Wednesday, September 30, 2009

PIANO PROGRAMS-National Federation of Music Clubs

Another program that suits many students of different abilities is the Festival, sponsored by the National Federation of Music Clubs. This program has a booklet, called a bulletin, that lists required pieces by level. This bulletin encompasses American composers; most of the music has been published in the last 5 years! I hope to get a piece in this bulletin some day.

The NFMC was founded in 1898, and is the only music organization member of the United Nations. NFMC provides opportunities for musical study, performance and appreciation to more than 200,000 senior, student and junior members in 6,500 music-related clubs and organizations nationwide. Members are professional and amateur musicians, vocalists, composers, dancers, performing artists, arts and music educators, and music students. Notice that this event supports more than just piano performers. It has categories in everything from accordian and guitar to folk and broadway singing.

Each student plays 2 pieces by memory. One is from the bulletin list, the other is called their "choice" piece. It is a misnomer in a way, because at the intermediate levels and above, the piece must be composed by a non-American. This tends to put us in mind of the dead white European guys like Haydn, Schubert, Mozart, Beethoven, and Bach. I have had a great time incorporating still alive, non-European guys and women(!) just to change things up a little.

The local clubs are also members of the state and national federation. They sell the bulletins, plus teachers pay local and state dues to belong and to be able to send your students. Bulletins are $5-6 every 3 years, my local dues were $45.00 this year. The clubs set their own prices for the student entries. They need to cover the judges, the location, the pianos delivery and tuning, the janitorial fees, and last year each student entry was $20.00. This is for 2 pieces, remember, and Guild was $30 for as many as 10 pieces. The fee in this case is also going toward an eventual trophy.

Each year, students can earn up to five points on their solo program. When they have earned 15 points, they earn the first trophy. Subsequent trophies grow in size at 30, 45, 60, and 75 points. Eventually to earn the largest trophies, students perform in concerti events in addition to their solo events.

These festivals take place between January and March, based on local club choice and occur only once per year.

Students receive a critique and certificate. There is a deep sense of personal satisfaction upon completing enough years to win a trophy. It is a unique event for all ages and abilities. This event also has opportunities for adults to perform and earn trophies too.

This is a great mid-year goal and everyone can eventually earn a trophy. These pieces work for Guild as well. There is a fresh list, except upper levels every 3 years. Again it is a NATIONAL PROGRAM- students can take it with them
if they move out of area.

I'm less of a fan of the trophies. They are an outward, extrinsic reward for an intrinsic music endeavor. But they motivate students. And it takes them three years or more to earn one. This is still much different that receiving a huge trophy for participation in a sport. My son has a large trophy from baseball, but he was in the outfield and on the bench most of the time. His music trophy from the Festival sits proudly on his shelf, the big trophy is in the back of his closet.


  1. Can't find a link to leave a comment on your flight post! the sedum. Mine is a wine color now...beautiful!

    Love the music...that's a great one to listen to while doing housework! ha-ha!

  2. It was very interesting to read about the National Federation of Music Clubs. I've judged for some of their events but never really knew much about the organization itself. Maybe I'll look into becoming a member when I get back into teaching again.

  3. I love that movie, Shine. He is just great. Many thanks for posting that clip.

    Greetings from London.

  4. The "Festival" is a student favorite here at the studio. I hope you try it, Cyndy!


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