Next Big Thing Piano Festival and Competition

Listening House Studios is starting this year called the Next Big Thing (aka NBT). We had originally envisioned this as a competitive contest. However, some parents have voiced concerns and would prefer their children receive a non-competitive evaluation instead.

Because your opinion is very important to Rhonda and I, we’ve modified the event to include both aspects. Though we still have lots of details to decide, here’s how we think it will work:

Name: Next Big Thing Piano Festival and Competition

Date: Saturday, April 27, 2013, from 8 am until noon

Place: Trinity Church, 3515 Shackleford Rd, Florissant, MO 63031

     (Note: The church has graciously allowed us to use their facilities, but this is not a religious event.)

Pre-NBT prep: Piano students choose to play either a popular song or a classical one. They prepare and polish it to perfection.

Stage 1 of the NBT: From 8 am till 10 am, two qualified judges will listen to all students perform in two rooms that allow audience members. Classical performers will play for one judge and popular performers for another. Judges will write suggestions for improvement and also praise for strong points on evaluation sheets for each student. After their performances, students have the option to leave. (They will receive the written feedback plus a certificate in their next lessons.)

Stage 2 of the NBT: Each judge will choose the top three players in the K-5 grade group and three in the 6-12 grade group for both classical and popular performers. 12 students, total, will be invited to participate in a competitive late-morning recital. If a student refuses or has gone home, then the invitation goes to an alternate choice. 

Stage 3 of the NBT: 12 students will perform in the church sanctuary for the judges and audience members. The judges will decide on the two top performers, one for each style of music. Audience members will also vote on their two favorite performers. Judges get 60% of the voting decision and audience members, 40%. We’ll tally the results and announce the winners to end the day.

This is our answer to some of the problems we see with other festivals that have huge amounts of paper work, restrictions on the kinds of pieces played, student performers isolated from audiences, high costs, etc.   We are very excited about the possibilities! There will be a fee, but it should be minimal. Please mark your calendars. . . and watch for more details soon.

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