IPA Songwriter’s Competition: Instructions, Eligibility, Rules/Awards.


  1. 1. Compose your song (under 5 minutes in length).
  2. 2. All vocal songs must be primarily in English. You may include a few words or phrases from other languages.
  3. 3. Record a rough demo of your song and save it as an MP3 file.
  4. 4. Create a lead sheet either in pencil or using music notation software and save it as a PDF file.
  5. 5. If it is vocal, type or handwrite the lyrics and save them as a PDF file.
  6. 6. Fill out the IPA Young Songwriter’s Submission Form on the www.ipapolkas.com website.
  7. 7. Upload the Lead Sheet PDF, Lyric Sheet PDF, MP3 Song Demo, and the Submission Form
  8. 8. All entries must include an audio recording demo of the song that best represents the song idea in MP3 file format. This demo must include the melody (either sung if a vocal, or played on a solo instrument if an instrumental) and accompaniment to show chords. The accompaniment can be played by any instrument such as piano, guitar, accordion, concertina, etc. The demo does not need to be professionally produced but needs to clearly represent your song. If the melody and/or lyrics cannot be clearly heard on the demo the song may be rejected at the digression of the IPA judges.
  9. 9. For examples of a Lead Sheet please visit: Sample Lead Sheet
  10. 10. For questions, please email composer@ipapolkas.com 


  1. 11. The First Place Winner of the previous year is NOT eligible to submit any songs, either as a sole composition or as a cowriter. The previous year’s winner must skip the following year’s competition after winning but will be eligible the next year.
  2. 12. Age requirement: This competition is open to anyone between the ages of fifteen (15) and thirty-nine (39) years of age as of July 15, 2021. The contest is open to amateur and professional songwriters. Immediate family members of the Board of Trustees for the IPA are not eligible.
  3. 13. Each song submitted must be the contestant’s original work. Songs may not exceed five (5) minutes in length. Songs can be either a polka or a waltz in any style (Polish, German, Slovenian, Tex-Mex, etc). Songs can be either a vocal with lyrics or an instrumental.
  4. 14. Songs must not have been previously recorded or broadcast in any public media including YouTube, social media, and digital download.
  5. 15. Songs may have multiple co-writers and all composers need to fill out a separate submission form. All co-writers must meet the age requirement.
  6. 16. A contestant may submit as many songs as he/she wishes, but each entry requires a separate submission with an MP3 file, lead sheet, entry form, and lyrics (when applicable).

Rules and Awards

  1. 16. The IPA (International Polka Association) is conducting a songwriting/composition contest during 2021. The deadline for submissions is July 15, 2021, 11:59 PM, Central Time. All entries must be submitted online at the IPA website www.ipapolkas.com
  2. 18. If the song is selected as a finalist, the applicant may be required to provide a full arrangement in PDF file format for the appropriate instrumentation of the song for recording purposes. A member of the IPA Board will work with the finalist for assistance with the written arrangement.
  3. 19. All finalists must sign and return an affidavit of eligibility/recording rights/publicity release. The affidavit will state that the finalist’s song is an original work and he/she holds all rights to the song. Failure to sign and return such affidavit within 14 days or provision of false/inaccurate information therein will result in immediate disqualification and an alternate finalist will be selected. Affidavits for finalists under 18 years of age at the time of award must be countersigned by a parent or legal guardian. Affidavits subject to verification by IPA and its agents. Entry constitutes permission to use the winner’s names, likenesses, and voices for future advertising and publicity purposes without additional compensation.
  4. 20. The IPA is not responsible for late, lost, damaged, misdirected, or misappropriated entries. The IPA is not responsible for faulty files accompanying entries.
  5. 21. The IPA reserves the right to cancel the competition if the minimum number of entries is not met by the deadline date. If the competition does get canceled, all applicants will be notified by email.
  6. 22. The first-place winner will receive a check for $750 USD. The second-place winner will receive a check for $250 USD. Prize money will be paid by the IPA via checks made payable to the winning composers. Applicable taxes will be the responsibility of the winners.
  7. 23. Winners will be chosen by a select panel of judges comprised of noted songwriters, producers, and polka music industry professionals. Songs will be judged based on melody, composition, use of key changes, originality, lead sheet, and lyrics (when applicable). The quality of the demo production will not be considered but the lead sheet will be judged for accuracy and clarity. Prizes will be awarded jointly to all authors of any song; division of prizes is the responsibility of winners. Void where prohibited. All federal, state and local laws and regulations apply. The IPA reserves the right to substitute prizes of equal or greater value.
  8. 24. Winner Announcements: Three (3) finalists will be notified by email. At the discretion of the IPA, the winning song may be professionally recorded by polka music professionals and digitally distributed for airplay on major polka music streaming services such as PolkaJammer.org and 247PolkaHeaven.com. Electronic files will also be made available to local radio DJs. No CDs of the single recording will be manufactured or distributed. The IPA will own the master of this recording. The IPA reserves the right to include all winning songs on a compilation CD in the future in which case a mechanical royalty of $100 will be paid by the IPA to the winning composer in addition to the 1st place award upon release of that compilation CD. The composer(s) shall retain all copyright and 100% of the writer’s broadcast royalty rights as well as 100% of the publishing rights. The winning composer will receive a broadcast-quality digital copy of their recorded song. The composer will retain the right to distribute the recording of their song in any audio media. A master sync license of the recording can only be administered by the IPA.
  9. 25. 1st and 2nd place winners will be announced at the annual IPA Festival Awards Banquet, September 2021. In the event the Awards Banquet is canceled, the winners will be announced on our website and will be contacted directly.

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