On Saturday, November 4, during the 2017 UND Piano Concerto Competition, Langdon resident and student, Sydney Crockett was invited to demonstrate her immense talent to a group of judges in the Young Artist division.
By Lisa Nowatzki
Unsure of the actual number Crockett competed against, piano instructor Lisa Schuler stated, “When it came to the final live performance round, there were two students in the high school age category.”
As a part of the competition, Crockett was required to submit a video of a performance, as did a multitude of pianists between the ages of 12 and 18 from North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, Montana, and Manitoba. Finalists for the live performance were chosen from the video submissions.
Crockett learned of the piano competition while at International Music Camp last summer at UND. One of the instructors at the camp, Dr. Nariaki Sugiura, suggested that Crockett try out for the competition.
After coming back from camp, Schuler shared, “When returning from piano camp, and Sydney was very eager to have me help her apply for the competition. She is a very serious student, and I knew that she would work hard so I gave her my blessing to take on the challenge.”
For the competition, Crockett chose to perform the first movement of the Mozart Piano Concerto No. 19 in F Major, K. 459 from memory with her accompanist, Dr. Nariaki Sugiura, of UND. Schuler said that Crockett was given three choices to play from for the competition: Mozart’s Concerto No. 12, 19, and 23. “We both listened to them and we liked 19 the best.”
Though Crockett did not win, she was declared the winner-up. She lost to a Junior from Bismarck. According to Schuler, “The judges and Dr. Sugiura met with Sydney and me following the competition and admitted that it was a very difficult decision for them. Sydney was clearly the winner when judging her touch, style, understanding of Mozart’s music, and her technique, but during the performance she ran into a few memorization issues.”
Memorization issues aside, according to Schuler, Crockett had to learn nearly 20 pages of classical music in less than three months time. When asked about her practice time, Crockett responded that she tries to practice a minimum of an hour a day.
Crockett’s practice schedule works. Schuler said that she has not had to insist on a certain amount of time. She [Sydney] knows what she needs to do to meet her goals. The amazing thing is that she also plays the violin, flute and sings so she really has to schedule her days carefully.
Schuler goes on to say that his year, she [Crockett] made the difficult decision to give up her sport of volleyball so that she could spend more time on her music. I was very proud of her for doing that. It shows a true commitment to her passion.
Crockett’s mom, Marcie Crockett, elaborated on her schedule a little more. “Sydney has a one hour piano lesson weekly, a 30 minute violin lesson in Morden, MB weekly, and prepping for a wedding she’s playing violin at in December. [And] hours of practicing every night and any school work she might have.”
Practice and school work would take a toll on any teen’s life. Crockett is no exception. According to M. Crockett, “After school work, practicing comes first to everything else, including a social life. In her spare time she enjoys babysitting.She likes to spend time with her little sister and her friends if she can. Like most teenagers, she likes to be on her phone, Facebook and Snapchat.”
In her minimal spare time, said Crockett said that she likes to read and loves to shop. Some of her favorite stores are American Eagle, Pink and Sephora. Crockett also likes to do her sister’s hair. She doesn’t like though.
When asked what’s next for Crockett, Schuler replied that because of the great strides Crockett has made in the last three months, Schuler and M. Crockett have decided to keep the motivation growing by contacting Dr. Sugiura at UND. She seems to relate to him very well. Schuler contacted him about the possibility of him team teaching with her. He accepted the offer immediately.
Crockett’s musical talents began to grow when she started taking piano lessons from Schuler during the second grade. M. Crockett said, “Lisa Schuler told me after her very first piano lesson in the second grade that she was going to be a great musician and that she had a lot of talent.”
“Sydney doesn’t like to draw attention to herself. She will gladly play any of her instruments for anyone but talk[ing] about herself and her achievements is hard for her; she is very humble,” Crockett’s mom said.
When asked about her accomplishments, Crockett replied, “I have gone to both junior high all state band and choir and have gone to state music the past two years for flute and singing. I have also recently been nominated to audition for an international honor band.”
What’s next? According to M. Crockett, she wants to see her daughter chase her dreams and never give up on them. Mom also said that Crockett definitely has big music schools in her sights like Jacobs School of Music at Indiana University. As of right now, she is looking at a smaller four-year [school] for her bachelor’s then move on to a music school.