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String Teacher Workshops

The Value of Competitions

By Mimi Zweig

Violin Competition

There are many opportunities for string players to compete at the local, national, and finally as a student progresses, at the international level. The reasons for competing should more or less remain the same as the young aspiring student strives to reach his or her highest potential. The value of competing is that musical and technical goals are set and the day to day preparation brings one closer to the realization of these goals. It is the preparation work that pushes the student to the next level of accomplishment.

There are many things that are beyond the control of the competitor, e.g., who is on the jury, whether or not there are politics involved, whether one is competing against pianists, trombonists and singers, the acoustics of the room, the condition of one’s instrument on any given day, and this list goes on. Because these elements are beyond the competitor’s control, they should not be dwelled upon. One’s energies should be directed to the music making.

A student will perform at maximum potential if the repertoire has been perfected and performed in master classes and recitals.  A few good nights of sleep are also beneficial. It Is very normal to feel nervous and excited before performing, but as soon as the playing begins, the concentration goes to the task at hand which has been solidified by years of practice.

If one wins a competition, this is very nice. The direct benefits are possibly playing as a soloist with an orchestra, having recital opportunities and receiving monetary compensation. If one does not win, this does not mean that the person is any less good a player.  On this particular day, the Jury happened to like the other person.

As a jurist, I have many times enjoyed a performance that was not the winning performance.  Music is a subjective art and all people hear differently and have different tastes.

So, if you are the type of person that relishes a good competition, let your teacher know and he or she will find the opportunities for you. If you are not this kind of person, your teacher may come to you and suggest a competition, because this is one way of guaranteeing good practicing and good progress.

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