SASMT ENSEMBLE COMPETITION
Music making is inherently a lonesome pursuit in comparison to sports where activities are much more social. To counteract this isolation, it is essential to bring musicians together to play and enhance the joy of music-making through sharing it with others. Many lasting friendships and relationships have started because of playing music together with others.
Ensemble playing should form an integral part in the training of all musicians. Personal development, reduction of performance anxiety and skills such as listening, rhythmic stability and sight-reading are but a few components that can be improved by collaborative playing. Vivid memories of joyous piano duets with my mother were the inspiration to make the idea of an ensemble competition for learners a reality. The fun of playing Schubert Marches, Mozart Sonatas and Moszkowski Spanish Dances must already have planted the first seed for a love for ensemble playing, which later became a passion. To make music with other s is rewarding, offers new insights and fosters love for a total ly new repertoire.
The competition is aimed at developing young musicians through collaborative participation and by encouraging the enjoyment of performing with others. Another objective is to foster an understanding, love and appreciation for ensemble music as well as the performance thereof among young musicians.
Why a competition and not a festival? Our schools and much of our society is driven by competition. Although there are many opportunities for individuals to compete, collaborative groups are not regularly catered for. After speaking to several music teachers and ensemble enthusiasts it became clear that the idea of an ensemble competition was feasible, and plans started to take shape. In September 2017 the first SASMT Pretoria Ensemble Competition took place. It would be the first competition of this nature to be held in the northern region of South Africa. Our goal was to create an opportunity for young musicians to compete in groups, rather than placing the focus on solo performance. The feed-back was overwhelmingly positive, culminating in the decision to make this an annual event.
We are looking forward to making a success of this vision and it is gratifying to see sponsors getting on board with our ideas. We cannot wait for 2020!