CMEA Solo/Ensemble Music Festival
The California Music Educators Association’s Solo/Ensemble Music Festival is a great opportunity for students to showcase their individual talents and be rated by a music educator on the basis of many music fundamentals and concepts. Students who participate gain valuable experience that builds confidence, eases performance anxieties, looks good on an application/resume, and they get extra credit in music (or can use it for the “solo/ensemble assignment”)!
The festival involves many students and small student ensembles from around the Bay Area. Students either perform a solo on their instrument or join forces with other students to participate in a duet, trio, quartet, quintet, or another small-group type. They perform music that is selected way in advance, and practice it regularly so that it is refined and ready to be played for a judge. Students will play for ONE judge at the festival, who will rate the student(s) on such factors as tone, technique, phrasing, expression, dynamics, appearance (yes, you should look nice!), and selection of music. They will rate the student(s) on the following scale:
I – Superior Command Performance
I – Superior
II – Excellent
III – Good
IV – Fair
V – Needs Improvement
Students will receive a certificate for their performance with their rating and have the opportunity to buy a medal that corresponds to their rating. A student who achieves a high rating has a nice showpiece for an application later on for scholarships, university entrance, and so on.
Festival Times and Location
This year’s Solo/Ensemble Festival takes place on Saturday, March 11, 2017 at California State University East Bay in Hayward. Performance time runs from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., and it is not possible to request specific time slots due to the large number of performers at the festival.
How to Sign-Up and Participate
If you are interested in participating in this year’s festival, please return the registration form to Mr. Conway no later than October 31. Mr. Conway will put you or your ensemble on the application and send all of this year’s applicants in all at once. Here are the steps you should take if you are going to participate:
1. Tell Mr. Conway by October 31 that you are going to participate, and fill out the sign-up form.
2. Have your music chosen by November 20. If you have no idea what to play, ask Mr. Conway or your private teacher for help.
3. Practice! Don’t sign up for this unless you are serious about doing well. You need to practice your selected music often. It is best if you have a private teacher. If you do, then TAKE YOUR MUSIC to the private lesson and ask the teacher to work on it with you! That’s why private teachers are there.
4. Ensembles: Should practice for one hour together once a week, or at the bare minimum once every two weeks. More is better!
5. Piano Accompanist: Do you need an accompanist? You will need to provide your own. Don’t pick a piece of music that needs an accompanist if you don’t have the ability to find one! Mr. Conway cannot provide one for you.
6. Perform! Students performing must wear their Concert Dress to the performance. They must bring a copy of the music for the judge, thank the judge for listening and for the comments, and be there at least 25 minutes before they perform. Performance times, maps, and other necessities will be provided well in advance.
It sounds like a lot of work, but the benefits are many. Please contact Mr. Conway if you need more information, or just stop by and let him know!