Festival Paperwork from the Other Side

This blog originally was more for piano teachers than for students and parents.  Today I think I’ll hit a topic more for teachers.

This year I’m chairing 2 different festivals and they both require copious amounts of paperwork.  Teachers send in their teacher information, check, registrations forms and certificates.  The state organizations send me forms, forms and more forms to fill out and certificates.  We are starting to talk a paper avalanche here.  Now the good thing is that I don’t mind paperwork.  I like organizing and creating schedules and making processes more efficient.

What I don’t like is illegible handwriting and disorganized lists.  What can you do to help your festival chair and make the job a little easier?  First up is to write legibly.  If that is an issue or if English isn’t your first language, find a computer and go to town with some typing.  I can always transfer the information to an official form if need be.  However, if I can’t read your writing, a number of problems could occur.  Your student’s name could be spelled incorrectly and that could affect any number of thing.  I could misunderstand what piece they are playing.  That would be a serious disaster.  I might not be able to read your phone number or email address to get in touch with you to correct the above listed issues.  So write neatly or type.  It saves a lot of time on my part.

Now, if you are reading this blog, you probably have email  Surprisingly enough, there are quite a few teachers who don’t.  If you know your teacher doesn’t email.  Offer to be an ambassador for them.  There are items that I email to most teachers and thereby save time and money.  You get your playing times sooner and paperwork without creases.   

Keep your paperwork organized.  If you are entering students in a festival with categories, when you starting filling out the paperwork, keep the students grouped together.  Groups A and B shouldn’t be intermingled.  That is just a problem waiting to happen.  As careful as organizers try to be, accidents happen sometimes.  Help keep things working smoothly by keeping your paperwork as organized as possible. 

These are just a few ideas to help your festival organizers out.  These events are a lot of work and it takes volunteers to keep them running.  Be nice to the volunteers!

National Federation of Music Clubs

So this week we began picking out music for the National Federation of Music Clubs festival.  This festival will not take place until February 2011 for the city of Charlotte, NC.  Are you wondering what this event is that we need to pick out the music so early?

NFMC is a national event with a standardized repertoire or bulletin that is published once every three years.  The new bulletin came out in June of this year and is good for 2011-2012-2013.  This is not just a piano event.  There are categories for all sorts of performance arts from singing to organ and dance.  Every division has various levels to meet of the different stages of learning that students are in.  Since most of my students are piano, I’ll explain more about that.

The piano division begins with a Pre-Primary group.  Some of these pieces are for students who are not even reading on the staff yet!  Within each level there are pieces of various difficulty.  There is some overlap from level to level.  More on why this is a great idea in a minute.  The levels range all the way up to Musically Advanced II and these are definately professional level pieces that require months of work and years of experience.  Each student plays one piece from the festival bulletin and one piece of their own selection.

There are two different festival events.  The regular festival where students are scored with Poor, Fair, Good, Excellent and Superior.  No numerical grade is given and it is not a competition.  Students earn points over the years but are not trying to out play each other.  The other event is Scholarship Festival.  At Scholarship Festival students are given a numerical score as well as a word score.  The top 2 scores are promoted on to the state competition.

If a student scores a superior then they must move on to the next level.  This is why it is so nice that the levels have some overlap.  If a student isn’t ready for a whole step up then it is possible to chose an easier work from the next level.

NFMC festival is a positive experience for most students and I highly encourage participation.