Quality standards

Through our Quality Standards we uphold fairness in our competitions, as well as help new competitions build up their scope, ambitions, and results.

The European Union of Music Competitions for Youth (EMCY) is the European network of national and international music competitions for children and young people. It was founded in 1970 as a union of national music competitions in order to develop the musical education and promotion of musical talents in the pre-professional area on a European level. Since 1992 international music competitions have also been able to become members.

One of the important missions of EMCY is to apply, maintain and promote quality standards at its member competitions. EMCY is and has to be a quality label, a guarantee for high standards and the implementation of competition best practice, this in accordance with the specific aims and traditions of each individual competition. Young performers, their teachers, music managers and music lovers have to be secure about EMCY Member Competitions and the results achieved there.

In general there are the same quality standards for national and international competitions.

  • EMCY is an organisation of music competitions for voice or instruments/genres which have a coherent system of education.

  • No competitor can be discriminated against on the basis of gender, religion, ethnic origin or nationality. Competitions may, however, establish in their rules limitations for the applicants based on nationality, citizenship, instrument, genre or age requirements.

  • Competitions must be clearly structured (by age, instrument etc.).

  • A competition can be considered as international only if it has broadly announced rules, is open for international participants and has competitors coming from foreign countries.

  • The repertoire must be appropriate and adequate for each age / instrument.

  • The programme at EMCY competitions should include compositions (or parts of compositions) from at least two different stylistic époques. Competitions dedicated exclusively to one particular composer or stylistic époque are not bound by this limit.

  • At international EMCY competitions participants have to prepare at least a 15 minute programme and every competitor has to be able to present himself/herself in the 1st round for at least 8 minutes.

  • We stimulate and encourage international EMCY competitions to have an orchestral round.


  • The jury must have recognized experts in the discipline, instrument or family of instruments of the competition held.

  • If the competition implements the pre-selection of candidates there must be no less than 3 pre-selection jury members for the whole procedure of pre-selection and every applicant must be heard and evaluated by no less than 3 Jury members.

  • There must be no less than 3 jury members for national and no less than 5 jury members for international competitions for the whole duration of the competition.

  • At international EMCY competitions more than ½ of the jury must be from foreign countries.

  • It is recommended that at least 3 jury members are without students participating at the competition.

  • The jury must be summoned from different institutions. Jury members should be independent of one another.

  • At least one jury member must be changed at each new edition of a competition.

  • The responsibility of a jury member is professional work and should be accordingly reimbursed.

  • Formal written regulations for jury work must be available and followed.

  • Jury rules cannot be changed during the process of a competition.

  • The assessment of each jury member (in numbers, points, passed / not passed etc.) must be in a written form.

  • It is not permitted for jury members to discuss performances of competitors while they are still participating in the competition.

  • Every jury member should have equal access to the voting results.

  • Jury members shall not rank / vote for competitors who are related to them or who have been studying with them in the 12 months preceding the competition.

  • Jury members must declare before the start of the competition which participants are related to them or have been taught by them on a regular basis in the last 12 months.

Prize winners

EMCY Members are encouraged to promote their own prize-winners and also winners from other EMCY Member Competitions through arranging concerts, recordings, master classes, exchanges etc.

  • At national competitions no more than ½ of the total number of participants in the whole competition can become national laureates. Special awards are not included into this limit.

  • At international competitions no more than ⅓ of the total number of participants in the whole competition can become laureates. Special prizes are not included into this limit.

  • Prizes of value must be awarded (money, instruments, concert opportunities etc.) and announced before the competition.


  • Competitions must have widely available, clearly structured general rules, published and accessible to any interested party prior to the competition.

  • At the competition there must be a strictly followed, clear, written and announced schedule.

  • The jury must be sufficiently prepared with a schedule, programme, repertoire, etc. on the 1st day of a competition at the latest.

  • Ensuring equal conditions, a separate practise room with instrument (if needed) should be provided to each competitor.

  • Ensuring equal conditions, each competitor should get a scheduled hall rehearsal before each round of the competition.

  • Competitions must have a permanent responsible body / committee. A representative of the competition must be available during as well as in between the competitions.

  • At international competitions, in addition to the language of the country in which the competition is held, all the official information, programme booklet, announcements and the presentation before, during the whole and after the competition must be in at least English.

  • The competition organisers are encouraged to provide accommodation and logistical assistance for participants.

  • Competition organisers must undertake appropriate measures to ensure the protection and safety of the children and minors participating in the competition.

Responsibility of EMCY and its member competitions
  • EMCY is to apply, maintain and promote quality standards at member competitions. In order to fulfil this task EMCY offers expertise, help and assistance in achieving the quality standards to each competition.

  • Exceptional circumstances or contradictions to the EMCY Quality Standards must be reported to EMCY.

  • EMCY Member Competitions are required to implement these quality standards in the interest of fairness, the educational process and competition best practice.

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