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Can someone who starts playing piano at play at a really high level? (Read 615 times)

Offline rovis77

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Hi, can someone who starts playing piano at 18 acquire a really high virtuoso technique?

Offline Bob

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Re: Can someone who starts playing piano at play at a really high level?
«Reply #1 on: April 07, 2020, 12:05:07 AM »
Probably not.  I think being a composer or conductor is still on the table though.
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline schrohil

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Re: Can someone who starts playing piano at play at a really high level?
«Reply #2 on: April 07, 2020, 02:34:36 PM »
Depends on what "really high level" is to you. Is it being a virtuoso making studio recordings and selling out concert halls around the world? Or, being able to play difficult music for your own pleasure, friends, family, and maybe small recitals? The former, I would say it is not likely. But, if you have a musical background and start "older", you can still play at a high amateur level.

I started older (16), but had a musical background and picked it up quickly. Do I wish I could have started earlier, absolutely. I'm now 32 and I find I can play pretty much whatever I am willing to spend the time on, but not being a professional, finding the time is what will limit you.

Don't let potentially not being a virtuoso stop you from learning, though. I think everyone wishes they could be out concertizing in front of thousands, but its probably not as romantic as it sounds. Check why you want this ability in the first place. Focus on doing it because you love the music and the connection that only playing an instrument can give you. Its a life long rewarding process either way.

Offline ranjit

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Re: Can someone who starts playing piano at play at a really high level?
«Reply #3 on: April 07, 2020, 04:27:14 PM »
schrohil - Could you clarify what you mean by a high amateur level? Would that include pieces such as Liszt Transcendental Etudes and Don Juan, for instance?


Offline schrohil

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Re: Can someone who starts playing piano at play at a really high level?
«Reply #4 on: April 07, 2020, 08:18:56 PM »
I would say it means you could eventually play anything you want to spend the time on and enjoy playing it. In the case of the pieces you mentioned, if you build up to them over time, they will take more time to learn and will probably never have the subtlety, timing, fluidity of a professional. That doesn't mean they wouldn't be completely passable and impressive to pretty much anyone you play for, but a discerning listener or professional would know the difference.

Offline skyclassic

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Re: Can someone who starts playing piano at play at a really high level?
«Reply #5 on: April 18, 2020, 04:05:51 PM »
I guess everything is possible as long as you love the piano, my husband started at the age of 20 and 3 years later he was already playing Peter Bence's arrangement, he was often playing for 7 hours per day, he reached a level far better than mine in 3 years (I was playing for 10 years). So... If you like the piano and are ready to spent hours on your piano don't hesitate !! everything is possible !!!!

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Yes it is possible I have taught a very small handful over the years. You need a combination of talent and discipline which is not common at all. The majority of people who apply themselves and work consistently will be able to play at a decent level after some years and that provides them access to a large amount of wonderful music not necessarily of the highest level.

There is no problem when you are "aiming for the stars" but you need to be also excited about the more immediate goals. Often I have to refocus what excites students to learn the piano, some are so distracted with amazing recordings out there that they don't learn to make realistic goals. They love these difficult works and this has the tendency to diminish the value they find in their own piano studies when they study much easier pieces. So they then try to over stretch and work with pieces too difficult for them, this frustrates them as progress is confusing and slow and thus most give up.
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
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Offline chrismaninoff

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Re: Can someone who starts playing piano at play at a really high level?
«Reply #7 on: April 20, 2020, 01:55:14 PM »
I think that it depends in large part on your musical background, passion, time commitment and personality. 

My first piano teacher was teaching this man who was in his 70s, who started 10 years before that.  He reached an early advanced level, playing movements of sonatas and things like that.   I think he got his grade 8 RCM certificate, if that means anything to you.

Another example is a man I met a few years ago, who had started piano a mere three years before I met him and was also approaching 70.  He was very dedicated and was playing some Chopin Nocturnes. 

Another example is this man: https://www.theguardian.com/books/2013/jan/12/play-it-again-chopin-ballade-no-1-alan-rusbridger
I came across this video a while ago, and from what I remember, this is about a reporter who is an amateur pianist yet learned the 1st Ballade of Chopin. 

One final example: there was a girl I knew in high school who started learning piano in grade 9 or 10, and after graduating she got into Berklee for classical piano performance.  Mind you, she was already a very good flute player and also spent many hours a day practicing.  She skipped school for an entire month while preparing her audition rep. 

All that to say... I really don't know about 'the highest level' of technique, but if you pursue it passionately, you should be able to play most pieces of music.  Just my thoughts. 
Accompanist and private piano teacher, poetry hobbyist, aspiring gourmet porridge chef.

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Offline timothy42b

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Re: Can someone who starts playing piano at play at a really high level?
«Reply #8 on: April 25, 2020, 01:22:45 PM »
According to a book I just read, probably yes:

https://www.amazon.com/Range-Generalists-Triumph-Specialized-World/dp/0735214484

It's an interesting book; I used the library but if I were a teacher I might consider owning.  He disagrees with Gladwell on some points about mastery, and actually went out to dinner with the guy to discuss it. 
Tim

Offline dogperson

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Re: Can someone who starts playing piano at play at a really high level?
«Reply #9 on: April 25, 2020, 02:00:07 PM »
If you want to play Ďat the highest levelí get the best teacher you can find, work hard and see where you get.