While nations around the globe tune in to the 2012 Summer Olympics, I’ve been thinking about the spirit of competition. What is it that drives us as individuals and societies to compete with each other? What motivates us to be better, stronger, faster, and smarter than each other? Is the spirit of competition healthy or destructive—or could it be both?
I asked a similar question in a recent post, “Musical Role Models: Depressing or Inspiring?” It seems that in any type of competition, the challenge between to parties can be either approached in a spirit of sportsmanship or enmity. I think the appeal of the Olympics is in an incredible display of inspiring sportsmanship between nations. Differences and politics are set aside as athletes shake hands and face off in fair competitions of skill and speed.
In turn, there is definitely an element of competition in the music world. From challenges between two violinists for first chair to international competitions between ensembles, musicians are constantly being judged in competition with each other. And as with the Olympics, these musical challenges are meant to be fair and inspiring demonstrations of harmonious sportsmanship.
But how do you “judge” the quality of a performance? Let’s take a look at an example of scoring guidelines from the Olympics:
- Difficulty – Dance skills, acrobatic skills, and composition are judged by difficulty.
- Execution – On a ten-scale, execution, technique, and artistry are evaluated.
- Neutral Deductions – Errors, such as stepping out of bounds or violating time requirements, may result in a deduction from the total score.
Judging a Performance
Take a look and you’ll find that the same criteria for a gymnastics routine could be applied to a musical performance. (Check out Joel’s post, “Auto Racing and Stringed Instruments” and his similar comparison between musical competions and racing cars.) It turns out athletics and musical performance are very similar. Musicians simply go from the practice room to the stage instead of the gym to the arena.
While a musical performance may seem like an abstract “thing” to judge, it turns out there are very specific criteria judges (and even listeners in the audience) look for in a quality performance, just like in a gymnastics routine. Next time you prepare for a performance, try evaluating yourself by the following criteria to see where you need improvement:
Musical Performance Scoring Guidelines
- Tone – What is the quality of sound?
- Intonation – Is the soloist or ensemble playing in tune?
- Balance – Do the musicians (soloist, accompanist, and/or ensemble members) blend together and balance each other in volume?
- Ensemble – Are performers playing in sync with each other with a sense of togetherness?
- Interpretation – How is the overall performance and styling of the piece?
- Musicianship – Are phrasing, tempo, and dynamics used to shape the music?
- Rhythm – Is rhythm sloppy or accurate?
- Diction – How is articulation: clear and defined or muddy and unclear?
- Accuracy – Are all the notes being hit?
- Selection – Is the piece musically appropriate in nature and difficultuly?
- Stage Presence – Is the performer appropriately dressed? How are overall appearance and poise?
So whether you’re preparing for an orchestra audition, a chair challenge, a competition, or even our 2012 Kennedy Violins Video Contest, try approaching your performance the same way an Olympian might: with dedication, attention to detail, motivation, and a strong drive for success. Don’t forget that Olympic motto, “Faster, Higher, Stronger,” and you’ll find that your determination to achieve your music dreams will take you very far . . . perhaps even to the world stage.
Looking for something to do this summer? Take part in Kennedy Violins first official video contest. The theme of the video contest is: “Play.” We want to see how you play, why you play, where you play, your favorite way to play, anything! We will choose a winner based on their ability to best embody the theme. The winner receives a brand new Prodigy bow from Coda Bow! For more information click here. For complete rules click here. If you have any questions, call (1.800.779.0242) or e-mail us (firstname.lastname@example.org).
Back in May, Kennedy Violins announced our 2012 Photo Contest. This year, we added 3 categories for people to enter: Humor, Performance, and Artistic. A winner from each category would receive a $50 in store credit. There would also be a grand prize winner receiving $200 of in store credit. Well, the contest ended a few weeks ago and the winners have been selected!
In the Humor category:
In the Performance category:
This photo was taken by Jim Goodman. The picture features Sierra Goodman practicing for her first recital. The judges loved her focus in the this shot. Good luck on your recital, Sierra!
In the Artistic category:
And finally, the GRAND PRIZE WINNER!
We’d also like to thank all of those that participated in the contest. We had our biggest turn out ever! There are many talented photographers out there who happen to be string players.
If you missed your chance to enter this year, don’t worry we will do this again next year. Plus, we are doing a video contest for the summer!
If you have any questions regarding this contest or any future contests, please e-mail email@example.com.
In February of this year, Kennedy Violins announced that it was seeking a local music teacher to award with a prize package including a violin outfit and accessories to beef up their resources. The deadline to apply ended May 1 and the selection process began. Out of all the applicants, there was one organization that stood out to us: Rasika School of Music and Arts.
Rasika began in Portland, OR in 1999 with the goal of bringing the classical Indian arts to the city and surrounding areas through entertainment and education. Over the years, they have presented many dance and music concerts featuring premier performers from India. In 2010, they started the School of Music and Arts. The school has two locations in Hillsboro, OR and Vancouver, WA. Already, the school has around 75 students enrolled making it the largest school of classical Indian music in the Northwest.
What stood out to us, at Kennedy Violins, was the obvious passion that the teachers and staff of Rasika possess for the arts and the expertise of the instructors in their individual art forms. Anand Nadh is the teacher violin and voice in the School of Music and Arts. He comes from one of the world’s most renowned classical carnatic music lineage. Anand studies with violin maestro Sri Lalgudi Jayaraman and Sri Lalgudi Krishnan. Coming from this powerful classical tradition, he studied this art form and all of its nuances, staying in the home of his teachers in the Gurukulam custom for years. He has a rich teaching experience and can communicate well to a diverse and global student community, having taught at Singapore, Middle East and in India before starting as a master teacher with Rasika.
Rasika strives to fill an obvious void in the musical culture of the Northwest for the thousands of Indian families here and the community at large. They expertly do so as evidenced by growing enrollment. As Rasika continues the journey to enhance the cultural richness and quality of music locally in Portland and Vancouver, they seek the support of local funders and Kennedy Violins was happy to step in. In the words of their president, Raman Srinivasan, “The gift award of violin package for our music teacher and our school will be a valuable asset to our music school. We are definitely in need of instruments and this in kind award from Kennedy Violins, Inc will be valuable asset to the teacher and the music school.” It is our hope that by Kennedy Violins supporting this great organization that others will be moved to donate what they can to Rasika as well.
For more information on Rasika School of Music and Arts, and how you can support them, visit their website.
If you would like more information on how Kennedy Violins can support your organization, please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
If you haven’t heard yet, we are having a photo contest. Each Friday during the contest we will be featuring one of the photos submitted. This week’s photo comes to us from Andrew Herrault. He entered it into the “Artistic” category. If you would like to submit your own, click here for details. The winner receives $200!
Kennedy Violins is pleased to announce that we are holding another photo contest. This time, there are three categories for participants to enter: Performance, Artistic, and Humorous. One winner will be chosen from each category receiving a $50 in store credit. A grand prize winner will be chosen overall receiving a $200 in store credit. The winners will also be featured in the Kennedy Violins blog and monthly newsletter.
To enter, you may post the picture on our Facebook page or e-mail it to us at email@example.com. Feel free to e-mail or call us if you have an questions.
Happy Shooting and Good Luck!
Photo Contest Rules
Kennedy Violins, Inc. Photo Contest begins May 21, 2012 and ends June 30, 2012, at 11:59 PM Pacific Standard Time (PST). By submitting an entry, each contestant agrees to the rules of the contest.
Who may enter:
Any resident of the United States of America or Canada (participants under 18 must have additional waiver signed by a parent or guardian)—except for individuals affiliated with the Kennedy Violins, Inc., including employees, interns, volunteers, and their immediate families (children, siblings and spouses) and others living in their households—are eligible. Kennedy Violins, Inc. will determine winners’ eligibility in its sole discretion.
What to enter:
The Photo Contest categories are drawn from those subjects of special interest to Kennedy Violins, Inc.
The three categories are:
Performance-the photo must feature a group or soloist performing or doing something connected to performance (i.e. tuning, warming up, etc.).
Artistic-The subject of the photo should be artistic while still featuring a stringed instrument.
Humorous-This category is for more light-hearted entries.
Photographs must have been shot by the entrant since January 1, 2010.
Cropped photos are eligible in all categories. We do not accept digitally or otherwise enhanced or altered photos. Minor adjustments, including spotting, dodging and burning, sharpening, contrast and slight color adjustment or the digital equivalents, are acceptable. If the judges determine that a photographer has altered his or her photo, they reserve the right to disqualify it.
For a photo in which a person is recognizable, you must secure a model release from the subject or, in the case of a minor, the subject’s parent or guardian and provide it to Kennedy Violins upon request.
Photographs that have won any other contests or have been published in magazines and newspapers are not eligible. We define winning as having won a grand prize or 1st place in a single category. Photos that violate or infringe upon another person’s rights, including but not limited to copyright, are not eligible.
How to enter:
Please submit photographs through our Facebook page at www.facebook/kennedyviolins.com or by e-mailing firstname.lastname@example.org. We do not accept photographs submitted through the mail. Submit no more than three (3) photographs per category. We do not accept more than one contestant per e-mail address. You must indicate the category to submit your annual contest entry to the monthly competition.
High-quality scans of non-digital photographs are acceptable. Digital photographs should be taken at the highest resolution possible. Use the on-line entry form on our website. Complete a separate form for each photo submitted. Photographs must be in a .jpeg, .jpg or .gif format. Files submitted may not be larger than 2,048k (2Mb).
Kennedy Violins, Inc. reserves the right to disqualify incomplete entries and/or contestants who are unable to submit the correct format.
By entering the contest, entrants grant the Kennedy Violins, Inc. a royalty-free, worldwide, perpetual, non-exclusive license to display, distribute, reproduce and create derivative works of the entries, in whole or in part, in any media now existing or subsequently developed, for any educational, promotional, publicity, exhibition, archival, scholarly and all other standard Smithsonian purposes. Any photograph reproduced will include a photographer credit as feasible. Kennedy Violins, Inc. will not be required to pay any additional consideration or seek any additional approval in connection with such uses.
All entries must be received through the Kennedy Violins, Inc web site by 11:59PM Pacific Time on June 30, 2012.
Judging of the annual contest will be conducted by a panel of experts selected by Kennedy Violins, Inc. Winning photographs will be announced on kennedyviolins.com in July 2012. Decisions of the judges will be final.
The contest is void where prohibited or restricted by law. Kennedy Violin, Inc. reserves the right to cancel the contest or modify these rules at its discretion. Decisions of Kennedy Violins, Inc. will be final.
One grand prize winner and three honorable mention prize winners will be selected from all eligible entrants.
The grand prize winner will receive: $200 store credit
The 1st place prize winners in each category will receive: $50 store credit
Winners must sign a release and license and will be responsible for paying any taxes they may owe on a prize.
This past Sunday, April 22, the Oregon Cello Society held their annual scholarship auditions. The auditions were open to students in Oregon and SW Washington. The OCS auditions have several divisions and levels for students to participate in with awards at each level. The major award that the students were vying for was the Bud Armstrong Scholarship in the amount of $500.
This year, through the OCS auditions, Kennedy Violins awarded Hannah Burke, a talented young student, a Prodigy Coda Bow. Hannah is 11 years old and studies with Nancy Ives of the Oregon Symphony. We know that equipped with the new bow she will progress and continue to be successful in her cello studies.
This year, we decided to do a mini-contest for Valentine’s Day. The contest was simple, anyone who wanted to participate just had to post a poem on the wall of our Facebook page to enter. The winner would be selected the day after Valentine’s Day.
Well, that day is today! After looking at all the submissions, the decision was unanimous. The winner of the first ever Kennedy Violins Valentine’s Day Mini-Contest is: Emma Buckman. The judges commented that they really liked “her use of metaphors” and “the cadence of her verses.” Check it out!
If Roses are Red and Violets are blue
Then Violin music is a beautiful hue
A kaleidoscope of breathtaking shades
Of color is seen when violins are played
It soothes your soul and warms your heart
The very first moment the violin starts
It makes you feel loved like a sweet valentine
So Kennedy Violins won’t you please be mine
Thanks Emma! We would also like to give a shout-out to Patrick Lengkong, Mary Nicholson, and Crystal Ramsey. You can read their entries on our Facebook page.
For inspiraton, please enjoy these classic Valentine’s poems:
Roses are red.
Violets are blue.
Sugar is sweet.
And so are you.
Roses are blue.
Violets are red.
If you agree,
You’ve got rocks in your head.
Roses are red.
Violets are blue.
Please don’t kiss me,
‘cuz I have the flu.