Frequently Asked Questions

EZ Music Search helps you find the right contest music was created to assist band directors with locating music that is most appropriate for their students for contests, assessment, and festivals. Since retiring from full-time band directing and currently serving as a band clinician, consultant, and coach, I have noticed that many directors do not have the time or resources necessary to locate the most appropriate band literature for their programs. For those doing detailed research, it can be tedious, time-consuming, stressful, and exhausting. EZMusicSearch is a tool to make finding the right music as easy as possible.

A basic membership costs $40 per year (including Texas Sales Tax). Only Grade 1 contest literature has been reviewed so far, but additional reviews are added regularly. (Note that to keep costs down, it may take 1-2 business days before your paid membership is active.)

When I was a full time band director, I would sometimes feel overwhelmed realizing that right after the holidays I would need to have music selected and ready to start preparing for band contest/assessment. I often asked my colleagues for recommendations, however often the music that was recommended to me may have worked well for their bands, but was not always a good fit for mine. I would have loved to have a resource like this to help me narrow down possible contest music based on my band's strengths and weaknesses so the kids would have the best opportunity for success.

The purpose of the membership fee is to support in our goal to help as many band directors and students as possible. is an enormous undertaking, requiring countless hours creating the database and website, programming, reviewing and listening to music, notating useful information, finding helpful resources online, and more to help band directors and music education programs.

Regardless if you decide to become a member and support, this website will let you quickly find contest music based on title, composer, arranger, or grade. If possible, for many titles we will include a link to help non-members get started to do their own research to track down information, scores, and possibly recordings to help them find appropriate music for their band programs. The goal is to help band directors find the most appropriate music for the success of their band students.

If you believe in like we do, we hope you will decide to become a member. Members have access to a lot of information to reduce the time spent researching titles, and at the same time helping you find the right music for your band. Members can quickly get a list of titles based on time and key signatures, performance times, strong/weak instrumentation considerations, editor's top choices, most popular pieces, and more. Members also get useful editor's comments, along with links to recordings and scores as available. Note that the editor's comments are not the same as the promotional content provided by music publishers, but instead focus on things that matter to the director.

There are over 1,300 concert band contest/festival titles in the database. We have started this website with reviews of the majority of the Grade 1 Texas UIL band pieces, and we will be adding new reviews regularly. It takes quite a lot of time to review each piece, even a short one, and notate the time and key signatures, performance times, strong/weak instrumentation considerations, and decide if the piece should be an editor's top choice. In addition to our reviews, we designed the website so that any band director can submit comments and feedback for any of the contest/festival music that they have used. The goal is to help as many music educators as possible.

It is our goal to help you find the right music for your group with the least amount of effort.

  1. We suggest starting a search with the most important concerns for your group in mind. For example, if your band has weaker woodwinds and you feel like they would have the most success with a piece in Eb concert, select only those options on the search to begin. You can leave the other options as “no preference.” (Note that not all pieces have been reviewed. You can limit the search results to only show reviewed pieces.)
  2. If you have too many search results, then you may add additional search criteria to further limit the results.
  3. Feel free to click on each title to view editor's comments, see instrumentation considerations, decide if the key or time signatures are appropriate for your group, and click links to listen to online recordings and scores (as available).
  4. After you review the details about the music, you may quickly click the "back" button to return to your list of search results to explore the next piece.
  5. If you would like some quick suggestions, make sure to search for editor's choices or the most programmed pieces.

Many times if there are, for example, three flats in the concert pitch, that key could be in Eb major or C minor. It is also possible for that key to modulate to another completely different key or mode without changing the key signature. Many times composers will simply add accidentals to have a temporary change of key or mode. My experience is that if students know major scales such as Eb concert, they can easily learn C minor. Placing multiple keys and modes in a search bar will make the search results more limiting and overly confusing when it simply is not necessary.

No, if all or most of the players need to be strong to perform a piece well, we only will include more general information, such as “brass” or “woodwinds” rather than each instrument. We did this specifically to help directors more easily find music based on their needs. If there were as an example ten pieces that were considered easier than expected, and we marked every instrument as easy, then a director trying to accommodate a weak flute section would get all of those pieces when specifically the "flute" part was not easier than the other instruments. If you do not get many results from searching for a single instrument such as “flute,” you could then try expanding your search to something more general, such as "Upper Woodwinds" or "woodwinds."

The Editor’s Choice pieces are selected by the following criteria:
  1. Appropriateness of the piece for the grade level.
  2. Playability by the instrumentalists for the grade level.
  3. The Editor’s personal opinion of the musicality of the piece.
Note that a piece that the editor has really appreciated and enjoyed may not be on the Editor's Choice list because it is not appropriate musically for students at that particular grade level.