Yesterday my students participated in the annual Guild piano auditions. Each student played a ten-piece audition, which included technique such as scales, chords, and arpeggios. I was so proud of them! They all played very well. Of course there were small errors here and there, but they played confidently and musically. They were raring to go after having prepared for the past 3-4 months.
These are the things I love about Guild:
1. Guild gives your students a goal to work towards. Some students choose to play a ten-piece audition, some choose only two. But each student can decide for themselves how much of a challenge they want to tackle.
2. The Guild auditions are comprehensive. The older students play the scale and cadence chords which coincide with each piece before they perform the memorized selection. This connects the dots between the technique we learn apart from pieces and the actual pieces.
3. The students get to perform a wide variety of music. Whether the student is performing an audition of two pieces or ten, they can showcase their musicality in a variety of musical styles.
4. Guild is non-competitive. It is so refreshing for students to only have to be judged on their own merits, not in comparison with somebody else’s. Each student earns C’s (for commendation) or A’s (for needs attention). There is no number score based on how the individual is ranked within a group of peers.
5. Guild is highly motivational. After my students get over the initial reaction of having to learn ten pieces for one event (jaw drops, eyes open wide…a deer in the headlights moment), they get to work! And they perfect their pieces with greater attention to detail each week until the day of the event.
6. The student receives a written critique (called a report card). I have found critiques from Guild judges to be the most helpful and encouraging of any piano festival or event.
7. It is good for the teacher, for all of the above reasons. It helps me set goals for my students, incorporate technique in a practical way, pull music from a wide variety of styles, motivates me to help the student reach for a higher level of mastery. The critique is so useful in providing me with feedback on how well I’m doing my job.
8. The teacher is able to have a social outlet with other teachers. I’m able to converse with other teachers I see at the event and exchange ideas with the judge. Oftentimes we are in our own little worlds of teaching, but we as teachers also need the sharpening that takes place when ideas and plans are discussed among peers.
If you are thinking of entering students in the Guild piano auditions next year, let me encourage you to go for it! Find a Guild teacher who can mentor you through all of the paperwork and preparation involved. Then work hard and reap the benefits for your studio and your students!