Advice for Adult Beginners

Added on by Greg Anderson.
Dear Greg,
I stopped playing the piano when I pass my ABRSM Grade 5 piano practical exam in 2000. Discouragements and disappointments leaded me to give up achieving my dream of being a professional pianist. However, I dunno how, not too long ago, I managed to have the desire to play the piano and dream to be a pianist again. I'm now 24. Is it too late for me to continue practice playing the piano to achieve my dream? If I may still have the opportunity to be a pianist, how can I achieve this dream? Do I need to possess national playing standard and have a degree in piano performace? P.S. Your true and most honest opinion will be very much helpful. Thank you very much.
 - Andrea

Dear Andrea,

Please peruse the "Piano as a career" archives. I've already responded to quite a few questions about the demands, difficulties, and joys of playing the piano as a career, and my responses are archived there. To summarize: it is extremely difficult to make a living as a "concert pianist," even for the best pianists. Many Juilliard graduates I know have quit their instruments and turned their attention to finding alternative means of income. I fully believe in the realization of dreams, but some dreams take a ridiculous amount of work (especially in this case); you have to want it so bad that you are willing to make enormous sacrifices in other areas of your life.... like your day job... like time spent with your friends... like sleep... The rewards can be awesome, but you have to decide if the cost is worth it to you.

However, and I'm repeating myself here, there are other ways to earn money as a pianist that don't involve performing on concert stages. None of them are easy, all of them are important, and all of them can be extremely rewarding. 

If you truly love playing the piano, if you enjoy creating music, if you are fascinated by the piano repertoire... you could always consider the greatest musical vocation of them all: you could be an amateur. By definition, amateurs "love" what they do. Amateurs keep music alive in homes around the world. More so than many professionals, amateurs are truly in touch with the joys of music, and their joy is contagious. Amateurs help to raise the musical literacy around the world. Amateurs deserve enormous respect, and America, in particular, is in need of many more amateur pianists.

Good luck!

- Greg