Your first competition

July 6, 2019, 1:28 PM · My son plays his first ever music competition tomorrow. He is 6.
Can you remember when you had your first competition? And how did you feel?

Any advises, how to help him?

Replies (6)

July 6, 2019, 1:41 PM · He's six. Encourage him to play his best as you would for any performance, and do not put any pressure on him for results. And definitely do not "suggest" to him that he will be nervous, or that he should care about the outcome beyond striving to do his best.
Edited: July 6, 2019, 1:50 PM · My first competitions were "Solo and Ensemble Festival" events. I never placed, but you get a score and a tiny medal if you play well. I always got a medal, and one of the comments was the same, year after year: "Intonation needs work." That's because my teacher, I learned 30 years later, never taught me this properly. He never taught me to listen to "ring tones" on my instrument. He insisted instead that my intonation would get better on its own. My parents and I were too ignorant to know how bad that was.

My advice would be that a performance, for a young child, is a chance to show the judges how much you love playing your violin. Kids who play less than perfectly but who show enthusiasm and love for what they are doing will fare well in the judging because nobody is immune from finding it adorable when a young boy or girl has a big smile and takes a big bow at the end.

July 6, 2019, 1:49 PM · Your kid will pick up on your anxiety. Try to relax as much as you can. Don't make a big deal out of either a win or a loss. And don't expose him to either kids or parents who seem very invested in the outcome.
July 6, 2019, 2:41 PM · I remember myself my first big regional competition in gymnastics. I was 6.
I remember all that atmosphere, talks, expectations, and elevated mood.
For me it was something special. I spent two hours among children and patents who wanted to win, and suddenly i felt that I also want to win. I never was any good at gymnastics, but suddenly I wanted to win.
And I did. I performed even elements that I NEVER succeed on trainings...
All this adrenalin let my muscles be a bit tighter, more controlled and allowed me to do more that I could ever before.

But I guess, adrenalin in violin is not something helpful ))).

I do not care about the results. I just want to imagine what kind of feelings he might have after performance.

Edited: July 7, 2019, 2:24 AM · I was about 15 when I was first entered in the local music Eisteddfod, won my class and had to perform the first movement of Mozart 3 in the final concert. Nerves, what nerves? I can only speak for myself but I think until parents get too involved a kid's default attitude is, let it rip! A year or two before that I'd made my operatic debut in a one-act piece by Kurt Weill and followed it the next year singing Polly Peachum in the Beggars' Opera. Still have a recording on a 10" LP!
July 7, 2019, 3:09 AM · You could help him by not putting him in competitions at this age.

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