Protocols, Best Practices, Tips & Frequently Asked Questions

Call them what you want - we'll be trying to build helpful tips on this page to help band directors, students and parents get the most out of next year's Capital Region Music Festival

How do I register for Capital Region Musicfest?

You must register through the CRMF website - Go to crmf.on.ca and click on ‘Registration Package’, then click on ‘Registration form’.

Please note that your registration is not complete until the treasurer receives a cheque for the entirety of your fees.

When is the Registration deadline?


Where do I send my Registration fee?

Please send your registration fees to;


Kim Vrieling, CRMF Treasurer1-391 Tilbury AvenueOttawa, ONK2A 0Y3

Remember, your online registration is not processed until the cheque is received!

Who is eligible to participate?

Capital Region Musicfest accepts applications from Concert Bands, Orchestras, String Ensembles, Chamber Ensembles, World Music Ensembles, Jazz Ensembles and Jazz Combos.

Where is the festival held?

For 2020, the Concert Band Division of the festival will be held at Woodroffe High School, 2410 Georgina Drive in Ottawa - Nepean.

The Instrumental Jazz Division will be held at Longfields Davidson Heights Secondary School, 149 Berrigan Drive in Barrhaven.

How do I choose repertoire?

For all performing ensembles at the Capital Region Music Festival, “Pop” literature is considered to be inappropriate.

Concert Bands, Chamber Ensembles and Orchestras

  • Concert Bands participating at the 100-400 levels should choose three contrasting works.
    • At least one of these pieces must be chosen at the correct level from the 2020 Musicfest Canada Syllabus, and one work should be a lyrical piece.
    • Be sure to check the Musicfest Canada Syllabus for your list piece as it is updated each year.
    • Please note that CRMF does not currently require ensembles to perform a Canadian piece, but it is strongly recommended.
    • Concert Bands competing at the 500 and 600 levels have the option of presenting only two pieces if the works will exceed the recommended performance time of 20 minutes.
  • Chamber Ensembles are required to perform two contrasting selections of their own choosing.
    • Please note that chamber ensembles are classified based on the grade level / age of the oldest band member.
  • String Ensembles and Orchestras are encouraged to select three contrasting, high quality, original works.
    • String Ensembles and Orchestras should choose compositions by Canadian composers when appropriate.

Jazz and World Music Ensembles

Ensembles in this category are classified based on the grade level / age of the oldest band member. Please consult the MusicFest Canada rules and regulations for more details.


  • Jazz Ensembles must present a program of no more than three contrasting selections, including a ballad.
    • Jazz repertoire is compulsory; i.e. Swing, Jazz Blues, Ballads, Jazz Rock, Latin Jazz, Samba, etc. Pop material is inappropriate.
    • There should be opportunities for improvisation.
    • A Canadian work is not required but is recommended.
    • MusicFest Canada provides the Instrumental Jazz Syllabus as a resource to directors of published and graded Canadian jazz ensemble literature.
    • Jazz Ensembles must consider timing rules when selecting repertoire.
  • Jazz Combos should follow the same guidelines as Jazz Ensembles, but the selections should highlight the improvisational skills of everyone in the group.
  • World Music Ensembles are those utilizing the rhythmic, harmonic and melodic concepts from musical cultures in Latin America, West Africa, Asia and India This includes rhythmic concepts in particular from Brazil, Portugal, Cuba, Spain, and Puerto Rico.
    • World Music Ensembles should follow the same guidelines as Jazz Ensembles, but they are NOT required to perform a ballad.

How many copies of the scores do I need?

  • Concert Bands - Directors must provide 3 ORIGINAL scores to the adjudication panel for their two choice pieces. CRMF will provide the scores for the MusicFest Canada list pieces.
    • Please note - Directors need to purchase FOUR conductor scores for their choice pieces, as one will be required by the conductor during the performance.
  • Orchestras and String Ensembles - Directors must provide 3 ORIGINAL scores to the adjudication panel for each piece being performed.
    • Please note - Directors need to purchase FOUR conductor scores for their pieces, as one will be required by the conductor during the performance.
  • Jazz, Chamber, and World Music Ensembles - Directors must provide 1 ORIGINAL score to the adjudication panel for each piece being performed.
    • Please note - Directors need to purchase TWO conductor scores for their pieces if a conductor is being used in performance.
  • Jazz Combos - Directors must provide 1 Score to the adjudication panel for each piece being performed. Photocopies of Lead Sheets are allowed for Jazz Combos

Please note that in all cases (with the exception of Jazz Combos), photocopied scores will not be accepted by festival staff UNLESS ACCOMPANIED BY PERMISSION FROM THE COPYRIGHT HOLDER.

When do I need to arrive for my performance?

You need to arrive one hour before your scheduled performance time.

Will festival provide storage?

CRMF will provide storage for cases, coats, boots and bags for the duration of your performance cycle (one hour prior to your performance and 1.5 hours after. For example if your scheduled stage time is 2:30 p.m. Storage will be available from 1:30-4 p.m.)

We regret that we are unable to provide storage outside of that block, as we have numerous ensembles in the building at any one time. Students wishing to observe other performances must carry their materials with them.

What is the overall schedule for my visit to CRMF?

Check In: One hour prior to your scheduled performance time, you should check in at the registration desk and submit the following:

  1. Your stage plots/seating plans (4 copies)
  2. Your scores
  3. Your ensemble BIO Sheet
  4. Your solo order form (Jazz Ensembles)

Proceed to instrument storage where you can leave cases, bags, coats and books in the assigned storage area

Please Note - there is NO playing in the storage area!

Warm Up: Approximately 30 minutes prior to your performance your ensemble will move to the warm up room.

You will have approximately 20 minutes in the warm up room, so plan your time accordingly.

Performance: Your performance slot is 30 minutes, including the time it takes to load on and off stage, and for the M.C. to introduce your works. For this reason, we strongly recommend that you program only 20 minutes of music.

Please note: Chamber ensembles are only allotted 20 minutes on-stage, including the time for loading and leaving the stage.

Clinic: Following your performance, your ensemble will receive a 30-minute (approx.) clinic with one of the CRMF adjudicators (n.b. 20 minutes for Chamber Ensembles).

Photos: Following your clinic, the band will proceed to the photo area where they can purchase copies of their band photos on the spot. This process generally takes about 30 minutes

Departure: You will depart festival approximately 2.5 hours after your arrival. You may pick up your registration package on your way out, which will include your scores, ratings, comments etc.

How do you enter the stage?

At both Woodroffe High School and LDHSS, Groups will enter from Stage Right, at the back of the stage.

Plan and organize your groups accordingly to ensure a smooth entry for your group.

How long will I be on stage?

Your total time onstage, including loading, M.C. introductions, performance time, adjudicator cues, and departure, is limited to 30 minutes.

For this reason, we strongly recommend that you program 20 minutes of music to avoid going over your allotted time.

Can I introduce my own pieces?

No. Due to time constraints it is not possible for you or your students to introduce your own works.

Please be sure to include any information you’d like to share in your Ensemble BIO, which will be submitted at Registration and read by the designated M.C.

What is best practise for tuning on stage?

Some Directors like to tune or play a chorale on-stage before they begin. Please be mindful that you will have an audience for your tuning that includes the adjudicators.

You also need to be cognisant of the fact that this will come out of your maximum 30 minutes on stage. For this reason we strongly recommend that if you wish to tune on stage, you do so quickly, and by section (brass/woodwinds, upper/lower strings etc).

What is appropriate etiquette for my students?

  • Students are encouraged to be polite and respectful of the host schools, their guides and the adjudicators at all times.
  • Students should dress professionally, and engage with the adjudicator’s during the clinic.
  • Students should not play or shout in the storage area, the photo area or upon receiving your rating.

Will photos be available on site?

  • Yes - each performing ensemble will have its photo taken by PSP Sundance, who are also the official photographers for Musicfest Nationals.
  • Photos can be purchased on site with cash, credit or debit, and they will be available for the duration of the festival in the photo area.

Gack! My Piccolo/Clarinet/Tuba isn’t working! What should I do?

  • If you realize that something isn’t working the way it should, have your guide contact registration to ask for help.
  • We have a limited number of loaner instruments and a repair kit onsite courtesy of St. John’s Music. We will do our best to help. Please do not send one of your students to another band or to the school music room to ask for help.

What is Conductor Etiquette?

Be Prepared - Make sure you have all of your paperwork and scores ready to hand in at the registration desk, that you’ve brought all of the appropriate equipment and prepared for emergencies by bringing extra parts, reeds, valve oil etc.

    • Be sure to bring all of the percussion equipment that you require, and make sure that everything is labelled.
    • Order your extra scores (3 for Concert Band ‘own choice’, String Ensemble and Orchestra, 1 for all others) well in advance. Put it on your ‘to do’ list for before the Christmas break.

Be Polite - Be a model of kindness to the performer guides and staff at the host school. They volunteer to help host the festival, and are doing their best to help you.

    • Be kind and courteous to the adjudicator, who is there to experiment with different techniques and sounds.

On Stage - Once your ensemble is seated, wait for M.C. introductions and a nod from the adjudication table to ensure they are ready for you to start.

    • In between pieces, wait for a cue from the adjudicator table to move to your next work. It will come in the form of a nod, a wave, or a thumbs up.
    • Ensure that your percussionists are using the CRMF equipment with care (every year we see damage to the Timpani head from someone playing with drum sticks, and damage to the Marimba from hard or brass mallets).

The Clinic - Take notes or follow the cues given by the adjudicator (some adjudicators will ask you to conduct particular sections of a work, or to try something new).

Festival Wrap Up - When you pick up your package and certificate from the Registration table, consider others in your response. While some Directors prefer to make a ‘big reveal’, the resulting cheering can impact those who are still in the process of getting ready to perform, or who perhaps are less happy with their own result.

    • The goal of CRMF is to provide a positive and encouraging environment for students at all levels of their musical development.

What are best practises for Festival overall?

  • Make sure you have read all of the information in the confirmation package and prepared all of your materials ahead of time.
  • Provide all of your parents/students with appropriate info (where to park, what canteen will be available on site, entrance fees, photos etc.)
  • Remind parents that No videos are allowed during the clinic.
  • Manage your time at festival wisely by being aware of time limits and procedures.
  • Never contradict or argue with an adjudicator. They are there to try new and different things with your group.
  • Prepare students for the experience ahead of time by reviewing expectations, best practises and concepts around their repertoire.
  • If you have a large group, discuss or practise loading on and off the stage. Determine who will help move percussion equipment.

Two common questions we hear from Adjudicators to the groups in front of them: “How did you feel about your performance today?” and “Do you know the story/composer’s intention behind the music?”

Can I stay after to watch other bands?

Absolutely! - There is no charge for performers to attend additional performances by other bands.

Please remember that CRMF cannot provide storage after your performance cycle is over, so students will need to bring their equipment into the auditorium with them.

I’ve never done festival before. Is there an opportunity for me to learn more?

Yes! - You can register for our Teachers’ Professional Development Program on the CRMF website. This gives you the opportunity to shadow an adjudicator and get the inside scoop on how things work.