February 14, 2014

The Olympics, Competition and Judging

It’s the winter Olympics: the pinnacle of amateur athletic competition. Tomoko knows this in a personal way because her daughter Beata competed in the 2002 Olympics in ice dancing. Tomoko knows about the years of effort and sacrifice that goes into such international competition – and similar work that goes into piano competition. Over the years, Tomoko has successful competed at local, regional, national and international piano competition. She realizes the time it takes to prepare, and helps her students understand that effort even in getting ready for a recital.

Particularly in competition, be it athletics or musical performance, judging is central. Here are some of the comments that Tomoko has heard over the years, which apply to both the Olympics and piano performance.

  •  Work more on technique and memorization
  • You should give more attention to details.
  •  You have to practice more pedaling.
  • We are expecting better quality performance.
  • You didn’t listen enough to sound quality and harmonics.
  • Generally the Chopin should show feeling but the expression could be sophisticated
  •  Focus more on the performance aspects next time.
  •  Don’t be so stiff – you can feel it.
  • Good balance is required for the choice.
  •  Don’t act cocky.
  • Take your performance more seriously.
  • Please start working early for this jury.

Tomoko remarks, “Piano competition can be very fierce. Out of 10,000 pianists, only one might become famous.” However, there are many avenues for the pianist besides solo work: accompanying, teaching, critiquing, entertaining friends and family – as well as playing for self-enjoyment. And pianists appreciate a knowledgeable audience!

Tomoko concludes with the “highs” of completion.  “Pressure transforms into energy.” Enjoy life with its challenges – and you succeed.”

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