In order to have a concrete understanding of this article’s statements, please read through to the end of this article. By reading this article you agree and accept that this article may contain fiction and some exaggerated expressions and opinions in order to create suspense. Please read at your discretion. For pianists and other musicians.
No, you can’t. It’s out of the question! End of article. (Read to the end of the article to really find out.)
Inform your teacher, alert the media and let your parents know as early as possible, that quite likely you are not cut out to be a famous pianist. Chances are that you are not going to become the next Vladimir Horowitz or András Schiff.
Statistically, is more likely to win a lottery jackpot than becoming one of the few pianists that audiences consider significant today. In all probability, you will become one of the hundreds of thousands of pianists that are good enough to perform or teach the piano.(cough)
Does this sound discouraging? Does this make you feel irate? Well, welcome to reality. And please don’t worry, this is just an article.
Let’s be prudent. Let’s be pragmatic!
However, take heart. It can be possible that you will play some decent piano music and you might be able to excite some audiences with your sound. But great playing alone is not enough to make you a classic figure in the piano world. I’m coming to that later.
Now, why do you think I sound so shrill and discouraging? The reason is because I want to protect you by telling you the facts. Being level-headed and true about yourself can help you to achieve all the goals you have set in your life.
If it were for all the piano students, from conservatoires to private lessons, to become famous and successful performers, then today’s famous pianists wouldn’t have a job. Needless to say, those pianists wouldn’t want you to become a great pianist either; especially a pianist better than them. Naturally, they would want you to stay mediocre so they won’t lose their money and effort. Regardless of what famous pianists publicly state to students and how melodramatically supportive they may seem to be, always lurking inside them is the desire for you to fail, and as a result, they would succeed.
On the other hand, being competitive and desiring the failure of your opponents is a natural thing in humans. Therefore, don’t assume that those people are simply bad and horrible. They are just humans who want to thrive and make great things. Still, not all the people must make great things, so that’s the beauty of life.
But let’s talk about yourself for a second. Say you were a famous and successful pianist. Would you like to wake up one morning and find that you are one amongst thousands of pianists that are also great? Or that your best friend at conservatoire became a world class pianist too? ( I think the second one feels much worse, isn’t it? :)).That would mean that you will lose most of your concerts and you won’t be that desirable as a teacher anymore. There would have been more pianists around for an agency to choose from, thus more competition.
Now tell me: Haven’t you already started to become less “altruistic”? So, don’t assume that all the great pianists are humane and amazing and great people and this and that and the other thing. As with Machiavelli’s Prince, they just knew that they could afford to show altruism and greatness because they knew that most pianists around them were not as good as them. For example, history has it that when Horowitz was asked, why he played his octaves so fast and loud, he replied: “because I can”. Well, there you have it. Think about this quote for a second. Altruism all the way!
However, humor aside, returning to the question of, “can you really become a famous pianist”, I would say that I don’t know. I will leave it up to you to discover the answer to this question.
Becoming famous in classical music requires, unluckily for some, to be great at your instrument or your singing. You need to start from there. Then, when you become good enough to be able to have a say with your music, what also counts is to develop your personal image. You may want to make a statement with your “outer shell” and decide how you want people to remember you. For instance, Vladimir Ashkenazy likes to wear polo shirts while in concert, whereas Evgeny Kissin likes to keep his hair big and fluffy. Those unassuming preferences, together of course with a little bit of impeccable playing, separate those pianists in the minds of people.
Also, keep in mind, that a great pianist mustn’t necessarily become famous. He could become half-famous or even not famous at all. He could just feel happy to perform exquisitely in the comfort of his own living room. Do you know a pianist called Nicholas Kokkinis, for instance? No? Well, he is a master pianist but alas he is not widely known.
Again, don’t get discouraged! Becoming a famous a pianist shouldn’t be a lifetime’s ultimate goal. It doesn’t really matter if you don’t become famous and it doesn’t really matter if you do become famous. You should concentrate in music-making first and foremost. And, if fame comes, then great.
Well, ….and if you just recently became famous you can write to me and mock me!