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#2144617 - 09/05/13 12:08 PM Is it possible?  
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Hi everyone! I wonder what you guys think; is it possible for someone who quit playing the piano at age 15-16 to become a professional pianist at the age of 23 or so if he starts again at the age of 19? In other words, he has had a break for three years... When he was 16 he was one of the best pianists in his country for his age so he has the talent and ability... But what I wonder is, do you stop developing when you reach a certain age or is it possible to make up for lost time by training more or just to develop your skills at a more advanced age? What do you guys think, if he practices for lets say 6 hours a day from now, will it still be possible for him to become a professional pianist by the age of 22-23 or is it too late?

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#2144630 - 09/05/13 12:31 PM Re: Is it possible? [Re: Jorleyy]  
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It is certainly possible. I can think of two examples. One is Arcadi Volodos, though to a lesser degree, because he "restarted" (read: "took it seriously") around 15-16. The second was a past Van Cliburn winner. I can't think of his name off the top of my head -- might be Jon Nakamatsu (1997)? Anyway, I'm pretty sure it was an American. But he stopped playing, and then restarted in his 20s, told his teacher he wanted to win the Cliburn, and then did it.

I am, of course, recalling a story I read over a decade ago, so anyone with more details should feel free to chime in/correct me. smile


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
#2144635 - 09/05/13 12:37 PM Re: Is it possible? [Re: Jorleyy]  
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Define "professional pianist".


Gary
Essex EUP-111 at the mountains
W. Hoffmann T-122 at the beach
#2144639 - 09/05/13 12:42 PM Re: Is it possible? [Re: Jorleyy]  
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Originally Posted by Jorleyy
Hi everyone! I wonder what you guys think; is it possible for someone who quit playing the piano at age 15-16 to become a professional pianist at the age of 23 or so if he starts again at the age of 19? In other words, he has had a break for three years... When he was 16 he was one of the best pianists in his country for his age so he has the talent and ability... But what I wonder is, do you stop developing when you reach a certain age or is it possible to make up for lost time by training more or just to develop your skills at a more advanced age? What do you guys think, if he practices for lets say 6 hours a day from now, will it still be possible for him to become a professional pianist by the age of 22-23 or is it too late?


I am guessing that, given the requisite amount of determination and dedication, he could develop his gifts to a professional level. He would need to build sufficient repertoire and gain performance experience. Developing a career is another matter. Often, opportunities for exposure are weighted in favor of the very young, though 23 is still pretty young. So, if he's determined, it's probably worth a try.


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#2144662 - 09/05/13 01:46 PM Re: Is it possible? [Re: Jorleyy]  
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It depends on the person. However, coming from someone who's in the same boat and has been seeing results (I performed my first professional engagement with orchestra this summer!!!!) all I can say is you will never forgive yourself if you don't at least try.

Another bit of advice I can give is to say yes to EVERYTHING.


"I was obliged to be industrious. Whoever is equally industrious will succeed equally well."

J.S. Bach
#2144687 - 09/05/13 02:45 PM Re: Is it possible? [Re: Jorleyy]  
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what do you mean say "yes" to everything? smile

#2144692 - 09/05/13 02:53 PM Re: Is it possible? [Re: Jorleyy]  
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Hah! Basically, you should be jumping at any opportunity to perform. Paid or not. You never know who is listening. It could be someone who can make things happen for you. Even if it means accompanying someone. A lot of times accompanying makes you have to learn music very quickly, which is a very valuable skill to have as a pianist.


"I was obliged to be industrious. Whoever is equally industrious will succeed equally well."

J.S. Bach
#2144696 - 09/05/13 03:04 PM Re: Is it possible? [Re: Jorleyy]  
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Anything is possible all depending on determination.

rada

#2144707 - 09/05/13 03:39 PM Re: Is it possible? [Re: Jorleyy]  
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Would you say it's possible in a sport as well? Say, soccer? If one quits at 15-16 and decides to start again at 19 and turn professional at 22 or so if one has the determination and was good at age 15-16?

#2144739 - 09/05/13 04:34 PM Re: Is it possible? [Re: Jorleyy]  
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Originally Posted by Jorleyy
Would you say it's possible in a sport as well? Say, soccer? If one quits at 15-16 and decides to start again at 19 and turn professional at 22 or so if one has the determination and was good at age 15-16?


Sport is one great example of of the importance of nature (i.e. genetics) rather than nurture.

There are several examples of sportspeople who took up a particular sport late (as in late teens or early twenties) and became Olympic medallists within a few years. Some of them had performed at very high level (or won medals) in completely different sports beforehand, e.g. boxing and football, fencing and water polo, sailing and ski jumping.....


"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."
#2144761 - 09/05/13 05:26 PM Re: Is it possible? [Re: Jorleyy]  
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I remember reading years ago that the violinist Fritz Kreisler left music for quite a few years to study medicine. He later returned and continued his life as a virtuoso violinist of the highest order. I think if you reached a very high standard before your hiatus, you'd probably fare ok - the brain development is there, the technique has been planted. If you were not highly technically developed before stopping, it would be significantly harder.

#2144768 - 09/05/13 05:34 PM Re: Is it possible? [Re: Jorleyy]  
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The hardest piece that the person had played when he stopped playing was the 1st Ballade by Chopin I think smile

Brain development is there? You mean that the brain still develops at 19? smile

Last edited by Jorleyy; 09/05/13 05:40 PM.
#2144801 - 09/05/13 06:25 PM Re: Is it possible? [Re: rada]  
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Originally Posted by rada
Anything is possible all depending on determination.

rada


The very large number of pianists who are incredibly determined to play a concerto with a major symphony orchestra would disagree.

Determined to learn a major concerto from age 19-23. Yes, that's possible.

Determined to have a career? Perhaps, but it'll take a lot of luck, major changes in the classical music market, and a lot of business savvy.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#2144813 - 09/05/13 06:37 PM Re: Is it possible? [Re: Jorleyy]  
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Albert Franz only started playing piano when he was 17. Four years later he was winning major competitions:

http://www.dailydreama.com/2012/12/02/world-class-pianist-albert-frantz-started-at-the-age-of-17/

So a 19 year old who was "one of the best pianists in his country" at 16 cannot be ruled out, assuming he has that burning desire to succeed and the relentless work ethic that is required. Plus, a world-class teacher to guide him.


Working on RCM Grade 8
#2145039 - 09/06/13 01:13 AM Re: Is it possible? [Re: Jorleyy]  
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Originally Posted by Jorleyy
Brain development is there? You mean that the brain still develops at 19? smile


The Prefrontal Cortex


"[The trick to life isn't] just about living forever. The trick is still living with yourself forever."
#2145042 - 09/06/13 01:16 AM Re: Is it possible? [Re: Jorleyy]  
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Of course, some people's brains stop developing much sooner... grin


Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.
#2145060 - 09/06/13 02:33 AM Re: Is it possible? [Re: Bobpickle]  
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Originally Posted by Bobpickle
Originally Posted by Jorleyy
Brain development is there? You mean that the brain still develops at 19? smile


The Prefrontal Cortex

I found nothing on when the brain stops to develop...

#2145119 - 09/06/13 07:08 AM Re: Is it possible? [Re: peekay]  
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Originally Posted by peekay
Albert Franz only started playing piano when he was 17. Four years later he was winning major competitions:

http://www.dailydreama.com/2012/12/02/world-class-pianist-albert-frantz-started-at-the-age-of-17/

So a 19 year old who was "one of the best pianists in his country" at 16 cannot be ruled out, assuming he has that burning desire to succeed and the relentless work ethic that is required. Plus, a world-class teacher to guide him.


It's a misrepresentation to say he "only started playing piano when he was 17". In fact, he says he was playing by ear in pre-school. And he had some experience with lessons with several teachers by the time he was 17. What happened at 17 is that through yet another teacher, he discovered that he liked Gershwin, and found he was able to learn, mostly by ear, Rhapsody in Blue.

But the fact of the matter is that he actually had some kind of experience with the piano even as a toddler, and, regardless of how he felt about them, the truth is that he also had some piano lessons before he was 17.

By the way, which major piano competitions did he win? A quick google didn't turn up anything major.






#2145129 - 09/06/13 07:29 AM Re: Is it possible? [Re: Jorleyy]  
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Actually, he says he really did start at the age of 17. When he was a kid, his mother took him to a few piano lessons, but he never learned how to play back then, because the teacher told him he would never be able to play. Then, at 17, he discovered classical music and started playing, and after a year, he could play Rhapsody in Blue.

#2145130 - 09/06/13 07:29 AM Re: Is it possible? [Re: wr]  
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I'd certainly love to know of any pianist who developed a true virtuoso technique without having touched a keyboard - any keyboard - before the age of 16. After all, synapses make their connections between neurons rapidly during the formative years - especially in early childhood. And neurons start dying off from early adulthood onwards......


"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."
#2145133 - 09/06/13 07:31 AM Re: Is it possible? [Re: Jorleyy]  
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they start dying off from the age of 25 or so. Albert Frantz is the proof of a pianist who developed virtuoso technique late.

#2145139 - 09/06/13 07:41 AM Re: Is it possible? [Re: Jorleyy]  
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#2145143 - 09/06/13 07:55 AM Re: Is it possible? [Re: Jorleyy]  
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Originally Posted by Jorleyy
Actually, he says he really did start at the age of 17. When he was a kid, his mother took him to a few piano lessons, but he never learned how to play back then, because the teacher told him he would never be able to play. Then, at 17, he discovered classical music and started playing, and after a year, he could play Rhapsody in Blue.


Um, yeah, right...


#2145145 - 09/06/13 07:58 AM Re: Is it possible? [Re: Jorleyy]  
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You don't believe it or you know it isn't true? If so, show me a link that says he could play the piano before the age of 17. The link I showed you above says he started at 17; he says it himself.

#2145151 - 09/06/13 08:17 AM Re: Is it possible? [Re: Jorleyy]  
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#2145154 - 09/06/13 08:24 AM Re: Is it possible? [Re: Jorleyy]  
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Originally Posted by Jorleyy
You don't believe it or you know it isn't true? If so, show me a link that says he could play the piano before the age of 17. The link I showed you above says he started at 17; he says it himself.


The world of pianists (not just classical) is divided into those who claim that they climbed up onto the piano stool at the age of one, and played 'Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star' (or even Mozart's variations on it wink ) at the age of one - by ear, with no help - and those who claim that they'd never even seen a keyboard before they became virtuosi at 20, just a few months after touching one for the first time.

You pays yer money......


"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."
#2145157 - 09/06/13 08:25 AM Re: Is it possible? [Re: Jorleyy]  
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So you believe his statements are false?

#2145160 - 09/06/13 08:31 AM Re: Is it possible? [Re: wr]  
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Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by peekay
Albert Franz only started playing piano when he was 17. Four years later he was winning major competitions:

http://www.dailydreama.com/2012/12/02/world-class-pianist-albert-frantz-started-at-the-age-of-17/

So a 19 year old who was "one of the best pianists in his country" at 16 cannot be ruled out, assuming he has that burning desire to succeed and the relentless work ethic that is required. Plus, a world-class teacher to guide him.


It's a misrepresentation to say he "only started playing piano when he was 17". In fact, he says he was playing by ear in pre-school. And he had some experience with lessons with several teachers by the time he was 17. What happened at 17 is that through yet another teacher, he discovered that he liked Gershwin, and found he was able to learn, mostly by ear, Rhapsody in Blue.

But the fact of the matter is that he actually had some kind of experience with the piano even as a toddler, and, regardless of how he felt about them, the truth is that he also had some piano lessons before he was 17.

By the way, which major piano competitions did he win? A quick google didn't turn up anything major.






What you are saying is true. But at what level could he play the piano? Almost no level from what I've heard. He could learn easy pieces by ear, that's about it. He couldn't even read notes.

#2145260 - 09/06/13 11:44 AM Re: Is it possible? [Re: bennevis]  
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Originally Posted by bennevis
I'd certainly love to know of any pianist who developed a true virtuoso technique without having touched a keyboard - any keyboard - before the age of 16. After all, synapses make their connections between neurons rapidly during the formative years - especially in early childhood. And neurons start dying off from early adulthood onwards......


I know of a pianist who started when he was 17 and went on to earn a doctorate in piano at USC and enjoy a career teaching in a college.


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#2145330 - 09/06/13 02:00 PM Re: Is it possible? [Re: bennevis]  
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Originally Posted by bennevis

After all, synapses make their connections between neurons rapidly during the formative years - especially in early childhood. And neurons start dying off from early adulthood onwards......


That's no longer thought to be true, ben. The last 30 years of research show that the brain continues to grown and change throughout life:

1- Neuroplasticity is the quality neurons have of disconnecting old synapses an reconnecting new ones. And the quality continues all the way through to old age provided overall health stays good. Moderate alcohol consumption actually helps encourage this quality of the neurons. Researchers suspect that neuroplasticity is essential to learning.

2- Very recent research shows that stem cells produced by the hypocampus in the mid-brain form new neurons during the entire life cycle.

3- The beneficial effects of various lifestyle habits on brain health has long been recognized. Activities such as regular exercise, a good diet, proper stress management, and continual mental stimulation of a challenging nature maintain the brain's acuity well into old age.

The old saw that it's too late to learn anything if you've over 13 is just that.


Laguna Greg

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