2020 SJPC Rules and Regulations

Download PDF here.


  • Participants must participate at their local authorized Steinway showroom (based on participant zip code), unless the showroom is not participating in the competition. In this case, participants may choose to participate at a showroom which is most convenient for them. Students are only allowed to participate at one audition location.

  • Participants must complete and submit the full application at https://www.getacceptd.com/steinway. Registration opens January 15, 2020 and the deadline is April 1, 2020 at 11:59pm ET.

  • A NON-REFUNDABLE application fee of $75 USD must be paid at the time of application submission.

  • Application questions will include student, parent/guardian, and teacher information.

  • A confirmation message will be sent once a student’s complete application has been received. The showroom competition manager will contact participants with further instructions regarding the audition procedure and scheduling at that location.

  • All applicants have the opportunity to play on the competition instrument before their audition day. To schedule a rehearsal time, applicants must contact the competition manager directly.
  • As a result of the high volume of participants in various regions, some showrooms will require a video prescreening round. Showrooms that will require this prescreening round will notify participants in the application. Please see more details in Prescreening Round section below.


  • Each participant is required to perform two pieces and will be allotted the following amount of time for the performance of both pieces: 
    • Division I: Ages 9 and under max. 8 minute
    • Division II: Ages 10-13 max. 10 minutes
    • Division III: Ages 14-18 max. 15 minutes
  • The two pieces must be contrasting works for solo piano from two different eras of Western classical music, including Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Twentieth Century, and must be performed memorized. Original compositions and improvisations are not permitted. Repeats may be played at the discretion of the performer, but are not required.  Judges reserve the right to cut off performances at their discretion.

  • All applicants should bring hard copies of their sheet music (photo copies or books) with minimal markings for the judges.

  • Contestants will be graded on the following criteria, using a rating scale of 1-5:
    • Musicality and artistry: Students who score well will not simply play their selected pieces cleanly, but will demonstrate an appropriate understanding of aspects of performance including artistic and stylistic interpretation. Judges will look for students who exhibit attention to details of musicality such as phrasing, dynamics, touch, and shaping, and who can elevate their performance from merely playing the written notes, to giving a dynamic and engaging performance.
    • Technical mastery: Students who score well will demonstrate that they can meet the technical requirements of their selected pieces. They should be able to comfortably navigate the technical challenges of the literature. Their performance should be free of major note or fingering errors. Students should look to utilize an appropriate tempo and, when required, clean pedaling.
    • Adherence to the score: Students who score well will demonstrate a nuanced understanding of the composers’ intent in both pieces they perform. Their performances should reflect instructions given by the composer in the score including (but not limited to) tempo, style, pedaling, dynamic markings, etc., as well as customs of the period in which their selected piece was written.
    • Stage presence: Students should demonstrate a high level of professionalism throughout their audition. Students who score well will display both confidence and charisma, whether it is their first time participating in a competition, or they are more experienced. Students should keep in mind that if they should receive an award, they will be expected to perform in front of their peers and guests. This includes appropriate performance attire.
    • Memory: Students are expected to perform their selected pieces without referring to the score. The judges may, in the case of a memory slip, choose to prompt a student at their discretion; however, such instances will detract from the student’s overall score.
  • Age requirements apply to applicant’s age as of April 1, 2020. Applicants must reside in the United States or Canada.

  • Students who have participated and won first place in the competition last year may not enter again in the same division.

  • Judges will be announced in the application for the competition. If a change is made, this will be announced by the Steinway showroom prior to the competition.

  • Students, teachers, parents, and audience members should not approach the judges for any reason before or during the competition.

  • Close relatives or students who study or have studied with any of the announced judges or Steinway/Steinway-authorized showroom employees are not eligible to compete. A refund will be issued to these students.

  • Assigned audition slots are final. Rescheduling requests are left to individual showroom’s discretion. If a competitor misses his or her turn, he or she will have forfeited his or her chance to participate (no refunds will be offered).

  • Competitors are responsible for their own expenses to participate in the competition, including the cost of their travel.

  • Contestants should wear their best performance attire.

  • Qualifying competitors must perform live in order to be considered.

  • Evaluations for each round of the competition made by the jury committees are final.

  • Steinway & Sons and Steinway showrooms reserve the rights to photograph, record, or video the auditions of contestants and winners and to use these documents for marketing purposes. No extra fee will be paid to the contestants.

  • Each winner is solely responsible for reporting and paying any and all applicable taxes related to the prize(s) and paying any expenses associated with any prizes, which are not specifically provided for in the official rules. Each winner must provide the Company with valid identification and a valid taxpayer identification number or social security number before any prize will be awarded. Any person winning over $600 in prizes from the Company will receive an IRS form 1099 at the end of the calendar year and a copy of such form will be filed with the IRS.

  • Steinway & Sons reserves the right to the interpretation of the Terms and Conditions of the Regulations.


As a result of the high volume of participants in various regions, some showrooms will require a prescreening round. Showrooms that require a prescreening round will notify participants in the application. For this round, students will be required to upload a video(s) performing both audition pieces on an acoustic piano through their application in Acceptd. These pieces do not have to be memorized. Works performed in the prescreening videos must be performed during the competition rounds. The video must be filmed with both the pianist's face and hands in the frame at all times. Recordings may be paused between each repertoire selection. Each work on the video must be a continuous and unedited performance. Videos must not be filmed more than six months prior to submission. Students who are chosen to proceed to the live audition will be notified between after April 1, 2020 and will receive their audition slot. Students who do not proceed to the live audition round will still receive a certificate of participation and feedback from judges who reviewed the videos.

If you experience technical issues with Acceptd, please contact the Acceptd Support Team at support@getacceptd.com or by calling 1-888-725-2122. Check out their Help Desk for frequently asked questions.

Visit Steinway

Find a retail location to see a Steinway piano in person.

Find a Location
Contact Us

Have all your questions answered — by phone or email.

Our Newsletter

Keep abreast of Steinway & Sons in the news and the arts.

Stay In Touch
Click to scroll this page