I want to share music with my audience: Nine-year-old organ player on winning grant contest

December 28, 2020

A student of the Maikapar children’s music school in Strogino, nine-year-old Polina Yudina won the Grand Prix of the Moscow Mayor grant contest. The third-grader plays the organ, and jury members gave her a special award for creative achievements.

The Grand Prix winner was announced by Head of Moscow’s Department of Culture Alexander Kibovsky. He congratulated the young player, her teachers and parents. This year, the award ceremony for the Moscow Mayor grant contest was held online. The winner together with the music school’s Director Vladimir Vovchenko took part in the ceremony via videoconference.

The Grand Prix performance was not the young player’s first concert. Polina had performed before in Moscow, the Leningrad Region and Moscow Region cities, and had also taken part in an organ festival in Germany and played a historical instrument in a church there.

Photo by Yulia Ivanko, Mos.ru

Natural born

There are no professional musicians in the Yudin family, but the girl showed an interest in music from an early age.

“From birth onwards, Polina fell fast asleep whenever classical music was playing. We played Antonio Vivaldi’s Four Seasons and she immediately fell fast asleep. Later she started to quickly memorise the lyrics and music of songs from cartoons and to sing them,” says Tamara Yudina, Polina’s mom.

An acquaintance of theirs recommended the Maikapar children’s music school as one of the best, and since the Yudins lived nearby, they decided to go there first, to have a look.

“The child sat down, touched the piano, and it seemed as if there was light inside her. Of course, she had seen a piano before, but she never thought she would play the instrument. We had not researched teachers, as people usually do now. We simply went there and we liked everything. Marina Gvozdeva became our teacher,” Tamara Yudina says.

Soon they got a piano at home. Several months later Polina heard an organ play in a concert: she was very impressed with a performance by one of her fellow students. During the summer holidays, Polina started to practice on the synthesiser in organ mode and at the beginning of the next school year she told her teacher that she wanted to play the organ. In October 2018, she started learning how to play it.

Photo by Yulia Ivanko, Mos.ru

German inspiration

Polina began her organ studies with works by Henry Purcell, Johann Sebastian Bach and Alexandre Guilmant. Today the young organist plays Chaconne in D minor by Johann Pachelbel and parts of Leon Boellmann’s Gothic Suite and she is also learning a few more pieces.

Last spring Polina took part in her first contest. On the new spot, due to a different bench at the instrument, her legs were not long enough to reach the pedal, so she fell down during her performance. Despite this incident and the fact she was really upset, she managed to win a prize.

In the summer of 2019 Polina went to an organ music festival held in the city of Koethen and its surroundings in Germany. There, she got the chance to play historical organs in several churches.

Photo by Yulia Ivanko, Mos.ru

“After a trip to Germany, Polina was so enthusiastic about the organ that we decided to buy a home electronic organ. We realised she was serious about it and my husband and I made the decision to buy one.  Besides, it was necessary for her to study at home. At school, you can only play the instrument if a teacher is present,” Tamara Yudina says.

In addition to the organ, Polina continues to study piano. The family has both instruments. The study can take up to three hours daily.

Polina also goes in for ballroom dancing, likes to draw and now, in winter, she enjoys ice skating and skiing. She used to take part in gymnastics. Another very important skill is planning and managing your time.

She also enjoys organ concerts and follows the professional activities of today’s organ players.

“I like it when people listen to me play. I want to share music with my audience. I like it when they applaud and shout “Bravo!” In the future, I would like to continue to play music, become a famous organ player and go on concert tours around various countries,” Polina Yudina says.

Abilities and audiences

“When we started working it immediately became clear that the child is unusual. Children often say “I want to play,” but when the work begins (and this work is hard and meticulous), this “want” goes away. Here, it was completely different: she liked it and always brought homework done from the very beginning to the very end,” says Marina Gvozdeva, Polina Yudina’s teacher who works at the Maikapar children’s music school.

Photo by Yulia Ivanko, Mos.ru

Learning how to play two musical instruments takes more time, but, according to the teacher, her student very much wants to do this.

“Of course, it’s difficult. There are no children’s pieces to play on the organ. She has to learn how to play adult ones from the beginning. First we choose something simple and try to explain it. It is an instrument designed to talk with God; it was only used in churches and accompanied church services. Sometimes it is difficult to explain to a child what this or that piece means, but we try to do this by choosing words and images,” Marina Gvozdeva says.

According to the teacher, contests can give a boost to development.

“Children prepare and fulfil tasks more responsibly. Finally, an appearance on the stage is necessary for the making of a musician. There is no way to become a musician by sitting in a corner of the class or at home. Going on stage is also necessary,” Marina said.

Photo by Yulia Ivanko, Mos.ru

The Moscow Mayor’s grants for culture and art are an annual prize in music, art, theatre and choreography for the best students of Moscow art colleges and schools.

The contest supports talented Muscovites. Moscow also focuses on music schools.

“The fact that there is such a contest already means a lot of support. Today, schools are being renovated and getting new instruments. Of course, this is support,” Marina Gvozdeva adds.

Grants in 19 categories are awarded annually to talented students at the capital’s creative schools and colleges. The winners of the competition receive grants of between 15,000 and 50,000 roubles in individual categories and between 30,000 and 150,000 roubles in collective ones.

In 2020, the selection of candidates was held remotely in several stages. At the selection rounds, the expert jury carefully selected entries based on video clips of the young performers, aged from seven to 20 years.

Source: mos.ru

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