The children have been working so hard to prepare for this, and at the expense of being able to do two other competitions normally in the line-up because there simply aren't enough hours in the day. Not only have they been learning these concertos for about nine months, but, for the last few weeks, John has been playing his concerto one hour daily, and Mary has been playing daily her violin concerto for one hour and her piano concerto for one hour, plus they've had once weekly rehearsals with their accompanist. (And our kids were practicing the least of all the students sent by our studio to this event.)
I've come to appreciate that actual professional musicians work incredibly hard. They are playing the songs in practice and rehearsal so many times, they can do it with their eyes shut, while conversing with someone else, while watching a TV show, with siblings swirling around them, or while half-asleep.
|John and Mary waiting their turn to rehearse in the beautiful practice hall|
This competition was of note in that it was the first time our children were performing on a stage (in a mostly empty 595-seat theater), which is a very different experience than in a tiny, enclosed room with only a judge and an accompanist, plus it was open to the public, so parents could sit, watch, and film.
Mary playing Concerto in d minor by Noona
John playing "Concerto in Classical Style" by Martha Mier
Mary playing Concerto No. 2, 3rd Movement by F. Seitz
When Chris and the children returned from Winston-Salem (90 minutes away), we all met for a celebratory dinner. (Although nighttime brought on just how much Josey and Thomas still have bad coughs, so I felt regretful about that aspect.)
We went into this competition (which was for ages 8-12) knowing that our children would not place, but the experience was important and valuable for the future. We won't receive judges' comments for more than a week, and we just hope for some positive and useful feedback.
Participating in this event helped them experience and be calm under an increased level of pressure, taught them to focus on perfecting one song for many months (which requires patience that is hard to achieve), and let them experience performing on a large stage (which can cause stage fright and make the otherwise competitive player be unable to continue). We participated in this competition for the children's benefit a couple of years from now.
And now, I think we all very much look forward to letting these three concertos slip away into the children's repertoire (played once daily instead of an hour daily!) while we move onto entirely fresh songs for an event in February.