Rules & Judging Criteria

Contest Rules

  1. The Songwriter Serenade contest opens for entry on January 13, 2019 and will close on March 31, 2019. Entries will not be accepted after midnight (CST) March 31, 2019.
  2. No fee to enter the contest.
  3. Each entrant must submit lyrics and MP3’s for 4 songs through our website. This is important because only songs submitted with the entry can be performed in the contest. A song is defined as a melody with lyrics. Additionally, include a link to a live performance, preferably of one or more of the songs submitted into the contest.
  4. Room & board provided for semifinalists at the TR Ranch at no cost to the participants.
  5. By April 6, 2019, the 15 semifinalists will be notified of being selected for the Songwriter Serenade via phone and/or email.
  6. The 15 semifinalists must commit to being present for the entire weekend’s events to include: Friday, May 3, 6pm ‘Introductory evening BBQ’, Saturday, May 4 ‘Competition’ 11am-5pm and Saturday, 8pm ‘Bugle Boy Venue Concert’ performance by the 3 Judges and winner of the Competition and Sunday, May 5 ‘Songwriting Workshop’ with the 3 Judges from 10am – 3pm.
  7. The semifinals will be held at the Moravia Performance Hall in Moravia, Texas on Saturday May 4, 2019 beginning at 11:00 AM. The 15 songwriters selected for the semifinals will perform two songs from the songs submitted before a panel of three judges and the audience. At the conclusion of the semifinal round, 7 songwriters will be selected by the judges to advance to the Finals at 3:00 PM. The finalists will perform one different song from those submitted, for the Finals. Only songs submitted as part of the songwriter original entry can be performed in the contest.
  8. Prize money will be awarded to all participants immediately after the Finals round.
  9. Each entrant retains all rights to his or her submitted songs.
  10. Contestants may have a maximum of one accompanist (instrumental, harmony or a combination of both).
  11. Co-written songs may be submitted; however, only one of the writers may submit an application and perform the song on day of contest.
  12. Songs submitted must have copyright / or have been written within the past 3 years.
  13. All entries will be considered. Submissions which have lyrics deemed inappropriate for family listening by the event organizers shall be disqualified. The Songwriter Serenade is a family-friendly event.
  14. Participants in the Songwriter Serenade agree that the Songwriter Serenade will have the right to publicize the names and likenesses of the participants.
  15. Any contest entrant under the age of 18 years must provide express written consent to enter, from a parent or legal guardian.
  16. Prior Songwriter Serenade first place winners cannot re-enter the contest.

Judging Criteria

Each judge will have a judging binder that includes the lyric sheets for each song submitted by the contestants. The songwriter must identify the song selected for performance before starting the song. The judges will have a scoring sheet for each song being performed and will judge the song and performance in four specific areas:

  • Lyrics (imagery, story, creativity, originality)
  • Melody (structure, phrasing, rhythm)
  • Performing ability (vocal, musicianship)
  • Stage presence / audience rapport

Each judge will assign a score between 0 – 10 for each of the four judging categories. A total score is then derived for each performance. At the end of the Semi-Final and Final rounds the scores for each performance will be totaled and sorted by songwriter from high to low to determine the order of finish.