The acoustic music world often praises the talents of songwriters, with awards like Songwriter and Song of the Year. While this is certainly a good thing, the composing prowess of musicians who focus primarily on instrumental tunes is often overlooked. Luckily, a number of contests exist for tune writers, such as the Mike Auldridge Instrumental Composition Contest, sponsored by the DC Bluegrass Union.
Those wishing to enter their tunes in the competition should move quickly, as the deadline for submissions, Sunday, October 15th, is quickly approaching. Unlike most awards given out for instrumentals, the contest is designed to focus on melody, chord structure, catchiness, and originality instead of a particular performance of the musical piece or musicians’ skill. The contest rules specifically say “this is NOT a competition of picking prowess. Music production and performance quality are not considered in the judging process.” Jamgrass fans, beware – extended improvisation is discouraged.
The contest is open to musicians and composers who do not earn more than 50% of their income from music publishing. In keeping with them theme of the sponsoring organization and the musician the contest is named after, entries must be in bluegrass, old time, or related traditional styles. Contestants can submit as many entries as they want, but there is an entry fee for each individual tune.
Prizes are awarded for 1st ($500.00), 2nd ($250.00), and 3rd place ($100.00). Entries will be judged by a three person volunteer panel of music industry leaders who will remain anonymous until the conclusion of the contest. The first place winner will also be invited to perform his or her instrumental at the 2018 DC Bluegrass Festival, and will receive two passes to the festival, as well. Winners will be announced on December 1.
For more information and full submission details, visit the DCBU web site. Best of luck to all those aspiring tunesmiths out there!