Pros and Cons of Competitions

There are a number of types of competitions.

The big question here is: will your students participate? Will this be your decision or the students'? How much input will you allow from parents?

Naturally there are strong opinions on each side of the competition issue.


Disadvantages: Perhaps you have participated in these activities as a student. You have an insider's knowledge of their effects on students and their positive and negative features. Overall, what did you think of competitions and adjudicated exams? Based on your experience, would you recommend these activities to your students? All or only some? If some, what would be your selection criteria?

Are competitions in any of their forms appropriate for all your students? Just some? Which students? Which competitions?

If your students will participate in competitions and adjudicated examinations/evaluations, your curriculum should reflect this. Include time to prepare competition music, coach your students on competition etiquette, assist with competition entry forms, discuss judging procedures, and discuss with both parent and student how you feel about non-winning (we won't call it failure; just participating at all is a type of winning).

No matter what decision you come to now, you can change it later. It is important to consider this aspect of the music teaching business, however, because participation means the pace, content, and structure of your curriculum will be affected by competition requirements.

You may be interested in my thoughts on preparing students for competitions and what judges are looking for.

copyright 1997, Martha Beth Lewis, Ph.D.
Contact me for reprint permission.

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