JazzQuest competition details

JazzQuest offers young jazz musicians a chance to mix, mingle with and challenge themselves against others from around New Zealand.

If you're interested in competing or supporting the competition, details are as follows:

  • The competition is divided up into Big Band (13-25), Ensemble (8-12) and Combo (3-7)
  • Each band gives a 20 minute performance, and groups need to get on stage, set up, play and get off stage within 30 minutes.
  • The chosen repertoire should reflect a diversity of jazz styles, and include at least one swing piece.
  • Your performance time and warm-up room will be advised in late June. The warm-up rooms are available for an hour before performance time.
  • A drum kit, piano, bass amp, keyboard amp, two guitar amps, three microphones, chairs and music stands will be provided for the performance. Warm up rooms will be set up with a piano, drum kit and amplifiers.
  • All groups and musicians must remain present at the approximately two hour session in which their group is scheduled for performance to remain eligible for an award.
  • An awards concert featuring MusicArts students, graduates and staff will be held at 5pm on Sunday 7 August. Awards and certificates will be handed out at this concert. 


All groups competing will receive a percentage mark and written comment. Assessment is based on intonation, balance, presentation, tightness/phrasing, repertoire and improvisation.


Groups will be graded in the above areas, and will be eligible for Gold, Silver and Bronze certificates in each section, as follows: 

  • Gold certificate: 85-100%
  • Silver certificate: 75-84%
  • Bronze certificate: 65-74%

In addition, awards will be presented for:

  • Best musician
  • Best original composition
  • Best Big Band
  • Best Combo
  • Best Ensemble

Entry fees

  • Combo - $100
  • Ensemble - $125
  • Big Band - $150

General admission

The public are encouraged to attend all competition sessions, and admission is by gold coin donation at the door.

Conditions of entry

  1. The competition is open to full time secondary school students. Bands with primary school students are able to apply for entry, and will be included in the competition if space allows.
  2. Participants must be 19 years of age or younger at the time of the competition.
  3. Big bands are not to exceed 25 members.
  4. One school staff member can be part of the band. Additional staff members will result in the band not being scored or being eligible for an award.
  5. Schools can enter as many groups as they like.
  6. Individuals can perform in big band, ensemble and combo sections, but may perform in only one band from each section. An individual can only perform in a maximum of two bands.
  7. Two schools may join to form a group provided they stipulate this on the entry form. Only one entry form is required.
  8. Copies of scores must be presented on the day of the event by a representative of the participating group, prior to their performance. Please hand them to a JazzQuest staff member on arrival at the competition. These copies will not be returned. 
  9. Schools are responsible for adhering to the relevant copyright laws - JazzQuest accepts no responsibility for infringements.

If you have any questions regarding JazzQuest, please contact Rebecca De Prospo at rebecca.deprospo@ara.ac.nz