After a wonderful and busy holiday season, the holiday music books are put away after getting a great workout. Everyone loves holiday music, whether they celebrate Christmas, or not. Really, what's not to love about Jingle Bells, or Santa Claus Is Coming To Town, or Frosty or……I could go on and on.
Now we turn our piano thoughts to setting and meeting some goals. The opportunity to earn gold and silver Medals, certificates, and trophies, keeps students working to meet a standard, and let's face it –– we all like earning awards. What a boost to confidence!
The first event coming up is the Shore Music Educators Student Evaluation. SMEA is an organization of Monmouth County piano teachers, that, for years, has been actively promoting the study of music in our region of NJ. I was lucky enough to be part of the panel that created Student Evaluation maybe 25 years ago. (Yikes, yes, I've been around a while!)
Evaluation is a low-stress event. Students prepare two or three pieces to perform from memory, then at a prescribed time and place, either Brookdale College in Lincroft, or the teacher's studio, they play for a "judge" who discusses their performance with them, tells them what they've done well, what might need some work, but all in the most supportive, and encouraging way. Parents are allowed to sit in, something unheard of in nearly all other adjudicated events. It is a warm and productive event built to bolster a student's progress. The judges are carefully selected for their positive attitudes, fine communication skills, enthusiasm, and compassionate manner. They are music educators of note, college faculty, and composers.
Students earn terrific gold and silver medals, and 5, 7, and 10 year trophies with their 5th, 7th, and 10th gold medal! The trophies are presented at a special Awards Ceremony attended by family and friends.
SMEA Student Evaluation is an event families look forward to. When I was a NJ Music Teachers Association board member, I used the SMEA Student Evaluation as a model for the NJ Music Teachers Annual Festival, and Festival is still going strong too, with students participating from all over the state.
Next time, I will tell you about another opportunity available to our area piano students -- the NJMTA Annual Spring Recital Auditions. Bye for now!