Carson City piano teachers Louise Hogen and Shirley Bierman had their students compete in the annual Reno Youth Music Festival the University of Nevada, Reno on March 20-21, sponsored by the Northern Nevada Music Teachers Association.
Seven students received "superior" ranking and five were deemed "excellent" out of a total of 110 participants.
Some of them wrote about their experience:
Hi, I'm John Dumbauld and I'm 10 years old. I have been playing piano for 31Ú2 years and I've just competed in my second Reno Youth Music Festival at UNR.
To prepare for the festival, I picked two songs in my grade level. First, I had to learn the songs. Then I had to memorize them.
During festival, there are three judges who grade each participant on their technique and artistry. I think they also judge on how confident and comfortable you are with your songs.
Even though I get nervous before playing, I just relax and play like I would at home and have fun.
This year and last year, I received Superior Rating from the judges and was invited back for the Command Performance where I played again and received my trophies.
I'm already looking forward to next year's festival.
- by John Dumbauld
This year was my first Piano Festival. One of the things I remember best about preparing for this year's Piano Festival was Shirley Bierman critiquing my two songs.
When I played my minuet, she had Mrs. Hogen and my mom get up and dance to it in her living room.
When I played my other piece, "Spinning Song," she suddenly broke into song during the chorus.
That day gives me quite a few laughs every time I look back on it.
Mrs. Hogen is a great piano teacher and always finds ways to make things fun.
For example, when we had a little get-together for all of the festival kids at her house, she would randomly just make jokes about different stuff.
This got every one else making jokes too. Pretty soon, we had our own miniature comedy club.
When the big day finally arrived, I was in high spirits (slightly nervous though).
I knew that I was prepared and so did Mrs. Hogen and so did my mom.
When I got to UNR, I was confident that I would get the Superior Rating on my pieces. Sure enough, all of my work paid off and I got the Superior Rating.
I was invited to the Command Performance at the South Reno Baptist Church where I played my minuet and was awarded a trophy I was very proud of receiving.
- by Jared Clemmensen
As I walked into room 2 at UNR where I was supposed to play the piano for the festival, I was extremely nervous. I had been practicing my two songs, "Brass Knob," and "Sonatina," for months.
I had to practice my scales and arpeggios to play the "Sonatina," but my favorite song to play was "Brass Knob." I just liked the way it sounded.
Then the festival began.
I was glad I was not the first piano player. I was going to be the fourth, so I knew that there was a while before I played.
As I sat there waiting, butterflies were fluttering in my stomach. Now I was really nervous.
Then my name was called - it was my turn.
I walked up to the piano in my red satin dress with the corsage my mom made me pinned on it.
I bowed to the audience and judges.
I was so glad when I saw my grandparents, Da (grandma) and Papa (grandpa) in the audience.
I sat down and played "Brass Knob." Yes! No mistakes.
Then I played, "Sonatina." It went great.
I got up and bowed again.
I was very proud of myself and my teacher was, too.
-By Ashley Saarem
Being in festival is a good experience in my life. Without my family
to encourage me and my piano teacher, Louise Hogen, I wouldn't have gotten a good grade in the festival.
I started taking piano from Louise Hogen in June, 2003.
It was hard to do the practicing but it was also fun.
I got three ribbons and it was an excellent experience. I'm so glad I have Louise Hogen as my piano teacher.
- by Jackie Noel
There are three words for festival: Hard, practice and time.
I started taking piano lessons in June from Louise Hogen. She is a good teacher.
I began preparing for the festival in September. I didn't want to do it at first, then Louise said, "You're doing it."
I hadn't been playing the piano a year and I was going to be in the festival. About one month before the biggest competition, I was getting nervous but I kept on practicing.
About 6:47 a.m. on March 20, I woke up and said, "Today is the festival." I wasn't that scared.
I remember waiting anxiously for the postings. When they came, I saw "Kennedy Noel: Superior."
I leapt for joy. I felt achievement and a little tingle. I was extremely happy.
I'm really glad and thankful for my parents, sisters, brother, friends and especially my teacher, Louise Hogen.
- by Kennedy Noel