To provide students with the opportunity to make music as part of an ensemble. Ensembles consist of at least two musicians on a keyboard, voice or instrument. While we may spend many hours practicing and mastering our own instrument, the best memories of making music are always of making music with others, as in ensemble playing. The best way to be engaged in any activity is to share it with others. By joining an ensemble, you are joining a community of musicians.
The ensembles perform in a recital with other groups and receive written feedback from a judge. The judge is not there to rank the students or create a competition, but rather to provide encouraging and constructive feedback. To further encourage students to participate, students receive 100 points toward the MMTA Challenge Award per ensemble performance. However, we hope that the greatest reward is the joy of sharing music with your partner and the audience.
The MMTA Ensemble Festival gives students the opportunity to collaborate with others. Students in my studio attend 8 different school districts. The Ensemble Festival is one of the times we can be with our "piano friends". We have practices together where they laugh and enjoy getting to know one another or rekindle a friendship. Some duet/trio partners play together for 5 or more years and this is one of the highlights of their year. This program is non-competitive but offers encouraging comments provided by a qualified judge.
Students learn to count, need to have their part prepared to play with their partner(s), and learn how to collaborate with another musician. A few years back, a senior in high school played the teacher part with several first-year students. Those younger students adored their time playing with the older student. The Ensemble Festival is a favorite MMTA program for many students in my studio!
I see Ensemble Festival as an opportunity for me to strengthen my ability to collaborate in rehearsals and perform with my duet partner. This requires many skills such as communication, consonance, balance, and sometimes even compromise.
- How much does it cost to participate in the MMTA Ensemble Festival?
The fee is $21 per ensemble.
- When/where are the Festivals?
There are thirteen different venues this year with dates ranging from October 26 until November 24. Of the thirteen venues, five are in the Twin Cities Metro Area.
- Do the Ensembles have to be memorized?
Although some students choose to memorize, memorization is not required.
- What instruments are included in the Ensemble Festivals?
Although most ensembles are for piano, all instruments are welcome. Actually, including other instruments gives the Festivals interesting variety! Some venues have more than one piano. However, please confirm this with the site administrator before planning repertoire that requires two pianos. Quartets are really fun!
- Can parents play with their children?
Yes! I actually encourage this as a special family experience, including parents, siblings and other family members – as well as friends. At least one member of each ensemble must be registered with an MMTA member.