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Archive for July, 2014

Eight Tips for National Guild Auditions

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Ready or not… Within a little more than a day’s gap between the start of the National Guild Auditions, I’m sure all of you are jittery and nervous. Some of you are veterans down for another fight, while others simply don’t know what to expect. Either way, here are some tips that you might find helpful during the actual day.


  1. Wake up and dress accordingly
    Remember be classy and professional. Men—shirts tucked in, suits, nice shoes, not too colorful tie, smart belt. Women—keep your dresses long and below the knees (when you sit down). Tie your hair back and don’t wear heels (difficult to pedal with, unless you’re too cool for this).
  2. Play through your songs and technic in the morning.
    Make sure you can perform in your new clothes. Warm up your fingers with some pieces and their problem areas. If you make a mistake don’t beat yourself up for it. Be calm, be cool. Oh run your hands under warm water to get blood flowing!
  3. Arrive early! Half an hour—one hour! Early is the new on time!
    There are no make ups and if you run late you will be stressed. Don’t expect to be provided with practice rooms.
  4. Formality with the Judge—Greetings 
    When you meet your judge make sure you say hello and smile. You’re friendly, they’re doing you a privilege by listening to you. Be happy and welcoming.
  5. Technique—Accuracy, Clarity, Memory
    Make sure your hands together, are in sync in your scales and arpeggios. Make it consistent and clear. After all your technique shows how skilled you are in performing certain standards. Dynamics are not nearly as important as accuracy and clarity and memory.
  6. Performing—Dynamics, Tempo, Accuracy
    Deep breath! Calm yourself. Make sure to stay on tempo, show your dynamic contrast, and to try to play as accurate as you can. If you do make a mistake, keep going! It looks better, shows that you know how to recover, and the judge might not even notice it! When you’re done, take a deep breath and relax your hands on your lap. Remember, your back should be straight for the most part.
  7. If you happen to forget, make huge mistakes…Skip to the end
    Take a deep breath and try to get as far as you can. If you can’t, pick up on where you do know and keep going. If you absolutely have to, skip to somewhere near the ending and play the last few chords. Always remember the ending, it is better than nothing.
  8. Concluding remarks!
    You’re done now! Make sure the judge is done with writing his/her notes and sit patiently. He/she will tell you when to start the next piece or that you’re done. Thank the judge sincerely.

National Guild Audition preparations for July 19th and 20th, 2014

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Media Update for July 2014

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15 new videos have been posted in the 2014 Videos album.

8 new photos have been posted in the 2014 Photos album.

There were also some changes made to the National Guild Schedule today.

National Guild Audition 2014 schedule has been updated

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Greetings parents and participants! There have been some recent changes to this years schedule. Please take a moment to double check your schedule as your time may have shifted.

We would also like to present Ernest R. Sphar Jr, our judge this year:


Ernest R. Sphar Jr. graduated in 1975 from the University of Louisiana with a major in Music Education. He is certified in music by the Louisiana Board of Education. His experiences in public schools led him to different parishes in Louisiana, having taught elementary through high school music for several years. He has also performed in many churches, festivals and many other venues for music.

He has been a member of the National Guild of Piano Teachers for the last thirty years, participating in Guild Auditions every year with his students attaining superior ratings. His students also participate in the National Federation of Music Clubs Festival each year. He is currently a member of the MTNA. Ernest is certified by the American College of Musicians and has been inducted into the Piano Hall of Fame.

This year Mr. Sphar will be judging in Louisiana, Alabama, Florida, and Ohio. He recently returned from a month of judging in Los Angeles, California. He is looking forward to the upcoming Guild auditions and meeting the teachers and students.

Ernest currently maintains an active studio of thirty students ranging from early elementary to advanced, including classical to jazz, and uses a wide selection of compositions to enhance his students’ learning abilities.

Mr. Sphar currently resides in Lafayette, Louisiana with his wife Mona and his two children, Samuel and Amanda.

National Guild Audition 2014

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We have posted the schedule for the 2014 National Guild Audition. Things may shift around a bit, so we will let you know if the schedule gets updated.

UPDATE: We’ve made some changes and have posted an updated schedule.

UPDATE 2: Further changes have been made and the updated schedule has been posted today (July 12th).

National Guild Audition preparations for July 12th and 13th, 2014

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National Guild Audition preparations for July 5th and 6th, 2014

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