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The Rules of the OPUS National Music Competition

Rule 1: The National Competition is open to winners from the OPUS Competition (State Level) who play violin, viola, cello, double bass,  and/or piano, and reside in the United States. Participant age is based on the age of the student at the time of the application deadline. Participants who reach the age of 19 prior to the application deadline are eligible to participate in the Senior Category. Winners from the state level competition is defined by those who were awarded a 1st, 2nd, 3rd, or merit prize.

Rule 2: Participants will compete within their instrument and age category chosen. The National Competition will announce winners in the String and Piano categories for each age group. Students may enter in multiple instrumental categories (e.g. string & piano). Please note that a separate application is required for multiple entries. All entry fees are nonrefundable, and will be added to the cash prize pool.

Rule 3: There are no repertoire limitations. Competitors can choose their own music program from the baroque, classical, romantic, or contemporary periods. To be eligible for a prize, all music must be memorized with the exception of sonatas or collaborative works with accompaniment, which are not concertos. Concertos and Bach Suites/Sonatas/Partitas must be performed by memory.

Rule 4: Participants can create a program of up to (3) compositions, which must fit within their allotted time based on their age category. The entire program must be recorded in one setting. Submissions of multiple videos or a spliced video will result in the adjudication of the first piece of the submission. Video(s) from the state level competition and/ or edited performances will not be accepted. Students who surpass the allotted time for their category will not be penalized as long as the video doesn’t surpass the allotted time by 60 seconds. The OPUS Competition prefers YouTube links.

Rule 5: Video performances must be performed by the applicants and may not be edited nor enhanced in any way. Participants will not be penalized for the quality of your video, although it is important that it is good enough to see and hear you clearly. It is recommended that the recording device be at 6-7 feet away from the performers. Cell phone recordings are acceptable. Please see video guidelines for more information.

Rule 6: Piano accompaniment is required for any works that have a collaborative part. This does not apply to works written for instrumental solos.

Rule 7: Cash prizes will be awarded to competitors who place in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place within their respective categories. All monetary prizes are based on the size of the pot and will be announced on our website. Prize winners will also receive a national award diploma. Please note that all other participants will not receive diplomas or comments from the judges.

Rule 8: The jury is comprised of renowned musical artists from the United States, Canada, and Europe. The jury is regulated by guidelines & rules to help choose national winners. The results of the jury is final and cannot be overturned.

Rule 9: Late applications will not be accepted.

Rule 10: By registering for the OPUS National Music Competition, you agree to let the OPUS Organization (aka OPUS Music Competition) use submitted photos and videos in promotional publications including our website, social media, and printed materials. Participants also forfeit the right for any financial remuneration regarding eventual publication and/or distribution of music video recordings on CD and DVD publications and the internet.

The only OPUS Organization has the right to change these terms & conditions at any time. Participants will be notified if any changes occur.


Each category is open to students who play violin, viola, cello, double bass, piano, or guitar. Each category has a time limit for the video performance.

PRIMARY: Ages 5-8  |  up to 8 minutes

JUNIOR: Ages 9-13  |  up to 10 minutes

SENIOR: Ages 14-19  |  up to 15 minutes


The OPUS National Music Competition will award a 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize in each instrument & age category. Additionally, a maximum of (2) merit prizes will be awarded at the discretion of the judges. All prize winners will receive diplomas. Cash prizes will only be awarded to those who receive a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prize. All monetary prizes are based on the size of the pot and will be announced on our website. Winners will be featured on our website & YouTube channel in addition to press releases through media outlets. Finalists of the National Competition will be invited to compete in person for cash prizes & national titles. Please note that due to COVID-19, the OPUS National Competition will be online only. We hope to resume in-person nationals in future years of the competition.


The application form must be accompanied with a link to the performance video. The performance video must be in one take. Videos do not have to be professional in nature. Cell phone videos are welcome.

1. YouTube links are preferred. The YouTube video title should have the name of participant and the category in which they are competing.  Please be sure your videos are set to “Public” or “Unlisted”: VIDEO MANAGER → videos → Basic Info → from the dropdown menu, please choose “Public” or “Unlisted” only.

2. Contestants must show their upper or full body and have adequate lighting as to see their face and instrument as well as their full range of motion. We recommend having the recording devices 6-7 ft. away from the performer(s).

3. Audios and videos may not be edited.

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