Every year the Rotorua Branch of LearnMusicNZ hosts an Eisteddfod in June. The term 'Eisteddfod' is Welsh, and means festival of music / performance. The Eisteddfod is held in either Rotorua or Taupo and is open to children, teens and adults who are learning from a registered music teacher in the area. When the Eisteddfod is held in Rotorua, the venue is usually the St Chads Community Centre. When LearnMusicNZ host the Eisteddfod in Taupo, it's often held at St Andrews Church, Rotary House or other suitable venues.
In 1978, Elizabeth (Beth) Williams, the founding chair of the Rotorua Society of Registered Music Teachers hosted Eisteddfods in Rotorua for her students at Rotorua Girls' High School. In 2000, the Registered Music Teachers re-established the annual Eisteddfod because of the success of these early events.
They've been running ever since - and the convenor is Mrs Jenny McDonald.
How participating in the Eisteddfod can help your learning in music
The Eisteddfod will give you the opportunity to perform in a supportive environment. Also, the organisers invite a guest adjudicator to write a report for each performer. Because of this, you'll receive some valuable feedback about your playing.
Most of the Eisteddfod is non-competitive, however there are some competitive classes that you may be interested in entering. The competitive elements of the Eisteddfod are a highlight for many students and can be very motivating!
The Nell Trail Scholarships
about the scholarships
Mrs Nell Trail was an active member of the local Registered Music Teachers branch. When she passed away, she had made generous provision to donate her piano to the branch. As a way of remembering the late Mrs Trail and providing local students with encouragement and support, the branch committee decided to sell the piano and use the funds to create a Junior and Intermediate Scholarship. Shortly after, the Nell Trail scholarships came into being. These scholarship would run on an annual basis in conjunction with the Eisteddfod Event. The Junior Scholarship would be for students working between Grade 1 and 3 and the Intermediate Scholarship would be for students working from Grade 4 - 6.
The scholarships are open to any music student currently learning from a LearnMusicNZ Rotorua/Taupo Branch member.
What you'll need to prepare to enter the scholarship classes
If you want to enter the Junior Scholarship, then you'll need to present a 3 - 5 minute programme of contrasting works and be prepared to introduce yourself and your items as part of this programme.
If you are preparing to enter the Intermediate scholarship class, then your programme will need to be between 4-6 minutes long, including time taken to introduce yourself and your items.
NZ composer classes
About the NZ Composer Classes
Competitive NZ Composer classes were introduced to the Eisteddfod in 2006. Prize money is kindly given for these classes by an anonymous donor.
There are three categories: Junior (for students working at Initial-Grade 3 level); Intermediate (Grades 4-6) and Senior (Grades 7 and above.)
What students need to prepare
To compete in these classes, students prepare one piece of music written by a New Zealand Composer.
Get involved in the eisteddfod
I’ve found the Eisteddfod Event to be really motivating for my students in the past - and I would encourage you to get involved.
It’s a fantastic opportunity for you to practice performing and receive some feedback from an experienced adjudicator. This feedback is very useful to refer to, when preparing for exams and other performances.