Honor Band Competition Rules and Entry
Honor Band entry process is normally February 1–March 1 each year.
Note: Given the continued impact of the pandemic on school music ensembles, the Honor Band and Honor Orchestra competitions will remain suspended for the 2021 year. Looking toward the 2022 Convention, the Executive Board will provide a process to invite ensembles to be convention performing groups.
The concept of the Honor Band originated during the term of Joe Frank, Sr., who served as Band Division Chair from 1958 to 1960. The purpose was twofold. Many educators believed that through the process of hearing and observing the results of quality teaching, directors could develop their own instructional skills to a higher level. In addition, selection of an honor band in each classification recognized communities and school systems that successfully supported music in education through their instrumental music programs.
Through the years, participation has been active and the recognition of exemplary programs through the Honor Band selection process has become a most sought after goal by many directors. As a result, the quality of honor groups has remained high and the original purpose of growth and development through observation of superior teaching and performance has been addressed annually and maintains its validity. Teachers throughout the state have definitely had the opportunity to learn from master teachers by attending honor band performances and clinics.
In 1958 a set of rules and regulations was developed for the selection of Honor Bands. While these guidelines have been refined on several occasions, the original policies to protect the integrity of the competition have remained intact. Ultimately, however, it is the responsibility of the participating director and administration to maintain the integrity of the Honor Band process. In order for the selection system to accomplish its purpose, all involved must honestly adhere to established procedures and share responsibility for maintaining high ethical standards. In the final analysis, preparation and participation must be consistent with worthwhile educational goals without exploitation of students or the system.
The many outstanding bands that have followed established procedures through the years and emerged as TMEA Honor Bands are evidence of the strength of the concept and regulations. It is the responsibility of all music educators who participate in the honor band selection process to model their preparation and participation after these exemplary programs.
The responsibility for the Honor Band Competition lies solely within the domain of the Band Division Chair. For the sake of clarity, these guidelines are arranged by Region Level, Area Level, State Level, Ranking Procedures for Area and State Levels.
(Last Revision 10/24/2019)
Honor Band Revision Notes
In the summer of 2019, a committee of middle school, high school, and college directors was formed to evaluate the Honor Band process and procedures. The members of the committee included the following:
John Carroll, Robert Floyd, Frank Coachman, Tom Bennett, John Benzer, Brandon Brewer, Rob Chilton, Christopher Clifton, Corey Graves, Jana Harvey, Jarrett Lipman, Gerry Miller, Joe Munoz, and Jim Rhodes
The scope of the committee’s work included discussing the Honor Band process in three parts: Preparation and Recording; Adjudication; and Performance. Through these discussions, a number of salient points were considered to ensure the long-term viability of this time-honored Texas competition.
Preparation and Recording
While the previous committee made well-advised adjustments to the December start-date and best-practices, this committee furthered those efforts with three additional recommendations:
In an effort to streamline both the preparation and adjudication processes, the committee recommended that time limits be enforced in both the middle school and high school levels. Starting in the 2020 (recording) / 2021 (concert) year, middle schools may not submit more than 25 minutes of recorded music, and high schools may not submit more than 35 minutes of recorded music.
Alternating CC and CCC years
The committee recommended moving 2C into the same years as 1A/2A, 4A, and 6A starting in 2020 (recording) and 2021 (concert). As a result, starting in 2021 (recording) and 2022 (concert), the Honor Band process would then hear 1C, 3C, 3A, and 5A. While there will be two duplicated, back-to-back years as this change takes effect, the committee felt that the change strengthened the concert offerings at the TMEA Convention.
Removing UIL Concert Evaluation as a Mandatory Recording
With a variety of UIL Concert and Sightreading dates across the State of Texas ranging from February until May, the committee voted to recommend removing the requirement of utilizing the UIL recording as one of the four declared recording dates beginning with the 2020 (recording)/2021 (concert) year. This change to the process allows programs to choose four dates which best fit each program’s testing, UIL, and facilities calendars when scheduling Honor Band recordings.
The most sweeping changes recommended by the committee involved the Honor Band adjudication process. With the increasing quality and quantity of band programs in our state, the committee heard from several members that limiting the advancing groups to two at both the Region and Area levels was becoming a hindrance. As a result, new advancement criteria were recommended to be put in place to ensure a well-balanced flow from Region to Area to State.
Region to Area Advancement
Starting with the 2020 (recording)/2021 (concert) year, up to four bands per classification may advance from Region to Area. If more than four bands enter a given classification, a Region round would be required, and a maximum fee of $400 per ensemble would be assessed.
Area to State Advancement
In classifications 2C, 3C, 5A, and 6A, one per every four bands per classification at Area will advance to State. A maximum fee of $500 per ensemble will be assessed for the remaining rounds.
In classifications 1C, 1A/2A, 3A, and 4A, up to eight bands per Area Listening Center per classification may advance from Area to State. A maximum fee of $500 per ensemble will be assessed for the remaining rounds.
With regard to the State Adjudication process, it was recommended that the round be split into a Prelims-Finals format when more than 16 bands are advanced to State. As a result, the Prelims round will begin one day earlier than TBA with two evenly-divided adjudication rooms per classification. Four to five bands, depending on the total in State Prelims, will advance on to State Finals at TBA.
The committee explored several recommendations for the performance process.
The committee established a set of performance criteria for Honor Groups, ensuring that the students featured are representative of the full Honor Band process that earned them the right to perform. The State Chair will explain to the conductors of the Honor Bands what is expected in an Honor Band concert.
It is the hope of this committee that the revisions made to the Honor Band process sustain the quality and spirit of this time-honored Texas tradition with respect to the increased quality and quantity of bands in our state.
1. Varsity groups from classes 1C, 2C, 3C, 1A/2A (combined), 3A, 4A, 5A and 6A are eligible to enter the Honor Band Competition.
a. Classifications for the 2020-2021 competition will be:
i.1C, 2C, 1A/2A, 4A, and 6A
b. Classifications for the 2021-2022 competition will be:
i.1C, 3C, 3A, and 5A
Note: These competition year classification changes will require Class 2C to compete in consecutive years – 2019-2020 and 2020-2021
and Class 1C to compete in consecutive years – 2020-2021 and 2021-2022.
c. Future Convention Year Competitions:
i. Odd Year Convention Performance – Classes 2C, 1A/2A (combined), 4A, 6A
Note: In order to realign the classes, 2C ensembles who submitted in 2019 (record) / 2020 (concert) may also submit in 2020 (record) / 2021 (concert).
ii. Even Year Convention Performance – Classes 1C, 3C, 3A, 5A
Note: In order to realign the classes, 1C ensembles who submitted in 2020 (record) / 2021 (concert) may also submit in 2021 (record) / 2022 (concert).
2. A band cannot succeed itself as an Honor Band. This will include an Honor Band which changes classification.
3. A school that will have a different director of bands for the next year may not have a recording auditioned at the Region, Area, or State level. A band director who submits a recording in the competition at any level but accepts a new position at a different school must immediately notify the State Band Chair of this change as soon as the change is made. Failure to follow this procedure may result in a penalty to be determined by the TMEA Executive Board.
4. All performers on the recording must be full-time students at the school of the organization entering the competition. (See Eligibility Requirements for TMEA Activities, Section 1, Article II)
5. Bands entering the Honor Band process will enter and perform in the class UIL has designated for that school prior to March 1 of the year of entry. Classification changes for the performance year will have no effect on the Honor Band process.
6. A band may be disqualified from Honor Band competition based on verification of unacceptable practices (including unethical recording practices detailed in Recording Requirements Rule #9). Information concerning unethical practices must be filed in writing using the TMEA Appeals Process.
7. Honor Band preparation may begin on December 1. (not before)
- Examples of Honor Band submission preparations include, but are not limited to, prior performance, sightreading, rhythm sheets, audition excerpts, or sectionals that are directly in support of or contain content within the repertoire planned for the submission recording.
8. A statement of compliance will be included as part of the entry documentation with the March 1 entry.
1. The timeline for entering the Honor Band process is as follows:
a. December 1 – rehearsal preparations for each program’s Honor Band submission may begin.
b. Examples of Honor Band rehearsal preparations include, but are not limited to:
i. prior performance,
iii. rhythm exercises,
iv. audition excerpts,
v. or sectionals that are directly in support of, or contain content within, the repertoire planned for the submission.
c. February 1 – Entry portal opens on www.tmea.org
d. Directors must register their ensembles and complete the necessary forms between February 1 and March 1.
e. March 1 – Entry portal closes on www.tmea.org
f. Each group that enters the selection process must have a TMEA Honor Band Entry Form submitted online no later than March 1.
g. Failure to file by March 1 renders any organization ineligible to enter the Honor Band process.
h. June 1 – All recordings, scores, and forms are due to the Region Band Chair.
2. A Principal’s Certification (online – complete, print and sign) must accompany each entry. The school principal verifies the details and circumstances of the recording and on behalf of the school accepts responsibility for any irregularities or unethical practices.
3. In classes 1C, 2C, 3C middle school and 1A/2A, a Letter from the Superintendent must accompany the recording stating whether or not the band will perform at the TMEA Convention the following year if it is selected. The director and principal should note the limited flexibility of performance schedules during the convention prior to entering their recording. Each organization must be prepared to perform at the time scheduled by the Band Division Chair.
4. A Director’s Statement of Responsibility (online – complete, print and sign) must accompany each entry.
5. A Director’s Clinician Report (online – complete, print and sign) must accompany each entry.
6. Once recordings are selected for submission the Director completes the online entry by submitting titles (with movements) and composers in the order the selections are to be uploaded and played.
7. Entry Forms will be uploaded as part of the March 1 and June 1 (or Region prescribed) deadlines.
8. A band entering Honor Band competition will upload recordings using the online TMEA Honor Band Entry process. The director and principal must have signed the printable Honor Band Entry Form and checked these forms for accuracy certifying the three recordings adhere to the Honor Band Rules, Procedures, and Guidelines. These signed forms will be scanned and uploaded online.
9. Five scores of each selection WITH SCHOOL IDENTIFICATION MARKED OUT must be submitted with the recording. Submitting “Permanently Out of Print” scores or rental scores must follow publisher and copyright policies.
1. Recordings submitted must contain performances from the current school year.
2. No voice identification should appear on the recording.
3. Each group may have a maximum of four performances scheduled for recordings.
Three of these performances may be non-competitive. (Competitive events are adjudicated festivals in which more than one school is represented, and a rating and/or ranking is assigned, and/or critique or comments are given.) The fourth performance must come from the UIL Concert Contest.
4. A recording may not be submitted from any performance other than the four which are on file by March 1.
5. One date may be substituted provided that the Region Band Chair is notified PRIOR to the originally scheduled date and time with the newly scheduled date and time (except in the case of an emergency cancellation during a performance).
6. Three selections will be submitted; one march and two selections of other types.
7. Repertoire submitted for the Honor Band process shall be as follows:
a. All classifications must submit three concert band works – one march and two additional selections
b. Each selection submitted must be a continuous performance that was recorded at a concert, festival, or contest.
c. All movements submitted of a multi-movement work must be sourced from a single, continuous performance, and performed in the order of the printed score.
8. The complete uploaded recorded program must not exceed these time limits:
a. Classes 1A, 2A, 3A, 4A, 5A, and 6A: 35 Minutes
b. Classes 1C, 2C and 3C: 25 minutes
9. Some examples of unethical and unacceptable practices:
a. Private recording sessions.
b. Recording in a recording studio or under studio conditions (i.e. use of microphones for individuals or small groups).
c. Multiple recording (recording the same selection or a part thereof more than once in a given concert).
d. Splicing within a single composition.
e. Any engineering, editing, or tampering in any way with the recording after the performance. After the initial recording compression of the recording in any fashion is not allowed. Note: The only allowable technical alteration to a recording is adjustment of master volume.
f. Impromptu scheduling of performances for selected students or classes during the school day.
g. Students not dressed uniformly in the formal concert attire designated by the director for the organization.
h. Rescheduling a concert date for reasons other than student illness, school scheduling conflict, defective recording equipment, inclement weather, or emergency cancellation during a performance.
i. Any other practice which could be construed as being unprofessional, unethical, or in violation of the spirit of the competition.
Note: These statements of unacceptable practices serve only as some possible violations of the SPIRIT and PURPOSE of the Honor Band competition. Verified occurrence of any unacceptable practices will serve as grounds for disqualification from auditions and/or Honor Band performance. Protests and charges of unethical procedures must be filed in writing with the State Band Chair.
10. The following are allowable edits of recorded submissions:
a. Submitted recordings may be edited to eliminate excess time between movements of a multi-movement work.
b. Submitted recordings may be edited to eliminate audience applause.
c. Submitted recordings may be edited to combine multiple tracks of a multi-movement work into a single audio file for online submission.
i. Movements must be combined in the same order the movements were performed.
ii. Combined movements must be from the same recording.
d. Submitted recordings may be edited to match volume from track to track.
e. Submitted recordings should be edited to remove voice identification.
11. All selections must be recorded and submitted in a digital* format and must be edited to remove any introduction of the band performing or comments regarding the band.
a. Recording standards accepted:
i. *Preferred: WAV (Uncompressed); Sample rate: 44, 100 Hz; Stereo; 16-Bit (required)
ii. 4a (AAC-LC); Sample rate: 44,100 Hz; Stereo; Bitrate: 256 kbps, constant
iii. mp3; Sample rate: 44,100 Hz; Stereo; Bitrate: 256 kbps, constant
1. Regions are responsible for the selection of four Honor Band representatives per classification being considered each year.
2. Recordings will be identified by a letter code rather than by the name of the school.
3. Each panel will hear the recordings and rank all bands.
4. All Honor Band adjudication rounds will be open to the general public.
5. Selection procedures for judges and finances shall be determined by the Region Band Chair and that Region’s membership, with adherence to the rules, procedures, and guidelines within this document.
a. The maximum Region entry fee is set at $400 per participating ensemble if a Region round is required.
b. If no Region round is required for a given classification, no Region fee may be charged to bands in said classification.
6. The Region Honor Band round shall be adjudicated by 5 judges according to the following criteria:
a. Adjudicators must be current TMEA members.
b. No Region may use a judge for Region Honor Band Competition who lives or teaches within the Region.
c. A Region may use a maximum of two judges outside their Area that have a recording entered in the same classification. Those two judges cannot be from the same Area.
d. The honorarium paid to judges shall be $300.00 per day.
e. A Region may determine the number of panels to be used for the respective sessions.
f. Two Regions may combine to ensure the $400/ensemble limit covers the full cost of a 5-member adjudication panel.
1. Each Region may submit four entries per classification to the Area Chair.
2. Each Region’s Area qualifiers’ scores and entry documents must be mailed to the appropriate Area Chair by June 15 of the competition year. Documents and scores postmarked after this date will be returned to the sender.
3. A current Region Band Chair in each Area will be appointed Area Listening Center Chair by the State Band Division Chair.
a. In the event that all the Region Band Chairs in an Area have entered the Honor Band process, the State Band Chair shall select the Area Chair at the State Band Chair’s discretion.
b. Directors or Assistant Directors of participating bands at the Area Honor Band Competition may not function as an organizer, facilitator or recording playback technician. Additionally, these individuals shall neither hire the judges nor tabulate results.
4. The Honor Band Competition shall use the same alignment as the TMEA Region and Area competitions.
a. Class 1C, 1A/2A, 3A, and 4A will use the same alignment as the 2C, 3C, 5A, and 6A regions.
5. Once a recording is entered in the competition, no substitution of a recording shall be allowed unless specifically requested by the State Band Chair.
6. Area Adjudication will take place at four Area Listening Centers.
a. Each panel will judge the same classification for all Areas at that Listening Center.
b. The State Band Chair will ensure that all Area Listening Centers have uniform playback equipment.
Equipment will be supplied by the State Band Chair or his/her designee.
c. The Area Listening Centers will be in the following general locations with specific sites and chairs to be determined by the State Band Chair and published here:
i. Areas A and B – Abilene
ii. Areas C and D – Dallas
iii. Areas F and H – Houston
iv. Areas E and G – San Antonio
7. Each Region qualifier advancing to the Area Honor Band adjudication round will pay a one-time Area and State Honor Band Entry Fee of $500.00 to underwrite expenses for Area and State adjudication.
a. Checks must be made payable to the TMEA Band Division.
b. Checks must be sent by mail or hand delivered to the appropriate Area Chair.
c. Should there be a deficit, the balance will be pro-rated and collected from the participating schools.
d. Failure to remit payment will result in disqualification.
e. All financial business for the Area Honor Band adjudication includes, but is not limited to, payments to judges, Area Chairs, hosts, and playback operators, etc. will be managed by the TMEA State Headquarters.
f. Area Chairs should refer to the Best Practices and Guidelines for Area Honor Band document for contest stipends and expense report completion.
g. Expense reports must be filed with the TMEA office in a timely manner.
8. Recordings will be identified by a letter code rather than by the name of the school.
9. Each panel will hear the recordings and rank all bands.
10. All Honor Band adjudication rounds will be open to the general public.
11. Each Area may submit Honor Band recordings to the State round as per the following criteria:
a. In classifications 1C, 1A/2A, 3A, and 4A, 8 bands per classification may advance from the combined Areas at each Listening Center. For example, the Area Listening Center located in Abilene could advance 5 bands from Area A and 3 bands from Area B, while the Area Listening Center located in Dallas could advance 6 bands from Area C and 2 bands from Area D.
b. In classifications 2C, 3C, 5A, and 6A, bands will advance to the State Honor Band round based on the criteria below:
i. 1-4 bands at Area – 1 band advances to State
ii. 5-8 bands at Area – 2 bands advance to State
iii. 9-12 bands at Area – 3 bands advance to State
iv. 13-16 bands at Area – 4 bands advance to State
12. The Area Honor Band adjudicators will be selected and compensated following the procedures outlined below:
a. The State Band Chair and appointed designees will be responsible for appointing the judges to the panels required for the Area Honor Band Adjudication.
b. Adjudicators must be current TMEA members.
c. The selection of these judges will take place prior to May 1.
d. The committee will adhere to the following criteria when hiring each judging panel:
i. The adjudicators must reside outside the Area they are asked to judge.
ii. The five-judge panel shall have no more than two judges from any single Area.
iii. One panel will be assigned the 6A and 4A or 5A and 3A classifications.
iv. One panel will be assigned the 2C and 1A/2A or 1C and 3C classifications.
v. Judging panels should represent at least 4 separate Areas.
vi. No one may judge at the Area Level if he/she served as a clinician for a band being adjudicated at the Area round.
vii. Bands must notify the Area Chair of anyone who served as a clinician, rehearsed, or conducted the band by means of the Director’s Clinician Report form.
viii. No one may judge the classification at the Area or State level if he/she has a recording entered in the same classification that has not been eliminated at the Region or Area level.
ix. The honorarium paid to judges shall be $300 plus expenses per day of adjudication.
x. An amount equivalent to a judge’s honorarium will be paid to the Area Honor Band Chair.
xi. Hosts and playback operators will receive a $150 stipend per day.
xii. Every effort should be made to choose panels appropriate for each classification.
xiii. The State Band Chair, in conjunction with the Area Honor Band Chair, may use one panel when warranted by the number of entries in a classification.
1. Each Area may submit entries to the State round as outlined in the previous Area Level – Section 11 description.
2. Each Area’s State qualifiers’ scores and entry documents must be mailed to the State Band Chair and must be postmarked no later than the date published on the TMEA website and in the Southwestern Musician.
3. All scores and entry documents must be hand-delivered or sent by Certified Express Mail.
4. Second Day Delivery is recommended. The address will be determined each year.
5. The State Band Chair and appointed designees will be responsible for appointing the judges to the panels required for the State Honor Band Adjudication Preliminary and Final Rounds.
6. The State Honor Band Adjudicators will be selected and compensated following the procedures outlined below:
a. At the State level, up to 12 panels of five adjudicators will be established by the State Band Chair and appointed designees.
b. Adjudicators must be current TMEA members.
c. Adjudicators will represent as wide a geographical area as possible and will be selected from the ranks of currently active or retired Texas music educators.
d. Every effort should be made to select panels appropriate for each classification being adjudicated.
e. The honorarium paid to judges shall be $300.
f. The State Band Chair, in conjunction with the committee, may use one panel when warranted by the number of entries in a classification.
7. Recordings will be identified by a letter code rather than by the name of the school.
8. Each panel will hear the recordings and rank all bands.
9. All State Honor Band adjudication rounds will be open to the general public.
10. The Preliminary State Adjudication Round (if needed) shall be conducted as follows:
a. The Preliminary round will take place the day BEFORE the Texas Bandmasters Association Convention at a site determined by the State Band Chair.
b. Bands advancing from each Area shall be evenly divided across 2 preliminary rooms based on the total number of entries from each Area. This process will be conducted by the State Band Chair in conjunction with the TMEA Deputy Director. Every effort will be made to balance the quality of bands between the two preliminary rooms based on Area rankings.
c. If 16 to 19 bands advance to the State round per classification, two 5-judge panels will rank the ensembles in two Preliminary adjudication rooms. The top 4 bands per classification per room will advance to the Final State Honor Band round.
d. If 20 or more bands advance to the State round per classification, two 5-judge panels will rank the ensembles in two Preliminary adjudication rooms. The top 5 bands per classification per room will advance to the Final State Honor Band round.
11. The Final State Adjudication Round shall be conducted as follows:
a. The Final State Adjudication Round will normally be scheduled on the first day of the Texas Bandmasters Association Convention.
b. One 5-judge panel will rank up to 15 bands.
12. At the end of the adjudication period, a verification period will begin. At that time, all competing directors should report to the TMEA Band Division Office to review and verify the results for their classification.
13. Rankings for all State-Level Honor Bands will be posted at the TMEA Booth at TBA and will be included in the TMEA Honor Band online archives.
1. The Chair shall compile all judges’ rankings.
2. The TMEA Honor Band Tabulation program shall be used to calculate the results.
3. Individual judges’ rankings will be available to all directors involved in the competition, but not made available to the general public. The judges’ rankings will be provided from low to high so as to maintain the anonymity of the individual judges. The results will be posted as final after the verification period has concluded and afterward subject to the TMEA Appeals Process.
4. In the use of a five (5) judge panel, the Olympic scoring system will be used. Each band’s high and the low score will be dropped. The band with the lowest composite score of the remaining three (3) scores will have the highest ranking except if a majority of the remaining three (3) judges have a band as first. In this event, that band shall be declared as first. If a majority of the remaining three (3) judges have a band ranked as second or better, that band shall be declared as second. The two-way tie this action creates between the “declared second band” and the “originally scored second band” will be resolved by a second hearing of those two bands. All other bands will be ranked according to the remaining three (3) judges composite scores.
5. Section 4 above super-cedes the possible situations described below:
a. In the case of a tie, the majority of ALL 5 judges selecting one band over the other will decide the winner.
b. Two-way ties will be broken by using the judges’ preference with the following exception:
i. A second hearing of any band’s recording will occur if advancement to the next level or performance at the TMEA Convention is impacted.
c. Three-way or more ties involving advancement to the next level or performance at the TMEA Convention shall be broken by a re-hearing of all tied recordings continuing traditional scoring methods. Ties that remain after the single re-hearing will be broken using traditional TMEA audition tie-breaking procedures.
2020 Area Listening Center Chairs/Hosts
|1 - Abilene||A & B||Steven Dojahn||TBD||Abilene Christian University|
|2 - Dallas||C & D||David Brandon||TBD||Duncanville HS|
|3 - Houston||F & H||Todd Clearwater||TBD||Klein Oak HS|
|4 - San Antonio||E & G||Bernard Rosenberg||TBD||Alamo Heights HS|
Area Listening Center 1 - Abilene
Class 1C, 2C, 1A/2A
Area Listening Center 1 - Abilene
Class 4A, 6A
Area Listening Center 2 - Dallas
Class 1C, 2C, 1A/2A
Area Listening Center 2 - Dallas
Class 4A, 6A
Area Listening Center 3 - Houston
Class 1C, 2C, 1A/2A
Area Listening Center 3 - Houston
Class 4A, 6A
Area Listening Center 4 - San Antonio
Class 1C, 2C, 1A/2A
Area Listening Center 4 - San Antonio
Class 4A, 6A