Music Competition 101

This year, many parents have missed their chance to present their kids in the Music Festival due to the rampant COVID-19 forcing the organizer to cancel the event.

I would like to share the words of an angry judge from a past event: (I jotted down some notes and rewrote it for the general audience.)

Competitions have rules. In a music competition, a mature presentation of the musical material is expected.

It means that participants are required to demonstrate TECHNIQUES.

For beginner's level, being able to tune is a discerning criteria between the winners and the losers. Not every starter knows how to tune, but the result would be some of them being able to play in TUNE with the accompaniment and others not.

So if your child is not able to tune, don't send them to a competition expecting them to win. Don't invest too much, don't tell them to practice against their will. Coz they are not going to make it anyway.

Another thing that doesn't need a lot of practice but would make a huge difference is correct posture.

Many children are too disobedient (pissed) or too lazy (tired) to follow instructions. If your child is of this kind of character (state), don't send them to competitions to get scolded. Techniques are there to achieve efficient control of the instruments. If your child cannot get into a good posture, playing well enough to win a prize is beyond sensible expectation. Forcing a child to practice a simple piece more than it should have been (due to incorrect posture) would make them look stupid and hit them hard psychologically.

Rich parents like to get expensive instruments for their kids to make them sound better than the others. A judge is often experienced enough to see through this kind of simple trick. Marks will be given to those who draw out the full potential of their instruments.

Children who are taught and worked properly would have confidence. They understand that science is behind how a simple piece is played well, not talent nor other magical stuffs you can't work on. Parents would be surprised to find that pushing immature children into competitions would demolish their confidence rather than raising it. There are always those who think "try a few times more and they will get through". Sorry, you don't need anything fancy to play some simple piece well. You need to get the critical things correct to get things worked out. Healthy confidence is built from scientific practices.

Most HK children live in cramped spaces and learn their music in very small studio rooms. In a competition, they all play too softly and look very timid as a result, with little audible changes in their levels of dynamics, and can't give a sincerely happy face to the audience. Rich kids who are used to play their instruments in a large living room where there are always some people sitting in, be it maids or guests for example, actually have a huge edge in such competitions. It is true that winners often come from affluent families as a result.

It is therefore very usual to hear the judges confessing over the fact that they would like to see a happy face, a confident performance with sufficient contrasts of dynamics levels -- for which most HK children lack, sadly.

Doing wrong things again and again, aka repeating mistakes continuously is not what makes you better. You are just making yourself suffer and making yourself look stupid. Music education teaches this critical wisdom apart from making music itself and it is because the Chinese have always lacked good music education(parents would ask what good music is for), our history is not something to be exposed to the next generation -- sane people would feel ashamed at such a poor performance over the 5K years.

p.s. I felt horrible when I was taught Chinese history. It looked like a story about hell, with the worst part being people trying really hard to enjoy their tragedies in hell, instead of building something better by removing all the elements that made the place hellish. I totally understand why Chinese history was no longer taught as a seperate subject after the handover. No sane people can relate themselves to such a dark story.

題目 : 與音樂的交點,齒輪開始轉動 - 部落格分类 : 音樂天地

tag : 音樂節父母需知


I'm interested in what you think of as dark elements in Chinese history.(不接受只含有英文或數字的留言)