Should have posted this Friday when it happened.
Sam, Ladywife and I took a trip to Jacksonville, the University of North Florida, to be exact, to attend the All-State music competition. We drove up Thursday and came back Friday at about 10:30 am after he had completed his part of the "trial."
We left without knowing how he did, and we may never know how he did. And, in fact, that is fine. What the competition allowed him was a larger audience than his usual two. And we are less interested in competition qua competition than in competition as a way of having a good time in front of a broad audience of listeners.
Upon returning Samuel was inspired and has been composing his own short melodies on piano. I'm really excited to see what the stimulation of an audience can do to the creative faculties. This is, by far, the most important part of the competition for us.
Near future--Royal Conservatory judging and then dance recital. Conservatory judging should be fairly easy, although it requires things I never learned (what is the minor key relative to C major, playing several different minor and major scales, and other such things). What really matters is that it is a real pleasure to listen to Samuel as he "gets" a piece. The initial tink-tink-tinkling on the keyboard, and then, as he has a sense of the piece, the integration of his own expression of the piece in terms of dynamics and some quality that I can't name that is greater than merely playing the notes. There is, somehow, an expression or feeling that I know I never had when playing my instrument. (But then what would you expect of a person who shares the instrumental choice of Squidward Tentacles?