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Advice for a Late-Starter?
#2849189 05/17/19 10:22 AM
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Hey! I started learning to play piano at 13 with previous training in music (reading, sight reading, other instruments, etc.). Currently, I’m estimated at a 2.5 out of the 6 levels at ECMS with a little less than 2 years left to go before college auditions. I’m most definitely going to pursue piano, but I was wondering if anyone more experienced has tips for how to make the most progress possible in the time I have left?


The key to doing what terrifies you is to just not think about it until you're too far in to back out.
Re: Advice for a Late-Starter?
musicianinprogress #2849200 05/17/19 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by musicianinprogress
Hey! I started learning to play piano at 13 with previous training in music (reading, sight reading, other instruments, etc.). Currently, I’m estimated at a 2.5 out of the 6 levels at ECMS with a little less than 2 years left to go before college auditions. I’m most definitely going to pursue piano, but I was wondering if anyone more experienced has tips for how to make the most progress possible in the time I have left?


Two scenarios :

1. If you are super talented, you will be able to make it.
2. If you are just a normal person, you can forget about it.

Re: Advice for a Late-Starter?
RonaldSteinway #2849232 05/17/19 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by RonaldSteinway
Originally Posted by musicianinprogress
Hey! I started learning to play piano at 13 with previous training in music (reading, sight reading, other instruments, etc.). Currently, I’m estimated at a 2.5 out of the 6 levels at ECMS with a little less than 2 years left to go before college auditions. I’m most definitely going to pursue piano, but I was wondering if anyone more experienced has tips for how to make the most progress possible in the time I have left?


Two scenarios :

1. If you are super talented, you will be able to make it.
2. If you are just a normal person, you can forget about it.


Remember Thomas Alva Edisons words:

"genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration"

Hard work will get you where you want in life. Always. Not some mysterious "genious" property floating around.


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Composers: Bach, Chopin, Liszt, Rachmaninoff, Mendelssohn.

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Re: Advice for a Late-Starter?
musicianinprogress #2849239 05/17/19 12:19 PM
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Get a teacher, map out a plan and repertoire and work like the devil

Re: Advice for a Late-Starter?
musicianinprogress #2849247 05/17/19 12:29 PM
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Originally Posted by musicianinprogress
Hey! I started learning to play piano at 13 with previous training in music (reading, sight reading, other instruments, etc.). Currently, I’m estimated at a 2.5 out of the 6 levels at ECMS with a little less than 2 years left to go before college auditions. I’m most definitely going to pursue piano, but I was wondering if anyone more experienced has tips for how to make the most progress possible in the time I have left?


I am not sure what the ECMS system involves, how rapidly and efficiently one can advance through it, nor if you have to reach that level before college auditions. Is that a minimum requirement for those auditions? If it is, then it seems that you may have a struggle ahead of you.

The most practical suggestion I can come up with is to start working towards reasonable goals, one step at a time, and see where you arrive and when. "Making the most progress in the time [you] have left" depends too much on your own resources, attitude, determination, and practice regimen that other than making the general admonition to "work hard," there isn't a formula that would guarantee success.

Regards,


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Re: Advice for a Late-Starter?
musicianinprogress #2849288 05/17/19 01:49 PM
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In some sense, I think it doesn't matter whether you are auditioning for college or not. The question is: how do I make the most amount of progress possible in 2 years?

The answer is: practice as much as you can in those 2 years, and practice well.

Figure out what you're good at right now, and try to get even better at it. Work on your weaknesses if and when they get in the way of that. Sight-read and learn as much repertoire as you possibly can. Every piece you learn will make it easier to learn new ones.

Have an idea in the back of your mind about what is the minimum level of achievement you need to attain, and how far you are from it. Spend most of your time focusing on the present, though.

You can make a lot of progress in 2 years, if you are focused.

Re: Advice for a Late-Starter?
Pianoguy_SWE #2849295 05/17/19 02:08 PM
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Originally Posted by Pianoguy_SWE
Remember
Originally Posted by RonaldSteinway
Originally Posted by musicianinprogress
Hey! I started learning to play piano at 13 with previous training in music (reading, sight reading, other instruments, etc.). Currently, I’m estimated at a 2.5 out of the 6 levels at ECMS with a little less than 2 years left to go before college auditions. I’m most definitely going to pursue piano, but I was wondering if anyone more experienced has tips for how to make the most progress possible in the time I have left?


Two scenarios :

1. If you are super talented, you will be able to make it.
2. If you are just a normal person, you can forget about it.


Remember Thomas Alva Edisons words:

"genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration"

Hard work will get you where you want in life. Always. Not some mysterious "genious" property floating around.


Tennis will contribute many medals in the Olympic game. Don't you think the Chinese government wants to get those medals? The Chinese government has the money to train any Chinese person, and Chinese has a great work ethic and persistence to do things. Why we still do not see Chinese grabbing medals in the Tennis arena. The answer is that there is a limiting factor which is the talent. Chinese are just not not good in playing tennis. The same with Basket ball, considering how much money those players make, don't you think many people want to be like those basket ball players. Genetic plays a big role. Look at people from the Czech Republic, there are so many good ones or Croatian or Serbian. Piano is the same. I wish what you said is real, unfortunately, it is not.

Re: Advice for a Late-Starter?
RonaldSteinway #2849305 05/17/19 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by RonaldSteinway
Tennis will contribute many medals in the Olympic game. Don't you think the Chinese government wants to get those medals? The Chinese government has the money to train any Chinese person, and Chinese has a great work ethic and persistence to do things. Why we still do not see Chinese grabbing medals in the Tennis arena. The answer is that there is a limiting factor which is the talent. Chinese are just not not good in playing tennis. The same with Basket ball, considering how much money those players make, don't you think many people want to be like those basket ball players. Genetic plays a big role. Look at people from the Czech Republic, there are so many good ones or Croatian or Serbian. Piano is the same. I wish what you said is real, unfortunately, it is not.

Your theory does not explain why so many of the world's top chess players are from Eastern Europe and China. At the highest levels of almost any competitive activity, training and discipline plays an enormous role, and not only any innate qualities.


[Linked Image]
across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Advice for a Late-Starter?
RonaldSteinway #2849337 05/17/19 04:30 PM
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Originally Posted by MichaelJK
In some sense, I think it doesn't matter whether you are auditioning for college or not. The question is: how do I make the most amount of progress possible in 2 years?

The answer is: practice as much as you can in those 2 years, and practice well.

Figure out what you're good at right now, and try to get even better at it. Work on your weaknesses if and when they get in the way of that. Sight-read and learn as much repertoire as you possibly can. Every piece you learn will make it easier to learn new ones.

Have an idea in the back of your mind about what is the minimum level of achievement you need to attain, and how far you are from it. Spend most of your time focusing on the present, though.

You can make a lot of progress in 2 years, if you are focused.


Thank you Michael! I think this is the best advice I’ve received thus far. I do appreciate everyone’s responses though, and I understand that it can be difficult to give advice for a situation that you don’t know a lot about. I’m mostly just looking for personal insight from people that I can try and see if it works for me as well.

Originally Posted by RonaldSteinway
Originally Posted by musicianinprogress
Hey! I started learning to play piano at 13 with previous training in music (reading, sight reading, other instruments, etc.). Currently, I’m estimated at a 2.5 out of the 6 levels at ECMS with a little less than 2 years left to go before college auditions. I’m most definitely going to pursue piano, but I was wondering if anyone more experienced has tips for how to make the most progress possible in the time I have left?


Two scenarios :

1. If you are super talented, you will be able to make it.
2. If you are just a normal person, you can forget about it.


Ronald Steinway: I would definitely not consider myself “super talented” although it’s a subjective term. However, I think you missed the point of my question. I’m not asking if I can “make it” because I’m already determined to get there no matter how long it takes and how many setbacks I come across. Rather, I’m asking for advice on how to get there in with the most efficiency. Your view point is interesting though and one that I’ve come across a lot. I guess I’m just gonna have to prove you wrong smile


The key to doing what terrifies you is to just not think about it until you're too far in to back out.
Re: Advice for a Late-Starter?
Tyrone Slothrop #2849368 05/17/19 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
Originally Posted by RonaldSteinway
Tennis will contribute many medals in the Olympic game. Don't you think the Chinese government wants to get those medals? The Chinese government has the money to train any Chinese person, and Chinese has a great work ethic and persistence to do things. Why we still do not see Chinese grabbing medals in the Tennis arena. The answer is that there is a limiting factor which is the talent. Chinese are just not not good in playing tennis. The same with Basket ball, considering how much money those players make, don't you think many people want to be like those basket ball players. Genetic plays a big role. Look at people from the Czech Republic, there are so many good ones or Croatian or Serbian. Piano is the same. I wish what you said is real, unfortunately, it is not.

Your theory does not explain why so many of the world's top chess players are from Eastern Europe and China. At the highest levels of almost any competitive activity, training and discipline plays an enormous role, and not only any innate qualities.


At the highest levels, innate ability is the MAIN factor, because all of the competitors at the high level are hard working people and very very assertive. Therefore, the hard working factor can be eliminated from the equation. The only difference is their talent.

When we talk mediocre level, yes...I agree that Hard Work plays an important role.

Re: Advice for a Late-Starter?
musicianinprogress #2849372 05/17/19 06:20 PM
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Originally Posted by musicianinprogress


Ronald Steinway: I would definitely not consider myself “super talented” although it’s a subjective term. However, I think you missed the point of my question. I’m not asking if I can “make it” because I’m already determined to get there no matter how long it takes and how many setbacks I come across. Rather, I’m asking for advice on how to get there in with the most efficiency. Your view point is interesting though and one that I’ve come across a lot. I guess I’m just gonna have to prove you wrong smile


Why do you want to choose a path that you are not well prepared to compete in life? If it is a hobby, it is OK, you have all the time in your hand to pursue what you like to do. I assume you are going to get into either teaching piano or playing the piano. Playing the piano is not like learning, say, accounting. Within a year, you can catch up where you behind. Playing piano takes a lot of years to be good.

There are so many people who were so well prepared. They went to Juilliard etc, and still end up just becoming a piano teacher in a small neighborhood school. Isn't better you spend your energy to learn something so you can get a decent job, and learn piano on the side as a hobby. Look at all those adult amateur piano people. They make good money and have a comfortable life, and they still can play piano competitively. I prefer that life!!! By the way, my Saxophone teacher graduated from Northwestern with Master Degree in Sax performance. He is a great musician, yet he needs to work multiple jobs such as driving Uber, Lyft etc. I feel sorry for talented musicians who need to do this. Imagine, currently you are already behind all these of talented musicians. Think before pursuing the close to impossible dream! Good luck!!

Re: Advice for a Late-Starter?
RonaldSteinway #2849385 05/17/19 07:11 PM
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Originally Posted by RonaldSteinway
Originally Posted by Tyrone Slothrop
[Your theory does not explain why so many of the world's top chess players are from Eastern Europe and China. At the highest levels of almost any competitive activity, training and discipline plays an enormous role, and not only any innate qualities.


At the highest levels, innate ability is the MAIN factor, because all of the competitors at the high level are hard working people and very very assertive. Therefore, the hard working factor can be eliminated from the equation. The only difference is their talent.

When we talk mediocre level, yes...I agree that Hard Work plays an important role.

I was making another point. My other point is that training and discipline are also needed. There are likely people in areas where chess is less popular who have innate qualities that would make them leading chess players, but what is missing is the professional level training. For example, these days, chess training in the US is rather poor compared to China and Eastern Europe. And yes, I'm talking about the top levels of ELO 2350 and higher.

I also mentioned discipline since in America, young people, even those with great innate abilities, often lack the discipline to benefit from top level training. (Seguing back to piano, note the piano teachers complaining about kids not practicing...)


[Linked Image]
across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Advice for a Late-Starter?
RonaldSteinway #2849403 05/17/19 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by RonaldSteinway

At the highest levels, innate ability is the MAIN factor, because all of the competitors at the high level are hard working people and very very assertive. Therefore, the hard working factor can be eliminated from the equation. The only difference is their talent.


Regarding chess, read up on the Polgar sisters when you have some spare time.

Re: Advice for a Late-Starter?
TwelfthRoot2 #2849407 05/17/19 08:54 PM
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Originally Posted by TwelfthRoot2
Originally Posted by RonaldSteinway

At the highest levels, innate ability is the MAIN factor, because all of the competitors at the high level are hard working people and very very assertive. Therefore, the hard working factor can be eliminated from the equation. The only difference is their talent.


Regarding chess, read up on the Polgar sisters when you have some spare time.

Great example! The Polgar sisters were Lazlo Polgar's experiment. He actually looked for a woman who would bear him children to conduct his experiment in training/teaching.

One could argue his experiment was successful. Daughter #2, Judit, was in the top 10 chess players in the world, male or female (but the others were all male) at her peak.


[Linked Image]
across the stone, deathless piano performances

"Discipline is more reliable than motivation." -by a contributor on Reddit r/piano
"Success is 10% inspiration, and 90% perspiration." -by some other wise person
"Pianoteq manages to keep it all together yet simultaneously also go in all directions; like a quantum particle entangled with an unknown and spooky parallel universe simply waiting to be discovered." -by Pete14
Re: Advice for a Late-Starter?
RonaldSteinway #2849417 05/17/19 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by RonaldSteinway
Originally Posted by musicianinprogress


Ronald Steinway: I would definitely not consider myself “super talented” although it’s a subjective term. However, I think you missed the point of my question. I’m not asking if I can “make it” because I’m already determined to get there no matter how long it takes and how many setbacks I come across. Rather, I’m asking for advice on how to get there in with the most efficiency. Your view point is interesting though and one that I’ve come across a lot. I guess I’m just gonna have to prove you wrong smile


Why do you want to choose a path that you are not well prepared to compete in life? If it is a hobby, it is OK, you have all the time in your hand to pursue what you like to do. I assume you are going to get into either teaching piano or playing the piano. Playing the piano is not like learning, say, accounting. Within a year, you can catch up where you behind. Playing piano takes a lot of years to be good.

There are so many people who were so well prepared. They went to Juilliard etc, and still end up just becoming a piano teacher in a small neighborhood school. Isn't better you spend your energy to learn something so you can get a decent job, and learn piano on the side as a hobby. Look at all those adult amateur piano people. They make good money and have a comfortable life, and they still can play piano competitively. I prefer that life!!! By the way, my Saxophone teacher graduated from Northwestern with Master Degree in Sax performance. He is a great musician, yet he needs to work multiple jobs such as driving Uber, Lyft etc. I feel sorry for talented musicians who need to do this. Imagine, currently you are already behind all these of talented musicians. Think before pursuing the close to impossible dream! Good luck!!


Ah, but life would be so bland if we did not follow our impossible dreams


The key to doing what terrifies you is to just not think about it until you're too far in to back out.
Re: Advice for a Late-Starter?
musicianinprogress #2849425 05/17/19 10:52 PM
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At 16 I only knew Clementi. At 17 I knew a WTC P&F, Chopin Etude and Beethoven Sonata. At 18 I was accepted into conservatory. At 30 I can play pretty much anything in the standard repertoire, though I struggle with stage fright pretty badly and really can notice the lack of experience performing I have vs. even younger students who are used to it (it's embarrassing). I also lack in theory and sight reading skills compared to my contemporaries who didn't start late - pretty severely, if I'm being honest.

Are you willing to put in countless hours over the next couple of years? Because at a bare minimum, that's what it's going to take. Long story short - you can probably learn to play at a high level, but something will suffer compared to your peers who did not start late (whether it's sight reading, comfort in performance, etc).

One thing to note - despite me going from Clementi to Rach 2 in four years, I am still nowhere close to good enough to be a professional. So keep that in mind when it comes down to choosing your college path. I honestly think conservatory was largely a waste - go into a higher paying career path and just flat out hire an even better caliber college-level teacher professionally, and you will likely emerge a better pianist.

Last edited by computerpro3; 05/17/19 10:58 PM.
Re: Advice for a Late-Starter?
RonaldSteinway #2849429 05/17/19 10:56 PM
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Isn't it more likely a multitude of factors (practice method, learned patterns, experience, etc.) that are external rather than some mysterious internal factor ("talent" whether it comes from genetics or even God)?

Re: Advice for a Late-Starter?
musicianinprogress #2849432 05/17/19 11:02 PM
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I say put in your numerous hours during the next two years and go for it. Don't let naysayers dissuade you from trying. If you give it your best effort, then you will never regret trying to succeed! Just my opinion of course...



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Re: Advice for a Late-Starter?
musicianinprogress #2849434 05/17/19 11:14 PM
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Thanks NobleHouse! I plan on doing just that smile

Computerpro3 - thank you for your insight! I still plan on pursuing a career in piano, but I appreciate the look into what that entails. Also, it seems like you’ve accomplished quite a bit!


The key to doing what terrifies you is to just not think about it until you're too far in to back out.
Re: Advice for a Late-Starter?
musicianinprogress #2849595 05/18/19 11:51 AM
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What does "pursue piano" mean? Are you trying to become a renowned concert pianist or teach students?

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