It Takes Practice!
Even the great pianists had to practice. Take Arthur Rubinstein, for instance. He first played in public when he was age 7 and performed with his first symphony, the Berlin Symphony, when he was just 11 years old. But as a young pianist, he never practiced. Because playing the piano came so naturally to him, he took it for granted and didn’t take it seriously. “When I was young, I was lazy. I had talent but there were many things in life more important than practicing,” said Rubinstein. Although he was a great success, his lack of practice caused him to be a sloppy performer who sometimes missed a third of the notes in a piece!
One day, composer Paul Dukas told Rubinstein that he should “grow up before it was too late.” Also being inspired by the playing of Vladimir Horowitz, at age 40 Rubinstein finally started to seriously practice the piano. He began to practice 12 to 16 hours a day, which caused him to excel and become one of the most successful and beloved pianists in the world! He ended up having one of the longest careers as a pianist in history, playing farewell concerts in London and New York at the age of 89. It was often said that he played in every country with the exception of Tibet.
So you see, practice is essential to being a truly successful pianist. Just as a fine diamond must be cut and polished, so must the skill of a talented musician be polished and fine-tuned before he or she can really excel as a performer. If you are a young musician just getting started at your instrument, don’t wait until you are 40 to discover the benefits of focused practice. And if you are an older musician, it is never to late to get started developing your skills to their full potential. As you’ve heard it said many times, “Practice makes perfect!” And it really does – the proof is in the playing.
Sit back and listen to the proof of Rubinstein’s long days of practice.