VMTA Performance Day

St Peter's Anglican Church Box Hill
Saturday 11 August 2018

Session 1: Preliminary to Grade 5
Session 2: Grade 6 to AMusA

The VMTA Performance Day was the first event to be held in the beautiful St Peter's Anglican Church in Box Hill where our Schimmel grand piano is now housed. This annual event gives students of VMTA members who are working at any level and on any instrument, an opportunity to perform in front of a supportive audience and receive valuable feedback from an experienced presenter. Students receive a written critique and general advice that can be applied in their music lessons and performance.

Performers ranged from beginners to AMusA and comprised mostly piano students, although we also had the pleasure of hearing two cellists. We were treated to many fine performances from Purcell to Creedence Clearwater Revival!

We were very fortunate to have Dr Julie Haskell as our presenter. In addition to being an outstanding performer, Julie is an experienced teacher, AMEB examiner and Eisteddfod adjudicator. Julie gave performers many insightful suggestions as to how to prepare for and improve their performance.

Students were encouraged to consider the following:

  • announcing the name of the piece and composer in full and with accuracy
  • taking the time to adjust the stool before starting to play
  • the importance of performing pieces from memory
  • ensuring rhythmic accuracy even when performing popular repertoire
  • instrumentalists to sit in a position so that the accompanist can be seen, making communication easier
  • page turning strategies including having someone turn the page to avoid disruption to the flow of the music
  • adjusting dynamic control in response to different venue acoustics
  • use of arm weight and keeping shoulders down
  • posture and position of the feet
  • in early grades using the pedal with discretion even if not marked in score
  • avoiding eye contact with the audience and maintaining total focus
  • finishing with poise by holding the last note for its full duration and waiting a moment before moving away
  • bowing before and after the performance
  • acknowledging your accompanist and taking a bow together

It was wonderful to hear from teachers that their students have since developed more confidence through this valuable performance experience. A huge congratulations to all the participants in our first concert at the new venue. Looking to the future, it would be delightful to have a greater variety of performers on an instrument other than piano, as well as singers. Thanks to all for supporting!

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