With the Kiwanis music festival just around the corner many students may be asking why compete with music?
Just like taking exams, competitions are great vehicles to see how well you know your material. Adjudicators are great people to perform for - they know the music well and they can give you great feedback about your performance.
Greg likes to talk about process- and playing your piece at a competition allows you to know if your process is working. The stress of playing not only for an adjudicator but also for your peers will test if you have prepared your piece properly. If you can do what you want to with your music (play it like you feel it should be played) even under this kind of stress then chances are your process is working. If you can't perform it like you feel it should be, then your process may need some tweaking. We'll talk about process in another post, but for now we'll say that process is how you prepare, how you test yourself in your practices, how you think about your material, and what exercises you perform to be able to play no matter what situation you might be in.
Competitions are good test runs for students who are taking exams. Having this kind of feedback, not only about how well you are prepared for playing your piece under stress and pressure, but the feedback about how the piece sounded to an adjudicator is priceless. Teachers usually take this information and build on it in lessons because while students are sometimes stressed in lessons when they perform their pieces you can bet they are less stressed than performing in a competition - it gives teachers a window into how well their students perform.
Venues like our Kiwanis festival offer students an opportunity to hear other students perform from studios across the city and county. This type of opportunity is good because many times students will play the same or similar pieces in their competition - so students can hear any versions, preferences or adaptations to the piece that other musicians may make. It gives ideas and allows students to make critical choices about their piece and how they play it.
Any experience that allows students to perform is a good idea in my book. If you think Kiwanis is a good idea for your student, let us know next fall and we'll make sure to give you the information to enrol in the competition!