The Illinois Grade School Band Association was formed in the fall of 1939. In 1949 the decision was made to split the Association into the North State and South State divisions. In 1963 the name of the association was changed to the Illinois Grade School Band and Orchestra Association. In 1969 vocal organizations were voted into the association which precipitated a new name which remains today, the Illinois Grade School Music Association.

The purpose of the Illinois Grade School Music Association, Northern Division, shall be to encourage, aid, and advance music education in the elementary and junior high schools of the State of Illinois through all legitimate means. The Association shall sponsor contests among school bands, orchestras, and choruses, including solos and ensembles, in Northern Illinois, and annually conduct a final organization contest.