OMG about OMEA


Samuel Risma

Aria Oliver, 10, practices her solo piece on her French Horn. She performed the first two movements of Mozart’s 3rd Horn Concerto. This is Oliver’s fourth time participating in Solo and Ensemble.

On January 28, students in SHS’s band and orchestra program participate in the Ohio Music Education (OMEA) Solo and Ensemble event at Elder High School. In Solo and Ensemble, students are given the opportunity to showcase their playing in front of judges.

To prepare for the high school OMEA event, students choose pieces to perform from an approved music list found on OMEA’s website. After deciding on their music, participants then learn the piece and practice on their own. Soloists also have to prepare scales, as the technical skill is mandatory for their performance.

Later, soloists meet with their piano accompanist, and those in ensembles would find time to practice with their group.

“I try to practice my piece daily slowly then up to tempo while focusing on different aspects. For my duet with my friend, we’re mainly working separately. Then we’ll get chances during orchestra to rehearse together,” said Christine Zou, 10.

As the performance date nears, band and orchestra teachers start to pull those participating in Solo and Ensemble out of their music classroom to listen to students’ performances and offer constructive feedback.

At the event, the performances are evaluated by the judges based on the Ohio Five Rating Plan of Adjudication. In which, the performer is rated on a scale of I-V, with I being the highest possible score. On the scoring sheet, the judges provide commentary and suggestions for improvement.

“It’s a good experience because you can learn a lot from the judges’ comments,” said Caroline Skwara, 9.

Students who have participated in Solo and Ensemble also appreciate the fact they can demonstrate their playing skills without the stress of competing against others.

“It’s not a competition where you’re up against others, the only person you’re up against is yourself, which is really nice,” Zou said.

Nevertheless, over the years, SHS has had a great reputation at OMEA Solo and Ensemble with its soloists and ensembles usually scoring a I or a II.