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For more information - just click on one of the 4 categories below and open up the FAQs

  • What can I expect at the Birmingham Music Festival 2023?
    We think the Birmingham Music Festival is one of the best piano competitions around. Here’s why: As a specialist piano festival we have top quality grand pianos, including a Steinway Model D in Ruddock Hall, which properly react to the pianist’s touch and allow a full expressive range. We use specialist piano adjudicators. Our two music theatres are comfortable and conducive to performance. The Ruddock Hall is a high quality concert venue. We offer 19 different classes covering all pianists skills and age ranges, all of which are “own choice” classes. All class winners receive an invitation to play in our free Summer Concert held in the year following the Festival. We have plenty of free parking and for those using public transport we are on several bus routes and only a 10 minute walk from University Station
  • How many theatres are there?
    We have 2 theatres operating simultaneously on the Saturday and Sunday: the Ruddock Hall and the Osborn Room. The Ruddock Hall is equipped with a Steinway Model D piano. The Osborn Room also has a quality grand piano. The Ruddock Hall is a premier performance space used for all of our senior open classes; the Osborn Hall is used for classes with a large number of entrants with space for a larger audience. Click here for a slideshow and more info about our venue For more information about our adjudicators please click here >>
  • Are there any refreshments available on the day?
    Only tea, coffee and water are available in the Ruddock Performing Arts Centre. Attendees wishing to eat lunch are welcome to bring their own food and there are pleasant places to eat in the foyer and also in the grounds outside. There are some eating places in Birmingham University immediately across the road opposite the entrance Schools. Alternatively, there are a selection of local eating places available nearby in Selly Oak for people with a car within 5 minutes. Just turn left out of the King Edwards School, then turn right back onto the Bristol Road South where you will find a large range of pubs, cafes and sandwich shops.
  • Do you have any practice pianos?
    Neither the BMF or The Ruddock Performing Arts Centre provide practice pianos. Nevertheless, Vale Pianos will be exhibiting a display of some of their pianos and these will be available for participants to play throughout the days of the Festival. Players are welcome to use them but should not monopolise them to the detriment of other participants. Competitors will be allowed to play a few bars from their piece or a practice scale at the start of their performance if they wish.
  • Can friends and family attend?
    YES we welcome friends and family and would believe an audience can really lift a performance.
  • How much does it cost to attend?
    Players are not charged an additional fee beyond their class entry fees. Supporters will be charged a modest entry fee on the door, which allows entry to all classes all day. For those with large families we will offer a family discount. Everybody is encouraged to attend as many classes as they like during the day, not just the ones that they are playing or have a particular interest in. Everybody, especially younger players, learn by hearing others play and then hearing the adjudicators’ comments on someone else’s playing. Although we are a competition, the main benefit from playing in a festival is not winning but the opportunity to end the day in a position to be a better player than you started it, and of course to enjoy yourself.
  • What should a player wear?
    Remember that you will be giving a public performance, and visual impressions are also important. You should wear clothes that are comfortable and allow you to play at your best. Most players wear casual clothes although a few dress more formally. If you are dressed in smart but unfussy clothes you are more likely to play more confidently and appear to be in control of you performance.
  • Can someone make a video or recording of my performance?
    We’re afraid not. There are simply too many performing rights issues and other legal pitfalls were we to allow this. Please see our Child Protection Policy for more information In any case, making any form of recording is often disturbing to performers and audience alike..
  • How do I enter the Birmingham Music  Festival?
    Entering the Birmingham Music Festival is easy - you can enter online via our Enter the Festival page. Click on the class you are interested in and complete the entry form. You can then 'checkout' with secure card payment. For more detailed information click on 'Online Entry' above.
  • What is the entry deadline?
    Final date for entry is 31 July 2023 or earlier if we reach our capacity before then. Some classes do become oversubscribed so early entry is therefore advised to be sure of gaining a place in your chosen classes.
  • How do I pay my entry fees?
    Please use our online entry system as this is both secure and has an audit trail where we can trace orders. You will receive an email confirming your entry, the classes entered, the music and the duration. If you have entered more than one competitor, the email will show you which entrant has been entered for which class. Please use a debit rather than a credit card as transcation charges to the Festival are lower.
  • What do I do if I have entered the wrong piece of music/composer on my entry form/online order?
    Please contact us immediately using our website enquiry form here >> We will endeavour to rectify the problem. However, we cannot guarantee being able to do so. We will not accept the wholesale changes of a piece of music in a class as a way of substituting a completely different piece of music. Please also note that PRS rules require that absolutely no changes can be made after the draft Festival Programme has been sent to the printers.
  • What happens after I have entered the festival?
    Please click on 'What happens when I enter the Festival' above...
  • How do I enter?
    How to enter... > Go to our Enter the Festival page ​ > Open the entry for the class you are interested in by hovering your mouse over the box and clicking Enter this class. > This will open the form. On the left will be a description of the class and who can enter and on the right will be the form that needs to be completed. > If you do not wish to enter the class, just click Return to list of classes to go back to the class list. > If you do wish to enter - just fill out the fields and click Enter this class. > Repeat the steps above for each class you wish to enter. > If you are a teacher and have a number of students to enter into the same class (or classes), click on the class to enter, fill out the form, click Enter this class, then enter the info for the next student and press the button above the checkout where HERE is. You will know you've entered the second entrant correctly when a tick appears. Remember if you do not enter new information you may be charged for entering the same student. > When you are ready - just go to the checkout to pay for all your entries all in one go. The checkout will take you to secure payment portal to complete your purchase - just use your payment card, please use a debit rather than credit card if possible as our transaction costs will be lower.
  • How do I enter more than one person for the same class?
    One of the great advantages of booking online is that it saves you time on multiple entries. To enter more than one competitor for the same class simply fill out the music, composer, duration and name of the competitor for the first person. Then click 'Add to Basket'. You will see a little pop up basket showing the entry for the first person. Then fill out the music, composer, duration and name of the competitor for the second person - you may have to delete and replace the text in each box. Then click 'Add to Basket' again. You will see the second person's entry for that class added into the basket under the first person's. This is great if you are a teacher and a lot of your students are playing the same piece of music in each class (particularly the grade classes) because all you have to change is the entrant's name as the music, composer and duration will stay the same. If you don't change the details then you will see your basket filling up with entries for the same person!!!
  • Can I enter more than one class at a time online
    YES - just fill out the information of the first class you want to enter, then click 'Add to Basket'. You will see a little pop up basket showing your entry. Then move onto the next class, enter the information again, then click 'Add to Basket'. You will see the second class added into the basket under the first one. You can keep entering more and more classes in the same way. You can then pay once at the end when you have finished entering all your classes. It’s as easy as buying from any reputable online vendor really.
  • I am a teacher - can I use the online booking system?
    YES - we have designed it with teachers who have a large number of students in mind.
  • I have made a mistake - the entry in the basket is WRONG!
    This is really simple to sort out. If you look at the wrong entry in basket you will see a little 'x' next to it - click it. This will delete the entry. You are now free to re-enter the class correctly.
  • Is the payment secure?
    YES in the background we are using Ecwid to provide our online entry system - this is a very respected online payment system proviing a secure way for you to enter the Festival. So once you have finished filling out your entry and click 'Enter Now' you are transferred to their secure payment site. The BMF site and Ecwid have a current secure certificate - you can see this on our URL where it's
  • I have returned to the website to enter additional classes and the basket has appeared showing my last entry
    This is very rare and is caused by the way your internet browser is set up or if you are using an older version of Windows and Internet Explorer. All you need to do is clear out your internet history (or cache). It is slightly different for each internet browser. The most common way is to just click Ctrl+Shift+Delete and make sure 'Temporary Internet Files' and 'Clear Form Data' are selected > then click Delete and this will wipe out your previous entries. > Then just click F5 to refresh. For far more detailed information please follow this link >> (Birmingham Music Festival is not responsible for the content of external websites). Alternatively, clear the basket by clicking the little ‘x’ next to each entry.
  • Do I need a Paypal account to enter?
    NO - you can enter your debit card details when you complete your entry.
  • What happens after I've entered?
    A few moments after you have paid online, you will receive an email confirming your payment and your entry. A few months after the entry deadline you will be emailed a pack with the times and location of your classes. This personalised schedule is really good because it tells you exactly where each entrant needs to be. Some competitors who have entered quite a few classes may find that they have to move from theatre to theatre in a different order to what would appear logical from the programme - the schedule tells you the correct class order. The pack will also contain a pass for each entrant and further information about the Festival. If you have ordered a programme we will post it out to you as soon as it is available.
  • Coronavirus safeguards
    At this stage nobody knows what the future holds. But if anything unexpected happens with the Government's planned release from lockdown or there is another wave of the virus causing the return of covid restrictions we would like to reassure everybody of the following points: The Festival will only go ahead in its usual format if Government advice is that no material coronavirus precautions are needed. In the event that we are affected by coronavirus restrictions but are able to stage a reduced scale Festival, primary responsibility for ensuring that the environment is safe rests with the experienced management at the Performing Arts Centre. The BMF will fully support and cooperate with their decisions. It is not possible to predict with certainty in advance what will prove to be necessary, but our discussions with the management at the Performing Arts Centre have indicated that it will include as much of the following protocol as is advised by the Government at the time any restrictions are introduced: On entry all adults may have to provide evidence that those attending are covid free, whether having been vaccinated, or are able to provide evidence of a recent negative test (or to take one on entry), or evidence of having had covid previously with anti-bodies remaining in the person. This proposal has been under consideration but at the time of writing has not yet been decided upon by the Government. A one-way system throughout the building. This is easy to organise in a building the size of the Performing Arts Centre and a theatre the size of Ruddock Hall. The performance arena will be thoroughly sanitised after every class. Persons will be instructed where to sit for the duration of each class in a socially distanced way within their household bubbles. This will reduce the time spent on sanitisation procedures between classes, allowing us to hold more classes and performances. Mandatory use of face coverings except for performers whilst playing and others whilst eating or drinking, or for those who are legally exempt. Use of hand-sanitiser provided on entry to the building and to every room (including the toilets). All performers to use hand sanitiser immediately before playing. No page turners allowed unless from the same household bubble. The adjudicator will make allowance for awkward page turns as happens in examinations. The keyboard and piano stool will be sanitised by Ruddock Hall staff after each performance. No refreshments will be available. People attending may bring their own and eat and drink inside the building in a socially distanced way, or outside. No trophies or certificates will be awarded, to avoid unnecessary close contact. If necessary and for the same reason, adjudication sheets will be scanned and forwarded by email after the Festival. Any other actions which the Government implements or recommends. If possible we will avoid the handling of cash for audience admissions and programme sales. Hopefully none of the above will be necessary and we will be able to run the Festival as normal without any restrictions, but the safety of those attending must and will remain our main concern.
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