New York State School Music Association
Music Composition/Improvisation Committee

Criteria for the Evaluation of Compositions

The Committee evaluates the submitted compositions based on three broad criteria:
Compositional Technique includes the following elements, where applicable:
Overall Musical Appeal includes the following aspects:
Originality refers to aspects of the piece that reveal the composer's individual "voice," and distinguish the piece from a musical exercise or a direct imitation of another piece.

If some of these terms are unfamiliar to you, please discuss them with your teacher or contact the committee chairperson at

Although compositional quality is the primary consideration for inclusion in the Young Composer honors Concert, the committee also attempts to select pieces in a variety of styles and genres representing all three age categories (K-5, 6-8, 9-11).

The criteria for evaluation listed on this page are not intended as a "checklist" that each student should go through as they compose a piece.  Each piece is unique, and the committee attempts to assess each composition on its own terms.