would very much appreciate
asking for a few volunteers, here... <smile>
we're asking for volunteers:
About two years ago, when Chris was 15, a high school freshman
by age, he finished first over-all in Arizona's all-instrument
competition. [On "Day 1" of the competition,
the competitors were divided into "instrument groups":
upper strings, lower strings, piano, percussion and brass, and
woodwinds. The top finishers in each group moved on to
the finals the next day. During this particular year,
16 finalists were chosen; they represented a wide range of instruments.]
The instrument with which Chris won the competiton was the cello.
He also finished in second place, playing the piano. It
was the first time in our State's history that one individual
had finished both first *and* second on two different instruments.
He was also the youngest competitor ever to win the State's
competition. The competition's Grand Prize allowed Chris
to be a soloist with a major symphony orchestra, the wonderful
He received many compliments for winning the competition and,
after he performed with the orchestra, he received additional
compliments for his playing. One friend, in particular,
said that she hadn't spent much time listening to Classical
Music, and that she'd "never really *heard* a cello before,"
and that she just *loved* the instrument. She added
that she thought that Chris had played wonderfully. Chris
told her that he appreciated her comments and, since she had
discovered how much she liked the cello, she really ought to
hear Chris and Johnny's *teacher* play some time. Chris
said that, if she'd like, he would let her know when their teacher
would be playing next, and that maybe she and her family could
join our family to hear him play. It was obvious *right*
away that she had *no* interest at *all* in hearing their teacher
play. Since Chris is not a very bashful person, he asked
her *why* she seemed disinterested. She said, "Well,
I think it's nice that you're saying something good about your
teacher." Then she teased Chris, by saying she thought
he was being a "very proper, well-behaved, dutiful boy"
by acknowledging his teacher. And then she said, "But
I doubt he plays better than *you* do!" (Chris could
see in her eyes that she was not trying to make a joke; she
was being serious.) Now... Chris did not want to
be rude to her, but he *did* wonder how on *earth* someone could
*possibly* think he could play anywhere *near* as well as his
*teacher*, who is not only a master teacher, but a
master *cellist*, as well! Well, after giving the matter
some thought, we think we understand "where she was coming
from" ... which is one of the major reasons we're asking
for assistance from some *volunteers* here!
If Chris had been part of a team which had just won, say, a
championship high school level *basketball* game, we're pretty
sure that his friend would have loved the idea of going
to watch someone play who had coached him, who was a "pro!"
And she would not have even *thought* to make a comment about
how Chris' play was surely better than his *coach's* play!!
It is very broadly understood, in the domain of sports, about
which such a high percentage of our public is knowledgeable,
that it is *very* unlikely that a high school basketball player,
age 15, can play as well as an excellent *college* player, much
less an excellent professional player. There
are exceptions, of course; every once in a while a basketball
player goes straight from high school to "the pros"
... but that's probably about a one-in-five-million sort of
thing. That happens with young musicians, once in a great,
great while, too (with young musicians who are considered "prodigies").
"However" ... for purpose of *this* discussion, let
us simply say that Chris is not a "prodigy" ... he's
a very good high school player, but he knows he's got a *lot*
to *learn*, and will have to get *waaay* better if he hopes
to be able to play, some day, like a very good "pro"!!
Chris and Johnny happen to be basketball fans. They *love*
watching such things as the beautiful athleticism and teamwork
of a wonderful professional basketball team (such as our very
own Phoenix Suns! <g>) they've always enjoyed, too,
watching the little kids in our neighborhood who play basketball
near our home! But... they don't mistake the little
kids for playing at "one of the higher levels!"
They understand that there really are *progressions* of ability
in basketball, and in other sports, too. It's very helpful,
especially to young athletes, to be *very* clear about the different
levels of play. Among other things, this helps to establish
what a youngster *aspires* to! The same is true, of course,
in the domain of music.
Our intention is to provide young musicians (and their *parents*!),
as well as the youngsters who are in the process of becoming
the "next generation of *fans* of Classical Music,"
with a way to learn about the "levels" of ability
which a person must move through, from being a "beginner"
with an instrument," to becoming a wonderful *young* player
(at, say, an "intermediate" level), and then graduating
to being an excellent *older* ("advanced" or even
we have a request:
We are asking teachers to please provide us with a video of
one of their "beginning" students, an individual who
has gotten to the point of playing "entry-level" Classical
Music in a truly excellent manner. In addition, we request
that the same teacher provide a video of one of their "intermediate"
students (again, the video should demonstrate excellence at
the *intermediate* level). If possible, it would be very
much appreciated if a video could also be submitted by one of
the teachers more advanced students. (We ask that the
focus be on ages very-young to approximately 18.) Then,
we would appreciate a video of the *teacher* playing in an excellent
way. If at all possible, we also request a video of the
teacher's teacher performing. Our goal is to
show the levels to which a young musician can aspire, and also
to show the public (including the parents and friends of young
musicians) what the different levels are. Our plan is
to put excerpts of each video on our web site and, where possible,
to put the *entirety* of the performances on a DVD. We
have a specific goal of showing as many *generations* as possible!
(If, somewhere along the line, prior generations of teachers,
perhaps now deceased, made recordings of their playing, we will
see what we can do to obtain permission to use such recordings
as might be available, so that as many generations as possible
along a particular line can be represented!)
When people attend a formal Classical Music performance, and
there is a written program for the event, it is almost *always*
the case that, for example, a soloist will list the people she
or he studied with. It is among our goals to show *why*
such things are almost always listed, and why it is so very
important for young musicians to have the very best possible
teachers! (This is, of course, true in many domains,
not just music!)
Chris and Johnny have had *wonderful* teachers. And *their*
teachers had wonderful teachers, too. We found it very
interesting, a while back, when we followed the line of their
teachers *waaay* back ... through *many* generations.
We discovered that some of the composers who are mentioned on
this site, such as Fred and Franz and Papa Joe and Lou, are
in their line of teachers. We are very, very thankful
for the things these wonderful teachers passed along to *their*
students, who passed them along down the line to *their* students
who, eventually, have passed them along to Johnny and Chris!
(If you'd like to read about Johnny and Chris' line of teachers,
If you would like to participate in our "generations"
project, please drop us an e-mail!
SEND YOUR E-MAIL TO ONE OF THE ADDRESSES IN THE BOX BELOW.
page and the entire contents (including the video and audio contents)
of this Classical
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)