Once a year in August, the Hibiscus Coast Music Teachers Group hold a competitive music festival to provide our students with a chance to perform and receive valuable feedback from an adjudicator. This is a great opportunity for the younger pianists to experience what it is like to play on stage, and for the more mature students to practice polishing their performance skills and often use this occasion as a “test run” for any upcoming exams. Often students and teachers work incredibly hard for weeks and months ahead to get the most out of this experience.
Our festival this year was scheduled to be held on the 15th of August. Regrettably, three days before the festival Auckland went into its second Covid-19 lock down. As most students prepared for a long time leading up to this event, many students were disappointed they did not get a chance to perform their pieces so close to the scheduled date. Fortunately, modern technology means we could come up with a digital-age solution.
Our committee of teachers decided to turn the festival into an online event. We asked our contestants to record and upload their best performance and submit their entries to a dedicated Google Drive Folder. We then shared these video files with our wonderful adjudicator, Susan Smith, whose name a lot of the NZ piano teaching community would be familiar with! I vividly remember Susan adjudicating some of my own piano competitions when I was a teenager and I was always fond of her warm appearance and appreciated her detailed reports.
After Susan has given her verdict and completed the reports, I then uploaded all award-winning videos to our Youtube channel. This includes all 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes, Very Highly Commended awards and Highly Commended awards. The festival also gives out a Scholarship Award each year, along with a special Neville Neilson Musicianship Cup for the most musical performance.
I then created the following poster for teacher and student distribution:
And here is a playlist of some of my own students who played in the festival:
I am so proud of those who participated in this festival. Going through a second lockdown is tough on many kids, having to adjust almost every aspect of their lives in a short time, and making recordings without the help of their teachers meant they had to be extra diligent with every single detail.
I know some of my students made dozens of recordings before they were finally happy with the results, so this little project really helped many fine-tune their self-critique skills!
Congratulations to the following students:
Under 8 Class
Luna Tan, 2nd prize
Aldwyn Miller, Very Highly Commended
8 and under 10 Class
Oscar Wu, 2nd prize
10 and under 12 Class
Sunny Chung, 1st prize
Benedict Thomas, Very Highly Commended
12 and under 14 Class
Felix Xie 1st prize 12-under 14
16 and under 25 Class
Fern McClean 1st prize
Felix Xie Winner
Sunny Chung Very Highly Commended
Neville Nielsen Musicianship Cup:
This blog post is by Melody Deng