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#2026110 - 02/03/13 12:06 AM When entering a competition
MaggieGirl Online   blank
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 488
Do you enter students who can't play their piece "perfectly" or only enter those who can? Is entering/performing experience the main goal or getting high marks?

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#2026113 - 02/03/13 12:26 AM Re: When entering a competition [Re: MaggieGirl]
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5512
Loc: Orange County, CA
For most kids, simply entering a competition and playing through their prepared piece is the point of the competition. With regular frequency I enter kids who don't play their pieces perfectly.
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#2026115 - 02/03/13 12:39 AM Re: When entering a competition [Re: MaggieGirl]
MaggieGirl Online   blank
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 488
Do kids (and their parents) enter with an expectation of doing well?

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#2026135 - 02/03/13 01:35 AM Re: When entering a competition [Re: MaggieGirl]
Minniemay Offline
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Registered: 06/07/09
Posts: 1702
Loc: CA
It depends on what you communicate to them as the goal.
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#2026163 - 02/03/13 03:10 AM Re: When entering a competition [Re: MaggieGirl]
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5512
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: MaggieGirl
Do kids (and their parents) enter with an expectation of doing well?

They can if they want to. It's not the healthiest thing to do because at any competition there will be "losers." And if you get a panel of incompetent judges and/or event organizers who are brainless (and this happens a lot), things will just get ugly. Music competitions, by their very nature, are subjective. You install a different panel of judges and you'll get a different set of results. As a teacher, it's my job to educate parents on the fallibility of judges and the subjective nature of musical taste.

I've learned to put way, way less emphasis on the outcome. Try to focus on the process.
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#2026307 - 02/03/13 01:01 PM Re: When entering a competition [Re: MaggieGirl]
dumdumdiddle Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 1265
Loc: California
There are competitions and then there are festivals and adjudicated events where students don't compete against each other but rather against a certain prescribed standard for their level.

Events like Guild and MTAC's Certificate of Merit program are great motivators for students, parents, and teachers. It gets students to prepare a program of polished pieces for something other than their teacher or a local recital. As a teacher, it helps me make sure I'm covering all the bases and that my students are learning and progressing each year.
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#2026424 - 02/03/13 05:21 PM Re: When entering a competition [Re: AZNpiano]
plbpusa Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 01/18/13
Posts: 10
Loc: FL USA
True AZN. Encourage the experience to the student, it doesn't matter if you win or lose! Do the best you can and enjoy the ride wink

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#2026443 - 02/03/13 05:53 PM Re: When entering a competition [Re: dumdumdiddle]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11729
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: dumdumdiddle

Events like Guild and MTAC's Certificate of Merit program are great motivators for students, parents, and teachers. ...

What is motivation? And what is a student motivated toward? The real motivation is the music, and the learning in the music. These things can also get in the way of motivation, because while you want to delve into music and the learning, you constantly have to aim for these external things and other people's agendas and approval instead. It is like stars and grades in school. Apparently math and science and reading cannot be interesting. The stars and numbers beside your report card are more important and more interesting. These kinds of "motivators" are carrots on a stick. They represent a focus away from the music, because the music cannot be interesting in and of itself. And if these events cause stress, or if there are bad grades and such, then they actually DEmotivate. Perhaps the student would be fascinated by what he can learn, but the specter of this judgment keeps it at bay.

I'd say that the real reason to enter any event is to gain experience in such events. Music has a performing component so playing in front of others is part of music - for that reason.

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#2026462 - 02/03/13 06:24 PM Re: When entering a competition [Re: keystring]
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5512
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: keystring
I'd say that the real reason to enter any event is to gain experience in such events. Music has a performing component so playing in front of others is part of music - for that reason.

And yet there are people who fear public performance, to such an extent that they absolutely refuse to play in front of other people. For any reason.
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#2026614 - 02/04/13 12:30 AM Re: When entering a competition [Re: MaggieGirl]
MaggieGirl Online   blank
Full Member

Registered: 09/18/11
Posts: 488
Thanks - it is just odd for me coming from a sport where the coach tells us about how she will place and if everything is skated well and she doesn't do as well as predicted, coach can analyze the other skaters programs and compare and re-work the program. For the first event of the year, the goal is to hit the center of the pack.

It does make much more sense that a beginner in a piano competition may be competing against a standard vs trying to be the best player of the event.

I guess I would be upset if before walking in - that if she was barely up to standard as to why she was there to begin with.

In my sports experience, competing is expensive and takes away from instructional time (more time spent practicing a program vs cleaning up what she knows and learning more) so the coaches don't discuss competing until she is above the standard.

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#2026637 - 02/04/13 01:29 AM Re: When entering a competition [Re: MaggieGirl]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11729
Loc: Canada
Sports tend to be about competition. Music is not a competition. Music is an art. We play music in order to express the intent of a composer, and we put part of ourselves into that expression. When we play music, we are also communicating or sharing with the audience - something that is hard to do when music is seen as a sport or a competitive thing with winners and losers. Music is not a sport.

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#2026784 - 02/04/13 09:30 AM Re: When entering a competition [Re: MaggieGirl]
MrsLois Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/19/12
Posts: 75
Loc: Manitoba, Canada
I agree that music is about art, but competition can serve a useful purpose in reigniting a fire under students! I tell my students that when it comes to competitions, namely arts festivals, that they are going in to share their music, enjoy others' performances, and receive feedback from the adjudicator. Some students will prepare more than adequately, and do quite well, but if they are not quite up to standard, I will still tell them to go ahead and perform. They will often see the standard of others, and change their efforts accordingly.

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#2026863 - 02/04/13 12:04 PM Re: When entering a competition [Re: MaggieGirl]
ezpiano.org Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/10/11
Posts: 1023
Loc: Irvine, CA
Quote:
but if they are not quite up to standard, I will still tell them to go ahead and perform. They will often see the standard of others, and change their efforts accordingly.


thumb Like
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#2026973 - 02/04/13 03:14 PM Re: When entering a competition [Re: MaggieGirl]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11729
Loc: Canada
I have mixed feelings about this. If a student hears that another student's performance sounds better, then maybe the teacher can discuss with him or her what made it better. Was it attention to timing? Did that student seem to know his music better from having practised more? (if that is known) Does the other student have technical skills that this student still needs to acquire - and it's too early so he shouldn't worry about it? So I can see this kind of discussion.

But if a student merely has the impression that another student is "better" than him, that can lead to a loss of confidence. The whole point in performing is to get accustomed to performing in front of others, and get comfortable about it. There is also a widespread misconception about playing music. We don't just "try harder" and try globally to "be better". It is by focusing on specific skills and specific things in music that performances become "better". By wanting to "be" better than other students, that gives exactly the wrong message.

In addition, it has been pointed out by people (teachers) who participate in these events, that judging often is not done well, or fairly, or knowledgeably. So as soon as you focus on a student who is "better" (because the judge says so?) is this the right focus?

Personally I dislike the idea of "motivating" students through their less good playing being shown up in comparison to others. It might work in some cases, but it seems potentially destructive.

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#2027183 - 02/04/13 11:27 PM Re: When entering a competition [Re: keystring]
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5512
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: keystring
Personally I dislike the idea of "motivating" students through their less good playing being shown up in comparison to others. It might work in some cases, but it seems potentially destructive.

And this is the exact reason I don't let all my students play in my studio recitals. Some of my students are quite aware of their pianistic deficiencies, and thus they absolutely refuse to play in front of other people.
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#2027188 - 02/04/13 11:33 PM Re: When entering a competition [Re: AZNpiano]
Nikolas Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/26/07
Posts: 5301
Loc: Europe
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: keystring
Personally I dislike the idea of "motivating" students through their less good playing being shown up in comparison to others. It might work in some cases, but it seems potentially destructive.

And this is the exact reason I don't let all my students play in my studio recitals. Some of my students are quite aware of their pianistic deficiencies, and thus they absolutely refuse to play in front of other people.
+1 here...
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#2027268 - 02/05/13 04:43 AM Re: When entering a competition [Re: MaggieGirl]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
I offer all my students the opportunity to take part in competitive music festivals but don't make it compulsory. Some of them thrive on it and whilst winning shouldn't be the aim it does provide motivation for some. Yes music is an art, something which adults and experienced musicians can appreciate. Kids can't always see this so their motivation has to come from elsewhere until they reach a point where they are able to understand why we play music at all.

I'm very careful when entering students to make sure they are not out of their depth or put in an uncomfortable situation. It can be difficult because the closing dates are often months before the event so you have to plan ahead for when you think they will be ready. It doesn't bother me if they win (although it seems to bother the parents) but i want them to at least stand a chance. So far I have found most adjudicators to be very fair and kind with their constructive criticism, even when things don't go so well. I don't see these competitions as a bad thing.
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#2027806 - 02/06/13 01:11 AM Re: When entering a competition [Re: Chris H.]
AZNpiano Online   sleepy
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/07
Posts: 5512
Loc: Orange County, CA
Originally Posted By: Chris H.
So far I have found most adjudicators to be very fair and kind with their constructive criticism, even when things don't go so well

Well, in my part of the world, judging is literally all over the place. This is why I've learned to put less and less emphasis on what the judges write. And some of the worst judges are professors!
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#2027856 - 02/06/13 03:44 AM Re: When entering a competition [Re: AZNpiano]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4812
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: AZNpiano
Originally Posted By: Chris H.
So far I have found most adjudicators to be very fair and kind with their constructive criticism, even when things don't go so well

Well, in my part of the world, judging is literally all over the place. This is why I've learned to put less and less emphasis on what the judges write. And some of the worst judges are professors!

thumb thumb

What I don't understand as a human being is why people would enter "competitions" and not aim to win!!!!

As a player I never entered a competition, but I was in many competitions for chairs, and I was never satisfied until I sat first chair, and I always did (wind ensembles).

Winning for me also meant getting what I wanted. There was a "competition" for choral accompanist when I was at FSU. Winning meant getting the job. And getting the job meant getting the scholarship.

I won.

So I think the whole idea of "entering something" and "winning something" gets very blurred.
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#2027872 - 02/06/13 04:22 AM Re: When entering a competition [Re: Gary D.]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5943
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: Gary D.
What I don't understand as a human being is why people would enter "competitions" and not aim to win!!!!
"Hope" to win is probably more what it is for most, in my experience. Here we have lots of regional and local competitions, over all sorts of areas such as dance, instrumental, vocal, choral, drama, and there's certainly competition, but the best of these eisteddfods (we pinched the name from the Welsh, but I'm not sure how closely they resemble their Welsh model) emphasise the performing opportunity rather than the prize winning. It can be a rewarding experience even for those who don't get a place, when the music making is the focus.
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#2027963 - 02/06/13 08:57 AM Re: When entering a competition [Re: MaggieGirl]
Chris H. Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/05
Posts: 2919
Loc: UK.
There are lots of positive things you can get from these competitions. Performing experience, listening to your peers performances, feedback from an adjudicator (hopefully a good one). Winning or at least getting a place is the icing on the cake.

Most of my students who take part in these things are in it to win it and I wouldn't suggest they enter if I didn't think they were in with a chance. But you never know who will enter or how they will perform on that particular day so no matter how good you are a win is never guaranteed. I think it does them good to know that you win some and lose some. Doing your best is what matters most.
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#2028047 - 02/06/13 12:05 PM Re: When entering a competition [Re: currawong]
Gary D. Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/30/08
Posts: 4812
Loc: South Florida
Originally Posted By: currawong
Hope" to win is probably more what it is for most, in my experience.

Point taken. wink
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