Thursday, May 12, 2016

Guild 2016

In a week and a month of so many special events, I congratulate John and Mary for earning top scores today at "Guild," which is an internationally recognized piano audition by the American College of Musicians (click here). They are now members of the National Fraternity of Student Musicians with the little golden-colored lapel pins to prove it: so fun!

"Yearly auditions are held in over 850 US cities and several foreign countries. Students are adjudicated by an international panel of judges and receive report cards, certificates, and fraternity pins. Programs are diversified to meet the needs of both students and teachers. Programs are flexible and include repertoire as well as technical goals (musicianship phases)."

Participating in Guild was daunting and I actually vacillated repeatedly because we were all so fatigued of "competition season," as it's known. If it was that challenging to prepare three songs for earlier competitions, how on earth were we to prepare ten songs each plus the associated scales and cadence chords? Our music teachers were highly encouraging of our children participating, so we decided to go for it, putting in tremendous organization, effort, and practice for the last six weeks or so.

Our music teachers expect their students to maintain their repertoires, which means that once a student learns a song, he should keep practicing it daily or several times weekly so he always has it in his repertoire, ready to play it memorized at any time. This habit makes an audition like Guild even possible.

Each child had to memorize:

  • ten pieces (and I learned that the many 'arrangements' they know, which sure seem like songs to me, do not count because they aren't published sheet music)
  • the scales and cadence chords in the key signatures for each song
  • be able to distinguish those (meaning, if I tell you to play the scale for Concerto in Classical Style, you know the scale is C Major and which scale C Major is)
  • the names of the composers of all their pieces (so that there is no hesitation if the judge says something like, "Next, please play your Chwatal piece.")

They practiced all their Guild material numerous times daily for six weeks to the point that they knew it like the back of their hands! The time and dedication required for this is serious, and I consider music a core subject in our homeschool (as opposed to something tacked on the side that is nice, but not important).

Photo bomb by little brother

John (9) performed:

  • Little Playmates in C Major by Chwatal
  • Minuet in G Major by Christian Petzold
  • Concerto in Classical Style (and the Cadenza) in C Major scale by Martha Mier
  • Locomotive in C minor by Melody Bober
  • Pyramid Power in C Major and the transposition of Pyramid Power in G Major by Wynn-Anne Rossi
  • Softly Whisper in G Major by Kevin Costley
  • Indian Dance in D minor by Carolyn Miller
  • Valse Triste in E minor by Dennis Alexander

Mary (7) performed:

  • Fuego de la Pasion in A minor by Wynn-Anne Rossi
  • Minuet in D minor by J.S. Bach
  • Williwaw in D minor by Lynda Lybeck-Robinson
  • The Blue Heron and Blue Jay in C Major by Gilbert DeBenedetti
  • Little Playmates in C Major by Chwatal
  • March King in C Major by Dennis Alexander
  • PBJ Blues in C Major by Carol Klose
  • Jungle Fever in A minor by Catherine Rollin
  • Boys' Round Dance in A minor by Niels Gade
  • Chimichanga Cha Cha in C Major by Jennifer Linn

There was a glitch with one of Mary's songs discovered 48 hours in advance: the teacher thought he owned the licensed sheet music for one of her intended songs, but did not, nor was there any way to obtain it in time for performance. (One must always submit the licensed sheet music when performing like this.) So, Mary had to learn a whole new song in 48 hours!

Scenes of us waiting and of me trying desperately to keep quiet a Very Loud Joseph in the echoing hallways . . . 

'Children, we'll be waiting for a while, so gather up your books to bring along . . .'

Listening to music rehearsal in the church

Absolutely enchanted to hear organ music, perhaps for the first time

The audition experience was wonderful, the children learned a whole new level of diligence in the preparation, and I believe we will want to do Guild again next year. Thank you to our music teachers for their competence and dedication! Congratulations, John and Mary!

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