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Topic: Those junior piano competitions in united states from a bystander's eyes  (Read 356 times)

Offline tobymom

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How does piano competition determine or compare the performers? Sometimes the outcome just seems so "random". You would have all the winners of the competition with technically much simpler pieces. Isn't competition about showcasing your best/achievable repertoire? Or for example, the same winner plays the same piece in two different competitions gets completely different result. It is just so absurd that the person can be winning the first place in one but not even in honorable mention in the other...?

Are people just using junior competitions to shine their college admissions resume (this seems so common in US) Because of that, just feel like lot of those junior level piano competitions are just meant for teachers to "share"/"advertise" the teaching business...

Offline lelle

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It depends on a wide variety of factors, not necessarily the difficulty of the repertoire, but also how all the different aspects of the musical craft that aren't just about quick fingers are handled. It also depends on the taste of the jury, and sometimes, unfortunately, whose teacher is and isn't on the jury.

But as an example, who should get more points?
1) The person who plays an extremely hard Etude, but who does so in a mechanical fashion, with no variation in dynamics, no musical feeling
2) The person who plays a simple Chopin Mazurka, but with amazing sensitivity and feeling, with finely shaded dynamics, leaving everyone in the hall deeply touched

(Of course, in a competition everyone will likely have to play some difficult Etudes as well as simpler pieces but the point still stands)

Offline tobymom

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I kind of feeling lost how to encourage my kid for the public performance. Lot of the junior competition or recitals are mainly pay to play events with random results. There are ridiculously expensive competitions claiming that they can send you to Carnegie Hall (which is ultimately a ticket for bragging right) but that's not music (some of the performances are really awkward, I've seen kids weeping in front of the piano). Am I wrong/alone thinking it this way?

Offline ego0720

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I kind of feeling lost how to encourage my kid for the public performance. Lot of the junior competition or recitals are mainly pay to play events with random results. There are ridiculously expensive competitions claiming that they can send you to Carnegie Hall (which is ultimately a ticket for bragging right) but that's not music (some of the performances are really awkward, I've seen kids weeping in front of the piano). Am I wrong/alone thinking it this way?

Iím curious about these venues myself to gauge where my kids stand. However I will not lose sight the ultimate piano experience.. as a means to enhance quality of life. Not to be a pressure that takes the experience away. Competition is interesting to encourage kids but I probably wouldnít emphasize my kids to shoot for the moon. Iím anti-competition when it brings the worst out of people. Every parent wants their kid to be the special one. When we have 70+ years to live Iím focused on teaching my kids to stick with it for the long haul and not burn them out. Learn to be happy wherever they are.

The promise of Carnegie hall are nice rewards.. but I would ignore those materialistic ideas. Focus on getting the kid to even try a performance (can be a smaller venue like family or public piano). Donít think about ďwhat ifĒ or ďmaybeĒ or overthink how itís judged. Just do it. #1 rule is donít be afraid to fail. Do it and then gauge where they stand.  Be happy. Donít think too far about what the futures holds. And whatever happens encourage the kid and constantly evolve. Use this as quality family time and having a purpose to improve. To me thatís the most important thing .. not winning said competition. Whether competitions are good or not is not determined by those who organized it. Whether they are good or not is on the participants.. their parents and or teachers with the right mentality. If everyone came out of the competition knowing how to do better next time.. and establish a new goalÖ that to me is when everyone comes out a winner. Even if you won that competition you should come up with something you can do better. Competition is meant to bring out the best in ppl.. not create losers so to speak. There can never be too many great pianists. But there are many bad ones.

Also remember that competitive playing is very different from traditional playing. Itís universal for any recreation. If you choose to play competitively itís a different kind of training thatís more laser focused around one or a few songs or repertoire and revolve your practice around that (rather than the principles of general music education). In the latter you have a more well-rounded understanding of everything but not necessarily be great at anything (and vice versa). Our society has a tendency to reward specialization for better or worse.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Competitions results have been released for international competitions in the past and the scores can vary considerably depending on the jury member. Certainly you need multiple jury members for a more accurate perspective.

In any case, I think competitions are just terrible and this is coming from someone who won the vast majority of competitions they entered. I think it crushes the spirit of those who lose which is just bad and there are more losers than there are winners.

Need motivation? Competitions are a poor source for motivation. Beating other people is not a good measurement of a successful music journey nor should it be something that motivates you. Need to become more confident on stage? Well, there are places which would love to hear you play much more so than a competition stage and many of them would certainly appreciate it a huge amount more! Why not share the joy of music within your community in a giving way, not these ridiculous competitions where it is not about sharing music but winning a prize and beating the competition to a pulp, like dogs chasing a rabbit to the finish line.
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
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Offline ranjit

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You would have all the winners of the competition with technically much simpler pieces. Isn't competition about showcasing your best/achievable repertoire?
From what I've seen, competitions and auditions in general focus a lot on technical control. An easier piece played perfectly, as long as it's not too easy, is preferable to a harder piece played with some sloppiness. The kind of subtle sloppiness that a pianist would hear may not be apparent to a layman.

Obviously, it's a fact that some competitions are biased/rigged but I'm pointing out something else people often miss.

Also, piano competitions seem to be a way to meet like minded peers, and I think that can be one of the main benefits of it, depending on how it's approached.

Offline anacrusis

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Competitions should be viewed as a networking opportunity (meeting other people passionate about the same thing as you). They're also an opportunity to learn how to prepare your pieces to play them at as high a level you can, and showing who you are as a pianist to the world. Winning is so out of your control that you should never go in expecting or even hoping to win. Do it for the experience, for exposure, for the preparation and the socializing. If you win, it's a nice bonus.

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Maybe things are different in different countries but in Australia we don't network at competitions one bit, I had no idea who I played against nor did we care. Can't be a generational thing either because the same happens for my students who want to do them.
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
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Offline anacrusis

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That's strange! I know both via my own experience and through anecdotes from friends that certain competitions have provided opportunities for socialising. And sometimes participants have taken those matters into their own hands! :D I was at one competition where I didn't go past the first round, but had a lot of fun meeting good people afterwards.

Offline rachmaninoff_forever

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How does piano competition determine or compare the performers? Sometimes the outcome just seems so "random". You would have all the winners of the competition with technically much simpler pieces. Isn't competition about showcasing your best/achievable repertoire? Or for example, the same winner plays the same piece in two different competitions gets completely different result. It is just so absurd that the person can be winning the first place in one but not even in honorable mention in the other...?

Are people just using junior competitions to shine their college admissions resume (this seems so common in US) Because of that, just feel like lot of those junior level piano competitions are just meant for teachers to "share"/"advertise" the teaching business...

Whoever has the post powerful teacher in the jury wins.  If not itís usually some other political nonsense unless the winner is way better than everyone else
Live large, die large.  Leave a giant coffin.
 

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