Recently, I have heard some young violinists perform in recitals and masterclasses and am blown away at the level of playing. I am baffled at how these kids got to be so good. I have spoken to some of their parents and apparently, some don't even take music all that seriously; they only practice about an hour a day, 1.5 hours max. And yet, these kids are playing Sibelius by age 12-13.
I have spoken to other pros and they share my sentiment. To quote one pro I corresponded with recently "the level of the kids today is scary." So, what caused this incredible improvement in today's young players? When I was in high school, I was one of the top violinists in the local youth orchestra (MCYO). Now, I don't know if I would even make the orchestra.
Here's a video showing the finalists in a local competition for high schoolers.
Our own Brian Hong is first on the video -- very impressive playing Brian. I would also like to draw your attention to the winner, who starts at 36:00. She is one of 5 violinists, who was very close in ability and they had a tough time choosing the concert master for the MCYO this year. She ended up as co-concertmaster. Needless to say, she can play circles around me upside-down, in a coma.
So does anyone know their formula for success? Is it apathy -- lack of drive? These are the traits that Al Ku would attribute to his daughter no doubt. And yet, month by month, year by year, these young kids just keep getting better. How do they do it?
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