Minnesota High School Music Listening Contest

A nonprofit organization

13 donors

Your donation will help us inspire students to become lifelong participants in the musical experience. www.musiclisteningcontest.com

The Minnesota High School Music Listening Contest provides an ideal opportunity to enrich students' experiences with classical, ethnic, and popular music in a fun and competitive environment.

Although the current program draws over 200 teams annually, the program had a humble beginning over 30 years ago. Dr. Ivan Olson, author of The Arts and Critical Thinking in American Education, recalls the program's initial years: "In 1987 the Minnesota State University System granted funds for me to develop a pilot music education project devoted to music listening skills at the secondary level. Thirty years' teaching secondary and college students, along with my doctorate from the University of Michigan in music education and musicology, had left a deep impression in my mind that listening skills development must receive more attention. After a year of planning, I enlisted the help of two of Minnesota's finest artist/teachers, pianist Donald Betts, and conductor Jere Lantz. Together, we worked and planned with four high school music teachers who shared our concerns. The result was the initial High School Music Listening Contest in 1988 which involved 10 high schools from all around the state of Minnesota. The first winning school was St. Cloud Technical High School, coached by orchestra director Steve Eckbald. Steve's team was brilliant, all the other teams did well, and all the students involved felt like winners."

Comments from Participants:

"What a great contest!  I really thought the Mystery Round was good because students were able to use the skills they developed while going through the playlists and expand and critically think about musical periods and composers."  (coach)

"Pretty cool competition.  Thanks." 

"I learned more history in three weeks studying for this contest than in my history class all this year.  No lie.  Keep it up!" 

"The competition was fun.  It was interesting to listen to different types of music that I normally wouldn't hear.  I would suggest this to anyone." 

"I was very surprised as to how much I learned.  I enjoyed this contest very much." 

"This is a really difficult competition, but we learned so much." 

"It was fun to learn about the characteristics of the music periods and the composers.  I was really proud when I heard a song I knew for sure!"

Organization Data


Organization name

Minnesota High School Music Listening Contest

Tax id (EIN)



Arts & Culture


1816 - 136th Ave NE
Ham Lake, MN 55304-7007