Competition Overview & Video Rules
Who is eligible to compete?
Eligibility rules remain the same as our live competitions:
- Singers must be high school sophomores, juniors, or seniors who are recommended by their choral directors or vocal teachers.
- Singers are allowed to enter only one Schmidt Vocal Competition per competition season, whether live or virtual.
- To be eligible for cash awards, contestants must have a United States Social Security Number and must be United States citizens, Green Card holders, or have DACA approved status.
- Participants are required to pay a non-refundable registration fee after submitting an application.
- Applications will be considered complete when the fee, both parts of the application form, and teacher recommendation have been received.
- To be eligible to win cash awards, singers must be present at the online master class and awards ceremony.
- Each virtual submission model competition cohort will be limited to 30 singers. If there are fewer than 15 singers, SVA may combine two location cohorts.
How does the virtual competition work?
- Singers need to apply for the virtual competition through the SVA website.
- All applications and submissions must be received by the corresponding deadlines.
- If singers need a pianist, they must “order” one and upload PDFs of their music to the SVA application portal by the application deadline.
- Each singer must upload a copy/scan of his/her/their school ID (with picture) or driver’s license via the SVA application portal by the submission deadline.
- Singers will be required to upload their video submissions by the submission deadline, as outlined in the Video Submission Requirements below.
- After successful submission, there will be a period of adjudication.
- There is only one “round” of competition under this model.
- SVA will host an online master class followed by a YouTube Live Awards Ceremony for each location cohort! PLEASE NOTE: to be eligible for cash awards and scholarships, you must be present. If you are unable to attend on the scheduled day, consider applying for a different competition location cohort.
- If you are an award winner, SVA will contact you to complete the necessary payment paperwork electronically.
What are the Video Submission Requirements?
- Each singer is required to submit performances of two musical compositions from the standard “classical” vocal literature representing different periods and styles. Musical Theater selections are not accepted in the virtual model.
- Combined, both performance videos should total no more than a maximum of seven (7) minutes in length.
- Singers must perform with piano accompaniment, but it may be either a live piano or a recorded track, unless the chosen piece is meant to be performed without accompaniment (i.e. “The Singer” by Michael Head). Please see the Accompaniment tab.
- All selections must be performed by memory.
- Each video must only include the name of the singer and the title/composer of the selections, the singer may not include any other information (i.e. age or year in school) or narration.
- Singers may use pieces that have been videotaped previously, as long as the recording was made within the past six months. If your previously recorded video does not have the introduction requirements listed above, please ensure you are using our standardized file naming.
- All videos files should follow the standardized file naming: Last Name_First Name_Title
- Video submissions will be via YouTube link. You may submit as a public or unlisted link. An unlisted link is not visible to the public without the specific link. Please do not send a private, password protected link as the adjudicators will not be able to access the videos. For instructions about how to upload to YouTube, please click HERE.
- SVA is not responsible for late or unsuccessful attempts to upload videos.
- Incomplete, corrupted, untimely or unintelligible videos will be disqualified.
- If for any reason a singer’s entry is confirmed to have been erroneously deleted, lost or otherwise corrupted, singer’s sole remedy is to apply for next year’s competition, if eligible.
- SVA reserves the right to determine, at its sole discretion, which entries have satisfied the entry requirements.
- By entering, each singer represents and warrants that his/her/their entry is his/her/their own performance.
Important Dates & Deadlines
Please note all of the deadlines carefully and remember that the singer must be present at the online master class and awards ceremony to be eligible to win cash awards and scholarships. If you are NOT available on your preferred cohort’s awards ceremony day, please consider applying for a different cohort location — geography does not matter!
||Online Master Class
||YouTube Live Awards Ceremony
4pm ET/1pm PT
5:15pm ET/2:15pm ET
Tips for Creating a Good Video Submission
- Be aware of your surroundings. If you’re recording with a “track” rather than a live pianist, try to select a room that has well-balanced acoustics. You want to refrain from spaces that may be too resonant or echoey, where the clarity of your diction gets lost or may become unclear.
- Make sure that no background noise (like an air conditioner, running dishwasher, ringing phone, etc.) will interfere with your recording or interrupt your performance.
- Make sure the space is well-lit.
- If possible, use a tripod or stand for your video recording device on a table or against a stand to help stabilize the image being recorded, rather than relying on someone’s hand to hold it and keep it steady.
- Test the view of your camera to make sure the judges can see your facial expressions and posture. Judges will be evaluating beauty of voice, technical skill, musicality, accuracy, communication of text, diction, and presentation.
- Make the best of the equipment you have. We recognize that many singers will use a smartphone or digital recording device to create videos for this virtual competition model – that’s okay! Simply do your best to make the sound and picture clear. We do not expect participants to seek out video recording with professional equipment or within a professional recording studio (in fact, we would discourage it).
- If you are using a recorded “track” rather than a live pianist for accompaniment, make sure that the sound level of the track is balanced to the level of your voice.
- Dress as you would for the LIVE competition. We recommend you wear your “Sunday Best.” Formal wear is not necessary.
- Do a “test run” through several phrases and then listen back to ensure you are in the frame and that the sound is not being distorted in any way.
- Perform your piece straight through, from beginning to end without stopping. No mixing, voice amplification, sound enhancement, audio dubbing, or splicing of multiple “takes” together is allowed.
- Record each song in a separate video file. Before starting each piece, say your name and the title/composer of the selection you are singing. Do not include any other information (i.e., age, year in school, where you’re from, etc.), or your entry will be disqualified.
- Make sure to watch your video before you submit!
Virtual Accompaniment Options
Schmidt Vocal Arts recommends that singers submit videos recorded with a live pianist, but we do realize that some families may have difficulty finding, booking, or paying for a pianist during the COVID-19 pandemic.
If you are unable to record with a live pianist, we will allow singers to record their performances with a track. Here are a few options:
- Use a track from online – there are plenty of accompaniment tracks on youtube and online. Try searching google for classical accompaniment tracks. Or you may use an app like www.appcompanist.com. Any fees associated with this app or other sites would be paid by the registered singer.
- Collaborate with your private teacher to record a track. Believe it or not, an iPhone can record sound from the piano very well! This works well if you cannot meet in person.
- “Order” a Schmidt pianist! We have wonderful pianists in our Schmidt Vocal Artists network and one of them can also record your music for you. Schmidt Vocal Arts will provide this service without an additional fee, but singers must “order” their pianist by the appropriate application deadline (see Deadlines tab).
- To order, make sure to answer YES to the question, “Do you need a SVA pianist to record tracks for you?” on your application. Please note you will also need to upload PDFs of your music to the SVA Portal by the application deadline. Singers will receive their tracks no later than four days before the submission deadline. Accompaniment tracks will be sent on a rolling basis, so the sooner you apply and request a Schmidt pianist, the sooner you will receive your track.