I am a certified teacher and judge of the National Guild of Piano Teachers, and I would like to see many of our students qualify for National Fraternity of Student Musicians Membership each year.
The Piano Guild, (a division of the American College of Musicians), was founded in 1929 by Dr. Irl Allison. Forty-six entrants participated in the first audition (then called a "tournament") at Hardin-Simmons University in Abilene, Texas. Since that time, the Guild has grown to more than 850 audition centers where thousands of students enroll annually in our international auditions, which are held throughout the U.S. and abroad.
In addition to their solos, students must be able to play a scale and cadence in the key of each of their pieces. Most students will also be asked to study a “musicianship phase.” Students choose from sight-reading, scales, chords and cadences, arpeggios, transposition and improvisation. They then develop their skills in the area they have selected in the months leading up to Guild. (The requirements of each phase vary according to the level of the student.)
The primary function of the guild is to establish definite goals and awards--in noncompetitive auditions--for students of all levels, from the earliest beginner to the gifted prodigy. Students are judged on individual merit, by a well-qualified music professional. The purpose is to encourage growth and enjoyment through the study of piano.
To prepare for the auditions, students learn anywhere from one to twenty pieces which they play by memory for a judge. If the student is at an intermediate level (or higher) they are asked to learn a balanced program, representing all the compositional eras in piano music (Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Contemporary).