The Grand Traverse area will host two piano events on Saturday, March 8th: the Student Achievement Testing—presented by the Grand Traverse Music Teachers Association—and an education piano seminar lead by Jim Evola of Evola Music.

The Grand Traverse Music Teachers Association will hold its annual Student Achievement Testing on Saturday, March 8th, at the First Congregational Church in Traverse City.  The Student Achievement Testing is an annual event consisting of five parts: performance, theory, technique, sight-reading/transposition, and aural awareness. The students prepare and perform pieces from memory for a judge for the first part, who provides feedback and a point ranking. They also play scales, chords and arpeggios, in which the notes of a chord are played rapidly in succession rather than all at once. They will sight-read a piece they’ve not seen previously. The written test allows the students to demonstrate their knowledge of musical terms and music theory, while the aural awareness involves identifying musical elements such as major or minor scales.

The program is a project of the Michigan Music Teachers Association. The testing gives the students the opportunity to access their abilities and get feedback from someone other than their regular instructor. Michelle Mitchum, the chair of the event, said the testing is divided into ten different levels. “The local test this year will include 75 students in grades kindergarten through 12,” said Mitchum. Students who score high enough are eligible to move on to semi-finals in April, followed by the state finals in May at Michigan State University. The performances at the finals are open to the public, but the local program is just for the students and their instructors.

Also on Saturday, March 8th, Jim Evola will host a morning program entitled Piano Seminar 101. He will cover such topics as how to distinguish the difference between spinet, console and grand pianos; what makes one piano better than another; the advantages of a gently used new piano versus a used piano; the differences between acoustic and digital pianos; and how much to spend to get the right piano. The seminar will take place at 9:30 am at Evola Music, located at 976 South Airport Road West in Traverse City.

Additionally, Evola Music of Traverse City will also be holding a piano sale throughout the weekend.  The sale will feature a select group of new Yamaha, Kawai and Knabe pianos, with new factory warranties. Also on sale will be various baby grand, grand, and upright acoustic pianos, digital pianos, Yamaha Disklaviers, and iPad player grand pianos.

To register for Jim Evola’s piano seminar, please call 231.947.3730