The Cape Fear New Music Festival’s Inaugural High School Composition Competition

Xylophone performance

The Contest

The Methodist University Department of Performing Arts is proud to provide this creative opportunity to all musicians in grades 9 through 12 across the state of North Carolina. Our intent is to encourage quality music composition by high school students and to provide a performance outlet for creative musical expression. This year’s theme is “Musical Humor and Irony.”

The Finalists

The top two finalists will have their compositions featured in a live performance at the 8th Annual Cape Fear New Music Festival Concert on April 1, 2020.

The Winner

At the conclusion of the concert performance on April 1, 2020, the first-place winner (chosen from the finalists and selected in advance) will be announced and awarded a monetary prize of $250.

The Rules

    • All entries must be original musical works created by North Carolina High School Students.
    • Entries should be approximately two (2) to four (4) minutes in length.
    • The instrumentation should include no more than three (3) performers. (We suggest, but do not mandate, that one of the instruments be a harmony instrument, such as a piano or a guitar.)
    • Entries should exhibit some kind of musical form (organization), providing clarity to the work. (If you are new to composition and need help with this, it is acceptable to ask your music teacher for advice on form.)
    • Complete entries will include three parts:
      1. An application form (This form includes basic contact information and details about your composition. The question about whether or not you have your own performers for the concert has no bearing on the selection process.)
      2. An MP3 version of the composition
      3. A completed score (We would like to see your composition written out to the best of your ability.  It is acceptable to use chord symbols or tab for guitar.  Vocal submissions should include the lyrics in the vocal line.)

How to Enter

Registering for the composition competition is easy!  Simply follow these steps and complete your submission by January 1, 2020.  Finalists will be notified by February 15, 2020.

Step 1

Using the rules above as guidelines, create your own musical masterpiece.

Step 2

Go to and create an account.  Both the account and entry into the competition are completely free of charge.

Step 3

Find the Cape Fear New Music Festival’s High School Composition Contest page.

Step 4

Click on the Submit button located in the upper right corner of the contest announcement and upload your materials.


We are happy to answer any questions you may have. Simply contact Dr. Keith Dippre, Director of Composition Studies/Professor of Music at Methodist University via email at