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!