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A NOTE TO NEW COMERS: AN INVITATION TO COMPETE

WHAT IS A SANCTIONED CONTEST?

A sanctioned event provides a way for bands and soloists to test how they measure up to the goals they set for themselves. It also provides a way to see and hear what other groups are doing and how they perform in comparison to themselves. A sanctioned competition brings in experienced, qualified judges from all over the country who have the skills to provide a band or soloist valuable insights that can improve the level of play. Prize money and medals are awarded. Bands and soloist doing well receive regional recognition on the association’s web site. With such competitions disappearing all over the country, the SCOTFEST board is determined to provide a quality venue for players of all levels to come together to learn, share, and celebrate.

WHY SHOULD I CONSIDER COMPETITION?

You have probably heard the horror stories: people getting physically sick before competition, pipes falling apart during a solo, people forgetting whole parts, playing different tunes, choking, quitting … And then there is the reality of possibly competing against youngsters whose fingers fly or accomplished pipes with so many medals they have to dump them in a suitcase. So why in the world would a rational person elect to do this? The grading system can help, but never eliminate the frustration and the embarrassment of doing poorly.

Still there is something in it that is compelling. You have faced it all your life. You have heard stories about the haunted house at the edge of town. A group of your friends have decided to go. Do you stay at home, safe, bored, reading a book, or do you take the risk of adventure with your friends? Do you expand your horizons of experience with life, or do you stand in the corner and years later sheepishly listen to the stories of others, while life has quietly passed you by?
Yes, competition is fraught with the perils of frustration and potential embarrassment, especially for the unprepared. But a competition, especially a sanctioned competition is also an opportunity. Much has to do with how you approach it:
  • The opportunity to test you progress towards goals you have set for yourself.
  • The opportunity to have someone you do not know, with an experienced ear you do not possess, to objectively assess your playing.
  • The opportunity to meet and join a world-wide community of other players.
It really doesn’t matter who shows up to compete on the day. It is all random, so why does it matter how you place? It is yourself, your current level, that you are competing against. If you have any desire to improve your craft, setting realistic goals and systematically and consistently working towards them, along with competent instruction, will guarantee your progress, no matter how slowly. A judge is there to help; a judge is there to encourage; a judge is there to suggest next steps. And at the end of the day, you can feel good that you took the challenge, you grabbed the opportunity, and you are now part of an international community of friends and mentors, all sharing the love and enthrallment of this admittedly difficult craft. Have a beer, and enjoy the sunset!