Performing...Do I Have To?

From personal experience with a church keyboardist position, there is nothing that enhances growth on a musical instrument more than playing for others. I recognize that not everyone is inclined to perform so I've crafted numerous opportunities for all to experience an audience at various levels of intensity.

The levels include:

casual = *

informal = ^

formal = ~

competitive =  !

There is something for everyone!


* Group Lessons--in lieu of a private lesson, the main purpose of studio group lessons is to make friends, practice performance skills and drill skills with a good dose of fun. Usually held in the months of...

  • October
  • November
  • February
  • April
  • May


^ Craft Fairs: Craft fairs provide a casual environment where pianists are encouraged to play pieces a number to times to eliminate any performance jitters in front of a friendly crowd.

  • October: Creativitea at South Suburban Christian Church
  • December: Global Bazaar at First Christian Reformed Church


^ and ~  Retirement Homes: Consider these a little more formal than casual as the hosts are inviting us to present a "show" for their residents. This friendly audience may interject unique comments between performances, show a strong interest in chatting with the performers and share a good deal of smiles and applause.

  • Fall and/or Spring: Johnson Living Center
  • Fall and/or Spring: Lincoln Meadows


~ Recitals: I expect everyone to particpate in a recital as they provide a deadline, motivation to refine repertoire and a studio celebration of accomplishments. These are more formal as they are held on a stage with lights and perfomers are expected to be performance ready and maybe with pieces memorized.

  • December: Christmas Recital
  • May: Spring Recital


! Federation of Music Clubs: This unique. 100-year-old establishment called National Federation of Music Clubs offers local and state festivals. Participants are required to play two pieces from memory and are evaluated. If the judges award the performer a Superior rating, the pianist is invited to play at the State Festival. A couple things to know:

  • To prepare for the festival, pianists will be required to participate in a studio workshop for an additional fee. Date and time TBA.
  • An entrance fee of approximately $20 is required for each event entered.
  • Piano Solo: Two pieces must be memorized, one piece is from the Federation Bulletin List (American Composers) and one from the Classical style (European Composers).
  • Other Options: Besides the Piano Solo event, participants may sign up for additional events and earn points for a Gold Cup. All must sign up for the Piano Solo event but may also enter divisions such as Duet, Duo, Composition, Patriotic, Hymns and more.

! Composition Contests: These unique creative competitions require a great deal of work as the piece must be notated in a "professional" format. Composers should also plan to perform their original works for a video to be posted on YouTube as well as recitals and other venues. Possible contests include:

  • National Federation of Music Clubs Composition Division
  • Piano Explorer Magazine Composition Contest
  • Carol Klose/Hal Leonard Composition Contest