Piano students of the Clara Woolley Music Studio in Plymouth presented a recital, on May 21st, in the Ancilla Domini Chapel. The performance was comprised of a sampling of the memorized programs they played for the annual National Guild of Piano Teachers Auditions, an achievement test for piano students, that took place, May 17-18, at the Clara Woolley Music Studio.

After the recital, Clara Woolley presented each student with certificates and pins recognizing their achievement level and years of participation.

Xinlang Fan earned the Composer’s Award for composing an advanced, original work, “The Journey,” that he presented at the recital.

Xinlang Fan and David Tepes earned the prestigious 15-piece International Award for memorizing 15 pieces of advanced music (approximately 45 minutes of playing from memory). In addition,  Tepes received the Sonatina Plaque Award for memorizing five, three-movement sonatinas, also approximately 45 minutes of memorized music.

David Tepes (left) and Xinlang Fan (right) earned the International Award as students of Clara Woolley (center). Tepes also earned the Sonatina Plaque Award.

Students playing in the recital who received awards are listed with the number of years they have participated in the annual National Guild of Piano Teachers Auditions (achievement test): Giovanni Baca, 4 years; Xinlang Fan, 8 years; Leighton Lee, 2 years; Max Marohn, 4 years; Olivia Zheng, 2 years; all of Plymouth; Marcus Houin, 5 years, Bremen; David Tepes, 8 years; and Grace Tepes, 3 years; Grovertown; and Emilia Aram, 2 years, Winona Lake. Connor Gal, 7 years, South Bend, also performed in the recital, but due to a school conflict will test at a later date.

Earning National certificates and pins — for memorizing and playing 10 pieces of music for their tests — are (from left): Grace Tepes, Emilia Aram, (Clara Woolley, piano teacher), Giovanni Baca, Marcus Houin and Max Marohn.

The purpose of the National Guild’s Piano Auditions is to establish standardized goals and awards – through noncompetitive auditions – for students of all levels.  Students are judged on individual merit, by a well-qualified, music professional, in the areas of accuracy, continuity, phrasing, pedaling, dynamics, rhythm, tempo, tone, interpretation, style, and technique. The goal is to encourage growth and enjoyment through the study of piano.

Leighton Lee, left, earned the State certificate and pin for playing seven pieces of music from memory, studying with Clara Woolley.

Professional pianist and accompanist Vicki King, Bloomington, who holds a Doctor of Arts degree in piano pedagogy, judged the student’s piano playing and marked their report cards, including helpful comments. King also has piano degrees from Indiana University School of Music and Mississippi University for Women; and a Performer’s Certificate in Piano from the Mozarteum, Salzburg, Austria.

Olivia Zheng (left) earned the Hobbyist certificate and pin for playing unmemorized music for her test, studying with Clara Woolley.

Each year more than 100,000 piano students participate in the Guild Auditions at over 800 audition centers worldwide, playing about 180,000 music pieces, adjudicated by about 1,000 professional musicians who travel farther than 6,000 miles to judge.

Photo: Xinlang Fan earned the International Piano Composition Award, studying with Clara Woolley.

Photos and article submited by Mary Jo Finley