Friday, December 30, 2011

Concert with Josh Wright


Caleb's favorite concert pianist (next to his teacher of course), Josh Wright came to play a Christmas concert for his church.  Caleb was lucky enough to go.  He got to hear both Josh and his wife, Lindsey, play some wonderful songs.  Josh and Lindsey have always been so nice to Caleb and they are great role models to look up to.  Caleb loves to mix up classical songs with other songs, just like Josh does.  

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Another Win for Musical Composition!


Caleb wrote another song and entered it in his school's musical composition category of their Arts Contest, and he won!  This is the 3rd year in a row that Caleb has won for musical composition.  Now his song will go on to compete for best in region.  

He wrote kind of a different kind of song, but here he is performing what he calls
"The Battle of Diversity":

                              


Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Winter Recital 2011


This last week Caleb had his winter piano recital.  It is always held at a fancy house up in the hills.  
This year we were lucky and Caleb wasn't sick.  Last year's recital he had been sick throwing up all day, but still insisted on going.    

He played Debussy's Cakewalk:
.

It is a familiar piece to many.  
Caleb had most fun posing for "action shots" on their grand piano.


Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Think of Me.....Caleb turns 9!


Caleb has gotten so old now!  We can't believe he has turned 9 years old!  It seems like only yesterday that he was a cute little 4 year old crawling up on the piano bench and teaching himself how to play.  

He had a lot of fun at his birthday photo shoot throwing sheet music around trying to make it artsy.  

Sometimes we've wondered if he was going to lose interest in piano or get sick of practicing, but it seems like his love for piano continues.  His sight reading is incredible.  He can pick up most piano arrangements and just play right off.  

Lately, he has been having fun with some easier arrangements.  He borrowed a book from his friend Dorothy who he played the duet with and played some music from Phantom of the Opera.

Here is "Think of Me":

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Church Duet with Dorothy


This past Sunday Caleb was finally able to play the duet in church with his friend Dorothy who plays the flute.  She came over to practice on Saturday night so we could get a video:



On Sunday morning Caleb woke up early sick and throwing up!  We didn't know what to do.  We didn't want to upset Dorothy.  We knew she had invited lots of her family to come hear her play, and Caleb wanted to play as well.

Luckily, Caleb went back to bed and slept for a few hours.  When he woke up, he was feeling somewhat better and he wanted to go to church, so we let him get dressed and get ready to go.  He didn't feel the best, but he went and played and they both sounded great!  

Many people were commenting and asking us what was wrong with Caleb.  "Did performing make him so nervous that he got sick now?"   "Did he not like to play in church anymore?"  No.  He was just sick and worn out a bit.  We took him home afterward and he rested.  Caleb still loves to play and he doesn't get nervous or sick before a performance.  It has seemed like there have been a few times when Caleb has gotten sick the weekend of a competition or recital.  Just coincidences though.  We think he has a somewhat  sensitive stomach and usually the days he's gotten sick he has had a lot of junk to eat.  Caleb is still learning that he can't eat so much sugar or sweets or rich foods so much.   

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Hoping for A Church Duet


Caleb loves playing in church, and he also loves playing with other people.  He has a friend who can play the flute very well.  So a little while ago, he found a church song that was written for a piano and flute to play together.  He was excited to start practicing with his friend.  He hoped that they could play it together in church sometime soon.  

We don't have video of them playing together just yet, but here is what Caleb's part sounds like:



It is so pretty when they play together.  We will have to wait and see if they can play it in church together.  I guess there has to be special approval to use certain instruments and they aren't sure if they will be allowed to have a flute during services.  We will see.  They continue to practice and have fun.  

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Caleb's Fall Recital

 

Caleb had his fall piano recital last week.  He was supposed to have piano lessons at 4:30 but then the recital didn't start until 7, so there was some time to kill in between.  Caleb takes piano lessons downtown and his recital was going to be downtown at the University, so it wasn't worth the time and gas to drive back home in between.  

We went to Paradise Bakery and got some dinner before the recital.


Caleb loves their cookies!

Caleb is working on a fugue, a concerto, and a piece by Debussy right now, but he isn't quite finished learning them, so for his recital he played a song he learned back in the summertime by Schubert.  

Here he is playing March Militaire:



He made a few little mistakes, but overall a good performance.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Caleb's Special Birthday Present for His Mom


It was Caleb's mommy's birthday and besides being cute, he really wanted to give her a special birthday present.  She really liked this song by Ben Folds called "The Luckiest".  It had really pretty piano music and Caleb's daddy liked to sing it to his mom as well.  

We found the piano sheet music, and so Caleb began practicing to be ready for her birthday.  At first, just Caleb's daddy was going to sing, but in the end, Caleb really wanted to join in on the song.  

Here is Caleb's present to his mommy:


Monday, September 26, 2011

Duets with Little Sister


Here is Caleb at about age 4 and his little sister Jewelia around a year and a half. 
Caleb would begin teaching himself how to play the piano in the next months, but I bet he never thought he'd be accompanying his sister later on. 

Caleb is 8 years old now and his little sister Jewelia is 6 years old and they have become quite the team. 
Although Jewelia has only been playing violin for a short time, she has loved every time she and Caleb can play together.  Caleb enjoys it just as well.  It is good practice at becoming an accompanist and learning that sometimes you must follow another musicians' lead.

Here are a few videos of their recent works:

First, a little "Minuet Duet":

Caleb was so excited that Jewelia was going to play one of his first piano lesson songs, "The Happy Farmer".  It turned out so well:
        
 
 
We look forward to many more performances from the team of Caleb and Jewelia!

Monday, September 12, 2011

Caleb's Summer Competition

 Caleb went to the annual piano competition at the University.  He competed in some skills tests and in performance competition.  This year was a little harder because since he had won so many first place prizes last year, they required him to compete in the next age level even though he wasn't in their age group. 

Still, Caleb managed to win some prizes!  He received an Honorable Mention in performance, and a solid 2nd place in Sight Reading.


 Although he didn't receive any 1st place prizes this year, we are so proud of him.  We heard his performance pieces and they were just fantastic!  We know he worked very hard and played extremely well. Good job Caleb!





Saturday, August 13, 2011

Playing at the Senior Living Center

Caleb loves to play anywhere he can find that has a piano and will let him perform.
He was recently invited to come and play at a very fancy Senior Living center. They had him scheduled as the entertainment and had all the residents lined up in rows to listen to him while they had root beer floats for a treat.

Caleb came with a whole program list of songs. He played all his best songs that he has played over the past year and 1/2 in his recitals and competitions as well as a few modern ones he has learned on his own.

He did a great job and the crowd loved him!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Getting Ready for yet Another Competition!

Caleb has been having a pretty fun summer! He's been able to go on some fun vacations and road trips and even got to play the piano in Arizona for his Grandma Mary's church. He has played the piano for 5 different churches now and will play for yet another church this Sunday. He is quite in demand! Caleb just loves to play for people! It makes him so happy.

While the summer has been fun, it is almost at an end, and that means the big University's piano competition is coming! Caleb has been getting all ready to compete. He will be competing in different skills tests like "Quick Study", "Theory", and "Sight Reading", as well as competing with two different performance pieces.

He has been refreshing an older song that he will compete with called "Anitra's Dance" by Grieg. This one uses the pedal, so it is still a little difficult for him to reach, but he makes it work.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Somewhere in Time

Caleb thinks he is pretty snazzy in his little bow tie and suspenders that he found. His brother wore them once for a dance recital.

Caleb has been practicing some new sheet music. A friend of his really liked this song from the old movie "Somewhere in Time".


Sunday, July 3, 2011

Competitions....The Good, The Bad, The Ugly

This spring, Caleb found a bunch of competitions that he could enter. This was going to be exciting for him. Before, when it seemed like there wasn't much for a kid under 8, this year he found 4 competitions that would allow an 8 year old, so we decided to test them out.

So far, he had a good time practicing up songs and even some success at winning in Park City. However, it was really interesting how he could do so well at one competition, but then not even be in the running at another. It wasn't something we could even guess on.

Sometimes the age groups would just be too broad with divisions such as "Elementary 6th Grade and Younger". We figured he didn't have much a chance there competing with kids up to 4 years older than he. But then he surprised us at Park City when he competed and won.

Caleb was excited when he found a competition a few hours from home that finally offered some "8 and Under" divisions, and then there was going to be a new local competition for ages 8 and under as well. This would be a real chance to win! Caleb was a very talented 8 year old we thought.

Well, we were surprised after 2 long competitions and competing with many different songs, that he didn't even place. What had happened? I guess sometimes it is just hit or miss. While we have been impressed by many other young talented pianists, we have seen the best mess up, or some new competition win with simpler songs. Piano competition is a tough world. Although with the younger kids, it seems as if Caleb was always playing more difficult pieces, but it didn't really matter. Judges look more on how the piece is played as far as dynamics more than how hard a piece was. We were finding that while Caleb was 8 now, he was still so much smaller than the other kids and his hands and strength just weren't cutting it. While he could play quite well, and hard pieces, he often couldn't play them as loud or reach the pedal, or play all the notes because his little hands can't reach an octave stretch while these other kids could.

Oh, well, no big deal, Caleb just liked to perform and he was having fun, and we were learning.

Caleb was having some great experiences. For one particular competition he wanted to play his concerto but his teacher couldn't accompany him. He was was lucky enough to enlist one of his favorite famous concert pianists, his idol, Josh Wright.

Caleb has made friends with Josh and Josh was nice enough to agree to work with Caleb for this competition. Caleb loved every minute of it. He felt like a star.

We didn't expect much from this competition as we had to ask special permission even to enter because originally it was only for age 9-13, but we got permission and they opened it up to "13 and under" instead. But still, we knew Caleb couldn't compete against 13 year olds.

While he did extremely well (we were so proud!), the other kids were older and bigger and another older boy played his same concerto and he could actually play all the notes and reach the pedal (and it was a big difference when you heard how it was supposed to sound with so many more chords and note stretches!) and so in the end Caleb didn't win.

He did come away with an Honorable Mention though!

Good for him!

As you can see, here he is with the winners:

He did well for such a young short little kid!

Friday, June 24, 2011

Summer Recital (Practice for Competition)

Caleb had a recital where everyone performed songs they were going to play at competitions coming up. Caleb performed his concerto again with his teacher, and then he also played a new song he's been working on; Haydn's Sonata in D major, 3rd movement:

Monday, May 16, 2011

Monster Concert 2011

Caleb got to participate in the University of Utah's Monster Concert.
The Monster Concert is a huge concert where they put about 14 pianos on the stage all at one time and then students perform on the pianos all at the same time.

This year's theme was Disney songs, and Caleb was going to play a song from the movie Fantasia. A lot of the songs incorporate costumes, so Caleb decided to dress up like Mickey Mouse as the sorcerer in Fantasia.

Caleb was going to be playing in the biggest song. It would have 27 students all playing his song at the same time. As he went to rehearsals, they saw Caleb looked pretty cute all dressed up, and he was a good kid, so they decided to give him some extra parts.

They asked Caleb to be part of the show opening and welcome the audience, as well as conduct the first song!

Here is Caleb with Cinderella and Belle announcing the show to begin:

Then he conducts the first song, "Be Our Guest".

Here is a little video of his conducting:


We thought he did a pretty good job considering he has never conducted before.

Then came Caleb's performance. He shared a piano bench with an older student on the end of the stage. Caleb was the youngest student performing.

They played the piece "Night on Bald Mountain" from Fantasia.

It was by far one of the best performances of the night. Here is the video:



It was a really fun evening and we can't wait until next year's concert.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Caleb Visits His Favorite Concert Pianist (besides his teacher of course)



Almost a year ago, Caleb met a young man named Josh Wright who he had seen and heard about on the internet and from what was called "Josh Wright Piano TV". He was at the Summer Arts Awards Ceremony when he first was introduced, and then later at the Summer Arts Winners Recital at the University of Utah, he got to talk with him some more.

Caleb so admired this young pianist. He had been playing piano for a long time, even when he was a little boy just like Caleb. Caleb wanted to be just like this pianist.

Over the last year Caleb began leaving comments on Josh Wright's facebook fan page and they began to comment to each other back and forth. Caleb watched as Josh became more successful and soon put out a top selling CD. Caleb saw that Josh was in several articles in the newspaper and had many pictures as well. So excited was he, that Caleb just had to go meet Josh again to get his CD and to have it signed as well as his newspaper clippings.

He was so happy to see Josh and to have him sign his CD. Josh told him that he had even gone out and bought a suit vest so that he could look as stylin' as Caleb.

What an inspiration Josh has been to Caleb. He is so talented and yet so grounded, humble and kind. If you haven't heard his music, you should check it out! You can see him on joshwrightpiano.com. Very talented indeed! Caleb hopes he can be as talented one day!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Amazing Caleb Wins Competition!

Caleb went to a piano competition in Park City to play 2 solo pieces and a concerto. Now, we weren't expecting much if not anything because his age division had been cancelled, but they were allowing him to play with the next older age group just so he could still go and perform.

Really, Caleb is in the 2nd grade age group, but he had to compete in the group for 4th to 7th grade. We were just hoping maybe somebody would be sick, or some people would not show up, and then maybe, just maybe he could get at least an honorable mention.

Here he is before entering the building to perform:

Well, anyway, yes, 1 person cancelled, so we were pretty hopeful for the last place prize, but then we were greatly surprised when they announced Caleb was a finalist to come back and perform in the winners recital that night with his concerto.

Really?! How could that be? OK, so maybe he was just super lucky and they were going to let him have 2nd place, but surely not 1st. I mean, really, these other kids were really good.

But, upon looking at the competition website's results, it only listed Caleb as the finalist and another girl as Honorable Mention. So that was it. It was Caleb as 1st place, and in an age category that he wasn't even old enough to really be in! We were astonished! I mean, true, when he played his concerto for the judge it was soooo good. He only had a small little mistake near the very end, but I guess our Caleb did it!

Here is a picture of Caleb with his wonderful piano teacher who accompanied him for his concerto:

So, back to Park City for the awards ceremony and Caleb performed his concerto:



Now, he got jumbled up on a middle section where he played a few measures too many times, but his scales were just perfect and overall a nice performance.

And then at the end they gave out the awards:

video

As you can see, Caleb got his very first trophy, and a medal! He was so excited! He said it was the best day ever, and that he loved playing the piano and doing competitions so much that he even liked it better than playing video games! And that is a very big deal.

We're so proud of our little Caleb. Still a little dumbfounded by it all. I mean, no, he's not perfect, and gee, how I wish I could video him when he is actually competing in front of judges because he competes soooo very well, but gee. What an awesome kid! We hope he continues to succeed and excel in his music and can eventually live out his dream of being a professional piano player.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Caleb's First Concerto

What is this whole concerto thing?

Over the past 2 years, we've seen some of the older students of Caleb's piano teacher play concertos. A concerto is where you play with another piano/pianist or with an orchestra. Many of the other students would play a concerto with their teacher for some of the recitals, or we'd hear about concerto competitions they'd be in.

We asked another parent what that was all about and she told us that around the time a student was in 5th grade, Caleb's piano teacher would assign them a concerto to start working on for the year and then they could perform it or compete with it.

Well, Caleb is pretty good, and we asked about when he would do one. His teacher thought he could handle one, so she assigned him one right after Christmas. I don't know if it was easier than normal ones, or not so long, or what, but Caleb had it played through in the first week and memorized by the end of the month. He still had a lot to work on, but this concerto thing was pretty cool. He got it down well enough that they decided he could compete in the Utah Music Teacher's Association's Concerto Competition.

Now, this was a competition for kids up to 6th grade, so we didn't think Caleb had any chance for winning, but it would be good experience and a first for him. Caleb just loves the participation certificates anyway.
And looky there! This one had a shiny gold seal just like he likes!

Another competition would be coming up the 2nd of April though. And this one was offered to lower age divisions. There was a K-3rd grade age group, and we really hoped Caleb could enter this one and maybe bring home a prize!

BUT--all hopes were lost when the competition chair called us earlier this month and told us that nobody else had even entered the concerto competition for Caleb's age range, so they had to cancel that group to compete. Also sad was that he had entered the solo competition but there was only 1 other entry and they must have at least 5 entries, so they cancelled that competition as well.

How sad Caleb was, but then we thought, hey, he just wants to play his songs and get another oh so cherished certificates, what if they allowed him to play with the older age groups?
We asked, and although they advised against it because he would be competing against kids up to 13 years old, Caleb really wanted to, so we went ahead and had them bump him up to the next age levels.

So, little 8 year old Caleb, so determined to play his songs, will be going to competition this weekend ready to compete against kids up to 5 years older than he. Oh, well. He knew he was just doing this for experience and practice performing. He's just excited about that certificate!

Anyway, Caleb has worked so hard on this concerto in such little time. Why not have some more chances to perform it? He got to play it with another student at his earlier competition, but then he played it with his teacher at their last recital and will again for the competition this weekend.

He messed up a little bit on some important scale at the beginning and a few stumbles along the way, but we are proud of little Caleb and that such a small boy could take on such a large piece.

Here he is performing Haydn's Piano Concerto in D Major, 3rd movement:


Thursday, March 24, 2011

Caleb's Spring Recital

Caleb played in his Spring piano recital this week.

Here is his solo piece, "Anitra's Dance" by Grieg":



This one is a little difficult because it uses crossing hands and pedal at the same time which is hard for Caleb since he can barely reach the pedals!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Caleb Prepares for his First Concerto Competition

(Silly Caleb in his new hat!)

Caleb has been super busy these past weeks. He has been working harder than he ever has on piano. He is preparing for his first Concerto Competition.

A concerto is a piece that is played between 2 instruments or with one instrument and an orchestra. Caleb has been learning a piano concerto in which he can play with another piano or with an orchestra.

It is his first concerto and it is many pages long and lasts about 7 minutes when played through. He has been at rehearsals preparing already every night this week. It takes a lot of work though and he is being very diligent in his practicing.

He is working with his teacher and a fellow piano student who will play the other piano part for him. The other student is a senior in high school who seems to play so effortlessly beautiful, while little Caleb really struggles with his small hands, but somehow he makes it work. He is trying really hard.

Here is a little video preview of their progress:



We wish Caleb the best of luck for his upcoming competition. It is a first, and they don't have age divisions for his age group really. They have an Elementary division that is for up to 6th grade. Caleb is only 8 and should be in the 2nd grade although he skipped a year, so there will be many kids much older than he is. We still hope he does well. He just loves the certificates anyway, even if they are just for participation.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Caleb Goes on Tour

Recently, Caleb has started "going on tour" in sense. Well, not exactly, but he has began being asked to play for different groups at different friends of family's churches.

At Christmas time Caleb played for his church, a friend's church, and for a couple of different church programs.

This past month he was asked to play a song for a couple more church performances. One at a friends, and soon he will play for his Grandpop's church. He just loves doing this and hopes he can play all the time.

Here is a video of the song he played last week at his friend's church. There are a bit of mistakes in this video, but he did so well during his actual performance.



Saturday, January 29, 2011

Caleb Wins Again for Best Musical Composition!

Caleb entered his school's arts program this year under musical composition with a new song that he wrote. Last year his composition won from both his school and the region. This year his new composition won out of his school as well.

He was so happy and excited to get a medal!

Here he is performing his song he wrote called "Happy Together":