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Difference between amateurs/pros?
#1564426 11/26/10 08:39 AM
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I quick google search ended up in nothing so I'll ask something that has been bothering me a bit.

I don't intend to play the piano as a professional, but I'd want to be "as good as possible". There seem to be few good level amateur recordings of some advanced pieces, I think Chopin Etudes were mentioned in another thread. My question is: can amateurs be anywhere close to pros? If not, what's the missing ingredient?
I feel stupid asking this, but hey, that's why I dont use my real name here :p

Re: Difference between amateurs/pros?
mps989 #1564466 11/26/10 10:17 AM
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I would think that the difference can be either a result of genetics or what I call distractions.

Are you willing to forgo a family? To be considered a shut-in because you spend most of your day practicing? To perform infront of large groups of people that are expecting perfection?

Do you realize the commitment it is to be a pro, the price you must pay? I think there's a reason the saying is true that says: "It's lonely at the top".

Most of the truly gifted pianists I know are in-fact shut-ins who dont know how to socialize because they are on a completely different level and have alot of oddities.

Last edited by D4v3; 11/26/10 10:20 AM.

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Re: Difference between amateurs/pros?
mps989 #1564471 11/26/10 10:21 AM
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Wouldn't an amateur who has reached the same level as a pro, be considered a pro him/herself? Isn't the difference between professionals and amateurs that one does it as a pastime hobby and the other as a career?
So in that sense the closest an amateur can come to a pro is the point where he/she becomes one. I reckon the difference in sheer ability might be small in some cases. Hard question to answer.



"I never forget a face, but in your case I'll be glad to make an exception. "
Re: Difference between amateurs/pros?
mps989 #1564474 11/26/10 10:29 AM
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I mentioned it before on a similar thread, but a well-kmown pianist put the difference succintly: an amateur practises in order to reduce the number of mistakes, but a professional practises in order to avoid making mistakes.

I was at a concert last week where the pianist played Liszt's Sonata in B minor as part of her program. It was a totally no-holds-barred performance, no playing for safety at any point (the octaves near the end were taken at breakneck speed), yet she only made 3 miss-hits throughout the entire performance. How long had she practised the work for (- she was playing this work for the first time in public)? Would any part-time pianist have the inclination to work on one work till he/she could get it to this level (assuming that it's within his technical grasp)?


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
Re: Difference between amateurs/pros?
bennevis #1564478 11/26/10 10:31 AM
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I mentioned it before on a similar thread, but a well-kmown pianist put the difference succintly: an amateur practises in order to reduce the number of mistakes, but a professional practises in order to avoid making mistakes.

That sounds good to me.



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Re: Difference between amateurs/pros?
bennevis #1564485 11/26/10 10:40 AM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
I mentioned it before on a similar thread, but a well-kmown pianist put the difference succintly: an amateur practises in order to reduce the number of mistakes, but a professional practises in order to avoid making mistakes.

I wonder if you could elaborate on that. I consider myself professional but never quite made that particular distinction, at least consciously.

Re: Difference between amateurs/pros?
mps989 #1564486 11/26/10 10:41 AM
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A pro follows a path of studying music with highly qualified teachers. It is through eliminating as many technical issues as possible, having unbiased critiques of your skills and musical values, as well as putting in an enormous amount of time and effort that elevates a certain few people with the requisite inherent ability to reach professional level.

It is necessarily out of reach for all but a select few with the right combination of supportive upbringing, financial means, genetic capability and extreme work-ethic. Having said that, the level of enjoyment and satisfaction in one's musical life can operate quite independently of the level you reach. I know professionals who have a torturous relationship with music - to the point where you'd question if they even like music or whether it's just an obsession with perfection which they could have pursued in any field. I know other people who love to just bash away at the piano for an hour each night and they have a ball.

In a musical sense, pros tend to be more attuned to the finer skills within a piece. They are not only technically more skilled, they are able to manipulate sound in very subtle and precise ways.

I have an particular interest in this question because I am a professional guitarist. I studied at great conservatories around the world and with great teachers. I can relate to what it takes to be a pro on guitar. On piano though, I am just an enthusiastic amateur. I am aware that I won't be able to reach the same level of proficiency on piano. There just aren't enough hours in the day and there are too many other things which occupy my time. I honestly couldn't go through it all again anyway. It is a very tough life, believe me. It emotionally challenging and you experience a lot of self doubt. Perfection is very hard to achieve, yet that is what you are aiming for as a pro.

Re: Difference between amateurs/pros?
bennevis #1564495 11/26/10 11:03 AM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
I mentioned it before on a similar thread, but a well-kmown pianist put the difference succintly: an amateur practises in order to reduce the number of mistakes, but a professional practises in order to avoid making mistakes.

I was at a concert last week where the pianist played Liszt's Sonata in B minor as part of her program. It was a totally no-holds-barred performance, no playing for safety at any point (the octaves near the end were taken at breakneck speed), yet she only made 3 miss-hits throughout the entire performance. How long had she practised the work for (- she was playing this work for the first time in public)? Would any part-time pianist have the inclination to work on one work till he/she could get it to this level (assuming that it's within his technical grasp)?


I like your distinction as well. Another good way to think of it, A professional gets a paycheck.

Re: Difference between amateurs/pros?
Dave Horne #1564513 11/26/10 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Dave Horne
I mentioned it before on a similar thread, but a well-kmown pianist put the difference succintly: an amateur practises in order to reduce the number of mistakes, but a professional practises in order to avoid making mistakes.

That sounds good to me.



don't agree, professional practices (not "practises" Dave) to be able to cover up mistakes which are inevitable anyway.

Re: Difference between amateurs/pros?
bennevis #1564516 11/26/10 11:45 AM
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Originally Posted by bennevis
I mentioned it before on a similar thread, but a well-kmown pianist put the difference succintly: an amateur practises in order to reduce the number of mistakes, but a professional practises in order to avoid making mistakes.

I was at a concert last week where the pianist played Liszt's Sonata in B minor as part of her program. It was a totally no-holds-barred performance, no playing for safety at any point (the octaves near the end were taken at breakneck speed), yet she only made 3 miss-hits throughout the entire performance. How long had she practised the work for (- she was playing this work for the first time in public)? Would any part-time pianist have the inclination to work on one work till he/she could get it to this level (assuming that it's within his technical grasp)?
So the woman in your second paragraph wasn't a professional because she did make mistakes?

I've heard plenty of professional pianists makes mistakes. Both Rubinsteins made a lot of mistakes. Cortot wasn't a professional?

I think it goes without saying most amateurs would make more mistakes on a given technically difficult piece than a good professional since most pros have better technique. I think the distinction between practicing to reduce the number of mistakes vs. to avoid mistakes highly artificial...the aim for both is no mistakes.

Re: Difference between amateurs/pros?
pianoloverus #1564522 11/26/10 11:49 AM
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everybody makes mistakes, make no mistake about it laugh
the art and professionalism is to use your mistakes to your advantage.

Re: Difference between amateurs/pros?
mps989 #1564524 11/26/10 11:51 AM
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How good you are has nothing to do with if you're a professional or amateur. I've heard some "amateurs" that play tons better than some "professionals" I"ve come across. It's just about who does what for a living.



"The eyes can mislead, the smile can lie, but the shoes always tell the truth."
Re: Difference between amateurs/pros?
mps989 #1564540 11/26/10 12:18 PM
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I agree absolutely with the last post...some amateurs are incredible...but do not make a living with it.


Musica 71
Re: Difference between amateurs/pros?
mps989 #1564554 11/26/10 12:32 PM
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To me, it's pretty much like sports.
The practical difference boils down to:

- a pro practices several hours a day, it's (part of) his job
- an amateur (at least in my case) practices a few hours per week, mainly because he has a job

But a pro may have succeeded because of several reasons: his natural abilities (if that exists), his amount of work and dedication, his relationships/contacts in the music industry, chance, etc etc

Re: Difference between amateurs/pros?
motif #1564582 11/26/10 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by motif
Originally Posted by Dave Horne
I mentioned it before on a similar thread, but a well-kmown pianist put the difference succintly: an amateur practises in order to reduce the number of mistakes, but a professional practises in order to avoid making mistakes.

That sounds good to me.



don't agree, professional practices (not "practises" Dave) to be able to cover up mistakes which are inevitable anyway.


motif, if you're going to correct someone, do it accurately.

Firstly, I didn't write everything in that quote, only what was not italicized. Secondly, practises is perfectly fine for British spelling.

It really does seem that those who make the most noise have the quietest profiles. Why is that, you think? laugh

(motif, remember, I'm not laughing with you, I'm laughing at you. smile )


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Re: Difference between amateurs/pros?
Dave Horne #1564588 11/26/10 01:51 PM
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Practice/practise follows the same rule as advice/advise in British English. "It is important to develop good practice habits when you practise."

End of OT grammar lesson. wink

Re: Difference between amateurs/pros?
mps989 #1564592 11/26/10 01:56 PM
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Several thoughts:
1) an amateur practices until he/she gets it right; a professional practices until there's not a chance of getting it wrong (of course, they're also human wink
2) on any given day, an amateur could play as well as a professional and a professional could have an awful day and play horribly (thoug that shouldn't happen often)
3) in addition to technique, a professional has 'control' of the sound; he/she has a good idea of what sound he wants, has learned to listen to the sound coming out of the instrument and adjust accordingly
4) any given musical passage when an amateur wants it to sound a certain way, it will sound that way more or less half of the time; a professional will make it sound THAT way literraly 100% of the time - in other words, a professional will be more consistent

Like I said, my thoughts....


Jose
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Re: Difference between amateurs/pros?
JGonzalezGUS #1564595 11/26/10 02:05 PM
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Originally Posted by JGonzalezGUS
Several thoughts:
1) an amateur practices until he/she gets it right; a professional practices until there's not a chance of getting it wrong (of course, they're also human wink
2) on any given day, an amateur could play as well as a professional and a professional could have an awful day and play horribly (thoug that shouldn't happen often)
3) in addition to technique, a professional has 'control' of the sound; he/she has a good idea of what sound he wants, has learned to listen to the sound coming out of the instrument and adjust accordingly
4) any given musical passage when an amateur wants it to sound a certain way, it will sound that way more or less half of the time; a professional will make it sound THAT way literraly 100% of the time - in other words, a professional will be more consistent

Like I said, my thoughts....


+1

Re: Difference between amateurs/pros?
mps989 #1564639 11/26/10 03:16 PM
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A friend of mine and her teacher were actually discussing this the other day. The teacher was saying that although my friend is very talented, he subtly hinted it's time for her to "make the bridge" and start playing with more professionalism quote: "You don't want them to just think oh, that's a very talented young pianist; you want them to think: that person is a professional". One thing they also discussed is how professional musicians generally play broader and bolder with interpretation. They also discussed the fact that professionals don't usually make little mistakes like fingerslips, etc... because they practice their piece until it's impossible to make a mistake that way. When professionals do make a mistake (memory slip or something) they can usually patch it up and improvise around it so it looks/sounds to the ordinary ear like it never happened. Just my input...
--Milana

Re: Difference between amateurs/pros?
Dave Horne #1564655 11/26/10 03:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Horne

It really does seem that those who make the most noise have the quietest profiles. Why is that, you think? laugh


FYI, your profile is even more empty then mine, but you'll never understand this.


p.s.
you're not British , remember? or not...

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