Preparing for Solo Contest

solocontestWait, wait…what is Solo Contest!?
Solo Contest is a chance for our students to perform a solo (song by themselves) for a judge. The judge gives them constructive feedback and the student can earn a medal or a trophy!

That sounds terrifying!
It’s actually not that bad! The judges are all band teachers who have been picked special for this event (and they’re super nice). They want to help you improve your playing!

But what if I’m new or I’m not very good?
Doesn’t matter! Everyone is eligible to participate and everyone has a chance to win an award. Matter of fact, it’s an even better idea for those students who could use some extra confidence!

All right, let’s go back to the swag (medals/trophies)?
Based on how you do, you can win a medal. If you play your song from memory and do well, you may just earn yourself a trophy!

What are the judges looking for?
Judges are looking for things like good presence (you’re wearing nice clothes, not your PJs), good posture, clear and full sound, accurate notes/rhythms/tonguing, musicality (dynamics, style, phrasing, etc.)

How am I supposed to do all that!?
Chances are, you’ve done most of this in band already! Your teacher will help you prepare a solo (with some practice at home, of course!) by learning the notes and rhythms. When you practice at home, you get more confident in playing it correctly. Make sure to use your good posture and air whether you’re at home or school! Once you feel good with the notes and rhythms, you can start adding dynamics and other musical elements. Your teacher has a whole pyramid sheet to help you with this.

All right, let’s say I decide to go. When is it? How do I sign up?
Registration is available for the Band for Today website. (REGISTER HERE!)  Keep an eye on your email or for a paper to go home with more information!

What is this day going to be like?
You’ll be assigned a time to perform. Come to the site early so you can get signed in and warmed up! Your teacher will be floating around and will meet with you before you perform. Once you’ve warmed up and the time has come, you’ll wait outside of your room until the judge calls you in. They’ll chat with you and have you play, and give you some cool feedback when you’re done! After that, you can pack up your instrument and head to the cafeteria for refreshments and to wait for your score, or you can head on home.

I have HORRIBLE STAGE FRIGHT.
First of all, you are not alone! Ask your teacher for some stories about them being nervous before a performance. Being nervous means you care about what you’re doing, which is awesome!

A few things you can do include:

  • Practice, practice, practice! The more you play your solo before the contest, the more your muscles will take over when you’re nervous. Feel confident about what you’re performing!
  • Have a parent write you a small, encouraging note (ex. I’m so proud of you for performing today! You’ll be great. I love you!). Don’t read it until right before you go in the room, and keep it in your pocket or sock while you perform. It’s like your family’s right there with you!
  • Play for your family! Performing your solo for the people around you is a great idea to help get rid of the nerves.

Solo Contest is a great opportunity a lot of people don’t get. It’s for everyone in band, no matter how long you’ve played or how great you are. As a band student, you work very hard to learn everything there is to learn (and there’s a lot!) You deserve to be recognized for all of your hard work..and to show it off!