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Mendy Smith

Competition Day

January 13, 2008 at 2:23 AM

I did it and lived. I was beat out by one of the cellist that competed on Piano (she's been playing piano for ever), and my own accompanist (2nd place), another excellent pianist. So, the winners were both experienced and accomplished pianists. According to the "Proctor", the competition was fierce this year and the level of playing was better than it has been in years past. I'm happy to have been a part of it all. They will not be ranking any other entries (outside of the "wild card" TBD, not me though, but most likely the flutist who is also amazing), but will be giving us our individual "score cards" on Monday.

I did ending up getting some bow arm shakes (nowhere near as bad as before though), totally missed one note (and not a difficult one). But other than that, I think I did well (or so said my pianist). My nerves had me making some mistakes that I didn't make during my impromptu performance Wednesday.

My best performance was actually in the "waiting room" with everyone one else. No nerves, bow arm shakes or anything else. The waiting room was a mini-chapel, so I went up on the stage and played through WITHOUT my music (I ended up memorizing the entire piece BTW, much to my own surprise). A few of the folks waiting along with me listened to my pre-performance "performance" and were actually swaying along to the music. I received some compliments from my "performance". That was worth it more to me than the actual competition itself.

Bruch was harder than I thought before as a performance piece. This piece pushed my technical and expressive capabilities despite it's slower tempo at a performance level. Shifting all over the fingerboard, the absolute requirement for a lot of vibrato, double stops, trills, etc... Having only learned these techniques over the past few years, I'm thrilled to have been able to do it at all in front of 3 people with clip boards.

I'm glad I did this, even though I didn't win. It was an experience I haven't had in many many years. I want to do it again when the next competition happens (in two years). What I need to work on most is public performance nerves, and more experience playing with a pianist. Now that I have a piano, the "playing with a pianist" part will be easier. Getting more comfortable playing in public only takes time and experience. I'm still quite proud of myself on how I did despite my errors. I was the only string player in the competition. The double stops were actually the best measures of my performance, as well as the trills. The final lines were beautiful.

As it was said in Monty Python... "now for something completely different". Put Bruch aside, put Bach aside (for awhile), I'd like to start working on Hummel's Fantasie for Viola & Orchestra.

From Ruth Kuefler
Posted on January 13, 2008 at 2:45 AM
Aww Mendy, that's so great! :) I'm glad you had such a rewarding experience. You should be very proud of all the effort and learning that went into this. And you're right, the more you practice performing and playing with piano, the more comfortable you'll get. Have fun with the Hummel Fantasie! :)
From Pauline Lerner
Posted on January 13, 2008 at 5:02 AM
Congratulations, Mendy. You got through it, felt that you played very well (although not flawlessly), and still have a positive attitude for the next competition. Those are a lot of accomplishments.
From Samuel Thompson
Posted on January 13, 2008 at 5:30 AM
I have to agree with Pauline - and say that I could not have said it as eloquently as she did! Congratulations to you!
From Drew Lecher
Posted on January 13, 2008 at 7:13 AM
Mendy,

You actually won, having come away from the competition with such a victorious spirit and growth.

CONGRATULATIONS!!!

From Karen Allendoerfer
Posted on January 13, 2008 at 1:38 PM
"Shifting all over the fingerboard, the absolute requirement for a lot of vibrato, double stops, trills, etc... Having only learned these techniques over the past few years, I'm thrilled to have been able to do it at all in front of 3 people with clip boards."

That's an inspiration to all of us adult learners! You've come a long way in a short time and will just keep getting better and better. Congratulations!

From E. Smith
Posted on January 13, 2008 at 4:29 PM
Congratulations! This sounds corny, but you really are a winner-- you accomplished a lot preparing for this competition. Thanks for sharing the experience with us.
From Donna Clegg
Posted on January 14, 2008 at 1:14 AM
Ditto all the above.
From Neil Cameron
Posted on January 14, 2008 at 11:55 AM
Wot everybody else sed!

Congrats Mendy and well played.

Neil

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