They did it. All of Brunner Studios students participating in the NFMC festival on Feb. 22 at Queens University in Charlotte received a Superior rating. I am very proud of everyone.

Looking through the comments gives me a good sense of how everyone did. Even when the judges made comments about a memory slip or a tempo issue, there was always a following note about a good recovery. That is just as important as playing perfectly. Good job!

I felt everyone was more prepared than last year. That is even with the missed lessons due to snow and illness. You guys are impressive. Thank you!

Support a Music Festival and Volunteer

This year I am chairing 2 different piano festivals.  Honestly, the amount of work doesn’t bother me.  The hours of paperwork, a whole lot of email, phone calls, it really isn’t that big of a deal.  The hardest part is getting volunteers. 


Now for both of these festivals it is mandatory, according to the festival rules, that participating teachers volunteer on the day of the festival.  The option is given to send a student or parent representative from your studio.  Some teachers are really great about being ready to volunteer and even sending students.  Many kids can get community service credit.  Other teachers really drag their feet.  There are very few legitimate excuses for not helping in some fashion, but you know from the paperwork that you submitted that volunteering is required.  So if you just had surgery or have been sick, please find someone to take your place.  If you are out of town, find someone to take your place.


Teachers who are only entering 1 or 2 students do have a little bit of a harder time, but it is right there on the paperwork.  Those one or two students still have to be checked in just like those students from the teacher who entered 25. 


It takes team work to make these festivals work.  Students don’t need to be harried because there aren’t enough grownups to keep things running smoothly. 


So call up your local music festival and see if they need some help.  I promise that they will probably be happy to see you.

NFMC Scholarship Festival 2011

Congrats to my students who participated in the NFMC Scholarship Festival on 2/12/2011.  Everyone performed admirably and received high marks.  To be more specific all of my students scored Superior or Excellent.

The scholarship festival is judged much more strictly than the non-scholarship festival.  A Superior is a marking from 95-100 and an Excellent is marked from 90-94.  Each student receives a score from each of the 2 judges and those scores are averaged.  No rounding is allowed.  So if a student has a 95/94 split then the score is an Excellent.  The competition this year was tough.  There were some extremely talented high school students participating.

I would like to call special attention to 3 of my students.  Minali is a senior this year and participated in the Musically Advanced I category where she received a Superior rating.  Hannah and Lauren both added the Concerto division in addition to their solo playing.  Hannah and Lauren both received Superiors for their efforts.

Thank you to all my students for all your hard work.  Now back to practicing for NCMTA on March 5.

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.