This year is the 50th Jubilee of the Singapore Music Teachers’ Association (SMTA) and the 10th year since the inception of the Singapore Performers’ Festival (PF). The SMTA endeavours to promote music-making in Singapore’s vibrant music learning and teaching landscape. The PF aims to encourage music-making and promote a life-long love for music while providing nusicians of all ages and abilities a public platform to showcase their talents before a live audience. There are 453 participants and 12 adjudicators this year in the Piano (solo and duet), Strings (Violin, Viola and Cello), Chamber groups and Solo Voice categories.
The PF helps build bridges from the weekly studio lesson to the concert stage and allows participants to experience greater self-confidence and a sense of accomplishment. In turn, they can be motivated to achieve future goals at their own pace. It also offers a stimulating way for teachers to present their students in performance, fuelling their passion for music-making and experiencing the thrill of the concert stage. Parents, too, can enojoy and be part of their children’s music journey!
The PF is not a competition, so participants are not being compared with others. One unique feature about the PF is that there are no set pieces. Participants select their own programme and perform to the best of their abilities in a concert setting before an adjudicating panel. Participants are not vying for a grade – they are reaching for their personal best.
Participants recieve two adjudicatiing reports from internationally renowned musicians. To capture their special moment, participants also receive a complimentary video recording of their performance which serves as their music portfolio.
The overseas participants and adjudicators hail from countries such as Australia, Brunei, Canada, China, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Malaysia and Singapore. Not only do they add vibrancy to the PF, their growing numbers over the years have truly made the PF a fixture on our music teaching and learning calendar while strengthening Singapore’s position as the music and arts destiination for young budding musicians in the region.
I watched the piano performance of four participants before attending the masterclasses by two of the adjudicators: two very young children (a boy of perhaps 8 and a girl of perhaps 6) who were clearly nervous and two teenagers (both girls of 14 or 15 years old) who were much more confident and mature in their playing. The piano became a totally different instrument in their hands. One of them played a jazzy arrangement of Mozart’s Alla Turca that got me and the person sitting next to me tapping our feet throughout, which got me thinking: what if Lang Lang were to play this piece? The other teeanger gave a mature reading of Mendelssohn’s Rondo Capriccioso Op 14, displaying her great potential.
After a short lunch break, I returned to the venue (at the Yong Siew Toh Conservatory of Music, National University of Singapore) to attend the masterclasses.