Strike A Chord is the leading national competition for emerging chamber musicians of every skill level. Open to all secondary school students across Australia, instrumental and vocal ensembles of between three and eight players compete in the main competition or the Novice Section, with substantial prizes up for grabs at every stage. Strike A Chord aims to foster a love of chamber music performance in its participants and celebrates the artistry unique to small ensembles.   

If you’re interested in participating in this year’s competition, or know someone who would be, read on for a primer on how to enter Strike A Chord.  

Form your ensemble!

Get together 3-8 musicians –⁠ any combination of instruments and voice is allowed, so long as each part is performed by an individual player. Same for vocal ensembles, who are also eligible to participate in Strike A Chord. Just remember that conductors aren’t allowed, although more than welcome to tune in –⁠ details below. 

The next step after that is choosing a piece to play, one of the most important decisions you’ll make in the competition. Groups entering the main competition must play a song between 4-12 minutes long, while Novice groups can select a piece between 1-5 minutes. Repertoire choice can be key to your overall success in the competition, so choose something that shows off your ensemble in the best light.

Rehearse as much as you can, and then some.

Remember the adage about practice making perfect and hold fast to it in the lead up to the competition and its duration. Here’s the time to recruit friends and family as audience members, try your hand at busking, and take over the school auditorium. Seize any opportunity you can to perform in front of people and in different contexts to polish your performance, sharpen your skills, and strengthen your rapport as a group. It will boost your confidence immeasurably and give you the chance to do trial filming your performances.

Film your introduction and performance videos.

Watch our how-to guides for recording these to ensure you’re putting your best foot forward.

    1. For your performance video, the requirements you’ll need to keep in mind are as follows:
      • It must be filmed in one single take  
      • There must be no editing 
      • The camera must be in a static position (so no Kubrickian Steadicam, Scorsese tracking, or Spike Lee dolly shots)

    2. For your introduction footage, let your imagination run wild as you craft a 2-minute-long clip that gives us an insight into your group. Movie magic is allowed here, but what’s most important is: 
      • Providing us with who a sense of who you are 
      • Explaining why you chose the piece 
      • Outlining what you’ve learnt playing it  

Introduction videos won’t have any influence on the decisions of the judging panels.  

Submit your entry online.

Remember that an online application form must also be completed by someone over the age of 18 on behalf of your group. Be sure to also familiarise yourself with the competition’s rules and regulations. The cost to enter Strike A Chord in 2022 is $10 per participant, so for a quartet the total entry cost would be $40. This fee can be paid online by credit card or you can request an invoice. Entry forms must be completed by 11.59pm AEST on Thursday 2 June 2022.

The Novice Section of Strike A Chord is free to enter, with separate rules and regulations. The entry form must also be completed by 11.59pm AEST on Thursday 2 June 2022.

Keep rehearsing, practice well, and wait for finalists and prize winners to be announced.

Strike A Chord Finalists, Novice Section winners, and First Round prize winners will be revealed on 22 June 2022. A suite of exciting prizes for groups who do not progress to the finals will also be awarded, including:

  • The Innovation Award, for the ensemble who most imaginatively demonstrates what chamber music can be, 
  • The Spirit of Chamber Music Prize, for the group who captures the essential character of a work. Generously provided by Elizabeth Sellars, in memory of John and Lesley Sellars 
  • Australian Music Prize, awarded for the best performance of an Australian work.  

Discover the raft of prizes on offer here, and get ready to have a ball making music.