Choosing Repertoire

Important Note: This article is intended as an introductory guide for selecting student literature for Federation Festival Entrants. It is not an exhaustive guide to Federation Festival rules, nor is it a replacement for the NFMC’s Federation Festival Bulletin, which is published tri-annually by NFMC.

Students participating in a solo event (e.g. Flute Solo, Violin Solo, etc.) must perform two pieces before a judge. While the rules vary from event to event, typically one piece is chosen from the list of required pieces published in the Federation Festival Bulletin, and one piece is chosen which is specifically does not appear on the list of required pieces. The piece selected from the repertoire list is referred to as a “Required Piece” while the non-list piece is referred to as a “Choice Piece.” One of the goals of the National Federation of Music Clubs is to promote American Music and American Composers, so almost all of the composers on the required repertoire list are American. In some cases, the choice piece must have been composed by a foreign-born composer. The complete rules governing the selection of choice pieces go beyond the scope of this web site. We encourage you to purchase a copy of the Federation Festivals bulletin from the NFMC headquarters for further information on the specific requirements for choice pieces for each event.

Each event has a number of different classes or levels of difficulty. The exact number and names of classes varies from event to event, but most solo events have fifteen or more classes. A typical list of classes might look like this:

To expedite the process of filling out applications and rating sheets for students, federation members often abbreviate these classes. For example, P1 is Primary 1 while E4 is Elementary IV.

The required piece the student chooses determines the class in which he or she will participate. Students who receive a Superior rating must advance at least one class the next time they participate at a Federation Festival. Students may never move to an easier class once they have participated in a Federation Festival at a given class. This is very important to note, because it has an important bearing on which class students should be entered when they are new to Federation Festivals. Teachers are therefore cautioned not to be overly ambitious when selecting repertoire for novice students in Federation Festival.

A complete list of required pieces along with their composers, publishers, and catalog numbers appear in the Festival Bulletin, available for a nominal fee by contacting the NFMC National Office at 317-638-4003. The required repertoire list changes every three years when a new Federation Festival Bulletin is issued. The Bulletin was last published in May of 2003 and will change again in May of 2007. In some events, every single piece will change, while others will see only minor changes with each new bulletin.

For most teachers, it is not feasible to purchase a copy of every piece on the required list. However, your better local music store will offer a wide selection of many of the pieces on the required list, and most stores allow teachers to view and play through music before purchasing it.

Next: Entry Forms