Self-Taught

Added on by Greg Anderson.

Hello Greg!
I've taken piano lessons when I was about 9 years old, but quit due to lack of money in the family. Ever since, I have been playing for fun and composing my own music. I'm 17 years old right now, and for the past year I have been teaching myself to read music because I wanted to learn classical pieces. An orchestra director at my school overheard me play Liebestraum by Liszt and said I was very talented, especially for someone who's self-taught. She actually didn't believe I could read music that difficult in one year. I want to become a pianist, and I finally realized it. My parents aren't supportive of my decision, they would rather I go to university for med school. Anyway, I've been doubtful about considering being a pianist because I started so late. Regardless of my passion for piano, I look at all the great virtuso pianists, and they all started at such an early age and went to prestigious conservatories. I'm just a regular, self-taught, seventeen year old girl. I'm not expecting to become a concert-level pianist or anything, but I do want to do this for a living, and I will put every ounce of willingness, dedication, and passion I have. Any advice for me? I'd appreciate it.
 - Irina

Dear Irina,

I'm impressed by your determination, but I can only give you the same advice I give to everyone. Whatever you do, please remember that no matter how good you are, the musical world is a fickle place. One can never truly predict his or her successes. As long as you choose to play the piano because you love it, you will be content with a musical career -- as a teacher, a concert director, a composer, an arranger, a critic, a writer, a concert pianist, an accompanist, a publisher, an entrepreneur, a conductor, or whatever else. If you choose to play the piano because you want to be a famous pianist or wealthy, you will very likely be disappointed with your choice.

Best wishes!

- Greg (Dec. 30, 08)