We have tried to answer the most frequently asked questions below, but if there is anything you’d like to know that’s not covered here, please reach out to us using the [Contact Us] form.


When does registration open?
Registration for the Pelham Music Festival typically opens a week or so before Thanksgiving.  Keep an eye on this website, our Facebook page, and Instagram for our “Registration is Open!” post.
When does registration close?
Registration for the Pelham Music Festival typically closes on the third Monday of December, though some years might be a little later. 
Are there age restrictions?
Priority goes to musicians in grades 3-12, though we can sometimes include younger performers, depending on capacity.
How good do I have to be?
There is no required skill level, but please make sure you are well prepared, and able to perform the piece you have selected.
What instruments are allowed?
Anything you can get into the venue!
Do I have to have a private teacher?
You do not.
What if I don't yet know what I want play?
That’s OK. You can register without giving us the name of your piece, but we do need to know by the last Friday before Pelham Schools break for the winter holiday so we can build the schedule. Don’t worry – we will remind you by email.
Can I play more than one piece?
In general, no, but we recognize that some of our younger performers play very short pieces. In these instances, two pieces are permitted as long as the total time is less than 2 minutes.
Can I perform on more than one instrument?
To allow the maximum number of people the opportunity to perform, we do not generally allow multiple solos by the same individual, although you are encouraged to perform in as many duets and ensembles as you can put together! Exceptions can sometimes be made if we have capacity.
How long can I play for?
Performances typically last between 1 and 5 minutes, depending on age and proficiency. To afford as many young musicians the opportunity to perform as possible, especially in the early sessions with the youngest participants, we ask that elementary students select pieces no longer than 3 minutes.

We use these times to build our program, and ensure each session fits within its slot, so please check your time before entering it. If performers play longer than indicated, we risk the session overrunning.

What if I need accompaniment?
If you would like to perform with a piano accompanist, and do not have one, we can help put you in touch with somebody skilled at accompanying young performers. 
Why do you ask about NYSSMA? What is it, and do I need it?
NYSSMA participation is not a requirement, and many performers do not do it. We ask because NYSSMA level is one of the many factors we can use to help us put together a balanced festival program.
NYSSMA stands for the New York State School Music Association, and is the NY State unit of NAfME (National Association for Music Education). Each year, around 100,000 students participate in their Spring adjudication festivals, at one of 6 levels, from relative beginner to accomplished musician.
What about groups and ensembles?
We love them! You are encouraged to perform in multiple ensembles.
Please also refer to the cost and ticket questions below.
I'm playing a duet with my teacher. How do I register?
You register as a duet, and enter your teacher’s name as the accompanist when you get to that part of the form.
My child is performing in an ensemble organized by their Pelham Schools music teacher. Do I need to register them?
Pelham Schools music faculty register these performances, so parents don’t have to do anything except buy tickets for any adults who want to attend (kids are free). If you are registering your child for another performance, the form lets you tell us which one(s) so we can try to keep them in the same session.
Will I have time to rehearse before the festival?
Yes. The Pelham Country Club is available on the two days prior to the performance date for limited rehearsals from 3-9 pm. There is no sign up; just show up and play.
What are the Healthcare Recitals?
In addition to the Pelham Music Festival itself, we have traditionally held smaller recitals at local healthcare facilities, usually The Wartburg in Mt Vernon, Calvary Hospital in the Bronx, and The Osborn in Rye. They are a great practice opportunity, as well as a way of giving back to the community — the healthcare staff and patients really enjoy them!
How much does it cost to register, and is it different for a duet or small ensemble?
It costs $50 to register for a solo performance.
If you are registering a duet or small ensemble, the cost is still $50.  One person completes the registration online, enters the names of all performers, and makes a single payment.  Typically, families then split the cost between them.
Please also refer to the ticket questions below.
My child is playing in a school ensemble. Do I have to pay?
School ensembles are not charged to perform at the festival, so you do not have to pay for them – but you will have to purchase a ticket for each adult coming to watch. (Kids are free.)
Do you offer scholarships?
If cost of entry is prohibitive, please reach out using the [Contact Us] form.  We do have a small number of scholarships.
Are tickets limited to a particular session?
No. Ticket holders may stay for as many sessions as they wish, as long as seats are available. Seating priority is given to guests of that session’s performers.
How many tickets do I get?
Each solo performer is entitled to bring 2 adult guests. (Kids are free.) To make sharing allocated tickets easier for families whose children are in a duet or small ensemble, each of these performers may bring a single guest: 2 tickets for a duet; 3 tickets for a trio; 4 for a quartet; etc. If you are performing as part of a school ensemble, your adult guests will each need to purchase a $10 ticket. (Kids are free.) These are available through our website at the time of registration, on our tickets page, or at the venue on the day of the festival.
Do I still get tickets if I'm in a school ensemble?
No. School ensembles are not charged to enter Pelham Music Festival. Your adult guests will each need to purchase a ticket. (Kids are free.) These are available through our website, or at the venue on the day of the festival.
Can we buy extra tickets?
Yes. They cost $10 and can be purchased through our website, or at the venue on the day of the festival using Zelle, Venmo or PayPal (or cash).
Note: Zella charges us the lowest fees; PayPal the highest.
Do children need a ticket, too?
No, we do not charge for children. Our mission is to encourage a love of music performance, and believe that children coming to support their siblings and friends – and being exposed to other performances in the process – is a great way to do this.
Do you mail me the tickets?
No. We just check you off our list when you arrive at the festival.
When will I know what time I'll be performing?
In early January, we will email you to let you know your session, and ask you to confirm receipt.
The festival takes place on a single day, in a series of 90-minute sessions of musicians grouped (approximately) by age and ability, starting with the youngest performers around 9am and ending with high schoolers in the evening session.
Can I request a particular session?
We aim to group performers by age and ability, to create a balanced and mutually-supportive program. This makes it difficult to accommodate time slot requests but, if you have a genuine need, please explain in the Is there anything else you’d like to tell us? box of the registration form or reach out to us using the [Contact Us] form and we will discuss it with you.
What if I'm also in a school ensemble?
When you register, you have the opportunity to let us know if you expect to also perform in any of the school ensembles. We will do our best to schedule you within a single session but this may not always be achievable.
Will you put siblings in the same session?
Unless your children are close in age and ability, they are likely to be in different sessions. To build a balanced program, and to avoid performers judging themselves against those older and more experienced, we group children by age and ability.
How is the day structured?
Pelham Music Festival takes place on a single day, in a series of 90-minute sessions of musicians grouped (approximately) by age and ability, starting with the youngest performers around 9am and ending with high schoolers in the evening session.  Between each session is a musical interlude by festival alumni and other local musicians.
How long are the recitals?
The day is split out into 6 sessions, each of which is about 90 minutes long, separated by a short interlude during which festival alumni or other special guests perform.
How early do I need to arrive?
Please arrive 30 minutes before your session is scheduled to start to allow time for photos, bathroom break, some deep breathing, a quick snack, etc. All sessions must start on time to allow such a complex schedule to stay on track.
What if I'm late?
Please plan to arrive 30 minutes before your session is scheduled to start, for the reasons noted above. Guests will not be seated during a performance. We have very little flexibility on scheduling and late arrivals risk missing their opportunity to perform.
Can I leave as soon as I've played?
No. Out of respect to all the performers, we ask that nobody leave while the recital is in session.
Is there a dress code?
Yes. Please dress appropriately for a formal performance. You should also be aware that Pelham Country Club has a dress code that precludes t-shirts, jeans and sneakers, and this applies to both performers and audience.
Can I use/bring an amp or microphone?
We cannot provide amplification, and need to avoid trailing cables and other trip hazards. If you wish to bring and use your own equipment, please reach out to us using the [Contact Us] form to discuss the details and avoid safety risks.
How many people will I be playing in front of?
Performances take place at the Pelham Country Club, which is set up to hold about 100 people. The number of audience members varies by session.
Do encourage your friends and family to come support you! Children get in free, and adult tickets are just $10.
Do I need to bring a music stand?
No. We provide these.
Will there be snacks?
Water will be provided to the performers. A limited selection of refreshments and snacks will be available for purchase at the PCC.
What are the photos like?
A professional portrait of each performer is taken by local photographer Liz Farrell and the images delivered as a high-resolution digital download. You can see examples here.
When will I get my photo?
Professional portrait photos are taken of each performer immediately after check-in.   After the festival, the photographer works her magic, which takes a little time.  We will email you instructions for downloading your beautiful images a couple of weeks later.
How will I get my photo?
To view and download the high-resolution digital image(s) after the festival, you will need to log into the Liz Farrell Photography (LFP) website.  As part of the PMF registration process, you will be asked to give us permission to share your email address with LFP for the sole purpose of creating an account on their website.  We will then provide you with you log-in credentials, and detailed instructions on how to view and download your professional portrait photo.
Do I have to pay for my photo?
No. Photos to memorialize your performance are part of PMF history, and included in your registration fee.
How do you use photos and videos taken at the festival?
We will use photos and videos to help promote the festival and its mission to encourage a love of music among Pelham students.
Can I take my own photos or videos at the festival?
Yes, but please be discreet, and respectful to the performer and other audience members. Flash photography is NOT permitted.
Can I donate using Zelle, Venmo, or PayPal?
Yes! We love cashless payments, and are aiming to go completely cashless soon.
Note: Zelle charges us the lowest fees; PayPal the highest.
Are all my payments tax deductible?
Donations made to the Pelham Music Festival, for which nothing is received in return, are tax deductible; your registration fee, and payment for any additional tickets are not.
Who organizes Pelham Music Festival?
The current PMF board comprises (in alphabetical order) Andrew Dolgon, Rose Horley, Aimee Kaplan, Colleen Maiberger, Jess Solomon, Josh Wallach, and Paula Wood. In addition, the Pelham Schools music faculty and many local music teachers continue to serve as advisors &/or school liaison.  Bob Eicher is the festival’s founder and ongoing benefactor.
How can I help?
There are many ways you can help make Pelham Music Festival a great success, including just taking part! For more info on volunteering, please visit the [Volunteer] page. And remember – Middle and High School kids can earn community service hours through helping at the Festival.
Financial contributions are also very welcome. You can donate on the day using Zelle, Venmo, PayPal or even cash.  You can also use our [Donate] page, where payments can be made by PayPal or credit card.