Mid-States Band Association



The following rules and guidelines have been established for hosting an MSBA sanctioned competition
(effective 09/01/2001, updated November/December 2017 [Highlighted]):

  1. The Competition Field

    1.1  The competition field shall be a regulation football field, lined every five yards, with hash marks (thirds) included. Visible markers shall be placed at the four corners and at the ends of the fifty yard line. A ten yard perimeter shall be provided at the entrance and exit areas.

    1.2  A zone (PIT) from 35 yard line to 35 yard line, five yards deep, shall be marked on the front of the field.

    1.2 Bands may breach any boundary during the natural development of the drill of their show with no penalty being given.

  2. Judges for Field Competition

    2.1 A minimum of seven (7) judges are needed (see rules 2.3, 2.4, 2.5, 2.6 and 2.7).

    2.2 All judges will be assigned by the Central States Judges Association.  Non CSJA members may be assigned at the request of the contest host.

    2.3 Three General Effect Judges: there shall be three General Effect judges for a Mid-States Band Show:
            - Music General Effect #1 (20 points)
            - Music General Effect #2 (20 points)
            - Visual General Effect (20 points)

    2.4 Two Performance Judges: there shall be two Performance judges for a Mid-States Band Show:
            - Music Performance (20 points)
            - Visual Performance (20 points)
    2.5 Two Caption Judges: there shall be two Caption judges for a Mid-States Band Show:
            - Percussion Performance
            - Auxiliary Performance

    Captions shall be judged separately for overall placement within the specific categories: the Percussion and Auxiliary caption scores will NOT factor into the competition placement scores determined in sections 2.3 and 2.4 above.

    2.6 One Timing and Penalty judge shall be used and shall be on or near the field.

2.7 All judges identified in sections 2.3, 2.4 and 2.5 should be located in, on or around the press box area.

2.8 All bands shall be supplied with a digital recording from each judge and MSBA evaluation sheets for each caption.


  1. Timing and Procedures

    3.1 Bands shall be scheduled on fifteen (15) minute intervals. A contest official will signal the competing bands to begin their Preset and Warm-up, which begins their 15 minute time block. Pit percussion must wait for the 15 minute block to begin to start setup.

    3.2 Bands may exit the field with a percussion cadence or rim taps.

    3.3 Judging shall begin with the first note of music or the first step by a performing member. All judges shall evaluate the entire show.

    3.4 The following AWARDS & ANNOUNCEMENTS format shall be required for each MSBA contest:
    For Each Class (or finals at championships):
            1. Best Music (total of all music scores)
            2. Best Visual (total of all visual scores)
            3. Best General Effect (total of all general effect scores)
            4. Best Field Commander (if judged)
            5. Best Auxiliary (if judged)
            6. Best Percussion (if judged)
            7. Band Placement AND Scores IN REVERSE ORDER (number of places and awards is at the discretion
                of the contest director)
    Overall, Regardless of Class:

            1. Reserve Grand Champion (optional)
            2. Grand Champion

  1. Field Rules and Penalties

    4.1 Timing penalties are one-tenth (0.1) point per three (3) seconds or fraction thereof per violation.
  2. Miscellaneous Rules and Options of the Contest Director

    5.1 The announcement for bands to start preset or warm-up and the competition show shall be as follows:
      1) <name> High School Band - you may enter the field for preset and warm-up;
         2) Drum Major(s) <names>, is your band ready?
         3) <name> High School Band - you may take the field for competition (exhibition).

    5.2 Should inclement weather cancel a field competition, you are encouraged to hold the competition indoors or at a stand-still. All non marched competitions will be held as a festival only format with taped comments only and no critique.

    5.3 Any infraction or improper conduct for which no rule is given may be grounds for warning or penalty by the contest chair. A penalty from a minimum of one-tenth (0.1) point to a maximum of "disqualification" may be assessed. Such judgments will be rendered by the contest chair after consultation with the head judge.

    5.4 Field Commander Award: No award shall be given unless there is a separate judge specifically assigned to evaluate the Field Commander performances. THIS RATING IS NOT INCLUDED IN DETERMINING THE BAND'S COMPETITION SCORE.

    5.5 Auxiliary Award: No award shall be given unless there is a separate judge specifically assigned to evaluate the Auxiliary performances. THIS RATING IS NOT INCLUDED IN DETERMINING THE BAND'S COMPETITION SCORE.

    5.6 Percussion Award: No award shall be given unless there is a separate judge specifically assigned to evaluate the Percussion performances. THIS RATING IS NOT INCLUDED IN DETERMINING THE BAND'S COMPETITION SCORE.

    NOTE: If any judge is hired locally (NOT a Central States Judge), the judge shall have no affiliation with any band competing at the event.

    5.4 All house rules (i.e.- all weather tracks, off-limits areas, etc.) shall be followed providing the contest chair has notified all competing bands of such rules.

  3. Preliminaries and Finals
    6.1 Finalist bands will be chosen using the following format: The highest scoring bands at the performance site regardless of class.

    6.2 The number of finalist bands will be determined by the size of the competition.  If there are 30 bands, then there may be up to 15 finalist bands.  If there are only 12 bands in the competition, then there should be 6 finalist bands.  In general, there should be no more than one-half of the bands performing in the preliminary competition that progress to finals.

    6.2  In order to participate in the MSBA Championship competition, a band must perform in at least one local MSBA competition.

        6.3 Bands shall perform by Post Mark IN REVERSE ORDER for the Championship Preliminary Contest.

        6.4 Bands will draw for finals order.  The bottom five scores will draw for slots 10-6.  The top five
        scores will draw for slots 5-1
(performance slots are in descending order: slot 10 performs first,
        slot 1 performs last).

6.5 All decisions at an independent show are at the direction of the contest host, chief judge and with directors input when necessary.

6.6  Any band not honoring their entry into an independent show shall be slotted first during the MSBA Championships preliminary competition.  The reason for the band's non attendance must be approved by the host school and the Excecutive Director and President of MSBA to avoid this penalty.

6.7  No recap sheets will be distributed between prelims and finals at the MSBA Championships.  Recap sheets will be distributed after finals.

  1. band classification

    7.1 The classifications are determined by the number of winds, percussion and electronics performers.  Any auxiliary person that plays a wind, percussion or electronics instrument at any time during the show shall be counted as a playing member for the purpose of determining a band's class.

    7.2 Bands are classified according to rule 7.1 and are categorized as follows:

     Class A    1 - 35 playing members   Class AAA  51 - 70    playing members
     Class AA  36 - 50 playing members    Class AAAA  71 - 100  playing members   
         Open       101+  playing members

    7.3 The competing band must declare their class for championships by the last Monday in September.

    7.4 Physically Challenged Performers:  MSBA embraces the inclusion of all students and reaches out to any physically challenged students that have the desire to perform.  There are no penalties for any handler or anyone assisting a physically challenged student and handlers/assistants will not be counted as performing members.


8.1 The fall meeting of MSBA will be held annually the first Wednesday after Thanksgiving.  This will be a DIRECTORS ONLY meeting.  Site to be determined and posted on the website.


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