February 24, 2013

Competition and Collaboration

             How does competition impact piano performance? “Humans need competition,” Tomoko knows. She adds, “Students naturally compete.”

Tomoko remembers her childhood experiences. “All of the students would wait for the instructor to call them into the room for their individual piano lesson.” She adds, “We would hear each other’s playing, and try to perform our best.”

She also notes what happens in her current practice. “In the conservatory the children in private schools compete with their public school peers.” One parent told her, “My son will play better when he’s 15 and competing.” Tomoko also points out how the conservatory supports collaboration.  “The conservatory provides a place to person and a place to share. Students listen to each other occasionally, and help each other. It’s hard to overstate how important the gathering is for student improvement.”

Tomoko confesses, “Sometimes I don’t like competitions. They can be political, or the piano coach sometimes pressures the student too much.” She states her preference, “Competitions should be based solely on merit.” She also advises, “Be proud of yourself. Your dream comes true with daily practice. Take steps nicely. And when you accomplish your dream, know that it can’t be bought and it can’t be taken away from you. 

Tomoko suggests that a student compete with himself. “Students need a challenge, so they will feel proud of their hard-won accomplishments.” She explains, “The best competitor may be oneself.”

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