There are different requirements/rules for each different event. However, the judging requirements and numerical ratings are the same.
This is a brief description of what students do for the Piano Solo Festival:
Students prepare two pieces of music. One piece is called a required piece and the other is a choice piece. Both pieces must be memorized. The students will then perform both of their pieces for 3 judges who are very nice teachers like myself, who then will give them positive written evaluations/comments along with a score/points. Through the years of accumulating these points, they will earn a gold cup (trophy).
Students do not compete against each other; rather they are judged on a five tiered scale, with the following ratings:
- Superior = 5 points
- Excellent = 4 points
- Satisfactory = 3 points
- Fair = 2 points
- Needs Improvement = 1 point
Notice the emphasis in these ratings accentuates the positive. “Superior” does not connote “amazing technical virtuosity” as much as it means that the performance was accurate in terms of notes, rhythms and style – in short, that the student has mastered the music well when considering the student’s age and the difficulty of the pieces.
Why participate in Federation and what are the benefits?
1. It is very motivational for the student. An upcoming performance provides great incentive for increased practice.
2. It is instructive for the student. Often a student will get a message from a judge which is something their private teacher has been saying all
along, and suddenly it connects.
3. It is preparatory for the student. The performance situation at the Federation Festival is remarkably like college auditions and boards, but
without the scales, sight-reading and questions.
4. It is instructional for the teacher. The repertoire list usually includes titles that are new to the teachers, and this encourages them to broaden
the repertoire they teach. Judges’ comments also provide a teacher with and objective view of several aspects of a student’s performance and
I have found this to be very helpful.
5. It provides a chance for your students to get an impartial rating from your peers. This means a lot to some parents, and for many is a sign of
a teacher’s professionalism.
I would love for all of my students to participate in Federation, but it is definitely not mandatory. The students who do participate in Federation will attest to the GREAT learning and growing experience it is for them!