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Competitions – Just for Horses?


My journey through musical competitions began with the Belgian National Music Competition, prompted by my teacher’s suggestion during my early studies in Belgium. The allure of seeing my name among the prestigious list of winners fueled my preparation, marking the inception of a path that intertwined personal and artistic growth. Subsequent international competitions, such as the 2008 Bass Convention in Paris, became stepping stones, not just for accolades but for the unforeseen richness of experiences that shaped my musical career.

The meticulous preparation demanded by competitions accelerated my musical and technical progress, offering a unique intensity absent during non-competitive phases. As a double bassist seeking solo opportunities, competitions served as vital platforms for honing stagecraft. The strategic selection of repertoire, thoughtful programming, focused practice, pre-competition concerts, strategic rest, and early preparation were integral methods that contributed to my success. These strategies ensured a deep connection with the chosen pieces, balanced physical demands, and provided opportunities to refine challenges for enhanced confidence.

Participating in competitions not only brought the anticipated accolades but also unveiled a panorama of opportunities in the post-competition landscape. Concert engagements, valuable contacts, and an expanded repertoire became the tangible outcomes, contributing to a holistic professional journey. Viewing fellow candidates as peers rather than rivals fostered friendships and a network of contacts with orchestras that later engaged me. The enduring results of competition participation extended beyond the podium, shaping my narrative in unpredictable and profoundly enriching ways.

Reflecting on the unseen rewards of musical competitions, the journey unfolded as a symphony orchestrating growth, resilience, and a profound appreciation for the art form. Contrary to being mere crucibles of stress, competitions emerged as unseen allies in shaping a musician’s narrative. While victory remained a compelling aspiration, the enduring rewards extended beyond accolades, emphasizing the joy of sharing meticulously crafted music with an audience. Competitions, once perceived solely as arenas of rivalry, revealed themselves as catalysts for personal and artistic development, weaving an unexpectedly rich tapestry of experiences throughout my musical career.

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ISSN: 2792-8349

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International Journal of Music