Friday, May 12, 2017

Guild 2017

This was our second year to participate in "Guild," which is an internationally recognized piano audition by the American College of Musicians (click here). As members of the National Fraternity of Student Musicians, the long-term hope is to earn a pin ten years in a row and obtain the Paderewski Medal.

"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)."

With a ten-year goal in mind, imagine our family's disappointment when Mary fell rollerblading and fractured her wrist. When her daddy carried her into the house two weeks before the big event, she was already crying, "I want to do Guild! I want to do Guild!"

We resigned ourselves to the fact that Guild was a dream lost for Mary this year, until a few days after her cast was put on when Mary was supposed to be practicing just her left hand on piano, yet I heard her playing complete songs. I filmed a short video for fun and texted it to her piano teacher . . . who pointed out that she could still try for Guild if she was willing to work hard.

Ironing the 'blacks and whites'

This is Mary we're talking about! It is already a serious challenge after a fatiguing competition season for the students to maintain ten songs at competition-level--obviously, memorized with no sheet music--plus know all the composers and key signatures, and be able to play the associated scales and cadence chords. Mary's cast restricted the fingers on her right hand so she couldn't stretch them far at all, meaning that eight of her ten intended Guild songs were impossible for her to play.

Mary's challenge: teach herself eight new songs in fewer than two weeks!

It's not like we could hire the teacher to come out enough to teach Mary all the songs himself. He gave us a couple of books of easier classical music pieces that are as short as 16 measures (the minimum required for Guild), Mary picked eight of them, and she proceeded to do the sight reading and teach herself how to play the songs over the course of a week.

John (10) earned a Superior Plus by playing:
  • “Nocturne in Black and Gold”
  • "Musette in D" by J.S. Bach
  • “Innocence” Op. 100 No.2 by Friedrick Burgmuller
  • “A Warlike Dance” by Dmitri Kabalevsky
  • “Chaplin’s Cane” by Phil Hamm
  • “Minuet in G” by Christian Petzold
  • “Concerto in Classical Style” by Martha Mier
  • The Cadenza to the Concerto
  • “Valse Triste” by Dennis Alexander
  • “Locomotive” by Melody Bober

Mary (8) earned a Superior by playing:
  • “Hungarian Folk Song” by Bela Bartok
  • “Innocence” Op. 100 No.2 by Friedrick Burgmuller
  • "Playing" by Kabalevsky
  • "A Little Joke" by Kabalevsky
  • "Funny Event" by Kabalevsky
  • "Scherzo" by Kavalevsky
  • "Melodic Tune" by Kohler
  • "Andantino" by Kohler
  • "Stretching" by Gurlitt
  • "Dance" by Gurlitt

I'm so proud of the dedication and perseverance of these two young pianists! And . . . I'm sure we're all looking forward to taking some deep breaths and relaxing from the intensity of practice and studies.

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