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Query from a parent

Discussion in 'Music' started by Yogs, Apr 20, 2012.

  1. My daughter, who is in year 8, is a promising musician. To give an idea of ability she is grade 6 flute, grade 4 piano and grade 4 vocal. Recently she went to a local music festival as a part of the school choir. Whilst she was there she realised that other pupils were also taking part in competitions for instrumentalists, however she had not been offered the opportunity to compete. I am probably being a paranoid parent, but I am wondering if she was over looked because she has private music tuition, rather than through the school. There is no snobbery in this, she started her private lessons while still at primary school and we opted to stay with those teachers as she was doing so well. She plays in the school concert band, so I am sure the staff must be aware of her ability. I can think of no other reason for not entering her. I know I probably come across as a pushy mum here, but I really am not. I am posting because my daughter was disappointed and is doubting herself. I am wondering if she would be better off switching to lessons through the school after all? Any thoughts from music teachers would be appreciated, thank you.
  2. jubilada

    jubilada New commenter

    Is the Festival purely a schools' festival or is it an independant one? Our county one is supported by the local schools but it is totally independant. Anyone can enter themselves but pupils are usually entered by their own teachers. As your daughter's school is not giving the instrumental lessons, I would not expect them to enter her. I feel this is something you should be asking her own teachers about. You could also look at the website of the Festival, assuming they have one, have a look at the syllabus and entry regulations with a view to entering next year.If both of you are happy with her teachers it would be silly to change.
  3. I agree with Jubilada's post - you as a parent can be more pro-active with looking at festivals in the area that your daughter will clearly be in a good position to compete in. Some instrumental teachers will not have had experience at festivals and may not know of them/want to do them (particularly if your daughter is working towards an exam soon as sometimes you cannot enter your own repertoire, but have to play a set piece as specified by the competition). I'm surprised that the school teacher forgot to mention it to your daughter, but then again it is easy to be preoccupied with the school choir and then individual entries are done purely by peri teachers who wont know your daughter. Now you know about this festival, it is something you can work on and get ready for next year. Best of luck.
  4. I've been involved with organising a local festival and also been emloyed as adjudicator. There are a variety of ways in which individual musicians are entered. Some teachers use the festivals to motivate and give experience - however they are a tiny minority of the teachers in the area - some teachers are not even aware of it. The other way is for Parents to enter students. I take my daughter to one in Newcastle Under Lyme where she sings and plays the piano. it's great experience for her.
    I have to say I have never seen a school enter individual students, only groups, so you should not think your daughter is being oeverlooked.
    I would strongly encourage you to get entry forms for next year's event and also to look and see if there are any other similar events. It is absolutely invaluable experience for young musicians - I can't speak highly enouhg of the opportunity such festivals represent.
    There is an umrella web site:
    I'm also sure the festival you visited would have a site.
  5. Thank you all for your responses. I will definitely be more pro active about the festival next year.There is also a summer orchestra school nearby in Cambridge which I think would be good for her to attend. I agree that because the peri teachers do not know her she goes unnoticed. There is one particular teacher who takes leadership of performance within the school and leads the concert band, however he is quite intimidating and barely speaks to her. In fact he rarely even includes her in the emails notifying rehearsal details, she relies on other pupils to let her know about arrangements. I guess I was expecting the school to be a little more encouraging. The private teachers she has are great, but they cannot give her the valuable experience of performance and competition, so we really need the school to provide some opportunities. I am hoping that in year 9, which is when she begins the GCSE music course, more opportunities will come her way.I do appreciate that she is just one pupil amongst many and that the teachers have a large workload.
  6. bod99

    bod99 New commenter

    Do send her to Cambridge Holiday Orchestra (presume that's what you're refering to?). It's a great set up and will be good for her to mix with other musical kids. I know - I teach there!
  7. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    My sons' school is a bit hopeless for music but I've just accepted that and have found them opportunities outside school. They all went to the local authority music centre for band and orchestra. I think most authorities still have some sort of provision. One sang in an (adult) barbershop chorus and the youngest is in a different barbershop chorus and a local children's choir. They've all entered the local festival for years and years and other things have come up occasionally. Holiday orchestras are good if that's what they're keen on. Our authority also runs county ensembles of a high standard at the end of the summer term.You have to be prepared (and able) to take them round a bit but I'd rather they were at the local school and had to travel a bit for their music than be travelling miles to school every day for more music there. In addition it means they've mixed with musicians from all over the place and made new friends outside school.
  8. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    There are many excellent peris but I much prefer private lessons outside school as contact with the teacher is easier, you can choose the teacher, you can have lessons outside term time and the cost, at least round here, is about the same. Our son had always entered the local festival on the piano so asked his cello teacher about entering the string class, which he did. The next year she entered loads of pupils. It wasn't that she didn't want to enter them before, she just hadn't thought of it.
  9. netmum

    netmum New commenter

    My daughter's school choir entered the Newcastle under Lyme music festival and individual students are entered by their instrumental teachers or by the schools speech & drama teacher. My daughter gets her drama tuition privately so we enter her (she didn't do it this year as we have decided to move in a different direction)
  10. Red wine fan

    Red wine fan New commenter

    To the OP:
    I think a polite, friendly email to the teacher in charge of the ensemble would be appropriate, something along the lines that your daughter is keen and committed to the group, but to ensure she attends all the rehearsals, concerts etc., please could she be copied in to all messages. It's probably an oversight and he has not realised that she isn't on his standard list.
    Slightly naughty I know, but what about volunteering your help for concerts etc? In our school we have a loyal band of amazing parents who purchase and serve refreshments, and monies raised from this goes into the music pot. I think your duaghter's profile might just take a turn upwards [​IMG]
  11. Thank you all for so many helpful suggestions. What a lovely lot you are over here in the music forum! I may have to visit more often, despite being sadly lacking in any musical skill myself. I will definitely approach the school in a positive way to find out ways in which to support the music department and my daughter's progress.
  12. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    On the question of being kept in the loop we've had exactly the same problem with music centre. Our boys went to music centre in the next authority. Nearly all the others there have peri lessons at school and get information that way, which doesn't always make it to us. This has rarely caused serious problems, although our youngest was left outside the venue once when they'd decided to cancel but forgotten to tell us. I feel it's my responsibility to try and keep informed. It doesn't always workand it's not always easy because, of course, we don't know when we've missed information! It can be a bit frustrating but I know they don't do it on purpose.
  13. Thank you for the advice Crowbob I will do that. My daughter's flute teacher is going to let the city ensemble coordinator know about the clash, so it is possible he may contact the school to discuss it too. I would really like to get involved in the new groups as my younger daughter, who is still at primary school, would also be able to join. She is learning the french horn and it would be brilliant for her to experience playing in a band with lots of other children.
  14. I'd probably say that her private tutor should have entered her in to the competition if it was possible. Teachers won't 'push' pupils whom they don't have the instrumental responsibility for x

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