Helping young players improve
It was music to their ears.
Sage advice from very learned adjudicators is what the young pianists came to hear Wednesday evening.
Following their piano recitals – in a room so quiet you could hear a pin drop – the students got individual attention from adjudicator Dr. Ronald Morgan of Vancouver. He went over their performed pieces with them and offered suggestions on how they might improve.
At the 7:30 p.m. recital, Isaiah Bromley Singh played Chopin’s Waltz in C sharp minor. Morgan had carefully listened to him play – now it was Singh’s turn to listen carefully.
“I like it to start a little softer... take your time at the end [of the piece],” Morgan suggested. The adjudicator looked at his notes.
“This one thing needs a little cleanup,” he said, pointing to a place on the sheet music sitting on top of the piano. “Can I watch?”
Singh played the part again. This time, Morgan was smiling.
“Yes, success,” he said. “I find myself talking about this a lot – about looking at the big picture. Take a step back and listen to it to see where you are going [with the piece].”
In his adjudication, Morgan pointed out ways Singh could improve his playing technique such as “flying over” the keys with his wrists – while still “articulating” with his fingers. Pointing out a spot in the music where he thought Singh did very well, he said, “I love this shaping and what you were doing here.”
For recitals at the church, two pianos are on stage so the adjudicator can play on the piano next to the student and show how mistakes can be corrected, or simply how the music could sound better.
Proud parents and piano teachers sit in the audience.
Adjudicators play an important role in the music festival not just as judges but as mentors who often shape the future of young musicians. Morgan has made it his life’s work to help others learn and he currently teaches piano and pedogogy (the art of teaching) at this own studio in Burnaby.
Morgan has an advanced degree in piano performance and musiciology from Estman School of Music. He has performed solo and collaborative recitals in Canada, U.S., Britain, Japan, Hong Kong. He taught piano at the University of Hawaii for four yrears (2000 to 2004).
Participants in the P.G. and District Music Festival perform in a wide variety of disciplines in categories including vocal and musical theatre, choral, instrumental (trumpets, flutes, etc.,) piano and strings.
Piano sessions are held at the Evangelical Free Church on 5th Avenue. Instrumental, vocal, choral and strings sessions are at Our Saviour’s Lutheran Church at 3590 Dufferin Ave.
The 2013 Prince George and District Musical Festival (Feb. 23 to March 4) showcases the best of the best performances with two finale music concerts held at Vanier Hall on March 9.
Junior participants selected by the 2013 adjudicators will perform in Showcase Concert which starts at 5:30 p.m. Others recommended by adjudicators will be asked to perform at the Gala Concert at 8 p.m.
Adjudicators in each discipline may also recommend participants from the local festival to go on to Provincial Festival of the Performing Arts B.C. which takes place May 26 to 30 in Chilliwack.