March 1, 2017

Competition – Seven Reasons it’s Good for You

If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, then you know that I’m a big advocate for competition – and especially for Scottish Harp Society of America (SHSA) competitions.  Some of you have told me that you don’t agree and I can respect that – but many of you don’t know why I think competitions are good.  I don’t just think they are good, I think they are good for you!  Here are seven ways that competition is good for you:

  1. It helps you monitor your progress against goals. Why learn a strathspey? So you can play it in competition!  Why have two sets of tunes – so you can select the one you feel best about on the day you have to play them.
  2. It gives you an outlet – you do all that hard work practicing, it’s nice to have a safe place to play the tunes you worked so hard to get.
  3. It provides you with social engagement with like-minded harpers.  It’s always interesting to meet and talk with other harpers and the shared preparation means you have built in conversation starters!
  4. SHSA competitions are structured so you know what you’re going against.  The rules and the standard are posted so everyone can see them and you compete against the standard, not against everyone else.  The competition is about you.
  5. It gives you just a little bit of pressure to work under which often helps improve our performance.
  6. Competition helps you develop performance skills in front of and behind the harp.  You will not only have to play your pieces, you’ll have to introduce the music and yourself...and of course, you have to walk onto the stage!
  7. You will learn a lot! Not only will you meet new people and seek out new tunes, you’ll also get to hear how tunes have been interpreted, learn something about the tunes, and hear some great music. And, of course, you’ll learn more about yourself!

So, as the competition seasons gears up, consider entering – it’s good for you!

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