Welcome to the Piano World Piano Forums
Over 2 million posts about pianos, digital pianos, and all types of keyboard instruments
Join the World's Largest Community of Piano Lovers (it's free)
It's Fun to Play the Piano ... Please Pass It On!

SEARCH
the Forums & Piano World

This custom search works much better than the built in one and allows searching older posts.
(ad 125) Sweetwater - Digital Keyboards & Other Gear
Digital Pianos at Sweetwater
(ad) Pearl River
Pearl River Pianos
(ad) Pianoteq
Latest Pianoteq add-on instrument: U4 upright piano
(ad) P B Guide
Acoustic & Digital Piano Guide
PianoSupplies.com (150)
Piano Accessories Music Related Gifts Piano Tuning Equipment Piano Moving Equipment
We now offer Gift Certificates in our online store!
(ad) Estonia Piano
Estonia Piano
Quick Links to Useful Stuff
Our Classified Ads
Find Piano Professionals-

*Piano Dealers - Piano Stores
*Piano Tuners
*Piano Teachers
*Piano Movers
*Piano Restorations
*Piano Manufacturers
*Organs

Quick Links:
*Advertise On Piano World
*Free Piano Newsletter
*Online Piano Recitals
*Piano Recitals Index
*Piano Accessories
* Buying a Piano
*Buying A Acoustic Piano
*Buying a Digital Piano
*Pianos for Sale
*Sell Your Piano
*How Old is My Piano?
*Piano Books
*Piano Art, Pictures, & Posters
*Directory/Site Map
*Contest
*Links
*Virtual Piano
*Music Word Search
*Piano Screen Saver
*Piano Videos
*Virtual Piano Chords
Page 1 of 9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 >
Topic Options
#2240777 - 03/03/14 04:07 PM Some musings on piano playing and income
hreichgott Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/13
Posts: 1010
Loc: western MA, USA
There have been a few threads lately in which aspiring pianists are warned not to count on piano for future employment. I've been wondering about the set of assumptions, and realities, there.

There are two areas in which any pianist who plays at a professional level can find steady paid work: teaching and playing for churches. Assuming you can at least tolerate children, and at least tolerate being around religious people. Plenty of parents put their kids in piano lessons, and plenty of churches hire live musicians. The market is in no danger of disappearing. In fact, many successful piano teachers and church musicians don't even play that well! Certainly the better you are, the more stable you'll be, and the more job choice you'll have, but that's true of every career from shoe salesman to schoolteacher.

Just from those two things -- say a modestly sized studio at 15 students all with weekly half-hour lessons paid at the low-ish fee of $20, and a modestly paid church job at $75 per Sunday -- a pianist can work 3 hours a day or less, spend the rest of the day practicing, and earn a yearly salary of $19,500. A household with two workers each earning that salary is at the 40th percentile of household income in the USA, either middle class or lower middle class.

So let's treat that as an easily achievable starting point. If you work more than 3 hours a day, you can always earn more. Then add on all the other types of work that are possible if you have interest. Theatre. Accompanying. Weddings. Much of it is work that's freelance/on contract to some degree, so it takes a while to become known, and there's no guarantee from one year to the next if that gig or similar gigs will come back around. But once again, that's typical of every field that depends on contract work, from architecture to law to college teaching. And the better you are, the better known you become and the more work you find.

So why does piano have a reputation for being a lousy way to make a living?

I can think of a few reasons and I wonder what you can think of...

1.) Training as a pianist is expensive to begin with. Aspiring pianists often come from families that are upper-middle or upper-class, and don't understand how to live on a middle or lower-middle-class income. From their perspective, a lower-middle-class income is not a livable income.

2.) Health insurance. This is gradually becoming less of an issue than it was a few years ago, but it's still true that healthcare messes with a lot of people's household incomes/expenses, and you have to arrange your own healthcare with most of the work that pianists have easy access to.

3.) There are few jobs available of the "one full-time job, with benefits, paying an upper-middle to upper-class income" variety. Many people vastly prefer this type of job, even if they don't enjoy the work or the time commitment.

4.) The musical work that non-musicians are most aware of is recording and concert performance. Recording and concert performance pay very, very little, except for the very lucky elite. Therefore, non-musicians assume that non-elite musicians earn very, very little doing any kind of musical work.

5.) Parents and friends assume that aspiring pianists want a life of fame, riches, and glory, not a life where they can manage to put together modest housing and decent home-cooked food while doing the work they most love in the world.
_________________________
Heather W. Reichgott, piano http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com
Sounding the depths of small pieces: Beethoven Op. 33
Daily attempts at 16th notes: Chopin Op. 10 no. 4, Pischna
Totally loving Fauré/Barcarolles and Ravel/Tombeau de Couperin
I love Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and new music

Top
Ad 800 (Pearl River)
Pearl River World's Best Selling Piano
#2240781 - 03/03/14 04:12 PM Re: Some musings on piano playing and income [Re: hreichgott]
Hrodulf Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/02/09
Posts: 831
Loc: New York City
That's good to know.
_________________________
Learning:
Beethoven op 27 no 1 allegro vivace
J.S. Bach wtc book I prelude 10, fugue 10
Exercises

Top
#2240787 - 03/03/14 04:24 PM Re: Some musings on piano playing and income [Re: hreichgott]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19777
Loc: New York
Good and interesting post. You covered a lot, and it seems actually like a great concise guide on "Making a living as a classical pianist."

Originally Posted By: hreichgott
....So why does piano have a reputation for being a lousy way to make a living?....

Besides the answers that you gave, I think there are some others that legitimately give pause to many if not most young people who are contemplating such a career.

First of all and I think in most instances, they're usually thinking of a concert career. Except for very few people, that's a "forget about it." Even many successful concert pianists have said that this is something that shouldn't make us pursue a musical career unless it's something that we feel we absolutely "must" do, something that we're irretrievably driven toward (and of course we better be among the very most gifted).

And, some of those alternate things that you mention, especially teaching, require skills of their own, skills that aren't by any means to be taken for granted. You mentioned being able to "tolerate" children grin ....but there's also being very good with children, being able to motivate them, being able to be patient with the inevitable frustrations, being good at the "public relations" things of relating well to their parents and doing the 'marketing' that is usually needed if you're teaching privately. And most of that applies for working with adults too. It's a whole different kind of thing than what most people thinking of classical piano careers are thinking of, it's stuff that they might not necessarily be good with, and often it's just not what they wish to do.

So: You raise a good question, you give very good answers -- but I think there are still some other valid things on the other side.

Top
#2240802 - 03/03/14 04:50 PM Re: Some musings on piano playing and income [Re: hreichgott]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19348
Loc: New York City
The 19,500 figure you calculated is the equivalent of a job paying $10/hour which is barely above the minimum wage. If you consider that even a job in the fast food industry probably pays health insurance and other benefits, the 19,500 figure looks even worse. Of course, many pianists can make far more than 19,500 teaching but that 19.5K is probably not sufficient for lots of people.

In addition, I bet there are tons of people applying for every church musician job and these jobs can require skills(conducting, choral)far beyond what's usually taught at a piano conservatory.


Edited by pianoloverus (03/03/14 04:56 PM)

Top
#2240807 - 03/03/14 04:58 PM Re: Some musings on piano playing and income [Re: Mark_C]
MichaelJamesMN Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/30/12
Posts: 64
Loc: Minnesota
I agree with you completely. Even though I've studied for 47 years (on and off), I wouldn't and couldn't teach or play for a church if my life depended upon it!!! I've been asked if I would be willing to teach friend's children, but I've answered quickly and forcefully with a resounding "NO!!" First, I would only want to teach children or adults who possess a passion for the instrument and a natural ability. I could never "motivate" anyone. For me, the piano was ALL I wanted to do. I never had to be asked to practice. If anything, my family wanted me to take a break, which I never did. haha Knowing myself, I couldn't tolerate a lackluster, complacent student. There are also pianists who cannot "emote" from the instrument. As my current coach complains, "That's not something you can teach...they either have it or they don't."

As for church, not only am I NOT a morning person, but I'm agnostic to boot, so that wouldn't be the best fit for me.

I wish I would have pursued a career as a concert pianist, but I didn't and I cannot go back. Now, at 52, I am still in love with my piano. Piano has provided the most respite, comfort and escape as life has offered her many challenges. I know I wouldn't have made it without this gift, for which I am eternally grateful. I feel genuine sorrow for those who don't have a gift, hobby, interest, etc. I've never been bored one minute in my life (except in the company of boring people!).

I'm afraid if I had to earn a living from piano, I would lose the intimate connection I have with the piano. My mental health would NEVER recover!

Top
#2240811 - 03/03/14 05:04 PM Re: Some musings on piano playing and income [Re: hreichgott]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19777
Loc: New York
Heather: And you hoped this thread would ENcourage people toward piano careers!

(Don't worry -- it still might.) laugh

Top
#2240817 - 03/03/14 05:10 PM Re: Some musings on piano playing and income [Re: Mark_C]
MichaelJamesMN Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/30/12
Posts: 64
Loc: Minnesota
LOL! That was hilarious.

Top
#2240820 - 03/03/14 05:14 PM Re: Some musings on piano playing and income [Re: hreichgott]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5933
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: hreichgott
There are two areas in which any pianist who plays at a professional level can find steady paid work: teaching and playing for churches. Assuming you can at least tolerate children, and at least tolerate being around religious people. Plenty of parents put their kids in piano lessons, and plenty of churches hire live musicians. The market is in no danger of disappearing.
You do sound like you're saying that anyone who can play the piano can teach, as long as they can "at least tolerate children". Surely you're not really saying that are you?

And the figure you arrive at seems to assume that you're teaching 52 weeks per year. Where I live most piano teachers teach around 40 weeks per year.
_________________________
Du holde Kunst...

Top
#2240822 - 03/03/14 05:17 PM Re: Some musings on piano playing and income [Re: currawong]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19777
Loc: New York
Heather: Are you perhaps extrapolating very much from yourself, i.e. that you are indeed very good at all those things that you mentioned, and probably love them? Maybe also that all or most of your colleagues are likewise? But those are special gifts, and it's why when we find teachers that work well for us, it's like gold.

BTW, I originally put this post in the 3rd person, i.e. talking about you rather than to you, because I thought you might feel it immodest to agree with such a thing that was put directly to you (and that's why this post shows as a reply to Currawong rather than to you) but I changed it because it looked rude.

Top
#2240827 - 03/03/14 05:27 PM Re: Some musings on piano playing and income [Re: hreichgott]
Pathbreaker Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/04
Posts: 1082
Loc: Massachusetts
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus

The 19,500 figure you calculated is the equivalent of a job paying $10/hour which is barely above the minimum wage. If you consider that even a job in the fast food industry probably pays health insurance and other benefits, the 19,500 figure looks even worse. Of course, many pianists can make far more than 19,500 teaching but that 19.5K is probably not sufficient for lots of people.


The yearly salary of $19,500 is based on 3 hours / day. You have to redo your math to find out what that translate to in $ / hour.

I realize that practice and preparation time will be needed to go with that 3 hours of work so you could conservatively call it 5 hours...but still. The $10/hour is likely based on a 40 hour week.

(I've done no math I'm just responding to what I read)

Top
#2240829 - 03/03/14 05:29 PM Re: Some musings on piano playing and income [Re: hreichgott]
boo1234 Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/06/09
Posts: 510
$19,500 before taxes doesn't even pay rent for some people.. then add in utilities, clothes, personal items... oh and food... You'd make more working in fast food. And what if you want a car or a house or other big ticket item? Save for a decade? And what if you have kids to take care of?

I understand you're saying that is a base salary that you can expect, but even if you increase this amount by 100%, which is optimistic to say the least, you will still be struggling unless you are content to live a very Spartan lifestyle.

Top
#2240834 - 03/03/14 05:34 PM Re: Some musings on piano playing and income [Re: Pathbreaker]
pianoloverus Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19348
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: Pathbreaker
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus

The 19,500 figure you calculated is the equivalent of a job paying $10/hour which is barely above the minimum wage. If you consider that even a job in the fast food industry probably pays health insurance and other benefits, the 19,500 figure looks even worse. Of course, many pianists can make far more than 19,500 teaching but that 19.5K is probably not sufficient for lots of people.


The yearly salary of $19,500 is based on 3 hours / day. You have to redo your math to find out what that translate to in $ / hour.
When I wrote "equivalent", I meant the equivalent salary based on $10/hour for a 40 hour week.

Top
#2240839 - 03/03/14 05:38 PM Re: Some musings on piano playing and income [Re: hreichgott]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5124
I realized quite early on (when I watched a schoolmate power through Liszt's B minor Sonata at 15, while I was still at ABRSM Grade 7, but not much younger....) that I didn't have the talent to become a concert pianist - and I certainly didn't want to teach. Not that I don't like children (in fact, my profession requires me to at least 'tolerate' them grin), but that being a piano student for over ten years of my life made me realize that teaching music was no fun. In fact, teaching anything is no fun, unless you really have the aptitude for it.

So, I wisely took a completely different career path, while keeping music as a hobby and past time, including singing in a choir and taking part in a little chamber music. My regret is that I never learnt an orchestral instrument, as I fell in love with orchestral music long before I could play the kind of piano music that really interested me.

My feeling is that many piano teachers today have to teach music they dislike, like pop, computer game 'music', movie tunes, Einaudi, Yirumi (or is that Yirimi?) etc if they want to keep their students, unless they are good enough to teach only gifted students in a conservatory. But then, most of the teachers there are also part-time or ex-concert pianists.....
_________________________
"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."

Top
#2240842 - 03/03/14 05:42 PM Re: Some musings on piano playing and income [Re: hreichgott]
Pathbreaker Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/04
Posts: 1082
Loc: Massachusetts
*I have no experience in this area* whistle

Increasing it by 100% would be much closer to middle class if it's one income at that level. But that's like the new middle class which is kinda difficult depending on where you live.

Not to sound cynical but it's not a great sell. Because to increase it by 100% you would have to increase your hours of labor by probably more than 100%. This is ok, because if you are doing what you love and you are making a comfortable wage then that sounds like a win to me. As long as it doesn't add up to more than 50 hours / week and the labor starts to really feel like labor.

I'm in agreement with the OP in a general sense. But the message I'm getting is that an aspiring career pianist needs to enter school with the expectation that they will be a small business owner. They need to hone their craft AND add many other skills to their basket in order to be successful. Some random examples:
  • Entrepreneurship
  • Business administration
  • Event management
  • Education
  • Other soft skills such as networking, interpersonal communication, negotiation (same as any career success story)


Most probably do enter music school with the thought of being a concert pianist first and University professor second. Just to make a sweeping generalization. smile

Top
#2240847 - 03/03/14 05:52 PM Re: Some musings on piano playing and income [Re: pianoloverus]
Pathbreaker Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/18/04
Posts: 1082
Loc: Massachusetts
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: Pathbreaker
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus

The 19,500 figure you calculated is the equivalent of a job paying $10/hour which is barely above the minimum wage. If you consider that even a job in the fast food industry probably pays health insurance and other benefits, the 19,500 figure looks even worse. Of course, many pianists can make far more than 19,500 teaching but that 19.5K is probably not sufficient for lots of people.


The yearly salary of $19,500 is based on 3 hours / day. You have to redo your math to find out what that translate to in $ / hour.
When I wrote "equivalent", I meant the equivalent salary based on $10/hour for a 40 hour week.


I think I get what you're saying...But what I meant was that if you are only working three hours a day and coming out with $19,500 at the end of the year that's more like $20/hour (fuzzy math*). Even if you do absolutely nothing else for the year, you still have gained 1000 hours of free time which you must do something with. Time = $$$

*Normal work year = 2000 hours, I just cut it in half

Top
#2240868 - 03/03/14 06:32 PM Re: Some musings on piano playing and income [Re: hreichgott]
TwoSnowflakes Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/15/12
Posts: 1223
I've got so much to say about this I'm not even sure where to begin. But suffice it to say it has a lot to do with the desire for prosperity and security colliding headlong into the very things prosperity and security permit us to pursue.
_________________________
Currently:
Bach, French Suites, No. 3 BWV 814
Brahms, Op. 118 No. 2 Intermezzo A major
Chopin, Mazurka Op. 67 No.4
With the pedal I love to meddle; When Paderewski comes this way... -Irving Berlin

Top
#2240871 - 03/03/14 06:37 PM Re: Some musings on piano playing and income [Re: hreichgott]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5318
Loc: Philadelphia
Quote:
A household with two workers each earning that salary is at the 40th percentile of household income in the USA, either middle class or lower middle class.

This may be, but $19,500 puts you in the lowest quintile for individual income, and means that just over 60% of America earns a higher salary than you. AND, as others have pointed out, even those in your quintile typically get at least some form of health insurance through their place of employment.

Quote:
So why does piano have a reputation for being a lousy way to make a living?

I think you may have raised the biggest concern yourself: cost. Let's assume you want to run a studio. You'll need one of two things: your own house, or an apartment with unrestrictive noise policies and friendly/tolerant neighbors. You'll also need a decent piano, and for "marketing" purposes, it should probably be a grand.

If you're going the apartment route, you won't need a down payment. You will, however, still need a piano. Going rate around $5-10k for a playable used grand, $10-15k for a decent one. That's anywhere from 50-80% of your annual income.

If you're going the house route, you'll need a downpayment. No idea where you're going to come up with $30-50k after buying the piano, but it will have to come from somewhere.

We're also ignoring another huge problem for young professionals: college loans. The current average per student is $35,500.

For someone who owns their own home (no mortgage), owns their own piano, has no more college debt, and qualifies for any number of free/cheap medical programs, this might be a great option. But if you're a young professional, chances are you don't have any of these variables covered, which means you have huge up-front costs, and staggering recurring fees considering the revenue you'll be bringing in.

Here are some very basic things, based on Philly:

Rent: $750
Food: $288
Car: $135
Gas: $115
Health Ins: $135
College Loan: $408.54
Piano Loan: $271.20

Total Monthly Costs: $2,103.24
Total Annual Costs: $25,238.82

And these are basic things you'd need. I haven't touched cable, internet, electricity, heating, water, trash removal, parking, entertainment (going out with friends), saving for the future, planning for having a family, etc etc. Without adding any of those things, you're already $5,738.82 in the red.

Even if you find a place with a piano, you're still $2500 in the red. (You have to live somewhere so that cost doesn't go away just because you're not using the space for your business.. except now you can't claim it on your tax returns.)


Let's also consider that, if you try to become a piano teacher in Philadelphia, you're competing against hundreds of current piano teachers who already have established clientele, a reputation, and many more networking connections than you do. Can the market support another service-based business? I don't know, but I do know it's a pretty big gamble.


I'm not saying it can't be done. I'm just saying it's not nearly as easy as $19,500 a year and "you're set". wink
_________________________
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.

Top
#2240876 - 03/03/14 06:42 PM Re: Some musings on piano playing and income [Re: hreichgott]
JoelW Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4781
Loc: USA
If you're not very good, you probably won't make much money. If you are very good, you probably won't make much money.

Top
#2240944 - 03/03/14 08:39 PM Re: Some musings on piano playing and income [Re: hreichgott]
hreichgott Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/13
Posts: 1010
Loc: western MA, USA
Ok, certain things in the OP are there as Bare Minimum. Just as an example of how someone with minimal competence/motivation and minimal hours could make out. I didn't even specify that this has to be a GOOD teacher or a GOOD accompanist smile

Clearly someone who is somewhat entrepreneurial, reasonably talented, wins the respect of colleagues, good at teaching, is in a location where his/her services are needed, and is inclined to work more than 3 hours a day will do significantly better than this minimum financially. Mark C, you're kind, and without being too specific I do think that I offer more than the bare minimum in all these areas including hours worked and income.

Derulux, that breakdown is interesting. I was just assuming a 2-earner household since I think that's how most young people imagine their eventual families. Yes, things are harder if you don't have at least a roommate who also works. But not living with roommates is an economic choice too...

Now if we've got a 2-earner household at the 40th percentile for income or higher, and they still can't make ends meet even while being frugal, then I submit it is a problem of 40% of American households generally, and not a problem of a few wackos who decide to become pianists.
_________________________
Heather W. Reichgott, piano http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com
Sounding the depths of small pieces: Beethoven Op. 33
Daily attempts at 16th notes: Chopin Op. 10 no. 4, Pischna
Totally loving Fauré/Barcarolles and Ravel/Tombeau de Couperin
I love Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and new music

Top
#2240950 - 03/03/14 08:56 PM Re: Some musings on piano playing and income [Re: hreichgott]
hreichgott Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/11/13
Posts: 1010
Loc: western MA, USA
P. S. I actually do wonder about this assumption that most people training as pianists want to be concert pianists?

Just speaking for myself here, but although I love to perform locally every now and then, the idea of waking up in a different city once or twice a week and having to not only perform, but perform on an unfamiliar instrument in a strange room for people I don't know, and then network with people I only see when I'm in that city, argue with my agent, try to find something resembling practice time wherever I am, telephone my family late at night if at all, and then get on another plane and do it all over again all season long.... that kind of life has never seemed appealing.

Of the piano majors I knew in college (these were conservatory students) only some aspired to the concert stage. Others were more interested in conducting, teaching, composing, accompanying, chamber music, theatre etc.

One might as well say that most people training as writers only want to be on the New York Times best seller list or else they're not interested, or that most people entering the military only want to be generals...
_________________________
Heather W. Reichgott, piano http://heatherwreichgott.blogspot.com
Sounding the depths of small pieces: Beethoven Op. 33
Daily attempts at 16th notes: Chopin Op. 10 no. 4, Pischna
Totally loving Fauré/Barcarolles and Ravel/Tombeau de Couperin
I love Mozart, Haydn, Beethoven and new music

Top
#2240967 - 03/03/14 09:38 PM Re: Some musings on piano playing and income [Re: hreichgott]
bennevis Online   content
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 5124
Originally Posted By: hreichgott
P. S. I actually do wonder about this assumption that most people training as pianists want to be concert pianists?


Of the piano majors I knew in college (these were conservatory students) only some aspired to the concert stage. Others were more interested in conducting, teaching, composing, accompanying, chamber music, theatre etc.

One might as well say that most people training as writers only want to be on the New York Times best seller list or else they're not interested, or that most people entering the military only want to be generals...

If one just wanted to teach, all you need is a teaching diploma or equivalent (and many teachers don't even have that - my first teacher didn't). Why go to a conservatoire, with its almost total emphasis on performance? And if you wanted to conduct, you'd do a conducting course there, not a piano course - similarly for composing, etc.

I'm of course basing this on the music scene in the UK: students don't apply to the music colleges if their ambition is to become music teachers, rather than performers (which include accompanying and conducting, of course). Maybe it's different in USA.
_________________________
"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."

Top
#2240987 - 03/03/14 10:50 PM Re: Some musings on piano playing and income [Re: hreichgott]
Atrys Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/31/13
Posts: 990
Originally Posted By: hreichgott
the idea of waking up in a different city once or twice a week and having to not only perform, but perform on an unfamiliar instrument in a strange room for people I don't know, and then network with people I only see when I'm in that city, argue with my agent, try to find something resembling practice time wherever I am, telephone my family late at night if at all, and then get on another plane and do it all over again all season long.... that kind of life has never seemed appealing.

But what about the idea of traveling around the world, inviting audiences on your musical journey during every performance, sharing intimate encounters with extraordinary people, giving masterclasses to people that greatly value your ideas, telling your loved ones on the phone in the quiet of the night about your experiences, and ultimately appreciating the opportunity to grace the audience with your presence and music and ideas and love?

The frame of such a thing is important. If you frame the life of a concert pianist with only things that are "negative", of course your understanding will only be "negative".

There are two (n?) sides to every story wink
_________________________
"A good intention but fixed and resolute - bent on high and holy ends, we shall find means to them on every side and at every moment; and even obstacles and opposition will but make us 'like the fabled specter-ships,' which sail the fastest in the very teeth of the wind."
R. W. Emerson

Top
#2240988 - 03/03/14 10:52 PM Re: Some musings on piano playing and income [Re: Atrys]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19777
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: Atrys
....There are two (n?) sides to every story wink

Great job adding the "n." grin

(As we're seeing on here, it is so.)

Top
#2241023 - 03/04/14 12:51 AM Re: Some musings on piano playing and income [Re: Mark_C]
Sand Tiger Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1051
Loc: Southern California
I can add two discouraging anecdotes to the thread. A friend of mine is a former concert pianist. He also has a PhD in math, and that is what secured his finances. Despite being a concert level pianist, he is not good with people. Even getting the modest three kids a day would be a stretch for his personality. Pedagogy is separate from skill at playing piano. Selling yourself as a teacher is not something that comes easily to introverted pianists.

Despite his piano credentials, when he lost his high paying job, he tried to do private tutoring in math. It is a more competitive market than many might imagine. He did not even think to try his hand at teaching piano, despite his resume.

Second story, I know another phenomenal pianist with a newly minted performance degree. Unfortunately, this second pianist is quite shy, does not have a friendly personality, and speaks English with an accent. Despite a high level skill at piano, especially sight reading, it is not enough to get concert gigs, so not as good on a relative basis as the first pianist who at least got that chance to tour. The shy personality makes it very hard to get any kind of work, including teaching.

There was a recent interview linked on the various PW forums with a recent Julliard grad, Assaff Weisman, a major competition winner. He mentions two or three times in the interview how difficult it is for many of his extremely talented Julliard musician classmates to find work.

With all that, I tend to encourage young people to pursue their dreams. Some are going to make it big. A lot of people choose something much more practical sounding, but who knows how many regret their choices.

Even things that sound practical such as a business degree, or a law degree, or a computer related degree, guarantees virtually nothing anymore. Yes, the chances for a decent job are better with certain majors, but nothing is guaranteed. Someone that turns their back on their passions, or stops believing in themselves at a young age, may not even complete the degree program.

Any way I found the interview I was thinking about:
http://www.examiner.com/article/interview-with-pianist-assaff-weisman

>> Assaff Weisman:
the generation before ours was told, ‘Just play very, very well, and the rest will take care of itself,’. It’s now clear, to anyone trying to ‘make it’ in the music world, that that’s really not enough. I wish there was more of a focus on how to create a career.
...

There are so many wonderful, deserving artists out there. You might think you are the best in the world, but you might not get the call simply because there’s an endless supply.
>>


Edited by Sand Tiger (03/04/14 12:59 AM)
_________________________
my piano uploads

Top
#2241031 - 03/04/14 01:19 AM Re: Some musings on piano playing and income [Re: hreichgott]
StarvingLion Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/30/13
Posts: 226
"There are so many wonderful, deserving artists out there"

Wrong. These "artists" cannot write *ANY* worthy piano concerto's whatsoever to earn money like Mozart had to. Therefore, they do not have any talent.

My mission here is to prove that it does not require any talent at all to play advanced piano even at middle age. In fact, it doesn't even require a single piano lesson. Or even a decent acoustic piano. I should just start a thread entitled "No talent, doing Chopin

op.10 no.1, 2 and op.25 no. 6, 8, 10, 11

just to to prove a point...that it takes no talent to do it"

Top
#2241037 - 03/04/14 01:31 AM Re: Some musings on piano playing and income [Re: StarvingLion]
JoelW Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4781
Loc: USA
I'm either missing something or you are very confused.

Top
#2241046 - 03/04/14 01:50 AM Re: Some musings on piano playing and income [Re: StarvingLion]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5318
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: StarvingLion
"There are so many wonderful, deserving artists out there"

Wrong. These "artists" cannot write *ANY* worthy piano concerto's whatsoever to earn money like Mozart had to. Therefore, they do not have any talent.

My mission here is to prove that it does not require any talent at all to play advanced piano even at middle age. In fact, it doesn't even require a single piano lesson. Or even a decent acoustic piano. I should just start a thread entitled "No talent, doing Chopin

op.10 no.1, 2 and op.25 no. 6, 8, 10, 11

just to to prove a point...that it takes no talent to do it"

While I completely agree about the "talent" thing -- shoutout to my friends from that old thread -- I probably agree for very different reasons.

Since you have this specific mission, would you mind posting a recording of you performing these pieces? 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.

Top
#2241049 - 03/04/14 02:00 AM Re: Some musings on piano playing and income [Re: JoelW]
Sand Tiger Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 1051
Loc: Southern California
Originally Posted By: JoelW
I'm either missing something or you are very confused.


Trolls live their lives in confusion, in dark deep caves, under bridges, in sewers. Occasionally someone is stupid enough to feed the troll. The troll will then follow that person around the forum. In a few unfortunate cases, the troll drags the person into the sewer where they wrestle. Don't be that person.

/edit to add: oh too late, the troll claims another victim. So sad.

Oh a second victim. Oh the humanity.

Folks, don't feed the troll. The comments mean nothing. The game is to get people riled up and get an angry reaction. So far the troll is winning this game.



Edited by Sand Tiger (03/04/14 02:06 AM)
_________________________
my piano uploads

Top
#2241050 - 03/04/14 02:02 AM Re: Some musings on piano playing and income [Re: StarvingLion]
phantomFive Online   content
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/11/14
Posts: 1398
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: StarvingLion
"There are so many wonderful, deserving artists out there"

Wrong. These "artists" cannot write *ANY* worthy piano concerto's whatsoever to earn money like Mozart had to. Therefore, they do not have any talent.

My mission here is to prove that it does not require any talent at all to play advanced piano even at middle age. In fact, it doesn't even require a single piano lesson. Or even a decent acoustic piano. I should just start a thread entitled "No talent, doing Chopin

op.10 no.1, 2 and op.25 no. 6, 8, 10, 11

just to to prove a point...that it takes no talent to do it"


You're going to have to define talent there.....because from where I stand, anyone who can play Chopin has developed some talent
_________________________
Poetry is rhythm.

Top
#2241055 - 03/04/14 02:29 AM Re: Some musings on piano playing and income [Re: Sand Tiger]
JoelW Online   content
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/25/12
Posts: 4781
Loc: USA
Originally Posted By: Sand Tiger
Folks, don't feed the troll. The comments mean nothing. The game is to get people riled up and get an angry reaction. So far the troll is winning this game.


No one is getting riled up nor have I seen any angry reactions. It's good to give people the benefit of the doubt at first.

Top
Page 1 of 9 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 >

Moderator:  Brendan, Kreisler 
What's Hot!!
HOW TO POST PICTURES on the Piano Forums
-------------------
Sharing is Caring!
About the Buttons
-------------------
Forums Rules & Help
-------------------
ADVERTISE
on Piano World

The world's most popular piano web site.
-------------------
PIANO BOOKS
Interesting books about the piano, pianists, piano history, biographies, memoirs and more!
(ad) HAILUN Pianos
Hailun Pianos - Click for More
ad (Casio)
Celviano by Casio Rebate
Ad (Seiler/Knabe)
Knabe Pianos
Sheet Music
(PW is an affiliate)
Sheet Music Plus Featured Sale
(125ad) Dampp Chaser
Dampp Chaser Piano Life Saver
(ad) Lindeblad Piano
Lindeblad Piano Restoration
New Topics - Multiple Forums
Canon in D in 2+ parts/voices
by kobethuy
09/21/14 02:50 PM
Advice on Hammer purchase.
by plns
09/21/14 01:37 PM
Light Hammers- Computer Analysis of 4 Grand Piano Actions
by chernobieff
09/21/14 01:12 PM
Kawai AT-120 47" From 1995?
by johnntran123
09/21/14 01:11 PM
Marche Funèbre d'une Marionette
by Minnesota Marty
09/21/14 10:09 AM
Who's Online
135 registered (accordeur, ando, Adypiano, acortot, 45 invisible), 1512 Guests and 19 Spiders online.
Key: Admin, Global Mod, Mod
Forum Stats
76260 Members
42 Forums
157669 Topics
2315904 Posts

Max Online: 15252 @ 03/21/10 11:39 PM
(ads by Google)

Visit our online store for gifts for music lovers

 
Help keep the forums up and running with a donation, any amount is appreciated!
Or by becoming a Subscribing member! Thank-you.
Donate   Subscribe
 
Our Piano Related Classified Ads
|
Dealers | Tuners | Lessons | Movers | Restorations | Pianos For Sale | Sell Your Piano |

Advertise on Piano World
| Subscribe | Piano World | PianoSupplies.com | Advertise on Piano World | Donate | Link to Us | Classifieds |
| |Contact | Privacy | Legal | About Us | Site Map | Free Newsletter | Press Room |


copyright 1997 - 2014 Piano World ® all rights reserved
No part of this site may be reproduced without prior written permission