Federation Chapters hold annual "Festivals", at which time students play 2 pieces in front of a judge, and are graded Superior, Excellent, Very Good, etc.
This is NOT a competition-- but rather an adjudication. Judges are respected teachers that do not know the students involved. The judging involved is similar to taking a test at school, in that the judge is watching to see that the student knows the music, is using appropriate hand position, and musical nuances called for in the music. If students are prepared (and have practiced!) they should do quite well.
Students get a certificate just for 'living through the experience', and earn points toward a trophy. After 3 or more years, they can earn their first trophy. As many as 5 trophies can be earned by the time they graduate from High School, with each trophy being successively larger!
Many students work toward several trophies simultaneously-- for solos, ensembles, hymns, etc. Each instrument has several categories available!
In Baton Rouge Festivals, students play privately in front of a judge. This is a wonderful opportunity for students to perform in front of someone who will probably make the same comments their teacher has made! Plus it gives students a deadline to truly learn their music-- and with all students do these days-- deadlines are a necessary fact of life!! Plus the fact that if they can play their pieces in front of someone who does not even know them, playing in a Recital in front of people that love them, is ever so much easier and more fun!!