The Mid Atlantic Music Teachers Guild Spring Festival is fast approaching! Here’s what you need to know if we haven’t already had this discussion!
The deadline to register is February 1, 2017. That means all registration forms and associated fees need to be handed back to me no later than January 25. Everything will be mailed out in one big packet by me.
Students are invited to participate in Standard Competitions (on either piano, voice or guitar), which is where all students in a given category perform the same piece and are scored based on their performance. Students may also participate in Evaluations, which can be a really helpful learning experience for students. Students perform a piece of their choosing (though I always suggest using the Standard piece appropriate to their level, even if they are not competing in a Standard category) for a judge who then gives them feedback – both praise and critiques. Top scoring students in competitions have a chance to earn a trophy or medal. All students who participate in evaluations earn a trophy.
For my more advanced piano students, there is a Sight Reading competition to try out, which is MOST exciting and a true test of musicianship. For older students who can sing and accompany themselves on an instrument – either guitar or piano, there is the Talent Showcase. Even if a student is interested but not ready to enter that competition, it is a great and inspiring event to watch on Saturday night.
If a student is very new – if this is their first time participating in the competition – I always suggest doing just an evaluation first. If they are more adventurous or this is not their first time, I suggest students participate in both competition and evaluation. Of course, you are free to participate how you see fit.
The competition is the weekend of April 1. Most events my students would be participating in take place on the Saturday of that weekend, while the awards ceremony, which students are welcome to attend, takes place on Sunday afternoon. The festival happens at the Hanover Marriot on Route 10 East. In addition to the categories your child participates in, there are many other competitions to watch, competitions for different instruments, competitions focusing on different styles of music, higher level competitions that take place on Friday and Saturday night, and even an ensemble showcase that was a ton of fun to watch last year (and I expect more of the same this year!).
The festival always hosts a vendor selling cool music gifts for your budding musicians, everything from the cute – like socks and suspenders – to the very nice – like jewelry. The hotel features a great breakfast, a cool Irish pub (with authentic decor and great food), an indoor pool and an outdoor walking trail. If you are a family with siblings who will be participating in the competition, and even if you’re not, you may want to check out MAMTG’s packages page – where you can register for a hotel room PLUS get a discount on your festival registration.
Additionally, if you’ve got a teenaged student (or an older sibling to a student) who could log some community service hours working at the competition, we can always use the help! Specifically, we are looking for students who are 16 or older who can work as room captains or assistant room captains throughout the weekend. A room captain takes attendance, fields questions, keeps the flow of each competition running smoothly, assists the judge if they need it, and communicates with festival staff (like myself) if a problem arises. It’s a pretty important, yet actually pretty easy job, and it always seems like we can use an extra pair of hands on deck with something. I wouldn’t expect a teenager to volunteer all weekend long, but if they did, they’d be able to log almost 20 hours total from Friday night to Sunday afternoon, so if they are looking to pick up volunteer hours and also have an interest in music, this would be an excellent opportunity for them. If you have a student or their sibling who is interested in volunteering, or if you yourself as a parent can give a few hours of your time that weekend, please let me know.
How does one register for the festival? I’ll have registration forms for parents to fill out starting this week which need to be filled out and returned with payment by January 25. Payment can be sent in either cash or check to me (make checks out to Miss Anna Lawrence, as I will be sending them one big check instead of sending along 985438723754957366 little checks).
The MAMTG Spring Festival is an amazing event that I really hope you and your child will attend. It’s fun and exciting to prepare for a competition, a thrill to participate, and a ton of fun afterwards (once the pressure is off) to do some shopping, see some other competitions, or just hang out at the beautiful (if somewhat noisy) hotel. I hope to see you there! And of course, if you need more information, please check out the MAMTG website.