FAQ - National Student Auditions

Revised 8-23-2023


Should a selection be performed in the CM or MT category?

1. Is the singer performing a song as originated in or arranged for a musical theatre production? 

—If yes, then the song should be performed in the MT category.

For example: "Taylor, the latte boy" is from the Goldrich & Heisler musical ADVENTURES IN LOVE and belongs in the MT category, unless performed in a CM arrangement altering the original style of music. Another example would be pre-existing songs arranged for MT productions of jukebox musicals like MOTOWN: THE MUSICAL, ALL SHOOK UP, SMOKEY JOE'S CAFE, etc. These songs belong in the MT category, when performed as performed in the MT production as reflected on the cast recording. While these songs require specific CM stylisms, they also demand the MT performance criteria of portraying a character as well as theatrical acting/staging.


2. Is the singer performing an arrangement not performed in the context of a musical theatre production? 

—If yes, then the song should be performed in the CM category.

Some accepted CM examples from Musical Theatre Repertoire: 

  1. Pop versions of Disney solos clearly marked pop version on the published sheet music—these songs are often heard in the film's credit crawl
  2. Songs from MT arranged for solo recordings by Ella Fitzgerald, Michael Bublé, Hayley Westenra, Josh Groban, Jane Monheit, or other recording artists
  3. Songs performed from lead sheets to create an original interpretation

NOTE: Many personality/performer folios are published by Hal Leonard and other publishers containing songs included on solo recordings. Sometimes these folios republish scores identical to the original MT publications requiring the singer and their pianist to deliver a specific CM style in their interpretation. The NSA CM audition selection must be interpreted in a specific CM style to be successful in the CM category. This is impossible to determine from a repertoire entry—but would be addressed in the adjudicators' comments via the CM rubric.

May a singer use the same repertoire in more than one NSA category?

Singers entering more than one NSA category (Classical, Commercial Music, Musical Theatre, and/or Spirituals) are allowed to enter the same selection in more than one category provided the repertoire requirements of each category are met. A successful audition in one category will not necessarily produce success in a second category—unless the performance is altered to address the different standards of performance. Standards are defined in each NSA adjudication rubric. REMINDER: If a singer advances in NATS Student Auditions (chapter, regional, national rounds) in more than one category, they may not sing the same selection in multiple finals.


Crossover repertoire may be judiciously entered in MT and additional categories. For example, “Lonely House” from Street Scene may be entered as a selection in an MT category and as an opera aria in a CL category. Similarly, “If I loved you” from Carousel may be entered in both MT and CM categories, but in the CM category, the song must be performed in a specific CM style different from the musical’s original style of music. Teachers and students are reminded that the standards in these genre categories are different.

CLASSICAL and SPIRITUAL Category Crossover Repertoire

The Spiritual Categories and Classical Categories are adjudicated by the same rubric of classical performance standards. Spirituals may be entered as the English language art song in a Classical Category and also as a selection in a Spirituals Category and be adjudicated by different panels using the same rubric and standards of performance.


  1. Solos or arias from Kurt Weill’s STREET SCENE may be accepted in CL, MT, or CM Categories in NSA, but will be adjudicated with starkly different standards of performance in each category. The premiere production of STREET SCENE played 148 performances on Broadway. Weill received the inaugural Tony Award for The Best Original Score for this work, after the Broadway premiere of STREET SCENE in 1947. For these reasons solos from STREET SCENE are accepted in MT categories. NSA also accepts arias from STREET SCENE in CL categories because Weill referred to STREET SCENE as an "American opera." There are published quotes of Weill’s saying that he intended for STREET SCENE to be a genre-defying synthesis of European traditional opera and American musical theatre. STREET SCENE is regularly produced by professional opera companies from New York City Opera’s 1959 production through the present day. A documented history of jazz and blues arrangements of some of the solos in STREET SCENE justifies any commercial music (jazz, blues, country, etc.) arrangement or interpretation of solos from STREET SCENE as also acceptable in CM categories.
  2. The songs of Tom Lehrer are now in the Public Domain as of October 2020. With Lehrer's permission, Cameron MackIntosh took Lehrer's pre-existing songs and created the musical Tomfoolery. Lehrer never set out to compose a musical. He knew musical theatre and taught musical theatre history, but Tomfoolery is the only musical featuring Lehrer's songs. Lehrer’s songs in the MTI musical TOMFOOLERY including “Poisoning Pigeons in the Park” are eligible to enter the MT or CM categories only, if interpreted by the performance standards in the rubrics for the category entered. Although sometimes performed in classical recitals, these selections are not accepted in the NSA as English language art songs.
  3. The vocal solos of Marc Blitzstein will be considered opera aria if larger work is listed as an opera on his website. His operas include THE HARPIES, I’VE GOT THE TUNE, NO FOR AN ANSWER, TRIPLE SEC, and REGINA. Solos from REGINA, which debuted on Broadway and subsequently many opera houses may be entered in CL, CM and MT categories if performed to the standards of the chosen category. All other vocal solos will be from Musicals or Art Songs when settings of pre-existing poetry. Despite, its title Weill, Brecht & Blitzstein’s English translation THE THREEPENNY OPERA is a play with music. In the case of Blitzstein’s song “The New Suit” aka “Zipperfly,” which is not listed on the official Blitzstein website because it is from an unfinished larger work which had three incarnations in its early development THE NEW YORK OPERA its final incarnation, NINE DAYS WONDER previously, and began as THE HAPPY FAMILY: A 2-Act Musical. Since this song’s larger work never came to fruition and since the song sets lyrics by the composer, “Zipperfly” will be accepted as either an opera aria or a musical theatre solo in NSA, but it cannot be accepted as an art song.
  4. The vocal solos of Leonard Bernstein will be considered as cited on his website. There you will find arias, art songs, and musical theatre. Since Bernstein titled the following large work, MASS: A THEATRE PIECE FOR SINGERS, PLAYERS, AND DANCERS, but also based this work in liturgy, solos from Bernstein’s MASS may be entered in CL categories as an oratorio aria or in MT as a song. Selections from Bernstein’s MASS may not be entered as English language art songs. Since his CANDIDE is designated as a comic operetta, solos from CANDIDE will be accepted as operetta arias in either a CL category entry or as the one acceptable operetta aria in a MT category entry.

Operetta is listed under the definition of aria, so is an operetta aria perhaps from a Sigmund Romberg or Victor Herbert show allowed in musical theatre categories?

An operetta aria may be used as one selection in a musical theatre category entry.

May songs from Disney movie musicals be used in the musical theatre categories?


Considering the 12-minute requirement for 4 selections and 10-minute requirement for 3 selections, may we have permission to make judicious cuts of: piano introductions, piano interludes, piano music after the vocal solo is completed, verse or verses of selections, internal cuts of opera arias as historically and successfully made on many professional recordings?

Classical Repertoire:
Piano introductions, piano interludes, piano music after the vocal solo is completed, and internal cuts of opera arias are allowed as is common performance practice. Cuts of verse or verses of selections are not allowed. In the case of strophic pieces, all verses should remain that are traditionally included.

Musical Theatre Repertoire
As found in common professional performance practice, cuts in piano introductions, piano interludes, piano music after the vocal solo is completed, and dance breaks in musical theatre selections are allowed. In the case of numerous verses, some verses may be cut.

Commercial Music Repertoire
An entire song. No internal cuts of vocals; intros and outros may be abbreviated to accommodate audition’s time limits; instrumental breaks as well as repeat and fade tags may be cut, abbreviated, or kept to accommodate the audition's time limits. When performing an original song or an arrangement of a pre-existing Commercial Music song, the song should approximate a full song in duration.

Is it possible to use a score during the performance of an oratorio aria for reference only during a NATS Student Audition?

All repertoire must be performed from memory with the exception of Oratorio, Mass, Requiem, and Cantata Arias. Singers may hold music scores for these types of arias as is traditional performance practice.

May a pop treatment of "She Used to Be Mine" (Bareilles), be entered in the Commercial Music Categories?

YES, that is acceptable, if performed in a new pop arrangement, but NO, if performed in the pop-influenced musical theatre arrangement used in the musical Waitress.

What category is appropriate for the pre-existing pop/rock songs in Broadway’s many jukebox musicals?

Broadway shows frequently include new arrangements of pre-existing songs. If you are singing a Broadway arrangement from the song's original appearance in a musical or any subsequent arrangement created for any musical theatre production—the song is musical theatre and will be adjudicated by the standards of performance for musical theatre. If the same song is performed in an arrangement or in a style of music differing from the musical theatre production—the song should be entered in the Commercial Music categories of NSA. This is the rule to avoid a blurred line between MT and CM categories in NSA.

Are solos from THE UNOFFICIAL BRIDGERTON MUSICAL accepted in the NSA Musical Theatre Categories?

Yes. The songs in this musical were developed in a series of live, three-minutes videos on Tik Tok, but the musical is not a miniature. This musical was awarded the 2022 Grammy for Best Musical Theatre Album. In July 2022 this musical was performed with celebrated Broadway stars in the cast on stage at the Kennedy Center. Copyright infringement issues with Netflix were resolved out of court in September 2022. Hal Leonard has published a traditional musical theatre folio of the music from this musical.

Are solos from musicals that were produced for television accepted in the NSA Musical Theatre Categories?

Yes, solos from musicals originally produced on television are accepted in the Musical Theatre categories. Filmed or movie musicals will include also include televised musicals. Sondheim's EVENING PRIMROSE was a television musical as was Richard Rodgers' CINDERELLA. The television show SMASH is a pesky example because it was a television series about writing and producing 2 new musicals—both of which have had live performances in NYC since the television series aired. The music in SMASH is written by composers, who have composed award-winning Broadway musicals. Teachers and students should cite songs originally aired on SMASH as from the musicals being written in the television series: HIT LIST or BOMBSHELL as appropriate.

May theme songs or songs that play during the credit crawls of films/radio/television shows be entered in NSA?

Yes, theme songs and/or songs that play in the opening or closing credits of films or radio/televisions shows—whenever not sung by a character advancing the story of a musical—may only be entered in the Commercial Music Categories of NSA and will need to be performed in a specific Commercial Music style.

Can any of the pieces found in the 24/26/28 Italian Songs and Arias books be used to fulfill the aria requirement for the lower college division? Can only those marked aria/arietta? Can none of them? 

If the singer is in one of the High School or post high school Lower Classical Categories, ANY repertoire found in the 24/26/28 Italian Songs and Arias books may be considered as art songs AND/OR as operatic arias, regardless of origin. If the singer is in post high school Upper or Advanced Classical Categories, ANY repertoire found in the 24/26/28 Italian Songs and Arias books may be considered as art songs ONLY, regardless of origin. Any comparable literature found outside the 24/26/28 Italian Songs and Arias books, regardless of composer, will be considered only as the composer originally intended, either as an aria OR an art song.

May any operatic aria be used for the “aria or art song” repertory requirement in the post high school lower categories, especially for first year post high school categories? Or is there a list of acceptable arias for younger singers?

There is not a list of arias for singers of any age. The aria choice is made by the teacher and student. The choice of appropriate arias and art songs should be made based on the vocal development and maturity level of the singer.

What is the present definition of musical theatre repertoire for NATS auditions?

Repertoire is selected from musicals including film musicals (including televised musicals), revues, operettas, musical theatre song cycles, and stand-alone musical theatre songs. Only one of the required selections may be an operetta aria or a stand-alone musical theatre song. The singer is expected to select musical theatre songs from varied styles of music including bluegrass, blues, calypso, country, electro-pop, folk, gospel, jazz, legit, operetta, pop, pop-opera, rap, rhythm and blues (R&B), rock, soul, etc. The selected repertoire will engage the singer’s ability to access a variety of vocal colors to communicate character and story (see the NSA Musical Theatre Rubric). The audition will showcase the full spectrum of each singer’s vocal and dramatic abilities.

Stand-alone musical theatre songs may refer to songs that tell a complete story even when performed outside the context of the musical in which they originated. The NSA definition of a stand-alone musical theatre song includes songs cut from musicals, trunk songs composed by musical theatre composers for various reasons — but never included in a full musical production, or songs composed for musical theatre celebrities to perform on professional recordings or cabaret performances. Before entering your NSA repertoire, research a possible stand-alone selection to be certain whether it is a stand-alone song. For instance, “Taylor, the latte boy” by Goldrich and Heisler is not a stand-alone song, this song is from their musical Adventures in Love.

Must musical theatre repertoire be performed in original keys?

Published transpositions of musical theatre songs are permitted, but singers are expected to retain the composer's intended style of music and to convey the essence of the character portrayed in the larger work. Performances not fulfilling these requirements may result in lower scores from adjudicators.

Are students allowed to change repertoire between the Region audition and the National audition?

No. The same repertoire that a student performed at the region audition MUST be performed for the national rounds. No repertoire changes are allowed between the region audition and all national auditions in NSA.

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Can you clarify the processes for complying with the NATS Copyright Policy?

General Policy
NATS has adopted a no-infringement policy. NATS opposes copyright infringement, and encourages the use of authorized copies of music scores by its members and their students. It is unethical for members to infringe upon copyright laws.  

Competition Policy
NATS requires our competitors and their pianists to agree to abide by our Copyright Policy by requiring the use of authorized scores in all of our events. The general Copyright Policy will be referenced in competition registration documents.

NATS will require competitors to assure NATS that their music scores (and those of their pianists) are authorized copies, and that they will indemnify NATS from damages for use of unauthorized copies.  All NATS members, their students, and pianists make themselves responsible for penalties associated with infringement of the copyright policy by the duty of their indemnification to the innocent non-infringer NATS.

Obvious Infringement
NATS will prohibit competitors who are obviously infringing upon copyright from taking part in our events, and thereby NATS does not become a contributory partner in infringement. Auditions chairs are solely charged with this responsibility. Because of the difficulties in determining which tablet copies of scores are authorized and which are infringing, and because of the ubiquitous use of tablets today, NATS no longer performs this investigative role so long as (i) the infringement is non-obvious, and (ii) the tablet owner certifies it is an authorized copy and agrees to indemnify NATS. 

If auditions chairs notice a pianist using a tablet obviously containing photos of a score (or a pianist using obvious unauthorized photocopies of a score), then the auditions chair will not allow the performance to proceed with those obviously infringing materials. The intention of the NATS Copyright Policy is not to thrust audition chairs into an investigative role as copyright investigators. The approach audition chairs should take is “If the infringement is obvious, performance cannot be allowed; if infringement is not obviously occurring and the performer tells NATS they are using an authorized copy, then NATS will not investigate further and performance will be allowed.”

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May I use my iPad during my audition?

Yes, but only for collaborative pianists or by a singer while performing an Oratorio, Mass, Requiem, or Cantata Aria. Singers may hold music scores (on iPads) for these types of arias as is traditional performance practice. An audition may not restart due to any malfunction of an iPad.

Use of Tablets by Collaborative Pianists

  • The use of iPads and tablets as musical scores for collaborative pianists during all levels of NATS auditions has been approved and are held to the same standards of copyright as any other musical score used for auditions.
  • For clarification on appropriate use of tablets please visit the NATS Commonly Asked Copyright Questions for Teachers, Accompanists, and Students document located in the NATS Copyright Resource Center.
  • As long as the singer and pianist affirm that they are in compliance with the NATS Copyright Policy, the pianist may use a personal tablet to display a stored electronic version of sheet music. However, obvious copyright infringement will not be allowed, and may result in disqualification from the competition. Adjudicators are not copyright investigators. This is solely the job of the audition chairs. If audition chairs see obvious infringement (whether in digital or paper form), they are compelled to address it.

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May Chapters require two pieces instead of three for high school singers in their auditions?

High school age categories and younger in Chapter auditions may require two or three selections as best serves the needs and tradition of the Chapter or District. Region and National Auditions will require three selections in High School Categories.

May Chapters require two pieces instead of three for first and second year post high school categories in their auditions? Many post high school singers begin voice study with a new teacher and have only been taking voice lessons with their current teacher for four to five weeks.

All post high school categories remain at three or four selections as stated in the NSA regulations. Perhaps a combination of two new selections and one older piece is the solution for first year post high school categories.

May students sing for comment only in student NATS auditions at the Chapter and District level?

As the regulations state: Any student may register to sing for comments only and participate in the preliminary audition round.

What is the current National Student auditions category numbering system?

The regulations document has the details about the numbering system. Please send any questions to NSA Coordinator 

Are the regulations and logos posted online so that we can link to them from our website?

The NSA regulations and logos are available to download.

Can NATS entities add categories to their auditions that the National Student Auditions does not presently include in their audition? 

NATS encourages chapters and regions to create additional categories to address the inclusivity and diversity of all students and repertoire. Additional categories should be created to meet the needs of that entity’s membership. Currently, any additional chapter or region categories cannot advance to the national levels of our NSA.

NATS entities are encouraged to accommodate their adult students in auditions either combining or splitting them by experience or educational background. Current examples of categories available to chapters and regions, but do not advance to the national levels of NSA are:

Adult Avocational Categories
These categories are for adult student-singers who 1. have not earned a degree in music, 2. are not studying towards a degree in music, and/or 3. who do not work professionally in music. Degrees and/or professional work in music include all areas of music: music education, music therapy, music composition, music theorists, musicologists, instrumental performers, audio engineers, etc. Adult student-singers meeting conditions: 1, 2, and/or 3 listed above, who are aged 18-30 should enter their age/level of training NSA category OR when aged above the age-requirements for their level of study, should enter the Non-Traditional Categories (see below). Avocational categories may be subdivided into different subcategories as needed to define a range of ages or a range in levels of training.

Nontraditional Student Categories

These categories are for student-singers whose age or level of study falls outside the limits of other categories. An example: a student who takes a break from college and then returns. This voice student could easily be in their 2nd year of voice study post high school and be 24 years old, outside the 22 years age limit for all Lower Post High School categories. These Non-Traditional categories may be divided into different subcategories as needed to define a range of ages or a range in levels of training. Categories for ages younger than 18 years may be added to meet the membership's needs. A category for handicapped singers may also be added to the Non-Traditional Categories as needed.

The NSA committee encourages NATS entities to share their non-NSA category options with the NSA Coordinator to assist NATS entities with new ideas regarding possible new audition categories.

What is the best practice for implementing time intervals in an audition schedule?

Audition schedules should include a one or two-minute interval between performance times for singers to enter and leave the room as well as allowing adequate time for a collaborative pianist to travel from one student’s audition to the next.

If our Chapter cannot provide three adjudicators per category, what are our options?

NATS student auditions normally have an adjudication panel of three NATS members. If there are insufficient numbers of NATS teachers/members available for an audition category, a panel of two adjudicators can suffice. Professionals who are non-NATS members and who are familiar with NATS procedures, philosophy, and adjudication rubrics may be invited as guest adjudicators for NATS auditions.

Are NATS members allowed to participate in student auditions?

NATS teacher members who meet the requirements of a student audition category — age and years of study — may enter student auditions through the NATS member with whom they are currently studying, but they may not enter themselves in a NATS student audition. If they enter their students in the audition, they must be available to adjudicate a category as well as perform their audition.

How is a singer’s length of study determined in NATS student auditions?

Total voice study with a voice teacher (NATS Member or Non NATS Member) either in an independent studio or collegiate/conservatory program or in any combination is a determining factor in post-high school categories only.

Post-High School Voice Study:

  • Lower: any one or two years of post-high school study, all as an undergraduate.
  • Upper: any three to five years of post-high school study
  • Advanced: post-baccalaureate students, 6 or more years of post-high school study.

Any reasonable portion of a year will be counted as one year — even if the singer stops taking weekly lessons during a portion of that year, excepting if the singer is ill and unable or forbidden to sing during that time for medical reasons. For example, a student in an undergraduate program beginning their fifth semester of voice study is in their third year of post-high school study. 

Who should teacher members contact for issues regarding the age/years of study or gender identity constraints of singers in student auditions?

 Those teachers should contact the NSA Coordinator  .

How flexible are the NATS Student Audition Regulations for Chapters and Districts?

Chapters and Districts may adjust the regulations by: 

  • Combining categories will be done at the discretion of the auditions chair before the preliminary audition schedule is announced/published.
  • increasing the time limit for every audition in a category to facilitate scheduling, but never lowering the time limit in a category below the time limit listed in the NATS Categories of Entry document.
  • subdividing categories with large numbers of entrants—see examples in the NSA Categories of Entry document.
  • adding non-advancing NSA categories in Classical, Commercial Music, Musical Theatre, or other genres of music for a wider range of voice students to address the needs and diversity of the chapter or region membership.
  • including special awards for singers who are traditional to the Chapter/District/Region, Singer of the Year, Most Promising, Awards honoring performances of underrepresented vocal repertoire highlighted in NATS Advocacy Initiative, etc.
  • changing the number of rounds in the audition, the number of singers forwarded to semifinal/ final rounds or the number of prizes awarded to the singers.

Chapters and Districts must conform to:

  • Standardization of current branding, name recognition, and audition logos
  • NSA categories and their category numbers, length of study, age limits, and repertoire requirements
  • Audition terminology and scoring practices including the use of NATS rubrics in adjudication
  • The minimum singing times may be increased but not decreased

If there are not enough entrants in a category, e.g. we have three Upper Musical Theatre TBB entrants, are we allowed to combine them with another category and have combined Upper Musical Theatre Treble TBB?

Ideally, both categories would be adjudicated consecutively by the same group of adjudicators. In each category, adjudicators should only advance or award a finalist place to students whose auditions earned adjudication scores to warrant these honors.

What are the Site Procedures for all student auditions?

  • Each singer entered in the same category is allotted the same amount of time to perform. Singers select their first song or aria to perform. The adjudication panel requests subsequent selections until the audition reaches the time limit or the singers performs all repertoire entered. Time begins when the singer begins to announce their first selection.
  • Time continues to run between selections. In preliminary rounds, each adjudication panel chair should expedite a rotation cycle among the panel members for subsequent repertoire selections. Repertoire selections should be made without delay because time continues to run between selections.
  • During the audition, selections are to be sung in their entirety as prepared by the student and required by the NSA regulations, WITHOUT edits from adjudicators. Examples of prohibited edits are requesting a singer start at the B section or suggesting a student skip a prepared recitative and start with the aria or stopping a student in the middle of a piece to move on to the next selection.
  • Repertoire is heard as the time limit allows. If exceeding the audition’s time limit, all repertoire will not be heard. An audition reaching the time limit will end when the time limit is reached even if a selection is in progress. Teachers should inform their students of this possibility.
  • When an adjudicator or time-keeper calls or signals “stop,” the audition is completed and will end.

The NSA regulations state “Singers in all classifications will sing one song of their choice and then songs  selected by the adjudicators within the time limits.” Does this mean singers should sing for the full time limit, e.g. 8 minutes? We typically hear two pieces in the post high school lower categories and three in the upper, but if I understand this correctly, we are to have them sing until time or repertoire expires, whichever is first, correct?

Yes, singers should use the entire time limit unless the total of all selections is less than the time limit. There is no scoring penalty when a singer finishes performing all their entered repertoire before the time limit. Similarly, there is no scoring penalty when a singer does not finish performing all their entered repertoire before the time limit. Teachers and students are encouraged (but not required) to select repertoire that fills the time limit assigned to the category entered.

Is there any problem if students are under time in any category? Must repertoire fill the time provided?

The minimum/maximum time limits in the regulations accommodate entities that may already have shorter or longer time requirements in their categories. Teachers and students should be encouraged (but not required) to select repertoire that fills the time parameter assigned to a particular category. Audition personnel can keep the audition schedule running on time by adding some transition time (1-2 minutes) to the schedule between auditions. See the answer about audition time limits immediately above for more details.

Are semi-finals and/or finals required at the Chapter/District auditions? 

At the Chapter/District auditions, semi and final rounds are not required. Most Student Auditions have preliminary and final rounds. Larger enrollments may require semifinal rounds. Live or virtual auditions with a large number of singers in a category may be divided into two or more groups in the preliminary round.

OPTIONS: Depending on the structure and size of the auditions the following options are possible:

  • Preliminary round: All singers will be scored with comments. (Scoring will not be used in comments-only categories)
  • Quarterfinals or Semifinals (when necessary): All singers will be either (A) scored with comments OR (B) ranked numerically with or without comments.
  • Finals: All singers will be ranked numerically without comments.

No Semi-final Round: Occasions may occur where scoring indicates that no semifinal round is necessary in some categories (small numbers of entrants, small numbers advancing to the next round).

Do Chapter and District auditions need to use the same age limit eligibility dates for singer categories as the National Student Auditions?

Whenever Chapter and District Student Auditions do NOT serve to qualify singers to advance to their region’s NSA, the age limit eligibility may be adjusted to meet the needs of the membership. In student auditions that advance to their region’s NSA the published age-limits for each category must apply with the age of the student on September 1st in the audition cycle/academic year used to determine eligibility for entering a category of auditions in NSA.

Are all NATS entities using the same official logos and titles for their student auditions?

Yes. Standardizing the name of auditions organization-wide will assist in the branding, name recognition, and consistency of auditions as well as assisting singers and teachers when they relocate. NSA logos and titling instructions are found on page 4 of the NSA Regulations.

Are Chapters, Districts and Regions required to include the Hall Johnson Spiritual Category in their auditions during conference years?

There is no requirement to include this category but all entities are encouraged to include it in their offerings to student singers.

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Can the prize awards for categories reflect the current practice of our Chapter?

Yes, as stated on in the NSA Regulations, “Monetary prizes and other awards will be developed at the discretion of the entity holding auditions.”

If 2 or more students tie, the awards for that place and the next lower place(s) will be pooled and divided equally among the winners. All will be named the higher Place Winners. This policy holds for ties in all the places. When semifinalists tie advancing more than five students to finals, a certificate of "Honorable Mention" will be awarded to finalists placing lower than 5th place.

The NSA Regulations Document states, "All Student Auditions and National Student Auditions must use the same scoring system, enabling scoring data comparisons across all NATS Regions." Must all NATS entities adhere to the scoring system as well? Does this mean the scoring system only applies to Regional levels and above?

All NATS regions in this statement includes all entities within NATS regions — Chapter, District, Region, and National auditions. All student NATS auditions will use the same scoring system.

Our Chapter usually has less than 200 entrants in our auditions, so we never hold semifinals. Our practice has been to advance all worthy contestants who score two scores of 90 or higher or have an average score of 90 or higher. Under option 2 it says "the agreed upon number of singers based on scores will advance to the final round." Who agrees on the number? Can the chapter decide how many should advance to finals, e.g. all those who score two 90s...etc. or the top 7 singers with 90s or average of 90, etc.?

The Chapter should decide the number finalists for the audition. This number can be the current practice described but must use the scoring system provided in the NSA Regulations.

Based on our chapter's use of rubrics, they may be difficult to sell to a skeptical crowd. The question will be “What are the general standards for each category, or are we to use the one standard provided for all categories, in which case we may not have any finalists in the high school or lower college divisions as they are very unlikely to meet even the 80-89 descriptors?" How is it possible to modify that specific criteria based on a category without a category specific standard? It is like comparing an apple to an orange.

Adjudicators are required to adjust the level of accomplishment in the standards to the age and level of study of the students in the category auditioning. Most voice teachers teach a range of ages that would include multiple NSA categories. When teaching, voice teachers constantly adjust their expectations to the age and level of training of the student they are teaching. We ask the adjudicators to bring this expertise to their adjudications and base their comments and scores exclusively on the standards in the rubric. Standards vary in importance and will have different weights in the composite score of an audition.

The rubrics are essential to define a common definition of standards for all NSA events. The rubric is not the score sheet. The rubric defines standards as elements essential for excellence in vocal performance. These standards remind the adjudicators to address these issues in their comments and scoring: vocal tone, musicianship/accuracy, text/diction/language, breathing/physical alignment, artistry in communicating with the audience. Adjudicators will not be scoring on repertoire selection, appearance, or other observations. In vocal performance we do compare apples to oranges — no two voices are alike, and no two sets of adjudicator’s ears are alike. The adjudication of all art is subjective to some degree. Singers will continue to receive subjective responses to their performances and auditions for the remainder of their lives. NATS NSA provides a valuable service in providing teachers a wonderful opportunity to help their students learn now about subjective responses to their art and how to use comments and scores to plan a path forward to even better performances in the future. 

The national standard is stated in the first column of the adjudication rubric. The language describes the qualities an ideal singer will have. As adjudicators hear singers, they should compare the singer’s performance against the general standard for the category they are adjudicating.

What is meant by “NATS members who register students to audition are expected to serve as adjudicators as necessary to run successful auditions. (Regulations Document page 5)”

There are NATS entities (chapters/districts) that have established policies regarding adjudicating requiring a member who is not in attendance to find a substitute adjudicator, pay an absentee adjudicator fee, limit the use of the absenteeism, and/or the number of students the teacher may enter when they are not present. NATS entities should develop policies that best suit the needs of their auditions and their membership.

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May students re-record videos between the Region audition and the National Audition?

Videos may be re-recorded between the region audition and the national preliminary round, but the repertoire must be the same. All videos submitted in NSA at all levels must be one selection per video upload, with spoken introduction of the repertoire only, titled on an anonymous YouTube channel as NATS NSA — singer’s first & last name.

May students re-record videos between rounds of the National audition?

The videos that are submitted for the national preliminary round, will be used for all subsequent national rounds, which under circumstances prohibiting live national auditions, may be held virtually. No re-recording will be allowed between National Prelim, Semifinal, and Final rounds.

How old can video recordings be and still be eligible for use in the National Student Auditions?

Videos must be recorded within the current audition cycle. The current audition cycle runs from September 1st through the National Final's Award Presentation.

Have additional repertoire or copyright questions?

All questions specific to the rules and regulations, copyright, or about repertoire and requirements, should be directed in an email to the . Please include your name, chapter, district, and region as well as your audition category(s).

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