High School Composition & Songwriting Competition

Young songwriters and composers

Quick Info


No fee


   Grand Prize $250
   Runner up $100
   Runner up $100

   Grand Prize $250
   Runner up $100
   Runner up $100

2024-25 Submission Deadline


Announcement of Winners


2023 Official Rules

 Contest rules (PDF)

The High School Composition and Songwriting Competition is an opportunity for young musicians to develop their skills. If you are a student preparing for post-secondary studies in music, this is a good way to prepare and learn about best recording practices.

Two categories will be judged individually, with the winner of each category awarded a grand prize of $250. Two runners up in each category will be awarded a prize of $100 each. In addition to cash prizes, the winners and runners up will be offered a lesson or coaching opportunity at the Don Wright Faculty of Music!

The contest categories are:

  • Songwriting (contemporary song)
  • Composition (a piece of music in a classical genre or film score style)

What’s the catch?
There is no catch, no strings attached. You have no obligation to attend Western if you are a prize winner, but we'd love to see you here!

Last Year's Contest Information 

Submission Requirements

  • Only those students currently attending a Canadian High School are eligible to participate.
  • All participants must submit a video recording of 1-2 selections, with a combined length of no more than 10 minutes (criteria below).
  • Songwriters and composers can have others perform their music, or it may be generated on laptop or other electronic instrument.
  • Recordings can be submitted by YouTube link (visibility may be set to "unlisted"), Vimeo link (privacy may be set to "only people with a password"—but be sure to provide the password during registration).
  • Video recordings must be must be of high quality, especially the audio.

Criteria for composers

  • Originality within the idiom of classical or film music
  • idiomatic writing for instruments/voice; effective combining of instrumental/vocal components (orchestration); convincing harmonic/melodic/rhythmic language.

Criteria for songwriters

  • Originality within the idiom of popular music songwriting
  • Effective use of voice and instruments and/or technology
  • Compelling, unique lyrics

Who is adjudicating the competition?

The 2023 competition adjudicators were:

  • Composition: Omar Daniel, Chair of Music Research and Composition, Associate Professor, Composition
  • Songwriting: Norma Coates, Associate Professor, Music History, Popular Music Studies 

What is the submission deadline?

The submission deadline for the 2024-25 contest is TBA.

Registration and Official Rules

Click here to view the official contest rules.

To register, click the button below. Happy composing, and best of luck! 
Under 18? You'll need a parent or guardian to help you finalize & submit your entry. 




Congratulations to the winners of the 2023 High School Competition! For full details and adjudicator insights, read the full announcement here.


Grand Prize: Logan Ouimet (pictured below, left)
Runner Up: Alvin Aung
Runner Up: John Waterfield (pictured below, right) 

High School Competition Winners, Composition


Grand Prize: Alyssa Zahtila (pictured below, left)
Runner Up: Una Roulston (pictured below, center)
Runner Up: Paige Ashley (pictured below, right)

High School Competition winners, Songwriting

Contact Us

Sasha Gorbasew
Recruitment Coordinator
519-661-2111 x80532