What Judges Are Seeking
Although there is no guaranteed road to success in competitions, in general, here is what judges are looking for in competition winners:
You and your student (and his parents) may find it helpful to attend the public portions of a competition you have in mind for the student the year before the student enters. Although the judges and entrants probably will not be the sane, you can get a feel for the competition, listen to the level of playing, and compare your evaluations to the judges' selections.
- following the guidelines: appropriate selection of literature, complete and accurate application
- accuracy of elements: notes, rests, counting, tempo, dynamics, consistency of speed
- musicality: appropriate tempo, balance between the hands and among the voices in one hand, dynamic shading, phrasing and feminine endings, proper ornamentation, overall effect
- technique: pedaling, articulation, scales, arpeggios
- stage presence: that certain something that makes the overall performance compelling and vital
Above all, after the results are in, don't question your teaching ability and musicality or the musicality and talent of your student. Judges have good and bad days. They also have their own peculiarities and pet peeves. There is no way you can prepare your students for off-the-wall eventualities like this! Just remember your student didn't lose; the student just didn't win this time.
copyright 1997-2003, Martha Beth Lewis, Ph.D.
Contact me for reprint permission.
You may be interested in my thoughts on the pros and cons of competitions and preparing students for competitions.
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