I Want to Participate!Great! Keep in mind that preparing for the ASMTA Regional Festival (“the festival”) takes a lot of work beyond simply practicing your pieces. If you are participating at the intermediate and advanced levels, I encourage you to switch to 45-minute lessons. Else, it becomes a struggle, and I often have to shuffle around what gets covered each week.
If you want more general information for how these music festivals work, please go to my Piano Lessons – Festivals page. I discuss the pros and cons of each festival there as well.
This year’s festival will be online only, with repertoire recordings submitted to be evaluated. I will also teach the theory and keyboard skills portion, even though they won’t be formally tested.
When Does Preparation Start?
In one sense, preparation is ongoing. Many of the skills that I teach all year are part of what is covered on exams. However, there are specific things by level that will need extra focus. We’ll typically start repertoire in January, which gives plenty of time to learn pieces for the April festival. Once we find what pieces you’ll play, we’ll start preparing for the written theory and additional skills test on the piano, both specified by the level of the repertoire chosen.
Much of the preparation that you will do for the theory portion will be with worksheets on your own time. However, most of the other elements have to be covered during lesson time. If you need extra lesson time to complete study for the requirements, I’m happy to provide it at the same rate you pay for lessons.
I also provide group preparation time, typically a session of about 2 hours on a Saturday, to run through pieces plus cover all of the other elements. Group learning provides comradery and efficiencies in cost over one-on-one preparation. Any fee for my time will only be assessed towards those in 30-minute lessons. It will be reasonable and spread among the participants.
This festival is not geared for all students. It’s for those students who want the challenge of playing for a judge, and also to study for the written theory exam and to practice the additional components at the piano, such as technique, keyboard harmony, ear training, and sight reading. At the beginner levels, which go from Primary A through Level 2, the requirements are quite simple and straightforward. It’s when students move to Level 3 and beyond that the requirements become more extensive.
As mentioned before, those at the intermediate and advanced levels should be enrolled for a weekly lesson of at least 45 minutes. It does take some time outside of practicing repertoire to study enough to achieve the minimum passing score of 80% between the written theory and additional playing components. Particularly with the written theory, some students pick this up very quickly while others must study methodically.