A Quick Guide to Marching Band Contests




Who are they?

Ohio Music Education Association

Only the state of Ohio


Mid-States Band Association

Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana




How are bands classified?

By school enrollment


Class determined by number of students in grades 10-12:

•       AA: 901+

•       A: 501-900

•       B: 301-500

•       C: 300 and fewer

By band size


Class determined by number of playing members (does not include auxiliary):

•       Open: 101+

•       AAAA: 71-100

•       AAA: 51-70

•       AA: 36-50

•       A: 1-35



How many judges are there?

10 judges total


•       Two Music

•       Two General Effect

•       One Visual Performance

•       One Visual Effect

•       One Percussion

•       Two Auxiliary

•       One Timing & Penalties

Minimum of 7 judges


Three General Effect

1.    Music GE #1

2.    Music GE #2

3.    Visual GE

Two Performance

1.    Music Performance

2.    Visual Performance

Two Caption Judges

1.    Percussion

2.    Auxiliary

One Timing & Penalty



How are bands scored?

The final rating is determined by the average ratings of the music, visual,  GE,  and percussion judges.


Auxiliary scores are not calculated in the final rating; however, the auxiliary is taken into consideration by GE and Visual judges.


I. Superior
II. Excellent
III. Good
IV. Fair
V. Poor

Scoring is based on the following elements: 

•       Music GE – 40 points

•       Visual GE – 20 points

•       Music Performance – 20 pts

•       Visual Performance – 20 pts


Percussion and Auxiliary scores do not factor into the overall competition placement scores.



What awards are given?

Placement and specialty awards are given for each class:

•       First place band

•       Second place band, etc.

•       Best Auxiliary

•       Best Percussion


Awards are also given among the combined classes: •             Best Overall GE

•       Best Overall Visual

•       Best Overall Music

•       Grand Champion

Placement and specialty awards are given for each class:

•       Best Music

•       Best Visual

•       Best GE

•       Best Auxiliary

•       Best Percussion

•       Band Placement (rank order, by score)


Awards are also given among the combined classes:

•       Grand Champion

•       Reserve Grand Champion




How do we qualify?

Band must receive a Superior (I) rating at a local OMEA competition.

Band must perform in at least one regional MSBA competition to register for the preliminary round the morning of Finals.



Bands are given ratings only (I-V) and are not ranked against other bands. The goal for each band is to receive a Superior (I) rating.

Preliminaries determine which 10 bands advance to the finals, with the highest scoring bands advancing, regardless of class. Awards are given to the highest scoring bands in the finals.