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Ode to the Feis Ceoil

Heightened ambition

Students of Young European Strings School of Music are encouraged to partake in public performance, national and international competitions.

This type of teaching approach has demonstrably great pedagogical advantages. It encourages the young preschool aged child’s desire of showing off his newly acquired skill of playing a string instrument to the delight of parents and other relatives which in turn encourages the string playing three or four year old violinist’s curiosity to acquire even more knowledge of how to play the instrument.

The past year’s pandemic restrictions of attending face-to-face music lessons did not prove sufficient obstacle to our ambitious music students and their instructors. Despite the many technical challenges the sudden use of computer skills presented to both students and teachers, platforms such as Zoom and Skype were discovered and seamlessly integrated in the music education in Ireland.

The recent Feis Ceoil competition on line followed many other online competition models with great success.

Set goals are essential to progress.

Competitions are providing stepping stones to the aspiring candidates.

When we observe the ever rising expectations of the international competitions, one can’t help observing the younger age group of musicians following that trend.

What does a competition prove to the participant?

To participate in a competition, regardless of the outcome is character forming.

The preparation towards the competitions is relentless. The routine of keeping the mind and body in top conditions demands daily intelligent practice.

My grandmother, Emilia Schoffan, (founder of the music school in Budapest) was a piano student of the, then recently, established Franz Liszt Academy in Budapest. She used to tell her own piano students the following quote:

Franz Liszt, a great piano virtuoso and professor at the newly established Academy (named after him) in Budapest, used to warn his pupils: “If I don’t practice a day I notice it myself. If I don’t practice two days in a row, my public notices it!” A competitor must also learn to cope with the possible negative outcome of a competition. It is painful to accept that all the hard work did not reap the hoped for outcome. It is even harder to restart the work and keep a positive attitude towards the next goal --after loosing the coveted place in a competition.

Competitions are tools to achieve constant progress when used cleverly by the teacher.

During the last 12 months of the pandemic, most of our students would have started to show mental tiredness, lack of enthusiasm even giving up playing their instruments, had they not all had a goal to achieve.

The Feis Ceoil 2021 was the Yellow Brick Road. Teachers, students and their parents wish to thank the organizers of this year’s Feis Ceoil for their unrelenting belief in the need of goals to be achieved, medals to be earned and won, concerts to be performed: in one word the essential role of music making in our society!

Young European Strings School of Music wishes a Happy Easter to all the musicians of the world!