Guitar UIL in Texas
UIL is an academic competition, free to all public secondary school students in the state of Texas.
"UIL" stands for "The University Interscholastic League". For more about UIL, see below.
Who can compete?
Secondary school students.
If you are a middle or high school teacher, you can enter any or all of your guitar students in a UIL Solo contest and/or a UIL Small Ensemble contest in your Region.
High school students competing in the most difficult, challenging category (Class 1) have the opportunity to "go on to State", that is, they can move on to the second round at the University of Texas, Austin the last weekend in May.
Most public school students are eligible for UIL guitar competition. If there is no guitar teacher at the school, have students register through the Orchestra teacher.
Students must be passing all classes at the time of the UIL contest. (Note: if the student is ineligible to participate for any reason, the school still has to pay the fee for the contest entry or entries for the student).
Participation of Middle School students is based on policies and/or the discretion of your UIL Region Secretary. See * below. It is within the UIL rules for Middle School students to be allowed to compete at the Regional round. (They cannot move on to state).
High school students can compete once per year in either or both the Solo and Small Ensemble contests. (Regional and, potentially, State rounds for either or both S & SE).
When and where is UIL Region guitar? How do I sign up?
Regions are defined by TMEA. Find your region here: https://align.tmea.org/
Each region has a UIL Secretary. The UIL Region Secretary is responsible for organizing and running the Regional round of the UIL S & SE competition.
Guitar contests are usually the same day as Orchestra / Strings contests.
Sign-up deadlines and event dates are different for every region. Check with your UIL Region Secretary. Often sign-up is in December and the contest is a Saturday in January or February.
Many districts use this portal to register students, provide official forms and share schedules with directors: https://www.texasmusicforms.com/
Contact us if you need more assistance with questions about UIL Solo and Small Ensemble in your Region.
What pieces do the students play?
Thankfully we have a large, broad list of repertoire for Guitar Solo, Guitar Trio and Guitar Quartet maintained by the UIL committee, along with several generous volunteers.
It is called the "UIL Prescribed Music List," also known as the "PML" for guitar.
Here is the link: https://www.uiltexas.org/pml/
These are the Event Codes for Guitar:
405-Acoustical Guitar Solo
460-Miscellaneous String Ensemble (1 piece for violin and guitar)
Grade 3 are the "easiest" of the pieces, overall level is "Intermediate" in the range of all guitar repertoire,
Grade 2 are Intermediate level or Advanced level student pieces, and
Grade 1 are Professional level concert pieces.
EACH STUDENT can enter one (1) Solo and/or one (1) Trio or Quartet contest each school year.
Student Level: ----->
Elementary School ----->
Middle School ----->
High School ----->
UIL Contest Opportunities:
Prepare technique and reading for PML repertoire
Investigate (and challenge students to play) Class 3 UIL pieces
Regional UIL Solo and Small Ensemble *
Prepare students for High School S & SE
Regional S and/or SE Contest(s) all four (4) years
Excellent ratings for Class 1 pieces go on to State round
Student can potentially compete for eight (8) medal events in HS
* For Middle School: In your region you may have: (a) a district event equivalent to the UIL Region event, and/or (b) you can inquire with your UIL Region Secretary if middle school students can participate in UIL S & E in your Region. You may need to ask your Region Secretary, politely, respectfully, to allow you to enter your students in the guitar UIL S & SE contest(s). According to the most recent UIL Constitution, it is up to the discretion of the Secretary to include Middle School Guitar Programs. There will be entry fees for each student, and if your middle school doesn't participate in the UIL package for students, you will have to raise funds for each student entry (e.g., booster club funds, ask parents to cover the expense).
What pieces are recommended?
There are excellent pieces at all levels (Class 3, Class 2 or Class 1), both in the Solo and Small Ensemble lists.
First recommendation: Order and investigate pieces recently added to the PML lists. Pieces with the highest UIL ID numbers are the pieces most recently added. You can sort the lists by UIL-ID and go to the last page. These pieces have been recently requested (by guitar directors) and recently evaluated (by the Guitar PML Review Committee), and thus are the most likely to be currently in print and at a successful, appropriate level for students.
(Usually freshmen or Guitar 1 students should compete at Class 3 first year, Class 2 second year, and Class 1 third/fourth years. Students should not jump to Class 1 in their second year of guitar unless they have private guitar tutorials or a highly-qualified private guitar instructor).
Second recommendation: Purchase pieces that are currently in print and available from music publishers (like Productions d'Oz, among others). Evaluate the pieces measure by measure for your students and their music-reading and classical guitar technique abilities. Assign appropriate pieces to each student for their level of music-reading and classical guitar technique.
Third recommendation: Ask your colleagues in the TGDA or in your Region for recommendations of pieces.
Large Ensemble UIL
UIL also accredits competitions for Large Ensembles. Currently there are official UIL-accredited competitions for String Orchestra, Band, Choir, Mariachi and Jazz Ensemble.
The TGDA hopes to assist in applying for UIL accreditation for Large Guitar Ensemble Concert and Sight-Reading Contest, held locally in each Region.
As of today (Nov. 4, 2018), there are events similar to UIL C & SR events happening annually in several Regions. There are annual events in: Austin, Brownsville, El Paso and Houston. Other regions surrounding these areas are also invited to these events. Other similar events to UIL C & SR are being planned in additional metropolitan areas.
Contact us to get assistance organizing and running an Adjudicated Concert and Sight-Reading event for Secondary schools in your district or area! Developing educational quality, rigor and helpful adjudication is part of our mission at TGDA, and developing and supporting these events improves the status of guitar education from all points of view: the student, the teacher, school administration, district management, parent involvement, etc.