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.