TAPPS State Music Contest - Part 1 (& Why Competition is Good for Students) (By Steve Moreland, Director of Fine Arts)

 This past weekend, the Varsity Symphony class participated in the TAPPS 5-A Solo & Ensemble competition in Belton, Texas.  Our students brought back 14 Superior Gold Medals, which means they received the highest possible rating for their performances. Students learned a selected piece of music, which they performed in front of a judge, who rated their performances and the musicality of the pieces. Students were critiqued on a variety of factors ranging from tone, musical interpretation, skill and technique, and the overall general performance. 

Students who received medals include: Niko Guiterrez, Matthias Mahoney, Madison McKenzie, Anthony Ortegon, Antonio Paz, Martina Rodriguez, Sacha Reibenberg, Abby Thurman, Jeena Turner, Grace Usleman, and Enting Zhou.
This particular competition was the first part of the annual TAPPS Music Championship, during which students can score points for the Henderson Cup.  
On April 19, the Varsity Symphony will participate in the second part of the competition where they will perform as a full group and be judged on their concert selection. This year the Varsity Symphony will be performing "Capriccio Espagnol" by Rimsky-Korsakov and "Rites of Tamburo" by Robert W. Smith. 
In addition to preparing for the TAPPS Music Championship, the Varsity Symphony has also begun working on the music selections for the spring show titled "Night at the Grammys," which will take place on May 18 and 19.  Mark your calendars for this red-carpet performance!
The letter continues below with some thoughts on why we encourage students to enter competitions such as TAPPS.  It's a discussion worth having.
Steve Moreland

What the Experts Say is Healthy About Student Competitions

  • Education professors Thomas Good and Jere Brophy argue that children can learn powerful lessons in an environment that promotes competition. Competition encourages engagement, mastery of a task, and a desire to achieve your best. It teaches critical thinking and teamwork.

  • Psychologist Dr. Sylvia Rimm argues that competition is central to schooling because it teaches children the lifelong lesson that failure can occur, and when it does, they learn to ‘identify the problems, remedy the deficiencies, reset their goals, and grow from their experiences.' People are naturally fearful of falling down and making mistakes. A high tolerance for failure is, therefore, important for the development of a resilient and confident individual. A teacher or parent should accept that failure and error-making are a necessary, intrinsic, and welcomed part of the learning process. Healthy competition in childhood encourages risk-taking and persistence-qualities that are vital for success in the real world.

  • Another key advantage of competition is that it gives children a reason to motivate themselves. In ‘Winning isn't Everything: Competition, Achievement Orientation, and Intrinsic Motivation' published in the Journal of Experimental Social Psychology, John M. Tauer and Judith M. Harackiewicz found that children in a competitive environment play longer than those in a non-competitive environment and have a greater sense of competence. In this context, competition fosters intrinsic motivation in an individual-the inherent desire to engage one's interests and to develop one's capacities. Academics Edward Deci and Richard Ryan found that when students are intrinsically motivated, they exhibit more positive behaviors, such as creativity and persistence, and develop higher levels of self-esteem.

  • In their 2011 paper ‘Teach to Compete', American educational psychologist Dr. David Shields and education Superintendent Christopher Funk argued that healthy competition should ‘promote excellence, ethics and enjoyment'. Competition encourages excellence in children in the same way it does in general society. As Shields and Funk argue, competition pits people's immediate interests against each other-but it does so to serve a larger mutually-beneficial purpose. Ultimately, our wellbeing as a society is dependent upon competition and the whole of society benefits from this interaction.