The Foundation for Music Education is a not-for-profit organization committed to the support and advancement of music education.


The Mark of Excellence project seeks to recognize and award outstanding achievement in performance by high school and middle school jazz ensembles. The project will gather entries from throughout the United States and provide valuable feedback for all entrants. A unique competitive environment is created which allows jazz ensembles to compare their performance quality to other outstanding ensembles from across the country.


Directors upload a WAV file recording of their ensemble from the current 2023-24 school year. The adjudicator will listen to entries and provide detailed recorded comments and brief written comments. All entrants will receive a compilation recording of the winning jazz performances. Winners will also be recognized in regional and/or national publications and at national and regional conventions. National winners will receive a trophy and commended winners will receive a plaque. It is hoped the critiques and the compilation recordings will prove helpful in improving performances in high school and middle school jazz ensembles.


1. Upload a WAV file recording, mail one set of scores (if available) with two (2) or three (3) selections. These selections may be of any level or source, but higher consideration will be given to works of appropriate difficulty for the ensemble. Entrants are encouraged to submit selections of varying styles.
2. The adjudicator will listen to recordings and record a live critique commentary, as well as brief written comments.
3. The level one adjudicator will select the top 25% as the National winners. The National winners will
be recognized in regional and/or national publications and at national and regional conferences. Winners will receive a trophy.
4. The second 25% will receive Commended status, will be recognized in regional and/or national publications and receive a plaque.
5. The adjudicator will pick selections for inclusion in the compilation recording of the winners which is provided to all entrants.
6. The Open Class could include a combo or non-traditional instrumentation group from a single school. It could include a regionally based group similar to a youth orchestra. It would NOT include a professional group or post-high school age students.
7. If you wish for your students to be considered for an outstanding soloist award, please list their names and instruments in the Music Selection box of the registration form.


June 5, 2024 (Results announced September 15, 2024)


• High School Jazz Ensemble
• Middle School Jazz Ensemble
• Open Class


After submitting the form online application, print a copy and include with the entry materials.
• Copy of the online application
• One set of scores with the school name deleted (optional)
• $375.00 application fee (Check payable to The Foundation for Music Education/Mark Of Excellence)
• Postmark Deadline is June 5, 2024

Mail to:

Rick Yancey
Mark of Excellence Registrations
39 Travis Park Dr.
Sugar Land, TX 77479


Will my scores and materials be returned?

How will I receive my compilation recording?
You will receive a download code to download the recording from Mark Custom Recording.


If you wish your students to be considered for outstanding soloist awards, attach their names to the registration form as follows.
Example: Feelin’ It
Alto Sax, Jon Weeks
Guitar, Karen Tsai

What if I only have a video recording of my ensemble?
Please contact your local recording professional to extract a WAV audio file.  If that is a problem or too expensive, please contact us for assistance.

>>> Click to Register <<<