Yesterday I had the honor of adjudicating at the New Jersey National Association of Teachers of Singing festival in Princeton! In the span of 5 hours I heard so many incredibly talented singers. New Jersey is a talented state, y'all!
The festival is open to high school singers through adults (if the adult is not already a professional singer). The purpose of the festival is for the singer to receive feedback from three professionals who are not their own voice teacher. The feedback is written and scored on comment sheets, and the singer holding the most points in their category wins the chance to perform at a recital and advance to the Regional round! Of course, it's nice to win your category and advance to the next round, but what's really beneficial for everyone is receiving comments: what you're doing well and what you can work toward. When writing my comments I always try to first state what is working well, then weave in a suggestion.
It's odd for me to be on the other side of the table. I sang in this festival (NC NATS & Mid-Atlantic Regionals) from high school into my college years and I remember the preparation, nerves, heartbreak, and joy!
Here are 3 things I learned from being on the other side of the table:
There's so much that goes into preparing for and singing in a festival like this. Each singer is wonderfully talented, possessing their own unique strengths. My hope for you (if you happen to walk into my room) is that you've worked diligently with your teacher to craft a program that you are able to sing well and that you enjoy. I can tell when you sing something you like singing because you sing it with more style.
Maria Palombo is a Voice Instructor and Singer living in Central NJ. She is the founder of Finely Tuned Voice Lessons, a private voice studio in Mercer County, NJ.