register to become a Participating School and nominate for auditions. (ILMEA Policy Manual, Home School Policy)


How should my student prepare for the audition?

Auditions for different divisions (band, chorus, jazz and orchestra) and different levels (junior high and senior high) do vary. Please ask you school's music educator for details on what will take place during the audition and what your student needs to prepare. (ILMEA Policy Manual, Responsibility for Obtaining Audition Materials)


My student requires accommodations. How should I let you know about what is needed?

Requests for accommodation must go through your student's director and the ILMEA District President. Please allow for ample time for arrangements to be made (ILMEA Policy Manual, Special Needs Form)


When and where do auditions and festivals take place?

Please check your ILMEA district page for information on the dates, times and locations.


My school district might be on strike over the day of auditions. Can I still send students to audition?

If your school district is on strike on the day of auditions, students are not eligible to participate. If your school district is on strike during festivals and/or All-State, students are eligible to participate.

How do I cancel a student who was nominated to or accepted in a Festival Ensemble?

Directors must alert District Presidents in writing/via email to cancellations prior to the Festival day. District Presidents and Representatives will need to find replacements for those students in order to seat complete ensembles.

If a director needs to cancel a student participant it needs to be submitted in writing/via email to the District President prior to the day of the Festival. Festival fees for students who are not cancelled prior to the day of will still need to be paid.


Are meals served at District Festivals?

Student or director meals are arranged by each ILMEA district. Please check with your District President for options available.


We have a conflict and my student cannot attend the entire festival. Can they come late or leave early?

No, district festival students must attend the entire festival in order to participate. (ILMEA Policy Manual, Audition Eligibility I,V)

What students are eligible to be selected for All-State?

Students in grades 10-12 who are selected for the district-level ensemble are eligible for All-State. In order to be selected, students MUST attend the district festival in its entirety. (ILMEA Policy Manual, Audition Eligibility, IX)

Students in grades 10-12 who were honored in the Composition Contest are eligible to participate in the Composition Workshop. Please visit the the Composition Contest page for more information.

Students in grades 10-12 who wish to apply to the Future Music Educators Seminar must do so by November 1. Please visit the FMES page for more information.


When will we know if my student is selected for All-State?

Results are sent to school music educators in early December.


My student was selected for All-State - are they eligible for a scholarship?

ILMEA does not give out scholarships. Individual colleges and universities may offer recognition or scholarships; Please contact the institution to inquire about opportunities for All-State students.