At some point in a musician's career, you'll likely be faced with the decision of whether to enter a competition. While it may be an intimidating prospect, there are many benefits.
Firstly, it provides valuable performing experience, which is useful in reducing nerves and becoming accustomed to playing in front of a critical audience. You will never play in front of a more judgmental group of people than a panel of judges, which makes further recitals and other concert opportunities less daunting.
Additionally, while it may seem somewhat counterintuitive to engage in the art of music making for the sake of a jury’s “grade” or approval, the feedback given by the teachers on these juries can be very helpful. Usually, after a competition, participants will receive comments in the mail from judges on the strengths and weaknesses of their performances. Hearing from a number of different musical perspectives outside of a private teacher will aid musicians in increasing their own understanding of their skills and shortcomings, and allow them to move forward with a better idea of what to work on.
Lastly, entering competitions is a great opportunity to win prize money, and begin to establish a presence within the music world. At a certain level, winners of music competitions can receive a good amount of publicity, and exposure to prominent music teachers.
Music festivals are a wonderful opportunity to be part of a musical environment free of the stress and pressures of the school year. Summer is one of the best times to make substantial progress in your practicing. Being a member of a community full of serious musicians is an inspiring experience that will motivate you to improve as much as you can, and perform to the best of your ability.
Speak to your private teacher and chamber music coaches about summer festivals that may be appropriate for your skill level and interests, and how to best prepare a festival audition tape that accurately represents your musical capabilities. Make sure to check festival websites for audition tape requirements and application deadlines!
Below are links to music festivals that you might consider applying to:
Review the resources to the right to learn more about the opportunities available domestically and worldwide. Also, visit the Conservatory Professional Development office in Robertson 130.