Now, any of you that know me may find this a bit strange that I'm listing this because of my own somewhat fraught relationship with music competitions. (Full disclosure, Addo records has submitted the Broadview "Two of Clubs" CD for a Juno nomination, and I was certainly pleased that they did.) In this case, however, I thought this competition was a very good idea. Why? A) Is limited to artists 25 or younger. B) it's based on how you write, not necessarily how you play or compose. Let me elaborate on these two points. Especially with the younger crowd, English grammar and spelling is tending to erode pretty badly. I'm not saying this is true of everyone, but even the emails I tend to get from people under 30 point out that English writing skills often aren't very strong. Now, if you're like me (and I know I was! Thanks Don Thompson! :) ) I tended to say that the skill of my writing and playing was what was important and it did not matter how well or badly I wrote English. That's true once you get on the bandstand but if you don't present your ideas clearly or make a lot of careless mistakes when writing it will certainly limit the opportunities you will have to present your music to people.
The written word is still your conduit to grants, gigs, and tours, even if it's only an email. You can't believe the number of spelling, usage, and grammar errors I see everyday from very talented young players. With most of these players, their emails are not my first contact with them. If it was though, and I was in a position to hand them money for a grant or a gig, I might think, "If he/she doesn't care enough to know the difference between its and it's, maybe they won't care enough to make a truly great recording either." If you spell and use English well it also says, "I care about you, the reader of this message and I also have self-respect for what I do". This is important folks! When I finished my B. Mus. recently, I have to admit I got a lot out of the English courses I had to take. Most of you will have to take some courses like that yourself, so pay attention and try to do the best job of it you can. View it as an investment in furthering your career.
So all of you 25 and under, get writing. The deadline is Jan. 30th and the winner gets $200.
Here's my own competition. First person who tells me who else is playing here with Joe Pass on this version of "The Song is You" and "Sonnymoon for Two" gets a free Broadview CD. Swinging!