So the accordion competitions rolled around again this year at the Raye Freedman Centre at Epsom Girls Grammar School. Each year they seem to lose just a little bit more importance to us as other things going on seem to take greater priority...such as EXAMS!! I stupidly entered the top class at the competitions, which is supposed to mean going up against the best accordionists in New Zealand and the South Pacific (well...those who enter anyway). For the class we have to prepare a 15-20 minute programme of music made up of at least one Baroque piece, one lyrical piece and a technical piece. I was so underprepared that I only had my programme sorted moments before posting the application form off, and I had no lyrical piece and my programme was less than 15 minutes! I ended up going with this slow 2nd movement of a Mozart sonata I had to play for grade 8 back in the days (like 3 years ago now???) Apparently the three page piece would be about 8 minutes if I repeated both sections twice! I really wanted to pull out to avoid embarrassing myself and my teacher but he wouldn't let me!
Annnnyway our trio was first up on Saturday morning. We were performing our teacher's composition, one he wrote for his music paper at university which was supposed to be for erhu (Chinese musical instrument), flute and accordion. It went OK I guess, but what you hear on stage usually sounds different to what people hear in the audience. I found it difficult to hear my brothers playing on stage and they were only a couple metres away from me! There were a few slip-ups and mistakes here and there, like me focusing too much on whether they were in time to realise I forgot to come in! We managed to come first again though, and so we got our cup back for the Open Trio/Ensemble class for the fourth year.
My open solo class was a completely different matter! Not only did I fear not being able to complete my programme without a serious screw-up but now after hearing a girl from China in another class playing the same piece as me earlier there was added pressure on me not to play too bad!
I also never knew, but each competitor gets twenty minutes to warm up directly before their performance. I had my twenty minutes to quickly go through my performance and then try rest my strained arm before time was up and it was my time to go on stage! How fortunate was it for me to be drawn as the first to play too! I guess at least I could get mine over and done with and then everyone could forget about it while watching the other more impressive performers!
My performance didn't actually go toooo....bad. I got to the end which was most important. I did have stuff-ups in the middle of my pieces, but what helped me ease the nerves and save me from screwing everything up was I kept staring at the corner of the theatre where there was no one there, and just pretended there was no one in the audience and it was all just a practice, so even if I made a mistake I should just keep going.
As for the results, I got commended which I suppose is better than being singled out as coming last! haha It's the second year the guy who came first has won, and so he won't be allowed to enter next year which has given me a bit of motivation to start early this time round and try work harder for next year! What makes next year more important is the World Championships is coming to New Zealand. I'm not too sure if my teacher will get me to enter yet, but it would be a good experience to!
Aonghas performed his piece in the Junior Virtuoso (for 17 years and under) the next day and by his own admission it was shockingly bad! OK...well not that shocking as we were all expecting it. He's had a lot of distractions this year like going to America and uni, but we shouldn't be looking for excuses!
The upside of these competitions was getting to talk to quite a few of the other competitors and others more this year than usual. Usually because everyone else is from North Shore or somewhere else and we're the only ones from West Auckland, there's a bit of a divide as they don't know us as well as they know each other, but we managed to socialise a bit more with them this year which was really cool!
Now time to look forward to the competitions next year...