What Did Continuous Challenges Bring to Participants in the Competition 2017?
PTNA has just published the 2017 PTNA Piano Competition Review Booklet. Let's see some of the trends this year. 3000-4000 participants have participated in the competition the last 5 years in a row, and well over 60% of them proceeded to the 2nd stage this year. This rate is nearly 10% higher than those who participated the last 2 years in a row. It might mean that continuous challenges are rewarded.
Here is a testimony of one of the participants who have continuously taken part in the competition in the last 5 years. Shodai Yamamoto (11) first took part in the grade A1 5 years ago. In the following year, he set the goal to reach the final round, but his challenges have not been quite successful for 3 years. Finally this year, he proceeded to the final round (the grade C). He said that he was pleased to deliver his way of music, even though he made a mistake during the performance. His mother, a PTNA family member, appreciated that his teacher asked him many questions in order to encourage him to think and play in his own way. Day by day, he came to consider by himself when practicing at home. As a mother, she herself has been changed in the last 5 years. She always tried to encourage him, without expecting too much, and to understand that all of these challenges would lead to his personal development.
There are participants who take challenges to the same grade in 2 years in a row. For instance, 70% of the participants in the grade A2(kindergarten) and A1 (under 8) took part in the same grade in 2016 and 2017. It is proved that they are more likely to proceed to the next round than the previous year.
Megumi Ikeda, a PTNA teacher member, was awarded the PTNA Teachers' Award for the first time this year. She always wants her students to feel comfortable to themselves, and be confident to their own music making. As two of her students proceeded to the final round this year, she appreciated that judges evaluated in the way she had expected. This year, in order to consolidate their technical foundation, she let them practice scales and arpeggios, use Dohnanyi for finger trainings, get used to sight reading, etc. much more than before. For the next year, she will advise them to go to live concerts, learn harmony, theory, history, etc. furthermore.
Then, who has the longest history in the competition? Marie Yamaashi has taken part in the PTNA Piano Competition for 27 years in a row! She has steadily participated from the grade A2 up to F, 2 years for every grade so as to accomplish her learning at every stage. Those continuous experiences later helped her control her nerve on stage. Nowadays she is busy in taking care of her children, though, she still continues taking part in the competition (Grandmuse amateur division) thanks to the support of her family, teacher, friends, and her past experiences.