is what we are proposing!:
Our intention is to create a video library of the Classical
Music pieces which young musicians play as they are *beginning*
to learn to play their respective instruments, and as they move
into intermediate and, eventually, advanced repertoire.
Our goals are:
(1) to encourage excellence
(2) to provide an opportunity for young
musicians to observe *other* youngsters who are playing at a
high level, and to encounter a wide range of classical pieces
which others are playing
How can a child know "how they are doing" when they've
only played an instrument for a little while? After they've
been taking lessons for a period of time, and worked on a number
of pieces, how can they measure their progress? How can
their *parents* tell how they're doing? The child's teacher
will offer commentary and evaluation, of course. But,
at least in our experience, it helps a *lot* to be able to observe
*other* young musicians who are playing the same instrument,
and playing it well! Sometimes (but too infrequently,
as we see it), a young musician will be part of, say, a piano
studio, at which one or more teachers bring their students together,
from time to time, to listen to each other play. And sometimes
there is a recital, or a competition, at which youngsters can
observe others who are playing well.
By the time young musicians have become more advanced, they
can obtain recordings, usually by one of "the masters,"
of the pieces they are beginnning to play. Often, *several*
of "the masters" have recorded a piece, offering a
variety of role models for playing the piece extremely well.
By listening to recordings such as these, a musician receives
*tremendous* guidance ... and inspiration!
However, with very few exceptions, "the masters" do
not, of course, make recordings of the pieces which children
learn to play as they are early in the process of developing
their musical skills. Most of the time, there are few,
if any, "role models" which are available to children
who are learning instruments, or to their parents. For
this reason, it can be *very* difficult for a young musician,
or for that youngster's parents, to know "how they are
doing." A child at age 5, or 8, or 12, may be playing
as well as one of "the masters" did when they
were young. In fact, children may be absolutely *brilliant*,
for their age. But to their ears, or perhaps their parents'
ears, they are *very* unlikely to sound, quite yet, like "the
masters" do when they are *older*! We know of so
many children who were playing *wonderfully*, but felt they
were playing badly, because they were comparing themselves
to recordings they had heard, or perhaps performances they had
seen in person or on TV, of "the masters." We
have also had many adults tell us that they quit playing when
they were young because they felt they weren't doing very well,
and now they realize they didn't have a clear way of evaluating
their playing at the time ... they just knew, e.g., as one friend
told us, that he "wasn't playing like Horowitz" ...
and these adults often express regret at quitting when they
did, and wonder how far they might have gotten if they had continued!
One of our major goals is to have children and parents
become more and more knowledgeable about what constitutes excellence
in a young musician!
And so, our
PLAN: we are inviting excellent young musicians
to submit videos of pieces which they are playing in a truly
As to the competition:
1. We will be using a "ladder" format. Each
submission will be evaluated by our judges (superb teachers
and performers). If the judge(s) rate the performance
"excellent" (by which we mean that the judges feel
that *other* young musicians would be benefited by watching
it), a *portion* (usually 2-3 minutes) of the video will be
placed on our web site, so that it can be seen and heard by
young musicians from all over the world. If another young
musician submits the same piece to the competition, and the
judges feel the playing is superior to the first submission,
an excerpt from the second performance will replace the first
on the web site, and the first performance will move to the
next lower rung on the "ladder." The names of
the "top three" players of any given piece will continue
to be listed on the site's "ladder standings."
[As you are probably aware, video takes up a *great* deal of
space on a web site, which is the reason we'll only be using
an excerpt on the site. However, over time, we will be
creating a series of DVDs which have the *entire* performances
by as many young musicians as possible. In this way, there
will be a growing library which will be available for
viewing by young musicians, who will be able to observe superb
playing of a *wide* range of classical pieces!]
2. We will also have an "overall" ladder standing
for the "beginner" category, and additional ladder
standings for the "intermediate" and "advanced"
categories. [On the application form, there will be a
place for a young musician's teacher to note whether she or
he feels that the piece submitted should be considered "beginner,"
"intermediate," or "advanced." If
there is a question about appropriate category, our judges will
resolve the issue.] This competition is ability-grouped,
rather than age-grouped. If a quite-young musician is
capable, for example, of playing an intermediate piece, they
will be entered into the intermediate division with that piece.
3. A young musician must have their parent's (or guardian's)
permission in order to participate in the competition, as well
as to allow us to use the applicant's video on the web site
and/or on DVDs. In addition, the contestant's teacher
must "sign off" on any video submitted, by vouching
for the excellence of the playing. [An application to
participate will appear on this site after the "pilot"
phase of this project. It may be printed or copy/pasted
into a word processing program, and then printed. During
the "pilot" phase of this project, we will handle
the application process by e-mail, rather than by formal application.]
4. As to the logistical aspects of the program: we request that
videos be submitted, if possible, in mini-DV format (directly
from the camera, not compressed in any form ... we will have
to compress each video in order to present it on the web, etc.,
and more than a single compression can negatively impact both
the video and audio aspects). We will also, at least during
the "pilot" phase of the project, accept "Hi8"
format video. There is a nominal fee US$25 which must
be submitted with the video (this is to assist us in maintaining
the external hard disk space we require in order to store the
video, and also the web space required to host the videos which
will be placed on the site). If you have questions about
other logistical matters, please ask us by e-mail. Upon
your request, we will provide the "snail mail" address
to which the videos are to be sent.
Eventually, we hope to be able to award prizes for various categories
of the competition. However, we will *not* be awarding
prizes during the "pilot" phase of this project.
(As to prizes which may be awarded in the future, they will
be announced on this web site.)
We *very* much look forward to hearing from you, including with
regard to any ideas you may have about this project, and we
look forward to hearing and seeing your playing when you submit
videos of your performances!
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Music and the Beautiful Music in *You*!(TM)
site are copyright © 2003, 2004 and 2005 John, Jean, Johnny and Chris
Rice. All Rights reserved. No copyright claimed in brief quotations
from other authors for purposes of review or scholarly comment.
John, Jean, Johnny and Chris Rice
period and composer)
** We (The Rice Brothers) have not played very much of this composer's
music, so we do not consider ourselves to be on a first name basis with
(1900 through present)
(1900 through present)