These are private (student and judge only), non-competitive auditions that are held annually to encourage goal-setting and progress in the study of the piano. Students are judged on individual merit in the areas of accuracy, continuity, phrasing, pedaling, dynamics, rhythm, tempo, tone, interpretation, style, and technique. Each student participating will be awarded a certificate and pin for their program. One of the available programs is called the Guild Founder’s Plaque, and the opportunity to earn this plaque is very popular with students and parents – let me know if you are interested in this. For the past several years, all of my students that have entered the Guild Auditions have received a rating of Excellent or Superior.
Playing an audition involves performing from 1-10 pieces for the judge assigned to our area (the student and I can select the number of pieces the student wishes to perform). I would recommend 3-4 memorized pieces as a minimum, especially for students participating for the first time. Students wanting to perform the 10-piece program will play music learned throughout the entire school year. There is some technique required (scales and cadences) as well. Students can memorize pieces, or enter the “hobbyist” category where pieces need not be memorized. There are also categories for jazz, duets, and social music (Broadway shows, movie themes, hymns, etc.) to help keep students motivated no matter which genre and style of music they like to perform.
Date and Location
The closest National Guild Audition regional center to us is in Durham; however, there is another center in Raleigh. The Guild Auditions will be held at both locations in the spring of each year. The Durham Auditions are typically held in some classrooms or auditorium in a church located somewhere on the border of Durham and Chapel Hill so it is convenient to both cities.
Typically, auditions begin at noon and continue through 8PM on the days of the auditions. I will be assigned a block of time for my students, for example, 1-6PM on Tuesday, and it may be a school day as easily as a weekend date.
While the Guild office provides a printed letter for parents to show a student’s school office so that the student can receive an excused absence, the school is not required to excuse the absence, although most do because it is an academic and educational program. So please keep in mind that some students may need to miss school in order to play in the Auditions, and no one can say for certain what time will be allotted to my students or who may need to miss school.
The cost is usually in the $30-$40 range to register the student (and another $20 or so for the Guild Founder’s plaque if this is pursued). Those receiving plaques may also submit a photo (around $4 per photo) to be printed in the fall issue of the Piano Guild Notes magazine published by the American College of Musicians, the organizers of the Guild Auditions. A copy of the magazine may be requested (about $4 per magazine) as a keepsake and to show family and friends. Additionally, students performing a “National” program (10 pieces or more – with or without the plaque) can have their names listed in the Piano Guild Notes as a further commendation of their effort when 5, 10 and 15 years of performing in the Auditions have been completed.
I recommend this audition to all students (even beginners) because it helps to set and achieve the kinds of goals I would like my students to attain. The comments of the judge will help to reinforce the concepts I am trying to teach, and often students will concentrate with improved focus after having this kind of experience. It also assists me in guiding their course of study and is a positive reinforcement for me. I understand if your family situation does not allow your child to participate in this audition this year, but I hope you will keep it in mind for future years.
If you have any questions or would like to discuss this with me further, please contact me. I look forward to hearing back from you about this annual event and hope you will give this your strongest support.