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Conservatory audition advice please : ) #2912433 11/15/19 01:46 PM
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TimothyC93 Offline OP
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Hello all,

Recently I paid a visit to a Conservatory with strong root to the former Soviet Union and had a pianist listened to me and observed the way I play the piano. I am a working consultant engineer who aspires to study music professionally and become a professional musician (not solo pianist, may be chamber music pianist, accompanist or conductor), I have been playing the piano since 5 and obtained LRSM (piano performance) 2 years ago. I have never attended music schools but I have been learning the piano and music from different teachers. I also started learning to play the double base and compose 1 year ago.

The advice I got from the pianist is that, I am very musical (she says its really important), but sometimes I tend not to use or avoid using my fingers (for example, fast scale-passages, fast arpeggio etc.), I tend to use my shoulders, my wrists and weight of my arms only. (I played some Schumann/Liszt's Dedication and Bach's Prelude in D major WTC II).

What I lack, according to her is that, I need to work on Czerny op.299, that's all that's necessary to get my fingers up and running again.

She advised me to join the Conservatory's preparatory programs and believed that I'd be able to solve, learn and re-learn all necessary piano technique in a 1 year or even six months p.s. I have large hands and p.s. I must confess that I don't practice Czerny or fast etude anymore.

I am 25 now and according to the pianist and other professors, it's not too late to start studying music/conducting/piano professionally.

Before visiting the Conservatory, I was planning on auditioning to different conservatories in Europe/US/Canada/Australia two years from now.

The repertoire that I have been preparing are:
1. Bach Prelude and Fugue
2. Beethoven Waldstein Sonata
3. Liszt Sonnet 104/ Mendelssohn Rondo Capriccioso/ Tchaikovsky Season December or November or January
4. Chopin Etude Black Key/Moszkowski Etude Op.72 no.6
5. Prokofiev (undecided) / Rachmaninoff Elegie Op.3 No.1 or Rachmaninoff Etude-Tableau Op.39 No.5

My current teacher has always stressed that may be I'd be "happier" if I studied conducting instead.


How do you all practice the piano? Should I study conducting or piano instead?

What European conservatories offer preparatory programs in the English language?

Thanks!!

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Re: Conservatory audition advice please : ) [Re: TimothyC93] #2912527 11/15/19 06:03 PM
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Sibylle Online Content
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I'll let the experts advise you on technique and practice; I'm a trained coach and an expert on supporting people in choosing their path in life. And based on my experience, what you should be studying or focusing on is not what anyone tells you or think you could do better in, but that which lights you up.

(I'm sure a lot of people will say that that's unrealistic, but after nearly 50 years in this life and over 13 years as a coach, I can tell you that doing what's "realistic" is the sure path to mediocrity and unhappiness. Life's quite simply too short)

So what really gives you joy?

Practising/playing the piano? --> do that
Conducting? --> do that
Both? ---> do both; there are plenty of examples of people who've combined them successfully

Good luck and let us know what you decide smile

Last edited by Sibylle; 11/15/19 06:03 PM.

Sibylle


"Not a shred of evidence exists in favour of the idea that life is serious." -Brendan Gill
Re: Conservatory audition advice please : ) [Re: Sibylle] #2912532 11/15/19 06:07 PM
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ebonykawai Offline
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Originally Posted by Sibylle
And based on my experience, what you should be studying or focusing on is not what anyone tells you or think you could do better in, but that which lights you up.

(I'm sure a lot of people will say that that's unrealistic, but after nearly 50 years in this life and over 13 years as a coach, I can tell you that doing what's "realistic" is the sure path to mediocrity and unhappiness. Life's quite simply too short)



I love this SO much. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️


Lisa

Currently working on RCM 7 repertoire
Kawai UST-9, Yamaha CLP565GP, Kawai KDP110

"Sometimes I can only groan, and suffer, and pour out my despair at the piano!" - Frederic Chopin
Re: Conservatory audition advice please : ) [Re: ebonykawai] #2912546 11/15/19 06:32 PM
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pianoloverus Offline
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Originally Posted by ebonykawai
Originally Posted by Sibylle
And based on my experience, what you should be studying or focusing on is not what anyone tells you or think you could do better in, but that which lights you up.

(I'm sure a lot of people will say that that's unrealistic, but after nearly 50 years in this life and over 13 years as a coach, I can tell you that doing what's "realistic" is the sure path to mediocrity and unhappiness. Life's quite simply too short)
I love this SO much. ❤️❤️❤️❤️❤️
Making a living as a pianist and/or conductor is not so simple. Plenty of graduates from even the most prestigious conservatories have difficulty finding work or at least the musical work they envisioned.

The IMO simplistic advice "Do what you love" is not always practical. It reminds me of the kind of advice usually seen on the Piano Forum when someone asks if they should buy a piano they love but is beyond their budget. The most common response by far is to say "Go for it!" but those saying that don't have to foot the bill.

Last edited by pianoloverus; 11/15/19 06:38 PM.
Re: Conservatory audition advice please : ) [Re: TimothyC93] #2912547 11/15/19 06:42 PM
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Sibylle Online Content
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1. I didn't say it's easy to make a living with these things. I completely agree that it's not.
2. I have yet to meet anyone who followed their passion, who regrets doing it (even if they weren't "successful" with it).
3. It's neither simple nor simplistic, in fact, in a world infatuated with "usefulness", nothing is harder, more complex, or requires more dedication than pursuing joy.

And since I don't wish to derail this thread, I won't say any more about this here. I hope someone will offer the practical advice OP asked for smile


Sibylle


"Not a shred of evidence exists in favour of the idea that life is serious." -Brendan Gill
Re: Conservatory audition advice please : ) [Re: Sibylle] #2912553 11/15/19 07:00 PM
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pianoloverus Offline
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Originally Posted by Sibylle
1. I didn't say it's easy to make a living with these things. I completely agree that it's not.
2. I have yet to meet anyone who followed their passion, who regrets doing it (even if they weren't "successful" with it).
3. It's neither simple nor simplistic, in fact, in a world infatuated with "usefulness", nothing is harder, more complex, or requires more dedication than pursuing joy.

And since I don't wish to derail this thread, I won't say any more about this here. I hope someone will offer the practical advice OP asked for smile
I didn't say you said it was easy. My point was you left the fact that's it's difficult out of the equation in your post.

There have been quite a few articles about graduates of top conservatories who end up in completely different fields or musical paths they don't like and are disillusioned with their choice to major in music.

I certainly never said trying to become a musician was "simple". I said I thought your comment was simplistic. I think the OPs decision should rest in part on his current skill level, and he should play for some other professional pianists and get their opinion of his chances for a musical career.

Re: Conservatory audition advice please : ) [Re: TimothyC93] #2912638 11/16/19 12:39 AM
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TimothyC93 Offline OP
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After working as a consultant engineer (I worked before and immediately after graduation) and made a few bucks, I realised that music is what I really wanted all along, I understand it is difficult and takes a relatively long time to build up a musical career, but that doesn't mean that I won't be able to earn a living during that process (I could still work as an engineer, I will be a registered engineer in two years time/piano teacher), I just have this urge to study music professionally, I am young, I want to do it while I still can.

#Pianoloverus, I actually did, they all had the same conclusion, not necessarily Czerny op.299, but generally that sort of problems. So that is why I want to know how professional pianist practice before tackling repertoire, the tools that are needed before playing a piece.

I know someone who studied music professionally, he is a pianist, he ends up working as a public servant.

I also know someone who is a registered actuarial scientist who now opens a Chinese restaurant shop and ceased working as a registered acturarial scientist.

Thank you all!

Last edited by TimothyC93; 11/16/19 12:45 AM.
Re: Conservatory audition advice please : ) [Re: TimothyC93] #2912668 11/16/19 05:24 AM
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Most if not all pro players started very young and often by age 13 they already have most of their technical skills. As you have seen many of these kids can already play just about any piece of the repertoire. So at that point they practice by playing the pieces of the repertoire, not Czerny opus 299 (maybe occasionally....) or if they want to develop further a particular skill they would choose ad hoc pieces. The rest of their studies then is essentially focused on interpretation.

For amateurs, the situation is different since often times they have been playing for pleasure and not for the purpose of performing as pros. So you may have particular skills lacking in some areas. It is not possible to give you any advice in such a particular situation. Only a trained player can build a training program suited to your needs. There is not any pre defined check list that one can follow, plus there are a heck lot of different ways to develop skills.

For you carreer, as you have seen there is a very long list of winners in international competition that disappeared after winning and on the other hand some players who never won anything significant made great carreers.

So in piano like in other professions, no one can say if you will succeed or not. It depends on your tech skills but also on many other parameters, luck being one of them. The main difference between having an engineering degree and playing piano is that with the first one you can find with a reasonable certainty a job. As a pianist even if you do play well, it does mean you can make a good carreer and leaving.

The only advice i could give is that, assuming you are determined in your idea, is to meet pro players and get a better understanding of what is ahead of you. Play in front of them and get their opinion. Also get some feedback on how they worked out their carreer. Seems to me that the advice of studying opus 299 is curious.... The first thing I would be looking at to understand is what is the quality of your interpretations vs an average pro level. How far are you and how much time would you need to get there. The type of material that you would need to study is a marginal topic and depends on the teacher and the type of skills you are lacking.

Re: Conservatory audition advice please : ) [Re: Sidokar] #2912680 11/16/19 06:37 AM
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Colin Miles Offline
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Originally Posted by Sidokar

The only advice i could give is that, assuming you are determined in your idea, is to meet pro players and get a better understanding of what is ahead of you. Play in front of them and get their opinion. Also get some feedback on how they worked out their carreer. Seems to me that the advice of studying opus 299 is curious.... The first thing I would be looking at to understand is what is the quality of your interpretations vs an average pro level. How far are you and how much time would you need to get there. The type of material that you would need to study is a marginal topic and depends on the teacher and the type of skills you are lacking.

Very good advice. And to find out what it is like to pursue such a dream read the story of James Rhodes who did this at the age of 28, though he had a very early grounding which I think you may lack. Pianist 108 has his story but you can also find him online.


Roland LX7

South Wales, UK
Re: Conservatory audition advice please : ) [Re: TimothyC93] #2912856 11/16/19 04:16 PM
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Thank you all!!


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