When you bring up the topic of competitions, what responses do you get from your students? Often I hear, “We’re just so busy already” or “That just sounds stressful for my child.” Sometimes it seems like the parent remembers a depressing experience when competing and wants their child to never have to go through that! But as teachers, we know there are several compelling reasons our students should participate in festivals or competitions. Their participation doesn’t have to be constant, but even once a year helps every student! Today we’re sharing 3 reasons why music students benefit from participating in competitions or festivals.


Imagine if we changed the way soccer games were played so goals didn’t count anymore. Would goalies dive to block kicks? Would players race to steal the ball? Everyone needs a degree of competition to motivate them whether it’s making goals in a soccer game, reaching the finish line in a race, or performing perfected pieces in a music festival. Research shows that children are motivated by some levels of competition. Knowing they have an important performance at a festival or competition helps grow their intrinsic motivation to practice harder and perfect their music as best as they can.

Personal Growth

With a goal in mind and more motivation from within, students accelerate in learning. So many times I’ve seen huge leaps in musicality thanks to an upcoming performance. With the desire to do their best, students begin to practice more effectively. Their listening abilities increase as they imagine what a judge will hear when they perform. Dynamics leap out, tempos stabilize and colors develop in their music. When reaching this high level of performance, students also bound ahead in their abilities. They’ll be reaching for new books and pieces after working hard to prepare for a music festival or competition.

Learn From Failure.

“I have failed over and over and over again in my life – and that is why I succeed.”

–Michael Jordan

This is something I try to remind myself often. Learning from failures teaches us persistence, dedication, tenacity, and resilience. Dealing with failure also helps students overcome the fear of losing, which can be a struggle for anyone. With a supportive teacher & parents, students can learn from their mistakes. Whether it’s a lack of preparation or nerves or something else, we can help students overcome their struggle and be better next time. Keeping this in perspective helps each music festival or competition from becoming overwhelming as well.

Next time your studio parents or students need convincing to participate in local music festivals or competition, please share these ideas with them! Plenty of research has been done on competition – check out more details here. The good news is that online festivals offer the same benefits so if you’re wondering how to hold a festival, this is always a great option! When students participate in music festivals, they develop greater motivation, experience so much personal growth and learn from their failures.