The Hartman Stickley Memorial Piano Competition was established in 1995 to honor the memory of Elnora Harman Stickley, to reward talented pianists in the Michiana area and to provide an excellent venue for young pianists to strengthen their performance skills, while gaining constructive feedback from highly qualified judges.

It is a yearly event sponsored by the South Bend Area Music Teachers Association and underwritten by the Elnora Hartman Stickley Scholarship Fund.  

Competing students are divided into six age categories. Winning and Honorable Mention students are awarded monetary scholarships to further their musical education. Students have the option of participating as a non-competitor, only to receive comments from the adjudicators. These students may declare themselves ineligible to win or place in the competition by checking the “non competitive status” box on the entry form. Non- competing entrants pay the same fees and are subject to the same requirements as competing entrants.

All ages indicated are as of March 1. No collegiate competitors allowed.

Division I, ages 7 and under, perform on March 5, four-minute time limit; Division II, ages 8 and 9, perform March 5, four-minute time limit; Division III, ages 10 and 11, perform March 5, 5-minute time limit; Division IV, ages 12 and 13, perform March 5, five-minute time limit; Division V,  ages 14 and 15, perform March 5, six-minute time limit; Division VI, ages 16 to 18, perform March 5, seven-minute time limit.

Audition times will depend upon enrollment., and scheduling will be randomly generated by computer.

The time limit is a maximum performance time during the competition. You may program shorter or longer pieces if desired, but see complete rules for more information.

To qualify, students or teachers must reside in one of the following counties: Berrien, Cass and St. Joseph counties, Michigan; Allen, Elkhart,     Kosciusko, LaGrange, LaPorte, Marshall, Noble, Joseph and Starke counties, Indiana.

Music must be memorized. A score with numbered measures must be provided for judges. Only students with scores will be eligible to win an award.

Cuts in longer pieces will be left to the discretion of the judges and should not be made by the teacher or student.

Only original solos are allowed. No arrangements or concerti will be heard. No transcriptions, unless they are written by the composer.

No more than two pieces per student will be accepted. This applies to movements of sonatinas, sonatas and suites. MTNA guidelines will be followed as to what constitutes apiece.

Photocopied music is not allowed unless a letter from publisher or the copyright holder is submitted.

The teacher must submit a fully completed application form accompanied by the non-refundable $20 entry fee per student ($40 per student for nonmembers) made payable to the South Bend Area Music Teachers Association (SBAMTA) and postmarked by the deadline. The $20 entrance fee applies to those who have paid their MTNA membership dues on or before Oct. 30.

Scheduling will be randomly generated by computer. There will be no changes of student order timeslot.

Competition awards will be as follows: winners:      Division VI, $175; Division V, $150; Division IV, $125; Division III, $100; Division II, $75; Division I, $50.

Honorable mentions:      Division VI, $75, Division V, $65, Division IV, $55; Division III, $45; Division II, $35; Division I $25.

In order to receive Stickley Competition monetary awards, winners are required to perform in, and honorable mentions are  required to attend the winners recital.

Sample repertoire lists will be available on

Participating teachers will be called to work at the festival and competition. If a participating teacher is not available, he/she must provide a substitute worker.

If a student has been studying with their current teacher for less than six consecutive months prior to March 1, the name of the previous teacher must be provided. Both teachers will be recognized in the printed program should that student win an award.

Repertoire submitted on the application form may not be changed. Repertoire previously performed in this festival and competition may not be repeated by the same performer.

Committee decisions are final. Judges’ decisions are final. It is the responsibility of the teacher, parent, or guardian to abide by all rules and regulations for this festival and competition. Failure to meet this responsibility will make the student ineligible to receive an award.

The judges will be: Level I - III, Tamar Mikeladze,  D.M.A, instructor of piano, Michigan State University; Joseph Bognar, D.M.A, associate professor of music, Valparaiso University; and Chi Yong Yun, D.M.A, professor of music, Andrews University.

Level IV - VI, Clare Longendyke, D.M.A, Lecturer; piano artist-in-residence, The University of Chicago; Tony Weinstein, D.M.A, assistant professor, DePauw University; and James Helton, D.M.A, professor of music performance, Ball State University.

Send application form and  payment to Paula Laskowski, 1325 Miner St., South Bend, IN 46617. Applications must be postmarked by Feb. 1.

Additional copies of the 2021 application and brochure may be found at Shirk’s Piano Gallery in Mishawaka.