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My future in music (Read 1010 times)

Offline iamazombie911

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My future in music
« on: November 29, 2015, 06:43:49 AM »
My current plan is to try and aim for some music school, because I really want to make a career in classical music. However, I have a lot of unanswered doubts about this course of action. I will just list out some of my questions:
1. To be able to make a living as a concert pianist/successful piano teacher, do I even need to get into a well-known/prestigious school?
2. Do you guys think I am even eligible for a place like Juilliard or Eastman? I've posted a few times recently in the audition room, which might give you a sense of my level.
3. I will be submitting audition pieces around an year from now. When should I be starting these pieces?
4. If I am not accepted into any schools I really want to go to, do I just give up on music...?

I am starting to freak out, these worries just keep getting larger and larger. :-\
I didn't know where to post this, sorry if it's in the wrong spot!

Offline mjames

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Re: My future in music
«Reply #1 on: November 29, 2015, 11:31:48 AM »
From what i gathered, successful (as in well known) concert pianists usually gain recognition from taking part in competitions. The ones that don't gain recognition from competitions usually debutted from a very very early age...

I think it helps to get into either a prestigious or look for very well-known teachers in non-prestigious schools.  For example Dang Thai Song teaches ( as a guest professor) in some school in Canada. Not saying it's not a good school but I remember that it wasn't "musically focused" like say Curtis, Leipzig, or Julliard. And if you're coming into the whole "i want to be a successful concert pianist" at a late stage then going for competitions is one the most common routes.

I saw your Kapustin video and thought it was nice. I think you might be able to do it if you put your mind to it.

Good luck!

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: My future in music
«Reply #2 on: November 29, 2015, 12:38:58 PM »
If you want a career with piano there is no one single path that will give you success. The sad reality is that it doesn't matter how well you play, you can be the best in the world and still be relatively unknown. That is the arts for you, its not something for everyone but if you really honestly can't do anything else then your stubborn resolve will get you quite far.
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
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Offline indianajo

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Re: My future in music
«Reply #3 on: November 29, 2015, 01:42:56 PM »
Playing classical piano is a great hobby.  Get that, most practicioners don't get paid.  If you haven't already played a concerto with a symphony orchestra in a huge city by age 11, it is too late to be a star.  That is how a current star that plays a lot of repretoire on the radio that I could play, got started. 
If you want to get paid 1. be beautiful  2. write some stuff 3. sing the stuff you write with great sex appeal 4. promote yourself through contests and media shows.  That is how people like Adele and Josh Grobin make it.  Josh is skating by not even writing much stuff, but he certainly looks more like a star than I do. 
People may still pay  for a person playing piano and also singing, but the last person I know of that got rich doing that was Elton John.  Diane Krall plays and sings and is beautiful, but she is a second or third tier star; she is not making wads of cash at this.  Do you get the feeling maybe that playing piano and singing is a bit out of fashion?  Elton John had a wild writing talent, is the only reason he made it IMHO.  And he had a talented poet writing his lyrics, Bernie Taupin. 
And the two schools you mentioned are IMHO, useless for a concert career as a pianist.  If you play a string or wind instrument, there are still a couple of dozen city orchestras that will hire you, and pay you enough to pay the rent until you establish a successful teaching business.  There are very few gigs for full time pianists with symphony orchestras.  They do keep a stringer paying part time wages to play celeste in the Nutcracker ritual in the winter, and the occasional other fill part.  They won't let this person play on the front of the stage no matter how competent. 
A teaching career, you can establish that with a degree from any school, plus enough contacts in an obscure place that makes you well known.  A church director gig, an asssociation with people in a Parent's Teacher Association of a school, the fortitude to take the pitiful wages to teach on import plastic toys at a "music" store, that is what it takes to pay the rent as a teacher.  You won't get rich, and you might have to be supported by your more commercial spouse, as most teachers do. 
As this point try to figure out how to pay the rent doing something that is less fun than playing the piano.  That is what I did.  I was successful enough I was able to stop working for pay age 58, and now I practice as much as I want.  I'm beginning to get out and play in public, and find an audience.  I don't have to drink and smoke to do it, although playing in bars and lounges would be  much more lucrative. 
Best of luck with your schooling, career,  and hobbies. 

Offline dcstudio

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Re: My future in music
«Reply #4 on: November 29, 2015, 04:31:13 PM »
If you want a career with piano there is no one single path that will give you success. The sad reality is that it doesn't matter how well you play, you can be the best in the world and still be relatively unknown. That is the arts for you, its not something for everyone but if you really honestly can't do anything else then your stubborn resolve will get you quite far.

spoken like a true professional... :)   stubborn resolve is about 50% of it... the other 50% is showing up for the gig...  talent really doesn't even come into play most of the time.. 

to the OP...

well those are the questions all of us asked ourselves in the beginning...  I dropped out of music school and went and became a casino dealer...I didn't even play for about 3 years.  I went out one day and bought a little acoustic piano and started playing for fun.   One month later my husband and I both lost our jobs at the casino...  the next day we found out we had won 5K -- in brand new music equipment--the following day a full time gig materialized out of thin air...  in 48 hours I went from dealing craps to playing professionally as a jazz pianist...  which is not concert pianist but is still a pretty scary thought for most of you I would imagine...  three hours of just you and a piano...requests...lead sheets or chord charts if you have any music at all...  people walking up to you and wanting to carry on a conversation while you play...and you have to be nice...lol  :)  it's terrifying let me tell you...but I had to adapt or go work at mcdonalds... so I adapted.

so what am I trying to say?   I have no idea what your future in music will be and neither do you..  so there is no sense freaking out about it.

Offline iamazombie911

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Re: My future in music
«Reply #5 on: November 29, 2015, 07:28:20 PM »
Thank you guys for the responses.