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  • Calvin Cho

Online Music Competitions Over the Pandemic

“Cancelled. This event has been postponed to 2022. Our program will be on hiatus this year.”

Despite being over a year into this dark pandemic, the cancellation of “normal” events, competitions, and conferences is a problem all students face. Fortunately, yet unfortunately, even the pandemic could do little to stop the world of college admissions. With seemingly endless cancellations, what’s out there for students to try out? Well, it seems there’s a simple solution to that: online music competitions.

Traditionally in-person music competitions such as the American Protege International Competitions shifted to an online format, allowing students to participate from the comforts and convenience of their homes. Despite many worries towards the beginning of the pandemic by music educators and students regarding the quality of these online competitions, applications have hit record-high numbers and with judges being able to judge from anywhere, the quality of these competitions, if anything, has gone up.

Moreover, COVID-19 has allowed students to pursue these competitions with less time investments and costs. Under normal circumstances, most of these competitions required the student musicians to come to their hosting city, perform at a venue, and receive their plaque once they achieve the first two parts. While this may seem like a fun experience and even glorious, it also limits the number of competitions one can apply to or even win in. For example, if a competition is focused in May or December where AP Exams for first semester finals are respectively usually placed, it becomes a serious issue of scheduling for the student. One or two of these competitions and performances may be fun but anything more becomes extremely demanding in time and money. Because most of these competitions don’t provide housing or flights, it’s up to competitors to pay for their own flight and housing; for each competition, musicians normally expected to pay four digit costs. But with these music competitions going online, most of them have adopted a new policy where students can enter and receive their award without having to fly to their city or perform at a venue. This allows students to explore music in a cheap and time-efficient manner.

To participate in any of these online competitions, you just have to google something along the lines of “online music competition” and find a competition with an upcoming application. Musicians! Rosin your bows, wipe your strings, and get your camera out!

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