One of the parents of a student was asking me about festival, who does it, how many etc. Festival is for the student not the [parents and certainly not for the teacher. Some teachers use the students the same way a dog breeder uses competitions, to promote their kennel, I do not approve of this. This is why some years I have many students in the festival other years few. It well worth reading my general advice on festivals and exams here.
There are a lot of instrument makers out there offering a bewildering array of clarinets, flutes, saxophones at varying prices. For the beginner it can be hard to decide so here is some general advice.
You get what you pay for.(for the most part)
I often have customers say to me "why would I want to pay$500- $900 for a new student clarinet when I can get this one on EBay for only $99?". Well, what makes the difference between these instruments?
They are many ways to practise scales. My favourite method is as follows. I set the metronome at a nice comfortable speed, 60 to the quarter note. I play the scale in quarters, then eighths, then triplets (for a two octave scale play the scale 3x in a row so that you end up on the downbeat), then sixteenths.
Classical musicians are generally a sensitive lot and indeed a lot of music is about and appeals to the higher nature of man. This make it all the more sad when selfish playing destroys the music for audience and musicians.
Singing in tune is a difficult thing. It requires 1) a technique that allows you the comfort and flexibility to adjust your pitches quickly and freely and 2) a constant awareness of everything around you and 3) knowing what to listen for.
As singers, we may have days when we are physically compromised and are struggling with technique, then we have words to deal with sometimes in a foreign language words that we have to pronounce correctly and interpret. We also have our facial expression and in the case of an opera or musical or actions and or dancing.
Being nervous can add another complication. It is a lot to juggle and a lot of elements fighting for our attention. All of it is important, however the one that will be noticed the most will be the tuning. It doesn't matter how big your voice is or how lovely the tone or how well you act, if you sing out of tune it isn't pleasant to listen to and will even give the listener the impression that your voice is not that beautiful.