2024 Music for All National Festival

presented by Yamaha

Frequently Asked Questions

We strongly encourage you to read the FAQs carefully before submitting your application.

By applying, am I obligated to attend if accepted?

Yes, you are obligated to attend unless you select the “Input Only” option on your application. If you select the “Input Only” option on your application, your group will not be considered for an invitation to the Festival. Submission of your application serves as a commitment of your planned attendance, upon acceptance of your ensemble to the Festival. Prior to submitting an application, be certain you have secured all necessary approvals, including administration and booster, to accept an invitation should you receive one.

Once you have applied to the Festival, it is highly recommended that you and your music boosters begin preliminary planning for your ensemble’s attendance. Numerous hours will go into the organization of your trip so we encourage you to start this process as soon as possible.

When must we arrive to participate?

We encourage you to purchase a package that focuses on your convenience and allows your ensemble to be prepared to perform at its best. Ensembles may need to consider arriving in Indianapolis on Wednesday evening to ensure sufficient time for the check-in process and being present at the Opening Session. All ensembles must arrive no later than 11 a.m. on Thursday (in order to participate in the 1 p.m. Opening Session). You may not depart prior to the conclusion of the Honor Ensemble concerts on Saturday evening. Hotel rooms are not guaranteed to be available until after 3 p.m. the day of your arrival. Luggage storage will be provided upon arrival.

Must I attend the Virtual Familiarization Sessions?


It is mandatory for you or another director representative to attend the four (4) one-hour virtual familiarization sessions. Vital information about your participation, packages and pricing, deadlines and other details will be shared to ensure a smooth and positive experience for you, your students, and your boosters.

Familiarization Session Dates for the 2024 Festival:

  • August 28, 2023
  • October 2, 2023
  • October 23, 2023
  • November 13, 2023
  • March 11, 2024 (Festival Chaperone Meeting)
What will the Festival really cost us?

Is it all-inclusive? What’s “extra”? Most of the costs of participation are included in the Festival Package pricing. Items that are not included are discussed further in FAQs. See the Package Pricing and Inclusion details here.

Extra Meals + Extra Nights of Stay

Depending on the package purchased, most of your meals are included with packages found on the Festival Package and Pricing page of this packet. Meals not included in your chosen package may be added at an additional charge or you may choose to arrange these meals off-property on your own. Extra nights of stay outside of Wednesday through Saturday may be added for an additional fee. Please contact Music for All for details at festival@musicforall.org.

Festival Program Book

Part of what makes the Music for All National Festival such an unparalleled experience for students is the attention to detail and world-class quality that goes into every aspect. Music for All produces a glossy, high-quality program book for the Festival that includes information on all of the participating ensembles. This program is a lifelong keepsake and included in each Festival package.

Please note that since 2020, Music for All has eliminated the requirement for participating ensembles to sell one full page of advertising. The size of the book will be reduced accordingly, with each band, orchestra, and choir receiving one full page for content including student names, repertoire, director and conductor names, and ensemble group photo. Chamber ensembles and percussion ensembles will receive a partial page with the same ensemble information.

Additional Individuals in Director Rooms

Each invited ensemble receives one complimentary room package (including meals and admission). Additional individuals are allowed in the director room (e.g., assistant directors, spouses, family, etc.). Information on additional costs for these individuals will be included in your Festival acceptance packet. To enhance security and to help ensure Festival decorum, chaperones may not be housed in a director room.

Festival Package Audio Recording

Each student member and director of a participating ensemble will receive one performance audio recording as part of their Festival Package. Students in both an Honor Ensemble and school ensemble receive an audio recording of their Honor Ensemble, but they may purchase their school’s recording for an additional fee. Each director will receive an advance audio copy of the group’s performance shortly after the Festival.

Local Ground Transportation

Ground transportation is the responsibility of each participating ensemble. While not required, most ensembles have found that use of pooled services reduces costs and stress in the planning process. Music for All has a working relationship with a local ground transportation company, which allows participating groups to pool their local travel needs and purchase transportation at an attractive price. Information will be provided to the invited ensembles at the familiarization sessions.

Additional Equipment

Music for All will provide resources for you to secure any additional pieces of percussion equipment. Ultimately, it is the responsibility of the performing ensemble to secure equipment beyond that supplied by Music for All for rehearsals and performances.

Forms to request additional equipment will be made available closer to the event date.


Music for All has secured pianos that are provided to the performing ensembles for their performance. If a piano is needed for rehearsal, it is available for a fee. The final fee for all piano rentals will be determined by the number of ensembles utilizing the piano for rehearsal.

Scores & Advance Program Recording

For the Festival performances, each applicant ensemble is required to submit three original scores of each piece to Music for All or have secured written permission from the publisher to make and submit the number of submitted duplicates. Music for All remains in strict compliance with copyright laws and permission to duplicate scores must accompany any duplicated materials.

Music for All will require each participating ensemble to submit their music program information form by January 15, 2024.

All ensembles will be required to send an audio recording of their Festival concert program in advance for Music for All officials to confirm the length of the program and schedule.

What is the permitted length of concerts?
  • High School Concert Bands: Perform a maximum of 40 minutes of music, reading of program notes, and set changes between pieces, on a 60-minute cycle.
  • Middle School Concert Bands: Perform a maximum of 30 minutes of music, reading of program notes, and set changes between pieces, on a 45-minute cycle.
  • Chamber Ensembles: Perform a maximum of 20 minutes of music, reading of program notes, and set changes between pieces, on a 30-minute cycle.
  • Orchestras: Perform a maximum of 40 minutes of music, reading of program notes, and set changes between pieces on a 60-minute cycle.
  • Percussion Ensembles: Perform a maximum of 25 minutes of music, reading of program notes and set changes between pieces on a 40-minute cycle.
Do I have to stay at the Festival hotels?

Yes. The Music for All National Festival is a premier event and has chosen the finest hotels, including the Marriott Place Indianapolis, featuring the JW Marriott and four other Marriott properties and other downtown hotels, to serve as the official Festival hotels. By staying at these hotels, participants form a special, deeply rooted community. The Festival hotels become the “music universe” for the duration of the festival and serve as a catalyst to help electrify the experience.

Is attendance required at all scheduled events and activities, including audience times?

Yes. The Festival promises to be educational and inspirational for your ensemble, and you will want to be part of the full experience. It is imperative that your ensemble attends all scheduled events. Countless hours of preparation go into the schedule to ensure that each performing ensemble receives a complete and attentive audience. Ensembles that do not participate in their assigned audience time may forfeit their right to apply for this Festival in the future. Attending other ensemble performances is part of the educational aspect of the Festival and separates the Music for All National Festival from other festivals. As a performing ensemble, playing to a knowledgeable and attentive audience is much more rewarding.

What is the dress code?

Participants adhere to a business casual-formal dress code, as well as a code of conduct, both of which enhance the world-class atmosphere of the Festival. No jeans or shorts are to be worn during the weekend activities, with the exception of the Student Social. This evening’s student social has no particular dress code; however, good taste is always appropriate.

When do we have to pay for participation? Is it a lump sum, or may I make deposits?

Music for All allows its participating ensembles to make staggered payments as follows:

1. 25% deposit of total amount due by October 15, 2023.

2. 50% of total amount due by December 15, 2023.
NO CHANGES to Packages that reduce an ensemble’s commitment can be made after December 15, 2023.

3. Final 25% or balance of total amount due by January 15, 2024. The balance due is based upon your January 15, 2024 or December 15, 2023 final package totals, whichever is greater.

What happens to our luggage if we check out of the hotel on Saturday?

Official check-out time is 11 a.m. on your check out day. If your ensemble is departing Saturday evening, your ensemble must be checked out of their hotel rooms by 11 a.m. Saturday. Music for All has made arrangements for groups to store luggage in secured rooms and have facilities set aside for changing clothes changing back to travel clothes following the Honor Ensemble concerts Saturday evening.

What happens when we check in to the hotel and our rooms are not available?

Official check-in time at the Festival Hotels is 3 p.m. each day. Music for All will make every effort to allow ensembles to have at least a portion of their hotel rooms by the start of the Opening Sessions at 1 p.m. on Thursday. Historically, all room keys have been received by 6 p.m. For check-in and check-out, storage and changing facilities will be provided. Check-out time is 11 a.m.

What if there is an Honor Ensemble student in my ensemble?

If you have students in your ensemble participating in the Honor Band of America, Honor Orchestra of America, or Jazz Band of America, keep in mind this student’s priority is to their honor ensemble. All honor ensemble students must arrive by 1:00 p.m. ET, Wednesday for their first meal and honor ensemble orientation meeting. These students will pay the Honor Ensemble package price, and be housed with other Honor Ensemble members.

Only your performance time, warm-up, and post-concert clinic take precedence over an Honor Ensemble rehearsal. All Honor Ensemble rehearsals take precedence over your ensemble’s schedule, including your rehearsals. Be sure your students, all directors, and chaperones understand this, and that you plan accordingly. Music for All will provide transportation assistance for these student(s) and a custom schedule to ensure that they arrive to your school’s performance.

Do I need to book a hotel room for my bus and truck drivers?

Yes. Be sure to include a room for your bus and truck drivers on your rooming list. Even though you may not know the name of your drivers, make sure you reserve rooms for them. You may list the name “bus/truck driver” in these rooms, as a starting point. Drivers are not required to stay at the Festival hotel or purchase Festival packages. Keep in mind check-out time is 11 a.m. If your drivers need rest/off-hours prior to your departure, you must extend their room stay through that night. Hotels do not allow for late check-out.

Where do I park my buses during the Festival?

Music for All will provide information to assist you in making arrangements to park your buses during the Festival. Overnight parking is not permitted at the Festival hotels. There is a fee for downtown overnight bus parking.

Are Directors required to attend the Director socials and other activities?

The Music for All National Festival features world-class opportunities, including building positive relationships between performers, educators, and evaluators. The social events encourage camaraderie, and although they are not required to attend, directors are highly encouraged to participate with fellow directors and to meet the clinicians and evaluators of the Festival. Traditionally these activities are a wonderful opportunity for the directors to interact one-on-one with the finest music educators in the country. We can’t imagine a music educator not wanting to take advantage of every one of these opportunities to network and socialize!