Northern Utah Valley Piano Festival and Performance

Yesterday, my teacher, Ammon Perry Bratt, and I judged the elementary kids at the Northern Utah Valley Piano Festival. I enjoyed it, possibly more than I enjoyed the Juab Piano Festival (which  I judged at last year)–we were judging the second and final round. Listen to beautiful music for three hours? Yeah, I’ll do that. And get paid for it? Yeah, I’ll do that for sure. Of course kids made mistakes and had memory slips and some sloppiness, but overall I was quite impressed with the performances.

I also learned what, for me, makes a performance worth my time. They have to convince me.

This convincing includes exact rhythm/time, feeling the music, little to no mistakes (but a couple are excusable), mastery of technique and notes, exquisite phrasing, and a solid interpretation: and a few of these kids–elementary school kids–had that command of the instrument. And this is what I now know I need to bring with me on stage.

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Balance

I audition to UVU’s piano performance major in 6 days (but who’s counting?), so yesterday I invaded the UVU practice rooms to practice performing. A student I had known at Snow was practicing, so I knocked on his door. After his listening to a mini-performance, he gave me a valuable tip he had recently received from the piano area director: make sure your body is balanced. Yes, there’s the typical wrists-flat-fingers-curved-spine-straight-sit-in-the-middle-of-the-bench posture we use, but apparently there’s also value in not tilting your legs to one side unnecessarily. Which makes sense when we consider how much muscle memory is involved in playing and performing. Also, there are ways to hold your arms to achieve a richer tone or ways to move your wrist to help technique, and I’m learning macro body balance is akin to these smaller movements in usefulness.