5 Things You Must Do If You Want to become a PROFESSIONAL PIANIST

by Lars Nelissen  - August 28, 2023

I’ll Share With You 5 Elements to Focus on so YOU CAN SUCCEED as I did!

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Late Starter or Not, there is a Faster Road.

become a professional pianist - become a professional pianist

It isn't Too Late to Master the Piano: A Journey of Dedication and Passion

Do you ever watch a virtuoso pianist's performance on YouTube and think, "I'll never be able to play like that because I didn't start playing the piano when I was three or four years old"? Well, think again! In this blog, I'm going to share a story that will prove that age is just a fictional limitation when it comes to pursuing your passion for the piano. Here is my way to become a professional pianist.

If you want to become a professional pianist, WATCH ALSO THE VIDEO.

The Late Starter

Imagine starting your piano journey at the age of 15, with zero prior knowledge of music. That's exactly where my journey began. I didn't know how to play the piano, read music notes, or understand music theory. It seemed like an uphill battle, but I was determined to make it to the conservatory as a piano student.

By the time I was 19, I had succeeded in exactly that. In less than four years, in order to become a professional pianist, I had to learn to play challenging pieces by Chopin and Mozart, along with mastering music theory and solfège – a daunting task for anyone, let alone a late starter. But I am convinced you can do it too...

The Power of Fascination

What drove me through those challenging years was sheer fascination. I immersed myself in musical recordings, an essential part of my piano learning journey. Listening to great pianists enhanced my understanding of music and fuelled my motivation. I envisioned myself playing those challenging pieces one day, and that vision kept me going.


The Ingredients of Success to Become a Professional Pianist

1. Dedication: There's no room for idleness or self-doubt on this journey. You must work consistently and believe in your ability to succeed to become a professional pianist

2. Hours of Practice: I often spent hours practicing, even while attending high school. It never felt like a burden because I was genuinely fascinated by the process.

3. Having a Plan: Blindly working won't cut it. You need a well-structured plan. I recommend a 50/50 balance between technique and repertoire. Spend time on exercises and etudes, not just the pieces you like.

4. Technique Matters: Proper technique is essential. Don't fall into the trap of only working on mechanical one-sided piano exercises. But learn from piano exercises by composers like Brahms, Hanon, and Pischna. They can transform your playing. The exercises in Super Fingers combine all facets of piano technique.

5. Take Theory Seriously: Don't neglect music theory, ear training, and solfège. Understanding chords, melodies, and memorization techniques are crucial aspects of your growth as a pianist.


Age Doesn't Beat Dedicated Work

It's important to remember that age is not the barrier to becoming an excellent pianist. Ignacy Jan Paderewski, one of the most celebrated pianists of his time, didn't start seriously until he was 24. His remarkable success proves that dedicated work is a far more important determining factor; intelligent work and dedication are your greatest allies.

Conclusion

So, if you're sitting there wondering if it's too late to embark on a piano journey or to take your playing more seriously, let me assure you that all is possible. With dedication, a well-structured plan, and a deep fascination for music, you can still achieve your dreams and become the pianist you aspire to be.

Don't let age disturb your mind and take away your aspirations to become a professional pianist; your passion and disciplined work will be your guiding stars on this melodious journey.

Here at Piano Fantasy, I can help you achieve your piano dreams. If you are dedicated, I can give you the tools and piano techniques to help you get there and make your road to piano success much faster.

Watch here the Video on Becoming a PROFESSIONAL PIANIST Despite Starting Late

Click to read the Video Script

Watching this video, you probably started
to play the piano very recently.
Or you played piano already a while, but you
didn't do yet the real work for it, and now
you wanted to want to take it a little bit
more serious.


But you're wondering if it is not too late
to become really good?
And it's not so strange when you see on the
YouTube or recordings you see others play
difficult pieces, and it looks as if they
do it with such ease.
And you think I will never be able to play
like that, because you have to start to play
the piano when you're three or four years
old.


Well, for those who believe really that, and
who promote that idea, I have to disappoint
them and prove them wrong!
And I can say that because I'm the living
proof of that.
I started to play the piano when I was 15
years old.


I didn't know anything about music.
I didn't play the piano, I didn't read notes,
I really started from zero.
But still I made it to go to the conservatory
when I was 19 years old.


In less than four years, three and a half
years, I learned to play Fantasy Impromptu
of Chopin, etudes of Chopin, Mozart sonatas,
and so on...
Everything that was needed for my entrance
exam, I did.


And I did my theory, music theory, solgège,
also I had to do that for the entrance exam.
And I was all able to do that.
But it took a lot of work!
But it's possible!


And in this video, I'm going to share with
you what it takes to really make such a progress.
If you're fascinated, everything, all the
doors are still open, because you know what
you are working at.
I was fascinated!


I listened to musical recordings because that
is an essential part of your piano learning.
Without listening to other great pianists,
you are just working in the blind.


Even if you have a good teacher, it's still
good to listen to the music for the future.
And I mean your future, because when I was
listening to let's say a sonata of Beethoven,
a difficult one, or a Chopin Ballade when
I was just started to play the piano, I was
listening that in a way; as music than I was
going to play myself one day.


It made me motivated!
And that's important; you have to motivate
yourself all the time.
And there's zero space for idling!
You have to work every day.
And there is zero space for self-doubt!


There was no doubt in me that I would not
be able to succeed in doing what I wanted
to do, and that was to become a pianist.
My environment was projecting on me: that
this is just a little bit silly and I will
probably come back from it, and eventually,
do something completely else.


But I didn't come back from this and I didn't
do something completely else.
I did exactly that and I succeeded in doing
that.


The fascination is point number one, that
is very important to have.
And then we come to point number two: and
that is practicing hours.


You have to practice enough hours!
I was still in high school at the time, so
I'm mostly around three-four o'clock in the
afternoon, I came home from school.
I came home and I practiced and mostly until
in the later evening.


And I still felt I had time for doing hobbies.
It never felt as a pressure on me!
I was really fascinated and enjoyed practicing.
You need to have that!


But then we come to point number three and
that is: You have to have a plan!
You cannot just work blindly.


In the link in the description, I will have
linked the video, in which I will explain
five main points where I would spend most
of my time at, if I would start to play the
piano, from start, right now.


You have to be fascinated and you must feel
this drive in you to practice and to learn
and to study.
But you need to have a plan!
And it starts with, and that's Point number
4: to have a good balance between technique
and repertoire.


You cannot become an excellent pianist without
doing your technical work at the piano.
You need to do your exercises and you need
to do your etudes, and not just only play
the pieces that you like.


All the great pianists that you see out there
did a lot of technique work.
And you can take all kinds of exercises, from
Brahms, Hanon, Pischna.
And etudes, all kinds of etudes.
I would take a 50/50 division.


50 Percent of your time you work on technique
and the other fifty percent you work repertoire.
So let's say you work four hours; then you
work two hours on technique and another two
hours on repertoire.


I used to do one hour of exercises, without
exaggeration, I did with my stopwatch, every
day one hour of exercises.
In the beginning it was Hanon with my first
teacher, because he was a real believer of
Hanon and he was a believer in keeping the
fingers close to the keys.


And don't move your arm because it was all
extra movements, and you should avoid those.
This worked even against me!
Because it's a completely wrong way of playing
the piano.


And later when I went to Peter Simons, one-and-a-half
year after my first teacher, this last two
years before I went to the conservatory.
He taught me how to raise my fingers, how
to use my arm efficiently, how to make the
arm help the fingers solving pianistic problems.
And that freed up my playing!


And then I really started to skyrocket my
level!
And not by trying to play with my fingers
so close to the keys.
And paying all attention not moving my arm.
That's really not a good way of playing.
But still, I learned quite a lot of things
with my first teacher.


Later on with my second teacher, I went to
do the exercises of Johannes Brahms, the 51
exercises.
And they are all about finger-stretchings
and arm movements.
And they'll really open up your technique,
if done right!


One hour of that and one hour of etudes.
Or you can make it half an hour and one-and-a-half
hour of etudes.
Something like that!


But no less than half an hour of exercises.
Later on, when I did six hours of practice,
and even eight hours, I used to do three hours
of technique one hour exercises and two hours
of etudes, and then three hours of repertoire.
If I did seven hours or eight hours of practice,
then I still did three hours of technique.


I added the extra time to repertoire learning.
And then we come to the last point, the fifth
point and that is: "Take your theory seriously!"
Theory and ear training and solfège.
You really need it!


It's not just all only about fingers, it's
about memory, about understanding.
How you can memorize a piece if you don't
understand any chord?
How you can understand the piece and play
a piece, and memorize it, if you are not able
to sing its melody?


Or how you can remember a melody that you
cannot sing?
You don't have to sing as the greatest, but
you just need to sing as a normal human being
can.


Because we're all born with the voice!
You should be able to sing a melody!
It makes sense, no?
What you don't memorize is lost!
And then somehow it will slow down your progress.
If these five elements are there, I think
you can still become an excellent pianist.
Even if you started in your teens or even
early 20s.


Ignacy Paderewski, he was 24 when he started
to pick up piano seriously.
He played a little bit before, but it wasn't
it was no good.
But of Ignacy Paderewski can be easily said
that he was in his time the most famous, celebrated,
and rich pianist.


Because he even had his private train to go
on tour in the United States.
He was very famous!
And later even appeared in Hollywood movies.
So it's not too late!
But you have to do the work.
It doesn't come by itself.
But you also have to do the work when you
start very young and early.


If you don't do the work, you will also not
succeed.
Talent is not going to save you.
But hard work, that is going to to to be your
best ally!


Check out my other videos on my channel.
I like to make videos about piano technique
and about piano playing, and tutorials about
piano pieces to help people like you to learn
to play the piano better.


So if you didn't subscribe yet?
Consider hitting that subscribe button, and
the bell, so that you don't miss out on my
newest videos!


And boop that like button if you like this
video!
So to let other people know that this is a
good video and they will watch it too and
benefit from it.


And then I'll see you next time!
[Music]

 

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