Collin’s Experience – The Sydney Piano Lovers’ Competition

Thinking of applying for The Sydney Piano Lovers’ Competition? We asked Collin Phillips, a sales representative from Melbourne, about his experience in 2020.

The Sydney Piano Lovers’ Competition 

Why did you apply for The Sydney Piano Lovers’ Competition in 2020?  

The entry criteria for this competition really spoke to me and I felt like it would be a shame not to enter. This competition is much more than just a prize for the winner; it dedicates a platform to a cohort of people who love the piano but who have not become professional, and it invites us to strive for a higher standard than we otherwise would playing at home to our loved ones (in my case, my dog). This competition is not in any way intimidating, it was such a lovely experience. I got a particular thrill from the feedback I received, knowing that my playing was observed and appraised by three highly accomplished professionals who have devoted their lives to music was a privilege and I was very grateful for their encouragement. 

What was it like preparing for the competition?

I was motivated to do my best for the competition so I practiced more than usual. I didn’t find it stressful or onerous, and particularly given I was in lockdown the entire time leading up to making my videos the competition gave me something to focus on that I really enjoyed.

What is your profession? Have you always had a passion for piano?

I am a sales representative for a software company. I have always had a fascination with classical music and piano. However it was only in my late 30’s that I decided to buy myself my first keyboard and start taking lessons. I quickly upgraded to a piano and I haven’t stopped lessons and I’m now 42. I get a lot of joy out of the piano.

Did you play the piano often previous to the competition?

Has applying for the competition changed your piano habits at all? My habits have not really changed as a result of the competition. I play just as much now as I did prior to the competition – almost daily. One habit that has changed is that I have found a studio with a grand piano that I occasionally hire so that I can play in a different environment on a different piano. I find this really helpful when I want to get ultra obsessed about learning a piece and to practice with some more privacy.

Would you recommend for others to apply for the next edition of the competition? Why/why not?

Yes I absolutely recommend this competition to anyone! There is so much to be gained by putting your precious music into a recording and submitting it to a competition. I was blown away by the standard of the 2020 winners (I wasn’t one) and inspired to strive more. It is fascinating and wonderful to see people try their best and even as a non-winning participant I gained so much from the process of entering and really focusing on lifting my standard. The feedback from the judges was amazing. I cannot speak highly enough of this competition.