Young Performer Awards

YPA is back, by popular demand!  Open to musicians of all ages and experience levels and modeled after prestigious regional and national competitions, the Young Performer Awards allow participants the opportunity to perform for an expert evaluator via a live, web-based video meeting using Skype.  The evaluator will provide feedback and a series of ratings for each piece.  Other optional elements will include the “Scale Olympics” technical trial (for pianists) and a Blue Ribbon Recital for the top performers in some regions.

Ribbons will be awarded based on aggregate performance ratings for each piece.  Ratings will factor in the playing experience level of the participant, so even relatively inexperienced performers will have a chance to shine! Students of all experience and skill levels are strongly encouraged to participate.

YPA is open to the general public as well as Piano Lessons in Your Home clients for piano, guitar, violin, and voice.  Adjudication will take place in early March 2019, with Blue Ribbon Recitals to follow (dates and locations TBA).  Read on for more details!

$15 for current and former PLIYH students

$20 for non-PLIYH students



Piano Recital


Participant selects one or two pieces to perform for the expert evaluator(s), who rate the performance on multiple dimensions with written feedback.  Each piece receives an aggregate rating that corresponds with an award level, with Blue Ribbon the highest.  Rating scales are adjusted based on the player's experience, so that a well-prepared player of any experience level has a shot at the Blue Ribbon!

Grand Piano

Scale Olympics

Pianists may choose to participate in this optional event, wherein the player is rated on his or her technical ability to perform a series of scales.  The participant self-selects one of three tiers: Beginning, Intermediate or Advanced.  Tier descriptions will be available upon registration, or in advance by emailing us at  The Scale Olympics are only open to Performance Evaluation participants. 

Piano Concert Hall

Blue Ribbon Recital

In select cities, those who earn Blue Ribbons will be invited to perform in a special Blue Ribbon Recital following the conclusion of the adjudication period.  Again, beginner and intermediate players may also qualify for the Blue Ribbon Recital based on preparedness.  Locations and dates will be announced in mid-February.  This is an optional event to recognize our top performers!

YPA Frequently Asked Questions

Young Performer Awards

I'm concerned that YPA may not be right for me.

If you actively practice piano, guitar, voice or a stringed instrument, yes! YPA is open to musicians young and old, from beginner to advanced. Performance evaluations and Scale Olympics will be tailored to your experience level, so less experienced players can expect as much developmental benefit as those who have played for decades. Every musician who prepares for the event may expect a reward.

Why should I participate in YPA?

The benefits to participants are numerous, even if you do not plan to attend or do not qualify for a Blue Ribbon recital. Preparing to play for an adjudicator who is not your normal teacher or coach offers the following benefits, among others: 1. Personalized written feedback to improve your musicianship. 2. Independent confirmation of the feedback you receive from your regular teacher, and a yardstick against performers of similar experience levels. 3. Development of intertwined goal-setting and practice habits that are transferable to other non-musical pursuits. 4. The confidence from playing for a discriminating audience. 5. Recognition for your diligence and skill.

How do I select my piece(s)?

If you are actively taking lessons, be sure to consult with your teacher. The piece(s) may stretch you a bit, but it's most important to select a piece or pieces that you think you will be able to play in polished form in the timeframe allotted. In this case, evaluations will occur in the first two weeks of March 2019. This piece may be something you have already spent significant time practicing rather than one that is altogether new. Beginning players may select pieces as straightforward as a brief exercise from a method book. The only limiting factor is that adjudication sessions (including Scale Olympics) will be scheduled for 15 minutes apiece. Participants who perform two pieces AND scales will want to limit their two pieces to no more than ten minutes combined.

Who will evaluate my performance?

One or more of the expert teachers of Piano Lessons in Your Home will evaluate your performance and scales (if applicable). While your PLIYH may be participating as an evaluator for YPA, he or she will not be the lead evaluator for your performance. You will receive more information about your specific evaluator later on in the registration process.

What should I expect on the day of the evaluation?

At your appointed time, your evaluator will contact you via the application and user ID you provided during the registration process. After a brief introduction, you will be asked to play your piece(s) for the performance evaluation, followed by your scales if you have opted to participate in the Scale Olympics. Your evaluator(s) will be scoring you during these elements but will not provide immediate, detailed feedback. You will receive that feedback within one week following the evaluation. You SHOULD expect an encouraging, positive experience, so there's no need to be nervous!

How will the video portion work?

You will need an internet connection and a connected device (e.g. laptop, smartphone or tablet) with a camera and microphone. The camera should be situated so that the evaluator can not only hear but also see the hands of the performer. Skype, our preferred application, is available as a free app on many devices, but also as a site you can access using a web browser. You will need to create an account with a user ID, and provide that ID at registration so that the evaluator knows how to reach you at the time of your appointment. If for some reason you suspect that Skype may not work for your evaluation, you may request in advance that we utilize another program with similar functionality.

Can I participate in the Scale Olympics without undergoing the Performance Evaluation?

No. The Performance Evaluation may be entered as a standalone event without the Scales, but not vice versa.

What skills will I be expected to demonstrate during the Scale Olympics?

It will depend upon which tier you select - Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced. Specific details will be available upon registration. If you wish to receive further information about what is expected for each of the three tiers, please consult your PLIYH teacher or email

What happened to the Theory Skill-a-thon?

The spring 2019 YPA events will not include a Theory element. We hope to restore this element to future YPA events.

How do I enroll and select my time slot?

Registration will open on Friday, February 8 and will be accessible online via the button at the top right of this web page. Time slots for early March will be visible at that time and will be available on a first-come, first-served basis. We anticipate offering a variety of time slots on afternoons, evenings and weekends to give all interested musicians the opportunity to participate.

Do I need to wait until I register to begin preparing?

Not at all! Consult with your teacher now, or begin preparing the piece(s) that you think will be best suited for you and this event given what you have read so far.

Do I need to memorize the piece(s) for my performance evaluation?

Musicians are not required to memorize pieces for YPA, but may elect to do so. While performers who do not memorize a piece will not be "penalized" in the evaluation, an attempt to play a piece from memory will be acknowledged and recognized by the evaluator.