Annetekoda 2024

Last Sunday the all-Estonian talent show-competition Annetekoda 2024 took place.

The competition dates back to 2019 and every year one of the famous Estonian cultural figures is invited to head the jury.
This time, out of 150 applications received, 22 candidates were selected to participate in the final show concert. The venue was the EMTA concert hall, built several years ago and featuring excellent acoustics.
The competition organizers’ requirements for participation were simple: provide a link to a video of your performance no more than 3 minutes long. There were no restrictions on age or activity: dance, sing, play, show acrobatic tricks, in a word – entertain the audience.

This idea seemed interesting to me and without thinking twice I decided to take part with my work “Soaring Spirit” (written for a guitar with nylon strings and 2 effects pedals – Delay and Reverb). It wanted to take part simply for the sake of the experience of performing at an event that is not quite standard for a classical guitarist, to show off and see others (rather than expecting to take some place, although, I must admit, I thought several times that I could well count on 3rd place). A few weeks later I received an email congratulating me on making it to the finals. I was delighted and immediately began to prepare for the performance in all seriousness. An amusing fact was that it later became clear that I turned out to be the oldest participant in the competition (since most of the participants were from 13 to 17 years old).

Then the rehearsal schedules arrived and at the appointed time I showed up to test the hall and do the soundcheck. Having arranged and connected the equipment and began to warm up the strings and fingers, I was surprised how “alive” this hall is and how beautiful its acoustics are: when you enter it and hear the echo of steps, it begins to come to life, breathe, and when you play notes, it feeds on the sounds you make, absorbing them and transforming them into some energy, into the aroma of sounds! All this is complemented by good comfortable ventilation (nowhere does it blow into the neck) and pleasant light that does not hit the eyes – you understand that real professionals worked on the creation of the hall.

For the competition I chose one of my latest works – “Soaring Spirit”. The original lasts a little more than 8 minutes, so I had to “disassemble” and “assemble” it in a new way (fortunately, the form of the work allowed this to be done without too much harm to the musical idea) into a shortened version that was acceptable in form and sound. This took about a week and there was plenty of time to prepare a new version.

When I was preparing to perform at the competition, I set 2 goals for myself: to convey emotions and not to stumble, which is a very basic requirement to have a chance to get some kind of prize. Sounds simple, but in fact it requires serious psychological preparation, because the competition was broadcast on one of the largest Estonian media channels to thousands of viewers.
So I went through the most serious psychological preparation before the competition. Considering that I haven’t been performing much lately, it wasn’t easy for me to get on stage, loosen up and let the music flow freely.

When you go to any competition, it is important to carefully read the rules and topic of the competition and try as much as possible to comply with its name and scope of the topic. It is also important to realistically assess your capabilities, be realistic and not have illusions. I understood that I was missing a show element for my act (I could have added lighting effects, call some more artists, made some kind of video projection), but this time there was no time for that. Also, I did some small mistakes, which certainly eats up a few points, but with the 2 goals that I kept in focus, I think I performed quite successfully.

I am also satisfied with the work of the jury, which, in my opinion, did a hard job and assessed the participants quite adequately. I can imagine how difficult it was to choose the best and divide the places between them, because from time to time I myself am a member of the jury at various competitions.

As the name of the talent show-competition suggests, it must be a spectacular act. It was not enough to just go on stage and act – you need to create a certain image and involve acting. My flaw was that I simply went on stage and played my piece (which itself probably turned out to be effective and talented, but there was no element of the show, which was mentioned more than once in the advertising of the competition). Although it should be mentioned here that one of the prizes was taken by a young pianist who played Chopin. It may have played a role here that the work was very complex, effective and, of course, beautifully performed. So, in principle, it is possible to win by playing something from the classics, just like at a regular concert. I’ll do the work on the mistakes and maybe return there next year, and, after all, with the show! 🙂
Performing is work: you practice, perfect and polish every note, then go on stage and reproduce sounds charged with hours and feelings. Worked well – got a good result – played well.

Job of a performing musician differs from the work of, for example, a jeweler, a carpenter or an artist, where there is also painstaking work of hands, who makes an object in the workshop and then can display it ready for others to see, because the work associated with direct performance in front of the public contains the moment reproducing work on stage, due to which the previously completed work may not be visible on stage – the performance may not go well because the musician is very nervous and this will have a bad effect on the quality of his performance. So, as mentioned before: serious psychological preparation is also important here; but, as a rule, everything goes proportionally, in accordance with the efforts made.

It was a pleasure to watch the performances of so many young talented, diligent and disciplined people.

I was pleased with the staff of the hall – employees who were ready to help, good organization of the event and, in general, a cool nice atmosphere.

Many thanks to Pille Lill and the respected jury, headed by Mart Sander and the entire EMTA staff, my former teacher Mart, my family and friends who supported me. It was a pleasure to be on stage in front of you and share my music.