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Career dilemma :( help everyone (Read 2086 times)

Offline cinnamon21

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Career dilemma :( help everyone
« on: November 30, 2014, 12:52:01 AM »
Hi Everyone,

I'm a recent bachelor of music graduate who just completed 3 years of my undergraduate degree in Melbourne.
So yesterday, I just found out the result of my last recital.
According to it, I'm not qualified to continue to the honors degree (equivalent to 4th year).

The result was, of course, shocking, since my teacher has always said that I was very well-prepared for the exam. I played Beethoven Sonata, op. 22, Schumann Faschingsschwank Aus Wien, and Britten 'Holiday Diary'. No memory lapses, very fluent throughout....and learned in details (my teacher and I work on the smallest details...like one bar for a long time). I've never learned pieces in such crazy details before.

I'm not even going to rant about how unfair the marking system is (though I did the whole day yesterday)...because I know how subjective judgment can be...maybe the examiners just didn't like my playing or my style. Maybe I don't have something they're looking for...spontaneity...originality...individuality...extraverted grimacing or expressions...or confidence (yes this one is a problem for me), stage presence...but who knows.

Right now, I'm doubting myself as a pianist, and what I should do next...

I've always wanted to better myself as a pianist, I know everyone does...and I have always thought that getting into honors program would be perfect, because not only can I immerse myself fully in music for one whole year (chambers, concerto, recitals, duos), it will also give me some kind of reassurance that I'm 'good' enough (basically if you get in, it means you might have a future in performance)...so not getting in is like a death sentence for me. I just hate how the marks of a performance can change my life like this.

I talked to my university teacher, but she couldn't care less. Her answer is the usual...well...you know...we can't do anything about it...(If so why would she say that I'm ready...saying that I'm the most prepared out of all her students...giving me false hopes...). 

After hours of brainstorming, soul-searching, and sleepless night, I have come down to 2 options:

1. Go straight into Masters of Performance Teaching in Melbourne, which I've been accepted into. I can't even do a Masters in Music performance here since you need the honors degree to get in. It's a course that combines both performance and teaching, though the performance aspect is not as rigorous. This also means that I will spend most of my time doing essays, internships, and less practice.

2. Take a gap year. Do Lmusa exam. Take private lessons from teacher. Teach in a music school on the side and get many experiences performing, accompanying. Learn as many pieces as possible. Really solidify my technique...and audition for masters somewhere overseas at the end of next year. The pieces I have learned are something along Chopin Ballade No. 2, Debussy Estampes, Chopin Etude Op. 10 no. 8, 10....Mozart Sonata K. 576 (I know I could work on these and make them even better).

I just turned 20 this year...and to be honest, there are still so much more that I want to achieve in performance...before I do what pianists will do to earn a living (not all, but realistically speaking), teaching.

I'm not saying that teaching is bad. I love the idea of teaching.  But I also want 'more', and if getting into a better graduate program will open up more possibilities for my performing career.

If you were me, what will you do?

Will you just settle down on this masters degree...or go for the unknown? Knowing your limit and see if you are good enough for the top schools in UK and USA?

Or should I give up my dream ?

Just wondering.

Thanks everyone.




Currently working on:

Bach - P&F in C# Major, BWV 872, Book II
Haydn - Sonata No.60 in C Major, Hob. XVI 50
Mendelssohn - Variations Serieuses
Debussy - Reflets dans l'eau
Ravel - Jeux d'eau

Offline j_menz

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Re: Career dilemma :( help everyone
«Reply #1 on: November 30, 2014, 01:00:07 AM »
If you were me, what will you do?

Get tested for senility. You posted the exact same thing yesterday.
"What the world needs is more geniuses with humility. There are so few of us left" -- Oscar Levant

Offline pianoslav

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Re: Career dilemma :( help everyone
«Reply #2 on: November 30, 2014, 01:48:37 AM »
Quote
I just turned 20 this year...and to be honest, there are still so much more that I want to achieve in performance...before I do what pianists will do to earn a living (not all, but realistically speaking), teaching.

There is more you can do than perform and teach piano with a music degree. Have you considered switching to a music composition degree? It might not be too late. You can alternatively get a degree in musicology and work as a researcher writing papers and books. If you really hate the idea of teaching, these are two acceptable options. If not, you can always get a degree in something other than music. The demand for other careers is higher than the demand for classical musicians.

If you do decide to stick with piano performance, you should definitely change teachers (based on what you said in your post) and work even harder, and then go for any graduate program that is willing to take you. There is not guarantee that you will get into the top schools in other countries. Many people with PhD's in piano performance never had a flashy piano performing career, but they have studied the hell out of performance from many angles and make pretty qualified instructors (but then again, you don't want to teach).

Offline Bob

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Re: Career dilemma :( help everyone
«Reply #3 on: November 30, 2014, 02:19:46 AM »
Just glancing a bit at the first post....

I'd do the gap year thing.  You get experience teaching.  That will be very useful for anything in the future -- If you do the master of teaching, you'll have real experiences.  For whatever you do in the future jobwise, you'll have some actual teaching to add to the resume.  Even if you perform, you'd do some teaching anyway.  (If it were possible, I'd do both the performance and teaching degrees.)    Then you'll have a second chance at the exam again it sounds like.  Maybe look into getting a different teacher during that gap year, esp. if they don't seem too concerned you didn't meet a goal like that.  You should know what things you didn't do that the exam judges were looking for.  I'd start questioning a lot of things if you were blindsided, esp. your teacher if that's your only perspective on your playing.  Maybe you can get comments from the actual judges.  And maybe have more people give comments before another exam.  Or even if you do stick with the current teacher, go play for someone else, another teacher, just to get more opinions on your playing.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline cinnamon21

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Re: Career dilemma :( help everyone
«Reply #4 on: November 30, 2014, 02:52:40 AM »
Get tested for senility. You posted the exact same thing yesterday.

Sorry j_menz. I was just very anxious at the moment. I hope you can understand my situation. Of course... in the end I would have to decide for myself but I just want opinions from people who are much more experienced than me in this field.

 
Currently working on:

Bach - P&F in C# Major, BWV 872, Book II
Haydn - Sonata No.60 in C Major, Hob. XVI 50
Mendelssohn - Variations Serieuses
Debussy - Reflets dans l'eau
Ravel - Jeux d'eau

Offline Bob

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Re: Career dilemma :( help everyone
«Reply #5 on: November 30, 2014, 05:29:39 AM »
Contact the judges and find out what they didn't like.  You won't be the first.  They should give you their comments anyway, esp. if they're rejecting you.  Of course, you would ask.

Nobody will blink if you "take a year off" to practice.  Except for that annoying work thing...  Nobody's going to notice in the long run though.  You won't even remember it in a few years.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline pts1

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Re: Career dilemma :( help everyone
«Reply #6 on: December 01, 2014, 12:13:53 AM »
My true advice is to take time off and consider some other line of work which utilizes your aptitudes and with which you can make a living.

Anyone here will tell you a career in music is going really limit your financial security or at least make it quite problematic.
 
Even the best pianists end up teaching or somehow supplementing their performances.

Marketable skills is what its about, I'm afraid, and unless you're extremely talented and play fantastically -- and at 20 you're late -- you won't stand a chance at a performance career.

Then there's the competition -- all those orientals who practice like slaves hoping to be the next Lang Lang.

If I could do it over again, I like to think I would have listened to my own advice and pursued some other path and kept piano as a serious avocation.

I would advise you to be tested for both aptitudes and interests, and with the help of a guidance counselor, take that data and use it to your benefit.

Hopes and dreams are poor planning tools.

Offline cinnamon21

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Re: Career dilemma :( help everyone
«Reply #7 on: December 01, 2014, 01:43:39 PM »
Thanks for the answers everyone.

I don't necessarily want to become a concert pianist or anything...but I want to become a good performer and a good teacher....so I think I'll do the gap year...build my confidence through learning, teaching, and performing...and see if this is the kind life that I want to live with for the rest of my life, before doing masters.

I just want to be a good musician. But now I feel incompetent and insulted with the marks they give me...which makes me doubt my ability...which leads me to think if I should give up or not...

But I realize it's stupid. Maybe I just didn't play that well that day.
I will never give up on piano. It's the very thing that makes me feel alive. I want to be a really good piano teacher....a qualified one who is good at playing herself. My dream is to open a nice music studio/school and continue learning about music...playing my dream pieces.

And I'll try to ignore those people who'll look down on me for pursuing a career in music even after I don't get into honors...even if I'm not as good as Lang Lang or whoever... (so many people are trying to bring me down...my uncles, aunties...who secretly talk about my stupid dreams behind my back...comparing me to their kids who are majoring in something more practical... random people like taxi drivers, airport staffs, waiter....who belittle piano teachers...they laugh and cringe when I tell them I major in music and that I want to be a teacher).
Currently working on:

Bach - P&F in C# Major, BWV 872, Book II
Haydn - Sonata No.60 in C Major, Hob. XVI 50
Mendelssohn - Variations Serieuses
Debussy - Reflets dans l'eau
Ravel - Jeux d'eau