Pratik Gandhi, Conductor

Pratik Gandhi is a conductor, percussionist, and clinician based in Toronto.

The other side of music festivals

As an adjudicator, music festivals are a pretty good gig.  The hours might be long and the facilities might not be ideal, but by and large the students are willing to learn and in most cases downright pleasant, and that makes the work itself quite joyous.  What we have to keep in mind, and what we rarely get to see very directly, is the students' experience of the festival.  I do hear occasional snippets from my friends and colleagues who teach the students, but it's good to pause every so often and try and put oneself in the students' shoes.

From the excitement of the field trip, to the nervousness (or even terror) of performing for judges, to the sense of pride and accomplishment after having come together with peers to create something worth listening to, students go through a whole swath of emotions through their festival experience.  The more we adjudicators can understand and empathize with those feelings during our time with the students, the more easily we will be able to find the most effective path of communication through which to reach them, and make everyone's experience as fruitful as possible.