Solo and Ensemble (junior and senior high school) and SYAMF are opportunities for students to get feedback about their playing and to compete against other players of their instruments. Here are a few basic recommendations for participating in these adjudications.
General Solo and Ensemble Recommendations
–Start preparing a short piece with piano as a solo or a small ensemble work (duets-6 parts) in the fall (no later than early November).
–Get coaching before you play for the contest.
–Plan on hiring a professional accompanist and do so as early as possible–student accompanists may be used only in junior high and only with numerous rehearsals.
–Ask your band director about dates and entry requirements for Solo and Ensemble.
–Buy a legal copy of the sheet music you are playing and double-check the piano part and your instrument match (ask your teacher about key signatures). Do this EARLY–preferably at least a month in advance.
–Your solo must be “classical” in nature–no improvising/jazz.
Day of the Adjudication Suggestions
–Make sure to get there at least 30 minutes before you play.
–Warm-up for no more than about 20 minutes in junior high, 30 in high school.
–Dress nicely–full suits/formal dresses are not necessary, but no jeans or t-shirts.
–Tune before you perform.
–If possible, arrange the piano so that you have eye contact with your accompanist.
–Be respectful to the judge, but don’t be afraid to ask relevant questions.
Suggestions for Parents
–Plan on 2 rehearsals with the accompanist and ask about their rates.
–Performing the piece before the contest will help it to go better at the contest, so playing at my winter recital is highly recommended.
–Traffic and parking the day of the event can be difficult, so leave early and plan on dropping your child off.
–Feel free to listen in on the adjudication. If you think there was something odd about the judge or if they do a good job, please let me know.
–Please make sure to have a legal copy of the piece your child will play–if it’s off the internet, please make sure that that publishing information is on the page or that you have a letter stating that you have permission to use photocopies. They are very strict about this in high school contests.
High School Solo and Ensemble
–Make sure you have a legal copy of your piece well in advance of the performance.
–Contact your accompanist early.
–Your score and the fact of your participation should go on your resume.
–Be aware that if you go to the State competition, you will need 4 original copies of your piece–I can usually provide 1-2 of these, but the rest are up to you. If your piece is difficult to obtain, you will need a letter from the website or company that holds the publishing rights to use photocopies.
This is an independent festival/competition with more stringent guidelines than school district Solo and Ensemble contests. Please see their website for details.