At what point did you feel like you "arrived" as a pianist

Posted by: TrueMusic

At what point did you feel like you "arrived" as a pianist - 12/01/12 09:11 PM

So this semester has been huge for me. I've had a number of breakthroughs in my playing and have conquered a couple pieces that I once judged as far too difficult for me to play. I've learned a lot about practice, phrasing, and technique. Obviously I'm not saying I'm done with my journey, I'll never be done, but I feel like I'm finally beginning to sound the way I always knew I could.

So for me, the moment came when I took my chopin ├ętude, 25 no.2, and brought it in one week from a stumbling mess to a cohesive unit, then in another week got it to a slow performance tempo, and now a week after that I feel like I have the phrasing and feel of the piece at any tempo I choose. The final confirmation came when I played it for my professor the first week I had it down as he looked at me and just said, "now did you know you could do that? Let's just take a minute and celebrate."

How about for you? Was there a moment where you finally felt successful and had the confidence to take on some of the more difficult repertoire?
Posted by: Arghhh

Re: At what point did you feel like you "arrived" as a pianist - 12/01/12 09:25 PM

Haven't made it there yet.
Posted by: DonaldLee

Re: At what point did you feel like you "arrived" as a pianist - 12/01/12 10:05 PM

I had my "aha" moment with the piano 1.5 months ago, when I played Les Adieux for my studio class. I had been struggling with making the piece speak, and getting the 3rd movement up to speed, and I got tired of having disappointing lessons, so I practiced the piece relentlessly. To make a long story short, I played it at studio class from memory, and stunned myself and my professor with the quality of my playing. I found my "zone" for performances, and learned some practice techniques that work really well for me. Also, my other performances have been awesome since then.

I also had a technical breakthrough tonight. My scales with literally stuck at 132 bpm for some reason, and I was able to do them at 160 tonight. I guess I finally figured out how to be completely relaxed, and keep my hand quiet, yet be super accurate all at the same time.
Posted by: Copake

Re: At what point did you feel like you "arrived" as a pianist - 12/02/12 01:28 PM

Six decades later and still waiting.
Posted by: Piano*Dad

Re: At what point did you feel like you "arrived" as a pianist - 12/02/12 01:30 PM

Hah! You beat me to it.
Posted by: Ferdinand

Re: At what point did you feel like you "arrived" as a pianist - 12/02/12 03:33 PM

Originally Posted By: Arghhh
Haven't made it there yet.

Same here. Still chipping away hoping for a breakthrough.
But it's inspiring to read the success stories here. I hope more folks will contribute to the thread.
Posted by: DanS

Re: At what point did you feel like you "arrived" as a pianist - 12/02/12 07:31 PM

When i learned Alborada del gracioso.

I had just played my sophomore recital and had two weeks until the end of the semester. I learned, memorized, and performed Alborada at the end of semester masterclass. It wasn't great, but doing it in only two weeks was a great feeling! It gave me inspriation to take on the bigger pieces I had been looking at.
Posted by: Pogorelich.

Re: At what point did you feel like you "arrived" as a pianist - 12/02/12 07:38 PM

Not yet. Starting to lose hope.
Posted by: gooddog

Re: At what point did you feel like you "arrived" as a pianist - 12/02/12 07:52 PM

At the moment, I feel crushed. I'll never get there.
Posted by: BethH

Re: At what point did you feel like you "arrived" as a pianist - 12/02/12 08:05 PM

I'm not there either. Not that I wish the others to not be there either, but it does make me feel better that I have some company.

I don't see myself getting "there" either. It's discouraging for me as well. I like piano, but I feel stuck right now. It's so much, much work. I don't mind the work but wow... it is a lot of work to be decent.

I envy those of you who are 20-ish, and practice hours every day, and make good progress in your studies. I'm happy that I didn't major in music, but envious of those of you who are having that opportunity.
Posted by: wr

Re: At what point did you feel like you "arrived" as a pianist - 12/02/12 09:41 PM

I guess that would be when I gave my first solo recital, when I was thirteen. Little did I know at the time that it would also be the only solo recital I'd give...which goes to show how illusory the feeling can be.
Posted by: trigalg693

Re: At what point did you feel like you "arrived" as a pianist - 12/03/12 12:22 AM

I feel like I haven't arrived yet frown

I think it'll be the day I give a technically competent performance on stage that involves more than just 1 short piece.
Posted by: bennevis

Re: At what point did you feel like you "arrived" as a pianist - 12/03/12 09:51 AM

The point when I feel I've arrived is when I play Rach 3 with an orchestra without any wrong notes and with the virtuosity and power of Gavrilov or Sokolov.....which will probably be in my 3rd lifetime grin.
Posted by: jeffreyjones

Re: At what point did you feel like you "arrived" as a pianist - 12/03/12 03:38 PM

My concerto debut (Stravinsky). But it didn't open any new doors for me. I'm already too busy to commit to more, anyway.
Posted by: MarkH

Re: At what point did you feel like you "arrived" as a pianist - 12/03/12 04:40 PM

I feel like I will arrive at that point when the learning of new rep doesn't require overcoming substantial technical hurdles, and I can fairly quickly progress to just working on interpretation. As is, I'm finding that there are fewer hurdles than there used to be, but there's usually still something. I'm not there yet...
Posted by: TrueMusic

Re: At what point did you feel like you "arrived" as a pianist - 12/03/12 10:38 PM

Originally Posted By: MarkH
I feel like I will arrive at that point when the learning of new rep doesn't require overcoming substantial technical hurdles, and I can fairly quickly progress to just working on interpretation. As is, I'm finding that there are fewer hurdles than there used to be, but there's usually still something. I'm not there yet...


I think I agree with this. I mean, I'm definitely not there either. I guess I more feel like I am really just beginning the journey, having spent the last 15 years learning different things the piano could do...and now I'm beginning to be able to do them. I guess I'll really feel "there" next year when I give a senior recital that will have a full Sonata, a few concert etudes, and a few other undecided works...
Posted by: sophial

Re: At what point did you feel like you "arrived" as a pianist - 12/03/12 11:59 PM

Originally Posted By: gooddog
At the moment, I feel crushed. I'll never get there.


What happened, Deborah?

Pogo, you too, what happened? was it the memory slip?

p.s. I'm certainly not there!
Posted by: Orange Soda King

Re: At what point did you feel like you "arrived" as a pianist - 12/04/12 12:52 AM

I'm not there yet.
Posted by: trigalg693

Re: At what point did you feel like you "arrived" as a pianist - 12/04/12 03:45 AM

Originally Posted By: MarkH
I feel like I will arrive at that point when the learning of new rep doesn't require overcoming substantial technical hurdles, and I can fairly quickly progress to just working on interpretation. As is, I'm finding that there are fewer hurdles than there used to be, but there's usually still something. I'm not there yet...


I dunno, I feel like I've gotten to the point where the technical hurdles don't feel that bad, but my performances are far from secure. Scriabin 5 for example did not feel painful to learn, most of Chopin feels pretty easy technically (read through some of the hard Etudes the other day and it didn't seem so bad anymore), and while I have difficulty with the harder Liszt Transcendental Etudes I feel like I just need to refine my technique a little to master them, yet I cannot pull off a clean performance on stage for my life. A pianist is judged by on-stage performance afterall.
Posted by: ChopinAddict

Re: At what point did you feel like you "arrived" as a pianist - 12/04/12 01:49 PM

If we think of Vladimir's quote ("Perfection itself is imperfection") it is probably good that most of us think they have not arrived yet. What is important is that you are happy with your progress.
Posted by: pianoloverus

Re: At what point did you feel like you "arrived" as a pianist - 12/04/12 04:05 PM

The answer depends completely on each person's definition of "arrived" which is not a term typically used to describe pianistic skill. I don't see the point to the question. I can't imagine a serious student asking their teacher if they've "arrived" yet.

The "answer" is completely arbitrary. For the OP his arrival involved something that some would consider remarkable and others would consider rather insignificant. IMO the question is similar to "When will I no longer be a beginner?" but even far more arbitrary and vague.
Posted by: jdhampton924

Re: At what point did you feel like you "arrived" as a pianist - 12/09/12 01:51 AM

When I walked through the door! :p
Posted by: Auntie Lynn

Re: At what point did you feel like you "arrived" as a pianist - 12/09/12 02:06 AM

I was six years old. It was my first recital. I had on a red and white striped taffeta dress, black Maryjanes and a head full of Shirley Temple curls. I played that timeless classic "The Waltz of the Toys." When I finished, I stood up to thunderous applause. I said to myself: Wow, this is the life for me! And the rest is history.
Posted by: Ian_G

Re: At what point did you feel like you "arrived" as a pianist - 12/09/12 05:02 AM

Taffeta, darling.

Taffeta, sweetheart!

I was a younger lad -- it was back in my wild San Francisco days, when I was one of the mad ones, and I gave my first professional recital (Liszt), and O! did I pace before, and O! did I eat a banana.
Posted by: Entheo

Re: At what point did you feel like you "arrived" as a pianist - 12/09/12 08:56 AM

great question, actually.

having not yet arrived, the definition for me is when i am able to play pieces consistently while being able to express what i hear in my head & heart.

i see this as a psychological threshold more than a technical one, since as an adult restarter i have no illusions about achieving virtuosity (wish i could sit down and sight read pieces too, but that seems an unlikely goal as well).