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Well.. My chest feels really heavy right now. A whole lot of emotions just bursting forth, to the point where even typing a line without 10 mistakes is getting hard.
Sorry for the dramatic overtones, but I really need to get my feelings across and find some sort of closure or I think it will be really depressing.

I just watched a 2nd Hungarian Rhapsody's performance by Tiffany Poon. Though riddled with imperfections, she did one heck of a job. Even those imperfections adding to the character. I even went so far as to look her up on instagram and got to know a lot about her life, practice routines, some compositions, skill level, concerts and exposure, all while still coming off as a fun loving and outgoing young person.

Then the truth ended up confronting me. I knew it somewhere all along, but so far it did not surface itself like it did just now. She has been playing since childhood. Like so many other well known pianists. I tried searching for one pianist who started in his late teens and achieved a concert pianist skill level later on, but nothing came up.

For the last 6 months, I did nothing but hours and hours of piano practice and college. Refining old pieces and practicing new, sight reading, everything a pianist should know of. One of the threads in here back then inspired me to press buttons on that keyboard instead of this one, playing a big role in me going deeper into music study and giving internet a hiatus. I click perfected minute waltz, worked on more of Chopin's and Mendelssohn's works, etc. It was all going fine until today. I made rounded progress throughout, even enjoyed the practice somewhat.
The only thing which hurt me was that I couldn't start off sooner. I curse my parents for not letting me start at age 4-5-6 like these performers. I've realized that there is no difference in talent between them and myself. The only damage is of time.
No matter how much I practice or how much I improve, when I see the likes of such ordinary young people with no special talent performing such monsters of beautiful, absolutely beautiful pieces so elegantly, it just makes my chest go heavy. It's an indescribable feeling.
There are no concert halls in my country. There are no recitals. No piano concert has ever taken place during the last 50 or so years.
And it just so happens that the number one aspiration I have is to perform in a concert hall, and be regarded as a "pianist" by the audience, who actually understands and has an appetite for classical music. There starts the vicious circle. I can't afford to go "out there" and the only shot at recognition I have is through competitions and such. The competitions again have extremely high caliber demands, which gets back to the initial question of age.

I want to know, in all honesty, in as harsh, direct and upfront words as necessary, that whether a person starting to play at 17 and giving it all they've got, for as long as it takes, would be enough to develop enough skills to be considered a 'concert pianist'? If not, just tell. If yes, then mention one guy who did that and I'll believe that it's practically possible, no matter how gifted he is.
I don't play for fun, I have this lust type of feeling for those world class pieces they effortlessly pull off. I want to be able to play them in this lifetime, but I really wonder if I got too late by now.

Also, my apologies for the long hiatus. It was just to get more and more practice time while keeping up with studies. Which for some reason feels painful all of a sudden. My heartfelt apologies to one person for a reason she knows, as well.

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I think you have the wrong mindset

>the number one aspiration I have is to perform in a concert hall, and be regarded as a "pianist" by the audience

>I don't play for fun

Let me guess, the pianists you like most are those that have lots of fun and don't care too much about the audience smile


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Let me rephrase it. I may have used wrong expressions.
The 'concert hall' can be as small as your usual house hall. Size does not matter at all.
The audience can be like 20 people, quantity does not matter either.
What matters is the mindset of that audience. An audience which can at least critically evaluate the performance. If it was good, if it was not good, or if it lacked a depth, or any other output. Some feedback, I say. Not the audience (what I have) which is unable to relate to the alien music in any way, thus being unable to provide any expression..

I had a feeling that I won't be able to put what I'm feeling into words, and I think that is happening.

I enjoy practice, but let me ask, what forces you to tire away at one piece for months and months, perfecting it by inches and resist the very strong urge to drop it and pick up more interesting pieces to play? There are so many difficult pieces which sound absolutely awe inspiring when performed at tempo but are horrendously monotonous and boring when slowed down for practicing? Take a lot of etudes for example. Do you realize that in a situation like that, where you don't want to go through the months of near torture level of practice, the only and only source of motivation and drive is envisioning yourself performing that piece someday for an audience (read, the above kind) which can relate to it?

It's totally different for pieces which sound great slowed down and you can emotionally relate to, even while practicing. You don't care about the results with them.
But with a major mass of piano literature, the only and only thing driving you through the hard work is a hope of being able to perform it in front of some people someday and (hopefully) those some people being able to give you some feedback about your performance?
I don't have that audience in real life where I live. I can't travel to places where such an audience exists for periods long enough to be able to get some exposure. So the only option left is to keep practicing and hoping to attain a level where I'll be able to get exposure overseas, before my body gives way. That's what I meant.

And the happy people who don't care, you mentioned, they had people to give them feedback and encouragement all along. My own parents don't want to hear me playing. There's a massive ******* difference here.
I won't mind one bit giving my life's worth of practice to piano, it's what I love and what I do, but I really want to know if someone else exists who started this late and achieved reasonable exposure.

Last edited by luckiest_charm; 02/13/18 07:15 AM.
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EDIT: Your post with additional explanations above was made while I wrote my answer, so please read my answer with the fact in mind, that I was answering to your first post alone.

Originally Posted by luckiest_charm
I want to know, in all honesty, in as harsh, direct and upfront words as necessary

Since you asked for it:

Originally Posted by luckiest_charm
that whether a person starting to play at 17 and giving it all they've got, for as long as it takes, would be enough to develop enough skills to be considered a 'concert pianist'?

Considered a "concert pianist" by whom, by what standards?

One possible standard could be:

A "concert pianist" is someone who is able to play at a level required to pass a performance diploma.

With that standard, the answer would be: Yes, someone who starts to play at 17 and where the surrounding conditions are right (for example the person does not have to work for a living, so that he/she can devote all time to practicing piano), such a person can reach this level of piano playing. It may take a long time, and he may never play for anyone but himself, family, friends or maybe a local gathering or such, but it is certainly possible to become a "concert pianist" under this standard.

Another possible standard could be:

A "concert pianist" is someone who actually gives piano concerts in concert halls, to a real paying audience, with a repertoire that is comparable to other concert pianists the world over.

With that standard, my answer would be: No. This is highly unlikely given the serious competition out there from other concert pianists. Especially if like you the surrounding conditions are also not very good (no cultural background for piano concerts, competitions must be sought abroad, etc.). Theoretically, of course even this standard could be met, for example by someone who is independently wealthy and for decades devotes all his time to learning the piano to an exception level, until finally he has an international breakthrough. Essentially, it would require the "perfect storm" of circumstances for a person to pull this off, i.e. the only "non perfect" element that were allowed to influence that person's piano career would be the late starting age. Every other factor would have to be more or less perfect. So how likely is this? And especially in your case, when you already describe several non-optimal factors in your life.




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Originally Posted by luckiest_charm
I want to know, in all honesty, in as harsh, direct and upfront words as necessary, that whether a person starting to play at 17 and giving it all they've got, for as long as it takes, would be enough to develop enough skills to be considered a 'concert pianist'?

Yes.


Originally Posted by luckiest_charm
but I really want to know if someone else exists who started this late and achieved reasonable exposure.

I've never heard of anyone like that. Usually they all have started years before and then stopped for a bit or never got "serious" up until that point. So you can't really say "He/she started at 16/17!" or whatever. Does it matter? Just do it.

I'm an hypocrite though, as I have similar doubts and asked myself similar questions.
If there are no people there to listen to you live, then post recordings here and on YouTube.

I think you are doing much better than I am: you've started earlier and you put much more energy into it while also going to college. I live in a "better" place, I don't have a job and I don't study and yet I don't do s**t.
I've skipped 4 days of practice this week but your post made me want to work a bit. So... Thanks grin and I'm sorry, for not being really helpful.

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Originally Posted by luckiest_charm

Quote
Sorry for the dramatic overtones, but I really need to get my feelings across and find some sort of closure or I think it will be really depressing.

That's what a forum as this ought to be about.

Quote
I just watched a 2nd Hungarian Rhapsody's performance by Tiffany Poon.

As always, it's a dangerous trap to compare oneself with somebody else that has had expert support and training from an early age.

Quote
Then the truth ended up confronting me. I knew it somewhere all along, but so far it did not surface itself like it did just now. She has been playing since childhood. Like so many other well known pianists. I tried searching for one pianist who started in his late teens and achieved a concert pianist skill level later on, but nothing came up.

It's like that in any field now. Look at tennis e.g. You need to start at about 4 or 5 yrs old and have expert training and support throughout your career.

Quote
For the last 6 months, I did nothing but hours and hours of piano practice and college.It was all going fine until today. I made rounded progress throughout, even enjoyed the practice somewhat.

Sometimes we have to be satisfied with that.

Quote
The only thing which hurt me was that I couldn't start off sooner. I curse my parents for not letting me start at age 4-5-6 like these performers. I've realized that there is no difference in talent between them and myself. The only damage is of time.

I am full of regrets too whenever I think about it. I didn't even have any music education whatsoever in all of grade school, and have regrets about that. But that is the type of society people chose...whether we will have opportunities in it or not.
Also, you might not have enjoyed it if you were forced into it. It could even have turned you off from piano completely.

Quote
There are no concert halls in my country. There are no recitals. No piano concert has ever taken place during the last 50 or so years.
And it just so happens that the number one aspiration I have is to perform in a concert hall, and be regarded as a "pianist" by the audience, who actually understands and has an appetite for classical music.

I don't know what country it is, but that might be an opportunity if you reach a level where you can perform some enjoyable music. Less competition.

Quote
The only shot at recognition I have is through competitions and such.

Then you do have some possibilities.

Quote
I want to know, in all honesty, in as harsh, direct and upfront words as necessary, that whether a person starting to play at 17 and giving it all they've got, for as long as it takes, would be enough to develop enough skills to be considered a 'concert pianist'? If not, just tell.

I think it's necessary to define "Concert Pianist". It can be a wide skill level and depend on where you perform, and what audience. If you are this ambitious you will never be satisfied no matter what your skill level might be a.t.m..
And why do you think that being a concert pianist would be such a wonderful job?
A highly skilled player like Glenn Gould e.g. hated it.

Quote
If yes, then mention one guy who did that and I'll believe that it's practically possible, no matter how gifted he is.

We reach our particular skill level by how much work we put into it, how we go about it, and depending on how much expert training we have available.
But if we lose 10 years of our youth in piano training, then yes, that time and skill is lost.
You just can't throw in all that training, memory, and skills later on in life and expect to reach the same high results.
It's like throwing in the yeast later on in the oven, because you forgot to work it into the dough and let it rise.

Quote
I don't play for fun, I have this lust type of feeling for those world class pieces they effortlessly pull off.

They don't pull it off effortlessly.

Quote
I want to be able to play them in this lifetime, but I really wonder if I got too late by now.

What we sometimes have to be satisfied with is playing simpler pieces. That is the blunt answer.
But we can always, and likely should, reach as high as we can.
Just my view on it. But what do I know about it...I've just been banging my head against the wall for decades.


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Originally Posted by luckiest_charm

The only thing which hurt me was that I couldn't start off sooner. I curse my parents for not letting me start at age 4-5-6 like these performers. I've realized that there is no difference in talent between them and myself. The only damage is of time.


Sure they did the best they could with what they knew and resources available at the time. It is what it is now and blaming your past is not going to help you.

Originally Posted by luckiest_charm

...
There are no concert halls in my country. There are no recitals. No piano concert has ever taken place during the last 50 or so years.


Yet, there is a recital here every quarter. There are many resources available now that were not available 20 years ago to get yourself some exposure if that is what you desire most.

Originally Posted by luckiest_charm

And it just so happens that the number one aspiration I have is to perform in a concert hall, and be regarded as a "pianist" by the audience, who actually understands and has an appetite for classical music. There starts the vicious circle. I can't afford to go "out there" and the only shot at recognition I have is through competitions and such. The competitions again have extremely high caliber demands, which gets back to the initial question of age.

I want to know, in all honesty, in as harsh, direct and upfront words as necessary, that whether a person starting to play at 17 and giving it all they've got, for as long as it takes, would be enough to develop enough skills to be considered a 'concert pianist'?


Not sure, probably not. This music thing is nice that we can put on our Curriculum Vitae, but it doesn't define who we are. Seems you are being a bit hard on yourself. Yeah, you missed the boat to be a concert pianist, but they are 1 in million anyway. Look at the good things you've got. Youth, talent ... on and on.

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Originally Posted by luckiest_charm

... feeling for those world class pieces they effortlessly pull off...


Looking effortless requires considerable effort.


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You're not going to get an answer here to whether you can become a concert pianist - I doubt that anyone, anywhere, can answer that question.

You are only 17? I don't know what part of the world you are in, but if you were in the US, I would say - go to a university, major in piano performance, and get some experience playing for people - in juries, exams, recitals, and so forth. You will quickly learn whether you can do it or not, or even if you really want to do it.

If you are not good enough to get in a university program (you will have to audition), then either take some more time to prepare or look for a regional university (maybe less prestigious) that will take a chance on you - I bet you can find one.

There are lots of careers in music other than being a concert pianist. Very, very few people, even when they have every advantage, make it. Far fewer than become professional athletes, for instance, and you know how hard that is...

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It is not too late for anything until you say that it is. That sounds trite but it's true. You should really define for yourself what you want to get out of music, though. I don't think that answer is clear to you. As long as it is nebulous, you'll feel like you do. Couple of other points:

Originally Posted by luckiest_charm
I enjoy practice, but...

So everything that comes after that tells me that you actually don't enjoy practice. You use words like, "tire away" and, "horribly monotonous and boring" to describe it. That doesn't sound like something you enjoy. If you just focus on the end result - playing beautifully for others - you never see the journey for what it is and miss 3/4ths of the lesson along the way. I mention that lesson because of this:

Originally Posted by luckiest_charm
...when I see the likes of such ordinary young people with no special talent...

Stop. Don't do that. Anyone on a concert stage at a young age performing Liszt has some very special talent. Tearing others down is something people, and musicians in particular, are very good at. You should work hard at losing this skill. Practice will teach you humility and the value of hard work as well as the shape of your own natural talent. Find a way to learn those lessons and to enjoy the journey.

In all, your posts read like you want to play principally to impress others. That's perfectly fine, by the way. Own that if it's what you want and make it your goal. It will give you a direction, something I sense that you lack. Remember that nobody plots a straight line through life so having some sort of guidepost is helpful. In 10 years, that goal will probably be different. The course of your life is far from written so the biggest enemy you face is not time but yourself.

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Originally Posted by Sam S

....There are lots of careers in music other than being a concert pianist. Very, very few people, even when they have every advantage, make it. Far fewer than become professional athletes, for instance, and you know how hard that is...

Sam


I was going to say the same thing. Out of the tens of thousands of children who learn the piano, how many of them become concert pianists? I'll bet it's well under 1%. Same with athletes. Do you know how many kids there are in my town alone who play tennis full time? I mean full time, hours of lessons per day, no school ("home school"). Dozens. Maybe one or two will become number 1 in FL at some point, but maybe only 1 in a generation will become someone you've heard of. The rest will play for college, maybe become a teaching pro.

If you have your heart set on a career, go for it, but realize very few people actually make it to the level of Tiffany Poon, Barenboim, Gould, etc. Most of the competition winners here play small galleries, such as the Steinway Gallery, or for an audience of 20-30 at a local university, and they're excellent.

Last edited by cmb13; 02/13/18 11:23 AM.

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You might get a better response in the Pianist Corner. This is ABF, so most of us started as adults and don't plan to quit our day jobs to become concert pianists laugh I couldn't tell you how to go about doing that. Some (few) people are in the right place at the right time, and afforded the right opportunities to become what they are today. I don't think you can fault your parents, particularly if the culture you speak of doesn't endorse playing piano. Why would they think any different?


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I've read all of the replies and thank everyone for giving their valuable opinions. I, for one, know very very well that I can not become a 'concert' pianist, as a lot of others have mentioned. The initials posts were more along the lines of emotional outbursts over issues no one has any control over and just can not be helped.

I'll just correct a few things tho, I'm 19.
@Sam S - I really wish I had those liberties. It's not a matter of financial stability, but the whole concept of "Piano" or "Majors in music" does not exist in India. No university has such a course throughout, offering comprehensive knowledge along with a few years worth of degrees. There are no recitals, I think i stated it initially. You did not fully read my post, I think. The trend of 'piano' is limited to small private music conservatories and a vast majority of people consider a Casio synth indistinguishable from a real piano. The classical norm isn't here. That's all. High class degrees, appreciation and exposure exists, to scales equivalent to Europe in here as well, just for different instruments (a cultural difference). So it's just a matter of being locked in the wrong place and choosing the wrong key.

-------

I don't want to impress others and become the kind of concert pianist a lot of you in later posts think of, read my 2nd post if you want to know more about that. It's just not about being that 1 in a million prodigy. It's just about being able to play some of the harder music by the time I'm old, for a small but quality audience. Right now I have no real life audience whatsoever, that's all I want.

--------

I've mostly recovered from the initial hit and some of the posts have been really helpful in cheering me up and/or being on point and reasonably suggesting possible attitude for future. I've got a lot of years so there's still a chance at something, hopefully. lol

Thanks a lot for all the assistance. It means much to me. smile

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I have already come to terms with most of the so called factors working against me, but it's just that every once in a blue moon something happens and I break down. It's just temporary, so I think there's that. :3

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We all go through periods like this, when we wonder if we're any good, if we're making progress, what the point is, etc. It's times like this when it's good to reflect about where you were a year ago, and look at how much you've accomplished since then. I'm sure it's quite a lot.

How about inviting some friends over, or participating in online recitals? As someone mentioned, YouTube is a good avenue, as is this forum, for sharing your passion. Maybe if piano remains very important to your life, in a few years, you could move to a location where it can be a bigger part of your life. Great composers have moved to different countries (eg Chopin from Poland to France). Or try to make it your mission to raise awareness and institute this art in your town. It will require time and effort, but may be very rewarding. You have time on your side.

Good luck!


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Originally Posted by cmb13
We all go through periods like this, when we wonder if we're any good, if we're making progress, what the point is, etc. It's times like this when it's good to reflect about where you were a year ago, and look at how much you've accomplished since then. I'm sure it's quite a lot.

How about inviting some friends over, or participating in online recitals? As someone mentioned, YouTube is a good avenue, as is this forum, for sharing your passion. Maybe if piano remains very important to your life, in a few years, you could move to a location where it can be a bigger part of your life. Great composers have moved to different countries (eg Chopin from Poland to France). Or try to make it your mission to raise awareness and institute this art in your town. It will require time and effort, but may be very rewarding. You have time on your side.

Good luck!


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Originally Posted by luckiest_charm

a person starting to play at 17


Originally Posted by luckiest_charm

I'm 19.


Is this correct? You've been playing for 2 years and you're comparing yourself to someone who's been playing for 12 years?


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Originally Posted by ClsscLib

When I was younger, Americans or Brits to whom playing the sitar was more important than anything else moved to India to study with experts.



This occurred to me as well.


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I havn't read all of the thread. If you will only be happy if you can play at a high professional level, it'w very unlikely you will achieve that. If you love great music, there's virtually an infinite amount of piano rep that oesn't require high virtuoso technique.

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