Syllabus – Rules & Eligibility


There are a number of changes to the festival this year. Many of the changes are for the sake of safety during the COVID pandemic. For details on what this means, please see hereIf any other part of our website has different information than presented on the COVID Policies page, the information on that page takes precedence.

  • All individuals and ensembles that are in a regular program of music study under a recognized teacher or director for at least one year are eligible to enter the Festival.
  • All entrants must be non-professional. All entrants must have parent/guardian permission to enter the festival.
  • Classes are determined according to school grade except the College/Adult classes. Home schooled students and college students who are 18 or under may enter and be adjudicated with the class closest to their age group. We follow the Bellevue School District guidelines for determining grade placement. For more information, please go here.
  • All entrants must be students of a member of the PAFE Teacher Program.
  • Classes are offered for students in Solo, Concerto and Ensembles. See the Enrollment section below for details.
  • Concertos are not solo pieces and are not allowed to be performed in Solo classes. Even Concerto pieces which had been rearranged to be performed solo are not acceptable in Solo classes. Concerto pieces composed for multiple instruments are not allowed in Concerto classes; they can however be performed in Ensemble classes. Some pieces written for solo instrument and orchestra (not Concertos) will be allowed if first approved by the Division Chair of your instrument. If there are any questions about the appropriateness of any given piece for a class, please check with the Division Chair.
  • All student performances must be played from memory, except for woodwinds and ensembles which are allowed to use music. Please be sure to bring enough copies of the music for your use, as well as the Adjudicator. We will not be able to make copies at the Festival.
  • All students living in the greater Puget Sound area are eligible to enter the Festival. Keep in mind that there is a limit to the number of students that can be accommodated in the available space and time. Enrollments received after a division is full and has been closed will be put on a waiting list. Wait listed entrants are not charged unless they are accepted to the festival.
  • BE ADVISED: We cannot give refunds for cancellations for any reason.
  • NOTE: For each of the past several years, registration has closed early in most division. You are advised to enroll early to ensure participation in the festival.


Festival dates are shown on the PAFE Home page.

If you participated last year, your registration account has been retained here. You can update information as needed (address, phone number, etc). If you are new to the Festival, please start here. All registrations must be submitted online.

During enrollment, entrants must list each piece they will perform, and must provide complete information about each selection. No substitutions are allowed after registration, so please check with your teacher before you register to ensure that your selected pieces are appropriate for performing at the festival. During Festival performance, no substitutions will be allowed but pieces can be performed in any order. Students may not perform a piece they have performed in previous Festivals.

Students enrolling in a Concerto Class must also be enrolled in a Solo Class.

New this year: All members of an ensemble must enroll individually.

Ensemble division: To determine which division to enroll in, select the first rule below that applies:

  • If there are any vocal members, enroll in the Voice Division.
  • Otherwise, if there are any woodwind instruments, enroll in the Woodwind Division.
  • Otherwise, if there are any string instruments, enroll in the Voiolin/Viola Division.
  • Otherwise, the ensemble should consist only of pianos and should enroll in the Piano Division.

Ensemble class: The class that all members of an ensemble should enroll in is based on the grade level of the oldest ensemble member playing an instrument in the division selected using the rules above. So, if the ensemble is enrolling in the Woodwind Division, the grade level of the oldest woodwind player, not the grade level of the oldest ensemble member overall, is used.

Primary and Additional Ensemble members: One member of each ensemble is the “Primary” member. This member must enroll first, in the Primary Member Ensemble class. This member will provide the name of the ensemble and information about the piece(s) the ensemble will be performing. After we send this member an email confirming their ensemble enrollment and notifying them we are ready for the other member to enroll, the additional members can enroll in the Additional Member Ensemble class, selecting the name of their ensemble from a list of confirmed ensembles.

If you are unsure how to enroll your ensemble, let the registrar know the grade level and instrument for each member, and they will help.

Adjudication Procedure

Attire – Performers are encouraged to wear appropriate attire for their performances. Please avoid jeans, shorts, t-shirts, etc.

Sign In – Each performer must individually register at the Sign-in Table. Please be sure to do this before going to a Warm-up Room. Also, please be sure to return to the sign-up area at least ten minutes before the start of your class. The building does not open for students until 8:00 A.M each day.

Warm-up Rooms – We have limited space available for performers to warm-up prior to classes. Because space is limited, please plan on doing any rehearsal prior to coming to the Festival, and limit use of the Warm-up rooms to no more than ten minutes so all performers have time to use them.

Performing – When called to perform, the performer will give a copy of the music opened to the correct page to the adjudicator. The performer will introduce their accompanist, if any, and announce the title and composer of each composition before performing it. The performers will pause between selections and wait for the adjudicator’s signal before continuing.

Time Limits – Time limits specified in the class lists are the maximum time allowed. Performers may shorten their selections to fit within the allotted time, or they may choose to play the pieces in their entirety and be stopped by the table monitor when their time is up. There is no penalty for going over the time limit and being stopped.

Oral Adjudication – At the end of each class section, the adjudicator will give an oral adjudication. Everyone participating or attending a class is required to stay until the class is dismissed, unless they have obtained permission from the table monitor before the class begins.

When oral adjudications are finished, each performer will receive a copy of the adjudicator’s written comments, and performers can retrieve their music from the table monitor. PAFE is not responsible for any loss of music or of the adjudicator’s comments. Adjudicator evaluations are final, and not open to negotiation.

Parents and Teachers – Parents and teachers may attend the adjudications as space is available, but under no circumstances are they to make any comments during adjudications or question adjudicators or the adjudicator’s decisions at any time during the festival. Taking pictures or making recordings is not allowed during the adjudications because it is disruptive to the students while they are performing.

Concerto Playoff Concert

Students in Grades 7 – 12 who are participating in a concerto class are eligible to be chosen as finalists for the Concerto Playoff Concert. Finalists are chosen by the adjudicators. At the Playoff Concert, a distinguished panel of judges will select first place, second place, and third place winners. Each award is accompanied by a cash award as well. The judges’ decisions are final.

Students chosen to compete in the Concerto Playoff Concert have an 8-minute maximum time limit for their performance. Students are allowed to modify their music to fit within the time limit if they choose. PAFE reserves the right to stop the contestant before his or her piece is finished if the time exceeds this limit. There is no penalty if the performer is interrupted before finishing their piece.


PAFE will issue numerous awards to recognize outstanding performances. For detail on these awards, see here.

Eastside Festival Artists Concerts

Four Artists Concerts will feature students receiving First Place awards from their adjudicators.

Only solo or ensemble pieces will be performed as chosen by the student and adjudicator. Concertos will not be played due to time limitations.

The concert programmer reserves the right to choose the selection for the program to avoid duplication and to keep the concert length reasonable.


If a performer is playing a piece composed to be performed with accompaniment, then an accompanist is required. Performers must provide their own accompanists. No mechanical accompanying devices of any kind, such as CD players or MIDI players, are allowed.

All performers in Concerto classes will need accompanists.

For more information, see the Frequently Asked Questions.