Saturday, March 5, 2016

NCMTA Piano Festival 2016: Local Competition

This was our third Saturday in a row at a music event and we have two Saturdays to go . . . Competition Season is fatiguing!

This was our first true competition: Mary (7) participated in the local division event for NCMTA (North Carolina Music Teachers Association).

New things are tough for me, so I was grateful that this event was hosted at the same location as the last two, even the same building. However, we were asked to park in a different parking lot and despite the fact that I had a marked paper map and the lot was across the street, I drove around the neighborhood trying to find it and finally had to punch in the parking lot address into my GPS in order to locate it a few hundred yards away.

As I wrote, new things are tough for me.

I've been learning so much about being a music parent and about children being music students for the last three years.

One thing I'm learning about this particular daughter of mine is that she gets a major case of nerves before performing, but that she loves performing, and having an audience brings out the best in her. Still, it was hard to remember that when we went to the warm-up room in the basement and she couldn't get through one song, not even one time. Total freeze up! I tried to lighten the mood, to laugh, to get her to shake it off, but nothing worked. I tried to explain adrenaline and how it was coursing through her blood and causing her to forget how to play, but that didn't help much either. Finally, I simply had to require her to stop trying to warm up and deliver her to the judging room, where I then had to wait down the hallway with the other parents.

I sat and prayed my rosary and tried not to feel overly nervous.

Below are video clips of Mary in practice at various times (her songs not yet perfect, as is evident).

Minuet in d minor by Bach (18th century piece)

Williwaw by Lynda Lybeck-Robinson (20th century piece)

Boys Round Dance by Niels Gade (19th century piece)

Here is what I was MOST proud of all day: Chris has asked the children to say one Glory Be prayer before performing and right after, so that all performance, good or bad, is for the glory of God. I had forgotten to remind Mary of this before I left her at the door, but Mary remembered in between her first and second songs: she paused and said her prayer.

It was going to be 40 minutes before her results were released, so we took a walk through the beautiful, old neighborhood.

Double selfie: triple, if you count Thomas on my back

Mary was exuberant and she ran each block ahead of me, then waited. I saw that was her burning off all that adrenaline!

Mary running ahead of me

Finding a neat water fountain in someone's front yard

We had the nicest conversations, looked at flowers and squirrels, and went back to the college and caught lizards.

Throwing off her shoes, Mary scaled this sheer wall to get to
the window ledge higher than her head where a lizard was hiding.

The cold lizard couldn't run away.

Mary put the lizard in the sun to bask.

We finally picked up her results and . . . Mary is going to state!

The children are learning so many lessons, as am I: about diligence (diligence, diligence, diligence), about God's grace, about personal pride (bad), about glory to God (good), about duty to one's teachers, about representing a studio, and on and on. I am grateful for music (it could be any number of serious pursuits) as an avenue along which they can learn these lessons.


  1. Those little fingers dancing along the keys are a marvel to watch! How exciting...congratulations!