May 5

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Apples and Oranges

Did you hear the latest about Yuja Wang?

She's scheduled to perform all four Rachmaninoff piano concertos as well as the Paganini variations at Carnegie Hall in January 2023.

All in one concert!

Any one of these works could be the centerpiece of just one concert. Let alone all five.

Phenomenons like Yuja Wang, and so many other international sensations can make the rest of us feel like music is a futile effort. Especially with such exquisite performances where the performer never seems to make a mistake.

But...

This is where music school led us astray a little. And the comparison becomes like apples and oranges.

In music school, we're trained to learn pieces and perform them. Learn pieces and perform them. Learn pieces and perform them.

And that's fair. We're in music school, after all. We need to learn lots of repertoire and get used to performing in public.

But when it comes to international performers who have been doing this for decades, it's not the same rhythm of learning and performing. 

In fact, most concert artists wouldn't think to learn a new piece of music and perform it one month later. Many learn a new piece of music and wait at least six months before the first public performance.

So it has time to settle.

And even more often, artists have a long list of repertoire they've had in their fingers for years. Maybe even decades. They could play it blindfolded, drunk, on a crippled piano...and not miss a note.

So, when it comes to any creative work, if you're intimidated by the titans of your field, just remember this.

They're an apple.

You're an orange.

Now get to work.

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About Jonathan Roberts

I am the founder and director of the South Shore Piano School, and I have been teaching the piano for nearly 20 years. My work centers around bringing music to the lives of kids, parents, and adults in an enriching, meaningful way. At the South Shore Piano School, my incredible colleagues and I accomplish this through skill-based teaching, community, and an innovative, people-first business model. You can read more about me here.


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