Sonata/Sonatina Guidelines


After consultation between chair and assistant chairs, contact and secure either two or three judges depending on the budget constraints ($45 per hour each or $350 per day per judge). Provide them with details about the time, date and venue. To be confirmed and updated about two weeks before the event.

Ask each judge to provide you with a short bio that you can include in the program and also use as a verbal introduction at the competition (at the start of each program).

Make contact with the college or school representative (where the recital will be held) to be sure it is booked. Be sure to obtain early morning contact numbers in case nobody is around to open the facilities.

After all the applications have been received:

Make a list of all participants. (A spreadsheet is useful. Using two columns – one for the first name and one for the last name, it is easy to alphabetize the list)

Make a list of each teacher and her/his students and start placing the students into programs. Start with the special requests. A spreadsheet again, is most useful. Include the performance time of each student on the spreadsheet so that you can total the performance time as well as the number of participants for each program.

Programs should be about 45- 50 minutes each. Plan on a 20 minute break between recitals.

Make sure that the teacher has submitted the correct application fee and that the details on the application form are complete.

Shuffle individual application forms to achieve the best program order – mainly from young to older and/or from easy to advanced. But try to start the program with a fairly secure beginner and end the program with a fairly virtuosic piece.

Notify each teacher of their student’s performance time.

Type the programs and the cover page. The cover page could be repeated for each program and the individual programs (Program 1,2,3 etc), are inserted in the inside.

Programs can be printed on a home printer over several days or through a professional printer. Fold the programs and box them according to programs 1,2,3 etc
Make signs to direct the audience to the recital hall.

Prepare Post-it Notes for the concert hall seats with numbers representing the student performance number. Thus if there are 100 participants, your numbering will reflect #1 to #100.

Write a few words to use as an introduction and explanation of the Winterfest program and an introduction of the judges

Make final contact to be sure the hall will be open and ready in the morning.

Be sure to have enough helping hands to get you started in setting up!


Two weeks before event:

Contact judges to confirm the exact length of the recital day, the venue, their arrival time, parking arrangements. Provide them with the exact address and a link to do a map search.

Request a check for each judge from Treasurer

Write a thank you card for each judge and include their check with the thank you card. These envelopes can be  inserted in their judge’s folder.

Check on food allergies then order food for delivery for judges, chair and co-chair/s.

Prepare a folder for each judge containing:

1. Competition guidelines and age categories
2. The program printed without student names (only numbers), and their repertoire.
3. One comment sheet per student with student number and repertoire at the top and space for         comments below.
4. A judging sheet for deliberations and personal comments
5. Thank you card and check

The Day of the Sonata Sonatina Competition:

Arrive an hour early with at least two helpers.

Have coffee, water and some early morning refreshments available.  Starbucks has a serving box of 10 cups ready made. Set up a refreshment table.  Sandwiches, salad, fruit and dessert are good options to consider. These can be kept cool in a cooler with an ice pack if purchased in the morning before the competition. It can also be ordered to be delivered before lunch.

Arrange for someone to be in charge of the programs.  The  programs should be bundled according to each recital. Put out the correct recital bundle for each program.  Do not put them all out at the start of the day.

Put seat numbers (using sticky Post-it Notes) on each chair with the beginners sitting closest to the announcer to enable the announcer to supervise the younger students. The seat numbers will correspond with the student performance number.  Students will be seated in the first few rows for easy access to the stage.  Parents have to sit in the rest of the available rows; not with the participants.

Students are usually encouraged to enter the stage from the keyboard side unless it is not feasible.

Set up a desk in the center of the all to accommodate the judges. Discourage parents from sitting close or next to the judges if possible.

The Chair should be available to greet the judges on arrival and get them set up. When all the judges are settled, verbally go over the competition instructions.

Have their judging folders with their thank you note and check, some pens and pencils and a calculator available at their desks. A little care packet of tissues and candy is an option.

Allow the judges enough time to deliberate between programs and do not interrupt them.

The announcer should watch the judges during the performances to allow them to finish writing before calling the next participant. But the announcer has to pace the program to finish up in time for the next program. Do not allow the programs to run overtime.

Students are not introduced by their names, but only by their participation number.

Lunch break is about 45 minutes.  Provide the judges a space to have lunch and to deliberate in private.

At the end of the day, allow the judges to finish deliberating and make sure the hall is left neat and in good order.

After the Sonata Sonatina Competition:

Notify the winners and Honorable mention recipients. Decide on a time and place for trophy pick-up.

Order the number of trophies needed for delivery. Provide the trophy company with the list of names of the winners and the honorable mention recipients.  These names are engraved on a bronze name plates that are attached to the trophies.

Prepare the trophies with the nameplates for distribution at an agreed upon time or place.

Send the list of winners to the Website coordinator for publication

Do a Financial Summary and send this, together with the teachers’ checks, to the Treasurer.

Copy the Board on the Financial Summary.

Send an alphabetical list of participants to the chair of the Achievement Awards Recital.