Playing for an adjudicated event can be very different from playing for a recital. Today I am sharing 4 tips that will help you make sure your students know what to expect the next time they play for a judge!
Keep reading to learn more....
- If this is a "closed audition" (which is typical for most competitions and festivals for younger students) then the student will be performing in a room with just the judge and possibly a proctor. I like to remind students that this "judge" is just a regular piano teacher--so there's no need to be nervous!
- Remind students that they will need to be prepared to introduce themselves to the judge and communicate the names of the pieces they will be playing.
- Students will also need to wait for the judge to give them the go-ahead to begin playing. The judge might need a minute or so to prepare between students, so remind students to be patient!
- As students play, they will probably hear the judge writing (or typing) notes. The judge may even continue writing for a while after the student is finished playing. This is totally normal, so remind students not to let this be a distraction.
Tip #2: Prepare students and parents for what will happen the day of their event.
- Make sure that students know to arrive early, at least 20 minutes before their playing time. You may also want to give students an idea of what the check-in procedure will be like.
- Prepare students for the fact that there may be a lot of other students participating in this event, too! Some larger events may have hundreds of students participating--so make sure students are prepared to see a crowd if this is the case with your event.
- Make sure parents know where they will need to go during their child's performance. If this is a closed event, they will not be allowed in the room where the adjudication is taking place. I've had many parents surprised to learn that they would not be able to watch their child perform.
- Make sure students bring their music, with their performance pieces marked with sticky notes and the measure numbers clearly indicated at the beginning of each line. This will make their performance run much more smoothly--and the judge will thank you!
- Make sure your student's music complies with festival rules. It is heartbreaking to see a student disqualified from a competition because their piece was not on the "approved" list, or because they brought a photocopy instead of a book, or because they didn't bring a receipt for a piece that was purchased digitally. Read the rules carefully and make sure your student takes everything they need with them on the day of the event.
- Remind students to dress nicely, just like they would for a recital, and to tell the judge "thank you" after they play.
- Make sure students know what to do after they perform, as well. Some events allow students to leave after they play; others might require students to wait to hear an announcement of winners and receive their awards.
Tip #3: Do a "trial run" before the event. During the lessons leading up to our event, I like to take students through a complete rehearsal of what will happen at their competition, including:
- Waiting at the door to be invited in to perform.
- Walking in and greeting the "judge" (in this case, me).
- Giving the judge their music and waiting patiently for instructions before they play.
- Naming the pieces they will be performing.
- Performing while hearing the judge take notes on the other side of the room.
- Telling the judge "thank you," collecting their music, and leaving the adjudication room.
Tip #4: Prepare students for what happens after the event, too!
- If this is a competitive event, will winners be invited to perform at a special recital? If so, prepare students for the possibility that they may be performing their pieces for an audience, too!
- Most of the time, students will receive a comment sheet from the judge as well as a rating for their performance. It can be helpful to show students a sample rating sheet, if possible. You might also explain to students what kind of comments they might expect to see from the judge and what the different ratings used by this particular event mean.
- Remind students that the judge's job is to offer constructive criticism and suggestions for how to improve their performance. Sometimes students are disappointed with the rating or comments that they receive. I like to remind them that the judge's comments are subjective, and they represent a "snapshot" of a brief moment in time. They aren't a complete picture of a student's musical journey. Use any tips, advice, or encouragement that you can to make future performances better, but don't dwell on a disappointing comment or rating.
Looking for more resources to help your students prepare for a competition or festival? Click on the links below to check out these other articles that you might find helpful:
- A Recital-Ready Timeline for Students
- 3 Tips for Taking the Mystery Out of Memorization
- Am I Ready? A Free Performance Checklist
What do you think? What are your best tips for helping students prepare for adjudicated events? I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments!