My future in music
I know this is very similar to another recent discussion, but here goes.
I’m a freshman in high school, and I play both violin and piano. My more serious instrument is definitely violin, and I really love playing music. I started playing when I was five and changed to my current professor when I was ten. When I started with him, he gave me Tempo di Minuetto, where I began my journey of the "Solos for Young Violinists" book series. Some of my more recent pieces are the Bach Partita No. 3, Bruch Concerto No. 1, Mozart Concerto No. 4, Grieg Sonata No. 3 (1st mvmt), and Zigeunerweisen. As bad as it may sound, I only very recently realized how much I actually love playing music. I attended the HeifetzPEG program this year, and it has shown me how much I have yet to learn but also how much I can achieve if I’d practice. Sounds cliche and probably like something that would wear off in a few weeks, but it has truly changed how I practice and how I feel about the violin. Anyway, enough of my life story,
Don’t worry, I’m not going to use your answers to determine my career path! I’m just a bit curious about what you guys think. I’m by no means exceptional with my repertoire or interpretations, but I definitely want to see how I can keep music as a part of my life.
Post a link to a youtube video, just you playing at home and the piece doesnt have to be concert-finished either, just describe how long have you practised on it.
If you're a freshman in high school, and you've done ALL MOVEMENTS from Bach Partita No. 3, Bruch Concerto No. 1, Mozart Concerto No. 4, as well as the Zig, and these have been played to a highly polished performance standard, then my sense is that you could be competitive. But it really REALLY depends how well you've played those pieces. My strong suggestion to ANY high school freshman is: Maintain your academics and have a Plan B. If you're going to go for conservatory admission, then you need a professor who has prepared students for that before (with demonstrated success placing them).
go to youtube and search for videos of kids in prep divisions of any credible conservatory and see how you measure up. Very few of those kids are going to make it as professional violinists.
I would think deeply about what you are truly interested in. Is music the only thing you truly love or do you have some other interests/passions? The good news as far as going amateur is concerned is that there are lots of opportunities to get together with other like-minded people; you could join a local amateur orchestra or play chamber music with friends or do a bit of local performing. I would keep all your options open and weigh everything out. Right now you have plenty of time to decide, and you can even take gap years after high school if you need it. I would focus on doing your best in school and maintain good grades. There are plenty of different kinds of post-secondary institutions, and university is not the only good option, though you must have a degree to get into certain careers. Bottom line: keep all your options open. And oh, by the way, you have a significantly better chance that the guy who recently started this kind of thread of getting into a decent music program, assuming you play your current repertoire well and make good progress in the next few years. Making it into HeifetzPEG is already a good sign.
Assuming you are playing your repertoire at a polished level, you're in the running. But so are many other students, more than openings exist for. A Plan B is always a good idea. And if your current teacher lacks experience in preparing students for conservatory admissions, you might also want to get some coaching from someone who is knowledgeable about current audition requirements and level.
Hi, everyone! Thank you so much for the input.
Well, you are a lot closer to target than the other poster, but depending on your goals, you are still about ~2 years behind the kids who are applying to top programs. But you will likely be a strong candidate for the second tier schools. I'm assuming since you went to HeifetzPEG you play your pieces reasonably well.
Now's a good time to spend time with professional musicians in your community and talk to them about what the life of a pro is like. It is not an easy life. Attend a high quality music camp that includes college-aged people who are starting to face the job market.
What Thomas Boyer said. One of my piano teachers in high school was a man I really adored. I'm still in touch with him. He was such an intellectual. He seemed to know everything about art an literature. He was an amazing pianist. (Yes he had some shortcomings too.) But he made his living lugging around a Hammond B-3 organ and playing in country and western bands and his car was in such bad shape that sometimes I had to pick him up from his apartment, drive him to my house, have my lesson, and drive him home. That's when I *knew* it was totally hopeless for me to be a professional jazz (or anything) pianist. When you turn on the TV and there's a 6-year-old child playing flawlessly what you're aspiring to play on the violin at age 15, there's a valuable calibration point there.
I have generally studied with teachers who were making a good living in music.
You have a great future in music, Yolanda, if you just keep enjoying playing the violin with friends you will make and by yourself.
A child with impressive technical facilities for their age isn't necessarily on a trajectory towards a full time orchestral job. People develop at different times, they lose interest (especially kids who are pushed so hard) and orchestras look for different qualities.
George Wells gave good advice.
I’m a bit late, but thank you all so much for your responses! I thoroughly enjoyed reading them, and they have all really made me think about what I truly want.
I just want to say, while Susan's son is doing extremely well, he's in an unusually competitive environment for his age. I know of more than a few students who were not at his level at his age--though they were certainly doing very well--who got into conservatory with a good teacher, worked extremely hard, and won a job. That is where I think you are. If what you want is to play in an orchestra, it's not necessarily out of your reach if you are willing to work very hard and get kicked in the stomach more than a few times en route to winning a position--auditions are brutal--and all the better if you're happy with a significant part of your income coming from private teaching and/or weddings.