On Oct. 31, SIS students from both the Strings and Band Ensemble went to Korea International School (KIS) to attend the annual KAIAC music festival. Through this festival, students performed and had workshops with conductors from other international schools, which helped develop their techniques as well-harmonized music groups of SIS. At the end of the festival, while the HS strings received the highest possible rating of platinum, the HS band was awarded a gold rating.
On Tuesday morning, students of the two music ensembles went to KIS to perform musical pieces in front of three judges. The judges would then give the group a rating based on merit from silver, gold, and platinum. Before these actual performances they had rehearsals and clinics with one of the judges for suggestive feedback. However, during the process, slow stage transitions remained chaotic.
“I personally really enjoyed playing our music on a new stage and in a completely different atmosphere,” said Alex Minki Kim (12). “I also enjoyed the music clinic because we were able to hear different comments and things for us to improve on from a guest musician, which definitely helped us to make new adjustments to enhance our pieces. Her generosity and approachableness made the learning process much more efficient.”
The process of having performances after performances, along with clinics from music conductors and teachers from other schools, gave students a different perception and type of feedback than what they would normally encounter with Ms. Kim and Mr. Ganus. This aspect served as a special experience for the music ensembles as it’s mostly an annual event. Seeing other schools’ music ensembles perform also helped SIS students realize the level in which other schools played in, and whether they had much to improve or not.
“It was evidently beneficial going with my strings group because we got the chance to test our group harmony and skills in a completely different setting we haven’t practiced nor performed in before,” said Grace Oh (11). “Our continuous practices as a group followed with numerous checkups definitely proved to me that ‘practice makes perfect’ and helped us grow as a strings family.”
The end result of platinum for HS strings and gold for HS band is a testament to their hard work throughout the semester, but the critical feedback provided by guest musicians and teachers made students realize what they needed to work more on into the future.