On Friday June 21, 2019, Peery teachers Jodi Moore and Candice Holyoak gathered with some of their students (really the children of said teachers - haha!) at the home of Christie Skousen to test out a new competition format: The Piano Meet. Each student entered as either a Prep level division or a Level 1 division for this beta meet. All students within a division were assigned the same piece to prepare, and were now ready to put their skills to the test up against each other. It was very fun, friendly, and there was high quality playing from all!
The Piano Meet is structured much like a gymnastics meet, where you start with full points - 100 points in this case - and points are deducted from your score if there are errors in the execution of the piece. The expectation for execution is set up from the beginning, and a scoring sheet was provided so students understood how they would be judged, and could 'test compete' at home beforehand and know what their score would be. 1-point deduction examples are things like a collapsed finger or a missed wrist expression. Things like a note or rhythm error would be a 5-point deduction, and stopping in the middle of the piece or starting over would amount to a 10-point deduction.
When it was time for the meet to begin, we all sat in the piano room, and Christie announced the division and then the student whose turn it was to play. As they each took their turn performing their piece, Christie would mark the judging sheet. The playing went very quickly, as there were a total of 7 participants. All competitors were very gracious and clapped enthusiastically for one another. After the students competed, they were sent downstairs with pizza and games while Christie, Jodi, and myself discussed how it went, and how this format might work well moving forward. After the discussion, Christie added up the scores, and the students were brought back into the room to announce the scores and winners. All students did well! Taylor Holyoak from Entrada Piano Academy took first place in the Prep Division! In Level 1, Chad Holyoak took 2nd place, and Gabe Holyoak took 4th place.
My children surprisingly said they had a good time, and they would like to try it again! They liked being able to hear other students play from other studios. One thing they liked about this format was that everyone in their same division had to play the same piece, because then they knew what their competition was - they knew how to listen and watch for a perfect execution. They were very attentive to the playing of their competitors - noticing what they did well and also any errors that were made. I think this kind of experience over time would help refine their listening skills in their own playing. Another thing we all liked about the format was that everyone had only one shot - any re-do would cost you 10 points, so it was best to just keep going. What I love the most about this competition is the objectivity of it - students knew exactly how to get a perfect score, and if they worked hard, they could attain it.
The Piano Meet competition style will be coming soon to all Peery studios, so stay tuned for more details on how you can participate!