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Composition Festival

close up of sheet music

2023 Festival

Festival Chair

Dr. Brian Coffill, D.M.A.

Director of Instrumental Ensembles

Randolph-Macon College

Submission &


October 1, 2023 for

Live Performances


October 15, 2023 for 

Festival & Composers Colloquium

The VMEA Council on Creativity & Innovation is excited to celebrate and share the musical creativity of our state’s incredibly talented student musicians through the reimagined 2021 VMEA Composition Festival.

The Festival will highlight student musical compositions of all types and styles through performance and display at the 2023 VMEA Professional Development Conference, which will take place from November 16-18, 2023 in Richmond, Virginia.

K-12 and Collegiate Virginia students are invited to submit original compositions for evaluation by a panel of experts. Compositions submitted will receive a written evaluation providing feedback on their work. Many submissions will be selected for display and/or live or recorded performance at the VMEA Conference.

Rubrics & Student Categories

K-12 students and teachers are encouraged to refer to the Virginia SOL Music standards for appropriate compositional rubrics.

(Further information will be added here to support educators and students in this portion of the project).

Rules & Regulations


  • Submitted compositions will be evaluated based on compositional technique, musicality, and creativity.

  • Submitted compositions may be for any combination of instruments or voices, or for pre-recorded electronic performance.

  • Works should not exceed 8 minutes in duration; longer or multi-movement works may be shortened or have portions selected for potential performance.

  • There is no cost to submit a composition for evaluation.


  • Any student (K-12 & Collegiate) of a VMEA-member music educator is eligible to submit compositions.

  • Applicants may submit multiple compositions.

  • Submissions are not guaranteed for performance or display at the VMEA Professional Development Conference.

Conference Performance

  • If a composition is selected for performance, The Council on Creativity & Innovation will do its best to assist to recruit performers, but performances cannot be guaranteed.

  • Students whose works are selected will be expected to attend the conference, either virtually or in-person, and will have the conference registration fee waived.

  • Travel, housing, and other expenses for students who attend the conference are the responsibility of the student composer or sponsoring school.


Musical creativity knows no bounds, and Virginia students regularly compose a wide variety of works, including but by no means limited to improvisations, electronic creations, solos, chamber works for small groups of musicians, and large, complex scores featuring dozens of performers. The 2022 Composition Festival welcomes any and all examples of student compositional creativity from creative kindergarten through collegiate student musicians.

Compositions may be for any of the following and are not specifically limited to:

  • Typical school instrumental or choral ensembles, large or small

  • Jazz big bands and/or small combos

  • Creative combinations of instruments and/or voices

  • Flexible instrumentation

  • Rock bands

  • Electronic compositions (not necessarily playable by physical instruments)


Students - show us your most creative musical selves! While not every potential composition may be able to be performed at the Conference, we hope to share as many of the selected student works as possible with the assembled musicians and music educators through displays, recorded performances, and other creative means.

Student composers who would like to have their works considered for potential live performance should use appropriate notation software (such as Sibelius, Finale, Noteflight, MuseScore, etc.) or hand-write their score and submit .pdfs of their work along with any recording they may have of their works (see below). The Council on Creativity & Innovation hopes to pair student composers with musicians who will perform their works, either through live or recorded means. We even encourage student musicians to submit recordings (audio or video) of them performing their own works!

Students submitting non-performance works (from software packages such as GarageBand, FL Studio, etc.) may be selected for “display” or recorded “performances” at the Conference.

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