Meri’s Musical Musings

Why I don’t do studio competitions or recital awards

Posted on: May 13, 2015

One reason I do not do studio competitions is because I often have a wide range of ages of students, from slightly under 4 year olds to those who are seniors. What appeals and might motivate the students up to 8 or maybe 9 years old, will be unappealing to teenagers, adults, and seniors.

Another reason I do not do studio competitions is because I teach a fairly diverse range of levels, from total beginners to students getting ready to study for a music degree after high school. Some contests are far more likely to be suitable for beginning and very occasionally intermediate students, there are few if any suitable ones for advanced students, and if they reach an advanced level of study they are likely to be very motivated to do well anyway.

A third reason studio competitions don’t work for me is because of the fact that I teach more than one instrument, and comparing the achievements between students of different instruments is simply not a good idea or suitable.

A fourth reason I don’t do studio competitions or end of year recital awards is that there are often a few students who don’t achieve an award or the teacher has to make one up to include everyone, which the ones who don’t receive an award will sometimes have parents bugging the teacher about why their child did not receive it and their friend’s child did.

Fifth, I teach students on a wide range of potential, from those who have physical or learning challenges and who take 2 years to complete their first exam, to those who are able to complete 3 exam levels in their first year or so of study, even though the first may practice 10 hours a week and the second only 5 hours a week on average.

Finally, giving them prizes, certificates, and especially trophies is costly, which there are probably far better ways to spend a few hundred dollars per year than on awards that pit students against each other.


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