Saturday, there were several 5th-8th band students who participated in the Marlo solo and ensemble contest. As a parent, when you chaperon a trip filled with middle high students, you expect to walk away frazzled. This is where I get to brag on these kids the first time. They were amazing on the trip and a blast to be around. While the other students were playing their music, they were respectful, quiet and attentive. I didn’t come home frazzled, however I did come home minus one ear drum due to singing on the way home. 🙂
As for the contest itself, we had 11 kids come home with excellent (2) ratings and 12 with superior (1) ratings. When you take into account several of these students are first year band students and have never done this before and three of them got 1’s….WOW!! It is hard enough to play in front of your friends at home, but add in a school you’re unfamiliar with, a judge, people watching from the hall and the pressure of “this time it’s for real”….well, it’s almost heart stopping, especially the first time!
While that first time is torture because you have never done this before and are not sure what to expect, for a lot of people, it doesn’t get any easier as you continue to compete. I know this as I still get massive stage fright before a performance. After 30some years, I’m finally to the point of being ok once I get started, but it’s still a hard and terrifying time leading up to it. This is why I said in my last post, NEVER put down or give any type of criticism other than that which will help the student’s performance for the next time. Don’t set a student up for failure by giving negative remarks, or making fun of them if they messed up. This is not an easy endeavor and encouragement is always a great confidence booster. This is where confidence, self-esteem, bravery, self-worth and a sense of great self accomplishment are built. When you are put in the spotlight, all alone with maybe just a cd to back you up, where every tiny flaw will be exposed because you aren’t part of a group where it can be hidden, where you discover, you know I can do this and I’m going to be an awesome musician…THIS is where excellence begins, in the class room, at solo contest, where in the midst of self discovery you find the musician that’s deep inside you ready to play, ready to march, ready to succeed in life at ALL things!