Solo & Ensemble Festival is an opportunity for individual students from member schools to perform a selection of their choice for adjudication. District-level festivals are held in late January through mid-February.
Each student or group of students is evaluated by one judge and rated on a scale of 1 to 5 with 1 being the highest rating possible. Students or groups that earn a rating of 1 (or "Superior") are qualified for State Solo & Ensemble Festival which is held in March. The basic structure of State Solo & Ensemble Festival is the same as District, but the students are held to a higher standard. Soloists in grades 10 through 12 must perform Proficiency Exams which include scales and sight reading. Students and ensembles that are chosen for the Michigan Youth Arts Festival Honors Band, Orchestra, Soloists and Ensembles come from the highest rated events at the State Festival. Participating students that earn a rating of 1 or 2 at District or State Festivals are eligible to purchase medals.