Parents and piano teachers are often challenging their children and pupils to go beyond their usual lessons, by participating in piano competitions. Piano competitions are beneficial to both the children’s musical education and their overall development. The healthy competitiveness fostered by piano competitions goes beyond musicianship, and teaches valuable life lessons, improves motivation, and promotes creativity. Here are some of the benefits of piano competitions.
For a piano student, few environments offer as many opportunities for musical growth as a piano competition. Competitions give contestants the opportunity to perform in front of well-informed and interested listeners. In addition, contestants often receive personalized feedback and advice from professionals. The learning environment created by piano competitions is truly valuable to the development of a student’s musicianship and teaches lessons that cannot be found through regular practice.
The Path to Success
In addition to self-improvement, a piano competition can also provide more palpable rewards. The student gets the chance to take home an award or leave a lasting impression on a judge and that is certainly encouraging to any aspiring music student. Earning recognition at a competition often leads to scholarships, networking connections, and even careers.
Preparing for a competition will involve much more focused practicing and will in turn, teach the competitor how to truly master every aspect of a piece of music. Competitors will also learn the ability to perform under pressure and how to acknowledge success or failure and learn from it. Any student who participates in piano competitions undergoes a comprehensive and transformative lesson on superior musicianship.
Aside from providing opportunities to grow as a musician, piano competitions can also benefit a child’s general development. The nature of music competitions is such that not everyone can win first place, yet everyone involved can still learn valuable lessons. The tailored feedback received can help them improve tremendously and this process of identifying the mistake, remedying it and reseting the goal, can benefit the overall development of any child.
A new piano has arrived at Wellington Church, courtesy of Roy O'Neil (Piano Tuner/Restorer and early keyboard specialist), through 'The Piano Project CIC'.
Roy has made this generous contribution to our school in support of our work in Glasgow and our fund raising efforts at Hospices for Hope. The piano is a 'Welmar', originally from the RCoS stock, previously owned by a young student at the Conservatoire and has had a rich and touching history. Since being donated to Glasgow Piano City (GPC) a few months ago, it has passed its musical M.O.T., being cleaned/restored by Tom Binns (GPC Project Coordinator) and tuned/regulated by Anne Burton, with Roy offering his experienced eyes and ears to the process too. We are sure you will enjoy the results of all their hard work.
If you have never heard of The Piano Project CIC before, they are a social enterprise based in Shawlands on the south side of Glasgow, aiming to reduce social isolation and increase appreciation of acoustic pianos by redistributing, recycling (and sometimes decorating) piano donations from all over Glasgow and beyond.
It is quite possible that you have played one of their decorated public pianos dotted around many of the city's public and community venues, or attended one of their 'Lids Open Day' events over the last 7 years, since they started life during Glasgow Music's 2013 Festival of the Piano and hit the ground running in 2014, with 20 decorated pianos free to play during the Commonwealth Games.
We look forward to collaborating with GPC in the future, as the world returns to being a bit more music friendly!
1. Better Response to Criticism
To get the most from this benefit of playing piano, it’s important to work with a qualified piano teacher who is able to give you constructive criticism. When younger students see their teacher as an expert in the field, it’s much easier to take their advice and feedback. And this ability to respond to criticism – and learn from it – will typically carry over to other aspects of daily life, such as school and work.
2. Improved Ability to Handle Stress
Participating in piano recitals, or even just performing in front of a group of friends, can help students deal with the symptoms of stage fright. Plus, all of the practicing leading up to the performance will help you learn about dedication, self-discipline, and the goal-setting process.
3. Learn to React Well to Successes and Disappointments
This is another skill you will gain from performing, especially if you participate in piano competitions. Similar to learning how to respond to criticism, you may experience some disappointment along the way. A good piano teacher will help you learn how to maintain a positive outlook, even when things don’t go your way. And when they do, you can celebrate your wins together!
4. Increased Social Participation
The ability to play in front of a group is an important social skill. It’s a great way to share your talents with others, and you may find yourself expanding your network as you put yourself out there in the musical community. Discussing your piano playing with other musicians is a wonderful way to improve your understanding of the instrument – plus, you never know how your connections can help you later in life!
5. Stronger Hand Muscles
Piano playing is helpful for developing dexterity in children and for maintaining strength in adult hands. Keep in mind, though: in order for your hand muscles to develop properly, you’ll need to learn the correct form and hand position for playing the piano with a professional teacher.
6. Improved School Performance
Studies have found that children who begin learning piano during grade school have better general and spatial cognitive development than their peers, which can help with mathematic skills. In addition, playing piano can help with concentration and therefore improve students’ overall school performance.
7. Aural Awareness
Whether you naturally have a good sense of pitch or you struggle with this skill, piano playing can definitely help you improve. Some of these benefits of playing piano include developing a sense of relative pitch, and training your mind to recognize tones, intervals, and chords, which can help with learning music theory later on in your studies.
8. Split Concentration
When you’re first starting to learn how to play the piano, it can be incredibly frustrating to coordinate your two hands each playing something different. But the more you play and practise, the easier it will get – trust us! Even simpler pieces can teach you the skills and focus you’ll need to improve your skills. Split concentration is not just a physical ability; you can also use the skill for listening. If you’re taking lessons with a piano teacher, you’ll likely learn how to listen to the sound of your playing as if you were both in the front of the concert hall and to the back of the room. You can use the mental part of this training in everyday life to improve your multitasking skills.
If you have been unsure about taking up piano lessons for yourself or your child, think about all of these benefits of playing piano. Of course, many people choose to begin piano lessons for the simple joy of learning and playing an instrument as a hobby. Whatever your reason for starting to play, remember that you can begin learning at any age. Put in the effort, and you’ll notice the positive feelings you experience when you learn a new skill!
The fourth Ardtornish Piano Retreat has sadly come to an end after another perfect week. We are over the moon with the feedback from our Retreaters who loved staying, playing and listening to amazing concerts in the stunning Ardtornish Estate.
Our closing concert by the incredible Gintaras Januševičius deserved the standing ovation for his beautifully directed programme “The New Colossus”. A must see!
Thank you for joining us and the light you brought to the retreat.
Special thanks to:
Gordon Bell Pianos of Aberdeen whose Kawai pianos were so appreciated by our Retreaters;
Jamie, Laura and Finlay for the incredible meals, the help and the cutest smiles and
Everyone at the Ardtornish Estate and the local community in Lochaline and Morvern for your support in our concert series.
If you would like to join us for our fifth Retreat, in the third week of June 2020, please visit: www.ancutanite.co.uk/ardtornish-piano-retreat