The Member Challenges at CGC Academy are month-long community events that focus on one theme to help you focus on and achieve short-term goals. We hold a challenge every season and the topic for each challenge will be different for each season. The beginning of each year always kicks off the Member Challenges with a focus on technique, but topics range from scales to duets to metronome practice and much more!

The format for the challenges will differ depending on the focus for each particular month, but in general members who participate will be asked to upload weekly update videos on their progress with the challenge topic and Niki and Dave will provide feedback and guidance via comments in the Forum on each member’s videos. The challenges typically launch on the 1st of the month (schedule listed below) but stay tuned to this page as we may need to make adjustments along the way.

This page houses info as well as signups for all of the challenges. Here is the basic schedule for our round of challenges each year:

  • January 1: Winter Challenge (Technique)
  • May 1: Spring Challenge
  • August 1: Summer Challenge
  • November 1: Fall Challenge

To create a post for your update videos in the Member Challenges forum, first go to the appropriate forum in the Member Challenges forum, then scroll to the bottom of the page to “Create a New Topic.” In the “Topic Title” box please put your first and last name and the title of the challenge and/or the exercise you’re working on. In the large box below that you can type your text and directly paste the URL from your YouTube video. For each weekly update please post in this same topic — please do not create a new topic for each weekly update.

Current/Upcoming Member Challenge

CGC 2021 Summer Challenge: Repertoire Excerpts

If you would like to participate in this challenge please read all of the following instructions and overview.

For this challenge we want you to focus on a small excerpt (5-7 measures long) from the exam set piece for the current grade you are working on. For instance, in Grade 2, the set piece is the Giuliani’s Etude 1 and we are asking all Grade 2 Academy members to focus all their efforts during this one-month challenge to really master measures 9-12 — and nothing else! In order to participate in this challenge you really must limit yourself and work only on the measures of music we have specified for your grade.

Taking the time to really narrow your focus to only a handful of measures of music can really expand the way you think about “being able to play” a passage and especially how well you can play it. But it can also be a great way to unlock your musical imagination, to really craft different ways of playing with dynamics, phrasing, rubato, articulation, etc., so that you can discover (and ultimately share) your own personal interpretation. The passages we have chosen for each grade generally reflect the cumulative challenges you will encounter in that particular grade and so these are some of the most difficult measures of music in the CGC repertoire.

There may be shifting goals as you work on your excerpt each week…perhaps in the first week you really focus on rhythm, or correct notes and accuracy, or simply technical challenges. By week two you may find yourself shifting on to more musical elements such as phrasing and articulation or dynamics and rubato (or maybe raising the tempo). Regardless, the overarching goal should be to really do a deep dive into the excerpt and explore as many facets of it as you can to connect with the music and truly master the handful of measures you are working on. Please post your videos in one thread in this Forum.

  • Grade 1: Sor, Study no. 2: mm. 25-31
  • Grade 2: Giuliani, Etude 1: beat 2 of m.9 – m.12
  • Grade 3: Sor, Estudio in D: mm. 17-22
  • Grade 4: Petzold, Minuet in G: mm. 11-16
  • Grade 5: Bach, Bourree BWV 996: m.15 – beat 3 of m.19
  • Grade 6: Tarrega, Lagrima: mm. 10-16; or Tarrega, Adelita: mm. 9-12
  • Grade 7: Bach, Allemande BWV 996: mm. 13-18
  • Grade 8: Bach, Prelude BWV 1007: end of m.22 – m.28

Tentative Schedule

  • August 1: Status Video due
  • August 8: Week 1 Video due
  • August 15: Week 2 Video due
  • August 22: Week 3 Video due
  • August 29: Live Wrap-up Session, 4pm NYC time

Signup below. Please note signups will close on August 1, 2021!