ASMTA Regional Festival Preparation

Last Updated on 2024-04-15 | Originally Posted on 2024-02-27

Festival Date: Saturday, April 20, 2024

Festival Summary

I provide a more detailed description of each festival in my page Piano Festivals, including the pros and cons of each festival.

Recital and Festival Checklist

The dress code for the ASMTA festival is similar to what you would wear to a recital, but perhaps not quite as dressed up because you are not playing publicly. Look nice. Find out more on my Piano Recital Checklist.

Important Dates for 2024

  • Preparation Begins: Mid-January
  • Decision Week: March 4-8 (The official deadline is March 23)
  • Late Patrick’s Day Piano Party: Saturday, April 13
  • Official Warm-Up Recital(s) at Trinity Grace Church: Sunday, April 14
  • Festival at Music Building, University of Arkansas – Fayetteville: Saturday, April 20
  • State Finals at Arkansas State University – Jonesboro: Saturday, June 8


Selecting Repertoire

In one sense, we are always preparing new repertoire, but only certain pieces are officially listed in the Repertoire Database. I include some of these along the way, though sometimes these pieces are hard to find in the earlier levels.

I’m a firm believer in not letting festivals becoming more important than they should be. For that reason, we don’t actively start preparation until just three months beforehand, though as mentioned, the student may already have repertoire pieces learned that we can use.

Deciding to Go Forward

Your pieces should be on their way to being learned and starting to be memorized by decision week, and ready to play by the warm-up events in early April. Memorizing a piece takes time and can’t be put off to the last minute.

Piano Party and Warm-Up Recitals

  • Late Patrick’s Day Piano Party – Saturday, April 13, 2024 at 2 pm in Choir Room at Central UMC in Rogers.
  • Official ASMTA Regional Warm-Up Recital – Sunday, April 14, 2024 at 1 pm and 2 pm at Trinity Grace Church, 5845 S Bellview Rd, Rogers.

You should participate in one of these events. However, in the event you can’t participate in either of these, you must create your own performance opportunity that will simulate playing under a bit of pressure. Find your own venue, preferably with a grand piano, and invite family and friends on your own.

Written Theory

Start Here

There is a new curriculum this year that we are licensing from the Oklahoma Music Teacher’s Association (OMTA). Make sure to bookmark the Theory and Ear Training web page, since there are several items for you on this page. I will print out the curriculum for your level and a sample test, and direct you to supplemental resources below.

Curriculum and Sample Tests

The new curriculum is titled Written Music Theory and Aural Awareness Study Guide; it’s an 18-page document covering all of the levels. I have separated these by level and printed them for you. There are also sample tests offered lower on this page titled ASMTA Sample Written Theory Tests. I’ve printed those for you as well.

Theory Practice Worksheets

On this web page, you will find Theory Practice Worksheets that correspond to the new OMTA curriculum. They were just released, so I have no experience with them yet. I will revise this paragraph after exploring them.

Unfortunately, there are no commercially available books that map directly to this curriculum, unlike national exam systems like Canada’s Royal Conservatory of Music (RCM).

Extra Worksheets

If you want or need more review, please look at Dr. Susan Tusing’s Music Review Lessons at the bottom of the page. Now that we have the official OMTA worksheets, these may truly be obsolete, but they are here for what they might still be worth to help students review key concepts. Even though they are based on the obsolesced Arkansas curriculum, they may be useful if you need extra review or may have missed some concepts along your study.

Keyboard Skills and Musicianship

Curriculum and Sample Tests

Much of this testing is part of the new curriculum we are licensing from OMTA. The main link is the same offered above: Theory and Ear Training. The link Keyboard Theory and Musicianship Overview gives a summary of the skills to be tested. You can print this out if desired; I’m integrating these requirements into your lessons.

There are individual sample tests below in the section ASMTA Sample Keyboard Teststhat I am using in lessons to make sure you are ready.

Sight Reading

Our sight reading testing, which is a small part of this section, is the only part of our testing that remains from our old curriculum. It’s based on the RCM Four Star Sight Reading and Ear Tests. I don’t require these books since they are quite expensive. I use other sight reading resources during lessons.

Other Resources

Recommended Recordings

Please listen to other people playing your pieces for ideas and learn how to be a better critical listener. The recordings I place in the Recommended Recordings are ones I have found to be good models. You can search for other recordings on YouTube, SoundCloud, and subscription sites to which you may have access.

Manuscript Paper (Old School)

If you need to practice writing on a music staff, which means you need some music manuscript paper, download it free online. Be careful when searching for anything free online; that goes without saying! I found a site that offers several different types of music manuscript paper.

Music Composition Web-based Software

If you ever want to practice writing music online, versus using paid desktop software like Sibelius or Finale, check out the two freemium sites Noteflight and MuseScore.

Extra Feedback

If you miss a lesson, or just want me to check out something before your lesson, you can send me a video. You can also send me written theory via email.

Share Your Story

Share Your Story

I really enjoy posting the progress and success of my students. I like to feature each student in a student profile, but I need a bit of background information about you. It could be things I already know, but mention them again anyway.

The End!

In Conclusion

Was this guide helpful to you? Please let me know if there is anything I missed.