NYJE Composition Contest

NYJE Composition Contest 2024

PLEASE read the following document before submitting your composition! The contest submission link is at the end of the document.

The Nashville Youth Jazz Ensemble (NYJE) is excited to announce our 2024 Jazz Composition Contest open to composers of all ages! One of the goals of the NYJE is to foster appreciation and support for jazz music in our community. By performing concerts alongside regional or national jazz artists, NYJE students present to our community an authentic experience in jazz, America’s truly original art form.

The NYJE Composition Contest is intended to further these aims by promoting the creation of new jazz big band music in our community. The winning composition will be performed by the NYJE big band at our annual JazzFest in April 2024. In addition, the composer will receive a cash award of $500.


Please read this complete set of rules before submitting your piece. Instructions for submission are found below in the section “ENTERING YOUR COMPOSITION”. 

  1. Entries must be original, unpublished compositions for jazz ensemble with the following instrumentation:
  • 5 saxophones, AATTB. Using soprano sax or other woodwind doubles is acceptable, but all doubling parts must be optional, and the chart must be playable without the doubles.
  • 4 trombones. Common mutes are acceptable.
  • 4 Bb trumpets. Common mutes are acceptable. Flugel horn is acceptable for one of the players.
  • Rhythm section of guitar, piano, bass, drum set. Addition of auxiliary percussion is optional.
  • The composition may include a solo feature for sax, trumpet, trombone, or vocal.
  1. Judges will use the following primary criteria to assess submissions:
  • Quality: The overall musical quality of the piece.
  • Styles: Any of the following jazz-related styles are appropriate: swing, blues, shuffle, Latin, contemporary (straight 8th note), funk, hip-hop, jazz-rock.
  • Accessibility: Compositions should be musically accessible to both the audience and the performers.
  • Difficulty: The compositions should be playable by experienced high school jazz bands. Difficulty level should be medium to medium-advanced (visit com for examples of this difficulty range).
  • Professional notation
  1. Professional notation: Submissions must be professionally notated and clear.
  • Scores must be full, with each instrument on its own staff.
  • Transposed scores are required.
  • Scores should be set up so they can be bound properly when printed, and parts should have well-considered page turns.
  • Repeats, D.S., D.C., coda, etc. should be easy for conductor and players to follow. These aspects must be the same between the score and parts.
  • Commonly known/used chord symbols.
  • Well-considered music spacing, number of bars per system, etc., in both the score and parts.
  • Sufficient rehearsal letters/numbers (at least every 8 bars, or 12 bars for a blues, etc.)
  • Correct instrumental transpositions.
  • Clear style indicated, with sufficient articulations and dynamics throughout.
  1. No transcriptions or arrangements will be eligible, except arrangements of the composer’s own tunes.
  1. The contest is open to all composers whose primary residence is in Tennessee ONLY.
  1. The submitted composition must have been written within the past 2 years.
  1. No commercial recordings of the piece should be released or are easily/readily available.
  1. Submitted pieces must be no longer than 5 minutes in length.
  1. Improvised solo sections should be created in such a way that the ensemble can easily choose from several players who will take the improvised solos.
  1. Compositions must be submitted with a full score and full set of parts in PDF form. The score must be in one PDF, and all the parts combined into a single, additional PDF.
  1. A demo audio recording of the piece must be submitted along with the online entry form. It is the composer’s responsibility to ensure that the demo recording is high quality and is as close as possible to the final, performable version of the piece.
  1. The composer of each entry must remain completely anonymous. Any identifying information within the attached files or metadata will immediately disqualify your piece.
  1. The Nashville Youth Jazz Ensemble reserves the right to withhold the award if no piece is deemed suitable.
  1. Composers may only submit one piece per year.
  1. Complete entries must be submitted through the online submission form no later than the deadline of January 15, 2024, to be eligible. Submissions must include a demo MP3 of the piece, PDF of the score, and PDF of the parts. Neither incomplete submissions nor pieces submitted after that date/time will be considered. Results of the contest will be announced on or before February 1, 2024.


Before you begin filling out the entry form linked at the bottom of the page, be sure to have the following files ready (see below for more details on preparing each):

  • The manuscript of your piece in two separate PDF files — one file for the full score, a separate file with all parts combined.
  • A demo recording of your piece in mp3 format.

PDFs of your music

Please divide your piece into two distinct PDF files: One for the score, and another for the parts. Name the files as follows: “[PIECE TITLE] SCORE.PDF” and “[PIECE TITLE] PARTS.PDF.” Ensure that your PDF files contain no identifying information.  Any identifying information in the files or PDF fields will disqualify your piece.

Demo Recording

You are required to include a demo recording of your piece. High quality electronic/MIDI realizations, sight-readings, rehearsals or overdubbed/virtual band recordings or performances of the piece can be used for this purpose, although the submitted file must be an mp3 audio file.

Ensure that your audio file contains no identifying information. Any identifying information contained in the attached audio file will disqualify your piece. Your submission, including the PDFs and mp3 file, should not total more than 60 MB in size (PDF score – 20 MB max.  PDF parts – 20 MB max. MP3 demo recording – 20 MB max.)


When you are ready to get started on your submission, begin by completing the online form at this link:




Nashville Youth Jazz Ensemble – Richard Ripani, Musical Director


The Nashville Youth Jazz Ensemble


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