For piano instructors like Chima Enwere, growing the presence of performers in the city of Fayetteville is an important goal. In order to do so, the Fayetteville Piano Teachers Association will host a Piano Festival and Competition on Friday, May 17 until Sunday, May 19 on the campus of Fayetteville State University.
The three-day festival begins on Friday at 6:30 pm for those who simply want to showcase their talent instead of competing. The competition is on the next day and is split into three divisions: elementary, junior, and senior. The divisions are all based on skill level. Winners will be announced that evening after the competition.
Participants were students selected by piano teachers who are members of the association. The students are all from Cumberland County and surrounding areas. It was optional for teachers to enroll their students in the festival and competition.
While the teachers selected the students to enter in the competition, the judges are from Sandhills Community College and Salisbury, NC to avoid a conflict of interest.
Chima says that he hopes this event will help improve the presence of pianists in Fayetteville.
“Before joining Fayetteville Piano Teachers Association, I thought Fayetteville didn’t have a large presence of serious piano teachers,” said Chima. “The more I get into it, the more I realize there are a lot of serious performers in the area and I don’t think a lot of people realize that.”
The association allows piano teahers to engage with one another and share ideas. They have a mutual goal of growing the piano presence.
However, the greater goal of the association impacts several students. It gives them the opportunity to fall in love with the piano keys. Chima says that this is his focus when working with his students. Before competing for the cash prizes or playing for their parents, he wants them to develop their own love. He wants them to love the piano so much that they continue to play.
“I want them to do it because they love it and not just because their parents want them to or for cash prizes,” Chima explained.
Chima teaches piano at three locations in the area. He is an instructor at Fayetteville Music & Arts on Morganton Road and is a full-time teacher to 24 students at Freedom Christian Academy. He also teaches at a private studio in his church.
Teachers involved with the association want to expose students in the Fayetteville area to piano and the talented performers who play the instrument. According to Chima, there are many pianists in the area who are highly skilled and have been playing for years.
One of those highly skilled pianists is instructor, Dr. Seung-Ah Kim. Chima is still taking lessons from Dr. Kim to improve his piano playing skills. He credits her as being one of the best to ever teach.
As the youngest member of the association, Chima has goals for himself as a pianist. He started playing at the age of eight. His inspiration came from watching the women in his church play the organ and piano. He became fascinated with the keys.
Chima currently has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music with Elective Studies in Business from the University of North Carolina at Pembroke. He plans to pursue his master’s degree in either piano performance, piano pedagogy, which teaches piano playing, or collaborative piano.
The association is looking to increase the number of teachers involved. They are always looking for new teachers in the area to join.