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Charleston International Music Competition
A couple questions about this competition
Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 Topic Rating: 5 (11 votes) 
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JimandThomas
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September 4, 2023 - 7:42 am
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Thomas is so gung ho about entering competitions and it really does not bother me entering them because we have talked about the pitfalls of not winning. He is the type that understands that you "can't win 'em all", or even a majority of them. So he entered the Charleston competition and although most everything seems on the up and up, there is one thing that bothers me. 

I have NEVER liked competitions that are based on popularity because...well, I am sure you know. So upon rereading some emails I received after Thomas made the finals, it says that by the end of the month, the video with the most views receives a $300 prize. This rubs me the wrong way and I don't know if I SHOULD let it. Can I have some insight from any of you who are either familiar with this competition or know of anyone who has entered it or know of someone who has entered it. This will save me, and maybe even Thomas, the trouble next year. I appreciate it, thank you. 

Just in case it is on the up and up(winner will be determined on Sept. 10 but the view count runs the entire month), here is a link to his video out of the 150 finalists....just in case you want to help him get his view count up. We both thank you so much.

list=PLgdkUhRgoAHqYhTIWWQiQyhQt4W6s0Zuz&index=81

Jim(Thomases Dad)

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AndrewH
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September 4, 2023 - 8:19 am
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I'd never heard of the competition before I saw this post, but I looked at the website. To be honest, to me the whole thing looks a bit sketchy. They sponsor a ton of different competitions each year with minimal guidance about repertoire, there's a very large fee to participate in the final, and the biggest prize is only 2x the final round application fee. It looks like it's designed to collect as much in registration fees as possible. The fact that one of the main prizes is based on YouTube views is just another reason to question the value of the competition.

It's not a scam per se, because it provides exactly what it claims to provide. But it basically runs on a pay-to-play model and what you're paying for is a chance to add something to your resume that can impress non-musicians. (The website lists prestigious universities that high school winners went to... but doesn't mention any of them going to those schools to study music. It seems likely to me that the competition ended up being a line on a college application to study something other than music.) Other than that, what you're paying for is just the experience of competing, and maybe feedback from judges.

BTW, judges should be providing detailed feedback on every competitor's playing. I can't tell from the website whether they do or not, but if they don't then it's a problem.

Also, I see various social media comments suggesting that there's been a proliferation of similar online competitions called "(city name) International Music Competition" in recent years, all operating under similar models.

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AndrewH
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September 4, 2023 - 8:54 am
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One further note: it's run by Charleston Music LLC, which is a for-profit company that appears to have no business other than the competition. That's not a good sign either.

 

In the future, the money would probably be better spent somewhere else.

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JimandThomas
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September 4, 2023 - 10:00 am
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Thank you @AndrewH I had a gut feeling about all this. 

Jim(Thomases Dad)

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ELCBK
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September 4, 2023 - 2:52 pm
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@JimandThomas , @AndrewH -

Very interesting... 

I'd much rather just give Thomas the YT boost, than the competition - BUT...

I'll support Thomas EVERY WAY I CAN! 🥰

So... I added a 'thumbs up' to this video!  

HOPE YOU WIN!!! 

 

- Emily

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ELCBK
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September 5, 2023 - 10:48 pm
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...it would be really nice to see Thomas get a few more 'thumbs up' on YT - from folks here on the forum... hint... hint. 😊

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JimandThomas
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September 6, 2023 - 6:22 am
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@ELCBK Boy I sure appreciate that very much, that is awfully nice of you. TY

Jim(Thomases Dad)

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
September 7, 2023 - 2:19 pm
Member Since: September 26, 2010
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Thanks for sharing Jim.

I see great improvements on Thomas's side. Congrats on the progress Thomas!!!!!

I'll try to watch it several times to help him out.

One thing that has especially improved is his right hand and his sense of rhythm. :)

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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ELCBK
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September 9, 2023 - 7:47 pm
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Fiddlerman said
Thanks for sharing Jim.

I see great improvements on Thomas's side. Congrats on the progress Thomas!!!!!

I'll try to watch it several times to help him out.

One thing that has especially improved is his right hand and his sense of rhythm. :)  

 

@JimandThomas -

yaaaa_gif

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JimandThomas
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September 10, 2023 - 12:19 pm
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@Fiddlerman Thank you so much. Just showed Thomas your reply and he had the biggest smile on his face. Which also helped his attitude this morning because yesterday we recorded Scene de Ballet and even though he did as well as he could have after only a week of practice, he didnt feel good about it. 

Jim(Thomases Dad)

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JimandThomas
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September 10, 2023 - 12:30 pm
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@Fiddlerman Forgot to tell you that it was odd that you mention his hand and rythym because his teacher told him that was exactly what she wanted him to work on a few weeks back, so I am amazed that you noticed that too. We watched you phrasing video last night and it must be because it is coming from you(I have tried to pound it into his head for weeks now but because I am only his Dad...well, you know)he really excelled at his audition piece coming up next week. He has been practicing Meditation by Massenet and as you know, phrasing is really key in that piece. He sounded so much better this morning when he realized just how important it was. So thank you yet again. You dont realize just how much you have helped him over the past year because I need to slow down and "smell the flowers" more often.

Jim(Thomases Dad)

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ELCBK
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September 10, 2023 - 6:46 pm
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@JimandThomas -

I know I mentioned video quality in the past, but I feel bad I didn't suggest some tips sooner - maybe not elsewhere on the forum. 

  • make a checklist and make time for several takes - too much going on & everyone is nervous/excited
  • record in a horizontal orientation - zoom in as close as possible while including the accompanist, focus on Thomas's upper body & both hands.
  • may seem silly, but besides a fully charged battery (have a way to back it up), make sure the lens is clean on your recording device 
  • PREVIEW your phone & camera SETTINGS, right before using - especially recording with a phone.  Phone settings: do not disturb 'ON' ✔, ALL notifications 'OFF' ✔!  General & advanced camera settings: stabilization ✔, zoom-in mic ✔, filters ✔ - I would also turn OFF 'tracking' auto focus (not picture focus).  If you haven't taken time to learn/experiment with PRO camera settings - don't use them. 
  • take time to look thru your viewfinder, or on screen, to assess the 'scene'.  Are there unnecessary/distracting objects?  Bright spots/glare, shadows or dark areas?  You might just have to move the position of your recording device a little, or ask Thomas to take a step in a certain direction (your video has a very distracting reflection on the back wall from the lamp on the piano).  ...a sheer scarf or piece of lace thrown over the piano lamp could've been another solution.
  • besides mic & mic position - if you aren't recording in a studio, improve lighting where/when possible.  Learn to use a simple reflective surface (reflector) to remove shadows & a diffuser (scrim) to filter a harsh light source - checkout YT tutorials.   THIS panel & bracket is an excellent & portable solution, you just need a stable tripod to mount it.  Most of the time you'll probably want a reflector resting one edge on the floor/ground, angled up toward Thomas's face.  But, there may be times you'll need a more elevated position, if it's more important to diffuse a harsh light source/glare.  A reflector set on the floor & angle up at Thomas would've helped. 
  • you can make a reflector/diffuser cheap.  Make ONE PVC frame (easy to disassemble), but make TWO inserts of fabric to sew (or glue) - one BRIGHT WHITE (like a bed sheet, cloth that will diffuse OR reflect some lighting) and one HIGH REFLECTIVE SILVER FABRIC (for more light).  If you can visit a fabric store you might find 'one' fabric that has qualities to serve BOTH purposes (as long as one side is VERY shiney & the weave is loose enough to let light through)!  If a tripod doesn't work well to hold a handmade reflector/diffuser - consider making a stand (quite a few easy DIY videos on YT). 

 

...I can't be present many times Kevin takes stationary videos of our Grandkids - he gets distracted, won't use a checklist & sometimes (if he's not using a tripod) he doesn't even watch where he's pointing his phone! 😖  I can remind him to take his tripod, but I'm seriously thinking of attaching a little sign to his tripod (or something he'll have with him) - to help him remember to check the settings/lens on his phone & assess the area he is going to record, so at least most of the kids get into the video! 😏

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ELCBK
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September 12, 2023 - 12:55 am
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@JimandThomas 

...can't wait to see how this turns out! 

KEEP UP THE GREAT WORK, THOMAS!!! 

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Fiddlerman
Fort Lauderdale
September 12, 2023 - 3:41 pm
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JimandThomas said
@Fiddlerman Forgot to tell you that it was odd that you mention his hand and rythym because his teacher told him that was exactly what she wanted him to work on a few weeks back, so I am amazed that you noticed that too. We watched you phrasing video last night and it must be because it is coming from you(I have tried to pound it into his head for weeks now but because I am only his Dad...well, you know)he really excelled at his audition piece coming up next week. He has been practicing Meditation by Massenet and as you know, phrasing is really key in that piece. He sounded so much better this morning when he realized just how important it was. So thank you yet again. You dont realize just how much you have helped him over the past year because I need to slow down and "smell the flowers" more often.

Perfect. It's always nice to know that you're being helpful. Glad to hear it. Thanks 

"The richest person is not the one who has the most,
but the one who needs the least."

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ELCBK
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September 24, 2023 - 1:37 am
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😊  Pass on the word - add a view & 'like' to the video on YT for Thomas

It's not the end of the month, yet - still time to help!  🤗

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