Flute Punch

State Solo and Ensemble Contest

Posted on: April 29, 2013

This weekend, I had the privilege of watching 3 of my flute students perform at State, one on a solo and two on a duet. It has been truly wonderful to teach them. I feel this way about all my students, actually. I hope I have been as much a blessing to all of them as they have been to me.

At any rate, I was remembering what it is like to perform in these high-pressure situations, especially as a student. If I could say one thing, it would be this: Keep it all in perspective. Because nearly all the students in your category are competing at a high level, a little mistake matters (or seems to matter) more than it should or actually does. I watched one student perform the Khachaturian and could tell she wasn’t truly happy with her performance at the end, which is a shame, because it was well-done and quite enjoyable.

State is still important – it pushes high achievers to their extremes. But it’s too easy for the 19 students not placing in the top 3 to see themselves as having lost the game, instead of realizing that the act of going to state is the reward. Honestly, regionals were more fun – students run around to all the rooms watching their friends perform, encouragement and support is high, performers get to work with an adjudicator, and teachers get to see colleagues they haven’t seen in a year (or more!).

So my conclusion is that State is great, and necessary for those students considering a career in music performance, but regionals is where my heart lies. It is more true to the spirit of music education, which is to say that a little competition is good, but cooperation and growth is even better, and students who put effort into playing will be rewarded with personal satisfaction and the enjoyment of their audience.

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