Monday, May 03, 2010

The Guild-ed Age

Faithful readers will recall that our daughters' piano teacher, Mrs. Vold, has them participate in an annual piano performance festival sponsored by the National Federation of Music Clubs. As children, my sisters and I did the same thing with our own piano teacher, so I was already familiar with how the judging and awards system would work for our daughters.

However, I was not familiar with another program in which some of Mrs. Vold's students participate: annual auditions for the National Guild of Piano Teachers. The organization has a system in place by which a student, with the aid of her teacher, chooses a personal repertoire and then plays her memorized pieces and demonstrates scales and other skills to a professional musician in a one-to-one audition. The judge rates the student's accuracy, continuity, phrasing, pedaling, dynamics, rhythm, tempo, tone, interpretation, style, and technique.

Mrs. Vold felt that Suzanna was ready to begin participating in Guild auditions this year, so Suzanna has been preparing all school year for her own private audition, which occurred today at a local church. For the past several months, Suzanna has practiced 45 to 60 minutes a day, six days a week, memorizing and then perfecting six songs and learning all the scales, chords, cadences, and tonic major and minor triads so that she could respond no matter what the judge might ask her to demonstrate. Here's what Suzanna told me about today's audition:

  • Only Suzanna was allowed in the room with the judge (who traveled here from Washington, by the way)--no teacher, no parents, no observers, etc.
  • "The judge called out what she wanted me to play, and I played it, and she marked things on a report card." On this report card, one wants to get C's, not A's. C = "commendable," and A = "needs attention." Out of 32 areas to be marked on the report card, Suzanna got 31 C's and 1 A.
  • The judge gave Suzanna a "superior plus: top talent" rating, telling her she's ready to play in front of any audience. The judge wrote, "You had such a wonderfully prepared program. Your attention to everything--louds, softs, accents, and phrasing--was super! I loved hearing you play today. Keep up your good practice!"
  • In addition to a report card with that high rating, Suzanna received a pin and a certificate with a blue star.

This is a new experience for our family, so we're still learning how it all works and figuring out what it all means--but by all accounts it seems that Suzanna did really well! We're quite proud of her, as she is of herself, and she's eager to continue next year. Her sisters, too, now know something about this opportunity and will likely wish to participate in Guild auditions when Mrs. Vold feels that each of them is ready.


  1. I was fortunate enough to get to hear Suzanna's audtion--I got to sit in the next room, which was seperated by a curtain. She played beautifully, and both Mrs. Vold and I were very proud of her!

  2. Congratulations to her! I expected nothing less from her. The talent runs in the family you know. ;-)