Piano Playing is a Lifetime Commitment

Ilinca Vartic - Piano Playing is a Lifetime CommitmentHi everyone!

Today I have a little surprise for you! ;)

I decided to record a short video and share with you a very important mindset that is often neglected nowadays when it comes to musical performance:

Mastering an instrument is not easy, nor fast.

If you’re expecting instant fabulous results after a couple of weeks of practice – then you will surely be disappointed!

Piano playing cannot be ‘tailored’ to match the modern ‘fast-food’ mentality and the fast, stressful, sometimes shallow approach to life that we’re used to nowadays.

Brilliance and fulfillment in musical performance do not come from tensed effort, from hurry or from temporary goals of ‘winning a competition’, ‘passing an exam’ or ‘pleasing your teachers/parents’.

Mastering a musical instrument is a lifetime commitment. It requires true love for music, dedication, passion, perseverance and LOTS of patience – being also one of the most rewarding decisions you’ll ever make! ;D ;)

A lifetime commitment to piano playing comes from realizing who we really are and what we want from life. It is a sign of emotional maturity and wisdom.

Making a commitment to our instrument brings us lots of joy and fulfillment, makes us whole, brings meaning to our life.

At the same time, it means being ready to make sacrifices and compromises, to go on when we’re tired, to get up when we fall, to have faith and believe in ourselves when things get tough, to have an open mind and be willing to grow, to be forgiving and compassionate (with ourselves and with others), and not allow temporary hardships get in the way of our dreams!

Mastering a musical instrument is not easy – and there’s a long road ahead. But I believe that the beauty of this journey is soooooooooo worth the drive!!! πŸ˜€


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If you enjoyed this piano tutorial, here are some other piano practice and learning topics you’ll like:

No Time to Practice? 5 Powerful Solutions for Lack of Time

The Power of Perseverance in Learning to Play Piano: Why Musical Progress is Not Linear

46 Responses to “Piano Playing is a Lifetime Commitment”

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  1. ralph says:

    Thanks alot am grateful for all

  2. Dan says:

    This was a very encouraging video. I am a 52 year old piano student, and have experienced all of the struggles you mentioned. I have seen amazing progress over the last 10 or so years since I started piano as a complete beginner, but the day-to-day stuff can sometimes be difficult and discouraging. Thanks for the reminder that the struggles (and even the setbacks) are normal.

    Greetings from Canada,

  3. Capmark says:

    You have a lot of reason. That’s the most important thing we have to consider and not only trying to play fast or to learn quickly, cause that really makes no sense if you are mature enough.
    Thank you very much for your information and stay gold! =)

  4. Jim Thompson says:

    Hello Ilinca,

    Please help me, if you can, with a problem I’ve run into.

    I came to appreciate and love “classical” piano music late in life (in my forties). I was married with a family at the time. I tried to take lessons but had to quit because family responsibilities took my time & money.

    I’m now retired, my family is gone & I’m 69 years old. I want to play but I also want my life to mean something before I die. I’m in good health and have no reason to believe death is imminent. Mastery of the piano will never be complete & it will take years before I can perform “classical” music at a competent level. After I reach a level of competency to perform, who is going to benefit from my ability? Performing is not about me but about the great music that has been created by so many great composers. Who is going to listen to some “old guy” when so many young, attractive performers are around? It’s hard not to feel futile about inspiring others and to not feel totally selfish & self absorbed in pursuit of a dream that might be totally unrealistic. Some other pursuit might make a difference in someone’s life (I don’t know what it would be) although I think it would be less than what I would like to achieve.

    Is there any realistic way for an “old guy” to play great music and inspire others to appreciate the gift of great piano music left by great composers?

    • Ilinca says:

      Hi Jim!

      Your question is very complex – and there are many ways of answering it :).

      I have a very ‘Zen’ approach to life πŸ˜€ – and I believe that as long as we enjoy doing something (for example, playing piano), we should simply do it, without worrying about where it might take us – which is something we could never entirely control, no matter how much we would try.

      In life, the most important thing is the journey, not the destination.

      When we enjoy what we do, we become happier – and only when we’re happy we can help and inspire those around us.

      When we enjoy what we do, we inevitably get better at it – and even though we might not be as good as Richter, Horowitz or Lisitsa, we will certainly be the best WE can be at this given moment.

      You’re perfectly right – piano mastery can never be complete – not for you, not for me, not even for great professional pianists! But this doesn’t mean that we cannot do our best today and enjoy a noble and beautiful art, grow as we discover new inspiring music, become better musicians and human beings as we ‘get in touch’ with the great classical masterpieces.

      I know that these are simply words and that words are relative. I know that we’re all looking for something that will make our life meaningful and will bring joy to the people around us – regardless of our age and profession.

      But I also discovered that happiness and fulfillment are always within our reach – and they usually hide behind a simple change of perspective.

      Our modern society is goal-oriented. We have been taught to focus on achievements – and we always forget that the best and easiest way to achieve something is to enjoy the process.

      As a result, we spend our life chasing illusions – and we always live in the future – and the ‘future’ never comes true!

      Starting with Lao Tzu and Buddha, and reaching modern philosophers, all the great minds of humanity have agreed in one thing: the only way to be happy is to live in the present moment – and to learn how to enjoy it.

      LOVE is always the place to start. As long as you focus on your love for music, as long as you know, in your heart, that you want to practice piano every day – this is what you have to do. Happiness and fulfillment usually come when we stop chasing them, when we live in the present moment, when we let go of expectations.

      However, I will not pretend that I fully understand how you feel – or that I have the complete answer to your dilemma. I certainly don’t – and I wish I would! πŸ™‚

      I realize that your doubts about piano playing may also come from the fact that you’re still wondering if there might be something else out there that could bring you even more joy and fulfillment than music – and allow you to do more good. It might be – and you’re the only person who can answer this question! But I will say one more time that the only way to inspire others is to be inspired yourself – and how can we be inspired by something we don’t truly love? How can we be inspired if we live in the future (and worry about it) instead of living in the present?

      And now I want to share with you a short article that I wrote on our forum at PianoCareerAcademy.com a couple of days ago (in fact, this post was inspired from your question – and also from a video that I ‘accidentally’ found on YouTube :)).

      Here it is:

      I am often asked whether it is worth practicing piano after the age of 60-70 (I even received such an email two days ago). Then, a couple of minutes after reading that email – I found this video!!! :o ;D

      So I will take this occasion to remind you of an important idea that I strongly believe in:

      Age is a state of mind. We are always as young as we believe we are!

      What matters most is not achieving a goal – it’s enjoying the journey!

      This simple change of perspective has the power to make all the difference!

      It’s NEVER too late to follow your dreams and start (or re-start, or continue) to learn how to play piano (because we ALL learn, all the time, regardless of our degrees or experience).

      Only by doing what we love, only by having the courage to think outside the box, we can live a LONG, happy, fulfilled life!

      Happiness creates success – and not the other way around!

      Doing what we love makes us healthier and helps us to live longer – and not the other way around!

      We never know what will happen tomorrow. But we have today – and in the eyes of ‘today’, we are all equals.

      If we love to play piano – that’s what we should do, without thinking about ‘how many years we have in front of us’ (does ANYONE know the answer to this question?).

      Today we can take the first step of a beautiful journey (and then, 5 or 10 years from now, look back with gratitude instead of regret).

      Today we can choose to be happy. Today we can laugh and enjoy the fact that we are alive. Today we can believe in ourselves and in the healing powers of music :D. Today we can be grateful for all the amazing people we have in our lives. Today we can be compassionate, kind and supportive.

      And, once we do, chances are that tomorrow will be even better! πŸ˜‰

      Enjoy! πŸ˜€ πŸ˜‰

      And, at the end, a funny quote that I love:

      Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter.
      ~Mark Twain

      One more thing: have you heard about ZenHabits.net? On this amazing site you will find hundreds of articles that describe (much better than I do!!!) the Zen mindset that I mentioned above.

      Enjoy and don’t forget to smile! πŸ˜€ Every day in life is beautiful – and every moment is unique and precious!


      • geovanne borges says:

        What a nice view Ilinca !!!

      • Pupy says:

        Dear Ilinca,
        I get through your channel a few days ago and immediately loved it! I’m a former piano student (a long time ago) and I’m getting so much inspiration from you. That’s because not only of your amazing tecnique or the talent for teaching but mainly beacuse you are a beautiful person and the answer you gave shows your inner beauty.
        Much blessings:)

      • Denizard Moraes says:

        Hi there! I am impressed and fully of emotion after knowing your blog / academy! I am a piano teacher, but I donΒ΄t have all skills that your got on your school.
        Besides of this you have a great view of life, passion and music.

        I love music, as this elder player does, and now, after 39 years old I wanna to improve my skills on the piano. I went to university and I mastered a Music Education Degree, but I feel myself incomplete because I did not go to exclusive piano school.

        I have been thinking on go back to university to complete a piano graduate course, but family takes a lot of time. However, if I study with a online program, I think I am going to enjoy the journey, mainly If the piano teacher demonstrate so love and so knowledge about the instrument and the music as you do.

        I am deciding to enter on your course at https://www.pianocareeracademy.com/

        If so, I would like to thank you for the videos that I have whatched. And I beleive in one the thing the you say… Does matter HOW you play /learn than WHAT or HOW MUCH…

        And for last, on your course, have we a program to follow and go thru pieces and exercises gradually harder. I know this so relative. I would like to fill my gap on technique and build a pleasant repertoire to increase the skills and of course, enjoy the infinite journey.

        Thank you so much.

        • Ilinca says:

          Hi Denizard,

          This is Natalia, Ilinca Vartic’s assistant at PianoCareerAcademy.com. Thank you so much for your comment and your appreciation! :)) It means a lot to us!

          We are looking forward to welcoming you to our community – and we hope that you will have a very enjoyable learning experience!

          If you have any questions about registration etc. – please don’t hesitate to let me know! πŸ˜‰

          Customer Support

      • Pieter Uys says:

        Those are wonderful, wise comments. I am 74 and practice piano regularly. My musical awareness is constantly developing and I discover music I had not been aware of before. This is an exciting journey indeed.

    • David Connors says:

      The best time to plant a tree is 20 years ago. The second best time is today.

  5. Maximiliano says:

    I couln’d agree more. Fantastic!! as always.

  6. Mary says:

    What you said is so true! If you really love music and the piano, as I have all my life, it is that long, arduous journey of practice and learning that is its own reward. Despite the challenges and setbacks, there is nothing else I would rather do than practice and play. I know I will continue striving to improve the rest of my life.

    • Ilinca says:

      Hi Mary!

      Golden words – ‘the journey is its own reward’ – that’s the mindset that brings us the most joy! πŸ˜€

      Thank you for your inspiring comment! πŸ˜‰

  7. Roosevelt says:

    Thanks! what you share is true its a life style.

  8. Janice Mathison says:

    Ilinca, I just wanted to say thanks for all your videos and this video is very encouraging, I happened to have somewhat of a crazy experience playing for last sundays worship service, and had I not taken this positive approach to what seemed like a failure on one of the songs we sung, then I would have been very discouraged. But realizing that I am subject to error and sometimes even failure; lead me to this weeks successful worship service. Funny thing is that when I arrived home the sunday I messed up I successful played from memory Beethoven’s Moonlight Sonata (first movement) and this made me feel absolutely wonderful–so sunday was a bittersweet experience yes, but I’m more excited than ever to move forward. again thanks alot, and be blessed.

    • Ilinca says:

      Hi Janice!

      Thank you for your comment – I’m so happy to hear that my video helped you to realize that mistakes are a normal (and necessary) part of our journey – and to have a successful performance this week! πŸ˜€

      Keep the spirit and have an inspired practice! πŸ˜‰

      All the best,

  9. Neil says:

    Thank you for this encouraging video.

  10. seun says:

    i love all your acticles on improvisation and tips on piano playing improvement,i play piano,but you really convinced me and i will love you to be my instructor..

  11. Hanady says:

    Hi Ilinca!
    It’s really a wonderful and awesome community that you created there, I really needed something like that to support me while learning the piano. Thank you very much indeed! πŸ™‚ I just need to ask you small questions please. How can I determine my level in piano as a pianist?
    -How much hours are recommended for everyday practice?.
    -If there is an e-mail to write you directly I would be grateful if you could give it to me.
    I am looking forward to your reply. Thanks a lot πŸ™‚

    • Ilinca says:

      Hi Hanady!

      Thank you for your appreciation!

      The levels in piano playing are relative – and they are needed simply for structuring purposes. A teacher can assess your approximate level by hearing you play – and you can do the same by taking a closer look at the pieces you’re practicing (most syllabuses organize pieces by levels).

      You can find more information on this topic on my Piano Coaching Program at PianoCareerAcademy.com!

      Regarding your 2nd question – you will find the answer in my free video tutorial “The Key Principles of Correct Piano Practice: A Step-By-Step Holistic Guide: https://www.pianocareer.com/piano-practice/correct-piano-practice/


      P.S. If you have any questions about registering for my Piano Coaching Program, you can contact me by using the “Contact Us” form on the home page at PianoCareerAcademy.com :).

  12. Mocha Goodwyn says:

    Thank you for your words of encouragement and those amazing tutorials. I am over 50 and I went back to my piano a few years back; my only threshold is whether I truly enjoy. I discovered a great American composers whose work are not too complicated and yet complex in color, texture, he is so amazing and he is alive and well and still churning out compositions as I type and so I have started playing his works and the heaven’s door opened because I now truly feel that I am succeeding. Then I find your tutorials and started the intoning practice as soon as I could get my hands on my piano last night.

    Having said this, I want you to know that everything you have addressed is so true; it takes commitment to practice/play. At times, I get sad when I just “do not get it” –I walk away and know that tomorrow is another opportunity to practice agian and again. A friend of mine who is a guitarist said, “Don’t you get angry, you have to do it over and over again ?” I thought about it a second and said, “No, I do not. I love it, because doing it over and over again is like another chance of hitting the lottery.”

    I have been waking up very early even during work days and try to play something before I leave for work. I feel so much light in spirit whenever I do this. And I cannot wait to play when I get home after I am done with my chores. I get lost in the music and I talk to myself at times, “Hey, that’s a flat! ABED, ABED! Whoa, thank you Mr. Composer…that was a punishment! Excuse me, did you really mean that? Really? ”

    At whatever age I am going to be, I will continue to play, garden, take walks, travel, laugh at myself!

    An former piano teacher told me one time that “Mr. Bach, who has been dead forever, is probably turning in his grave” when I play his music. WHY? Because I was interpreting it like maybe a runaway train,I don’t know:) –and she added, “And that is fine, because I think he is loving it. He gave you the music, you interpret it the way you want.”

    I have taken that advice to heart. If I play something as played by others, then I am just like a franchised french fry; so, yes, I do not mind that I am playing it allegro!!

    And now, I am reading all you have to say because you are dead on!! THANKS AGAIN!

    • Ilinca says:

      Hi Mocha!

      Thank you for your comment and for sharing your practice experience! I’m really happy that you’re enjoying my tutorials! πŸ™‚


  13. Greg says:

    Wow, really good post and comments. I am 31 years old and have been studying piano since I was 9. When I was a teenager I had the chance to go to Julliard and a few other prestigious music schools, but I didn’t. I have spent the next decade in regret knowing I could have been a great pianist, yet; during this long heart break I found my true love for the piano, I need no audience, all I need is a tuned and responsive piano. I love playing the piano so much that I even feel guilty when I look at the time and see that 5 to 8 hours have past and all I have done is play Schumann’s carnaval non stop lol; this is true love, I wake up and go to sleep thinking of the pieces I am preparing, and its possible I will never play like Arthur Rubinstein, or Lisitsa, but I don’t care and don’t want to, I love them and appreciate their individuality at the piano just as I have mines. I love your attitude towards the piano as well as Life Ilinca. When you love the piano there is never truly a struggle.

  14. PeggyB says:

    Dear Ilinca:

    It seems as if I am always impressed and thankful for your comments. Today it was especially to Jim, because I am older than he, and has had the same feelings lots of times, have given up lots of times, but have always returned to it. I have garnered tons of music that I hope to enjoy “playing” not matter how badly, simply because I love the piano, and when I get frustrated and tempted to quit I ask myself “what else would you rather be doing?” And the answer is always “nothing else.” And so I plug on, taking it one day at a time, learning a few bars each day, and loving the feeling. So, to Jim: “Keep plugging, you have lots of company.”

  15. Esixlove says:

    Wow! Is the right word for this masterpieces, you are truly great.

  16. Jessica says:

    Dear Ilinca,

    Have you ever felt like you lost the passion for the piano?

    Because that is exactly how I am feeling at the moment. It might be due to the fact that I have been feeling really stress up about my upcoming ABRSM Grade 8 practical exam in March. Amidst all the practicing, I seem to have lost my purpose. I tried meditating before practicing, but it doesn’t help when all your teacher does during lesson is look at her phone and remark “all your 3 pieces are still played pretty badly.” No teacher has every said those words to me and I guess it made me doubt myself a lot. My mock exam is in early February and I feel like I am not ready for it.

    Due to my love for the piano, I have always been a very discipline student when it comes to practicing. I do my scales and I buy aural books to practice on my own as I am horrible in aural. I refuse to give up on myself even when my teacher ask me to focus on my exam pieces as according to her, the aural section only compose of a few marks in the examination while the pieces carry the majority marks. When I face technical difficulties in my playing, I go online to find ways to correct myself as the only thing my teacher can tell me is to keep practicing. But how do I do that when I don’t know if I’m even playing things right? When I am trying my best to break out of my own barriers?

    The above were what I experienced in Grade 7 as well. But the feeling is ever so strong at this point of time due to all the uncertainty I’m feeling. Giving up has never been one of my options as my dream is to be a piano teacher or a concert pianist. I have already held on for so long.

    Thank you for taking the time to read my comment Ilinca. Your articles have always been a source of support and encouragement for me. I hope to receive your reply. Have a good day!

  17. Prasana kumar says:

    Hi Ilinca madam,
    This post makes me to make a life long commitment to piano.I love to play piano and making music.The video changed my attitude.I read this article i have become inspired and motivated.you are also a teacher to me.I’m glad that I learnt to play piano from you

  18. Lungelo says:

    Hey Ilinca

    I would like to take this oppurtunity to thank you for what you have done because you have helped me alot. I wanted to ask if you could help me with the steps for in Varsity to get me a good job career that will allow me to play piano all over the world.

    Thank you so much

    Kind regards


    • Ilinca says:

      Hi Lungelo!

      This is Natalia, Ilinca’s assistant at PianoCareerAcademy.com (PCA).

      Thank you for your appreciation – and greetings from Ilinca! πŸ˜‰

      The only way Ilinca can help you in your piano quest is through her Piano Coaching Program: by joining PCA you will get instant access to an enormous database of video and written tutorials, and you will have the opportunity to study the professional principles of the Russian piano school :). Find our more about this program by reading our super-detailed FAQs (https://www.pianocareeracademy.com/faqs/).

      PCA is an online program focused on teaching (we have hundreds of students from the entire world) – and it is not connected to concert halls or other organizations that would help you to organize concert tours.

      Wishing you lots of good luck with your practice ;),

      Customer Support

  19. John M. Pickering says:

    Really enjoyed this affirmation of the satisfactions of practice and the pleasures of the journey the habit of daily piano playing can bring. Especially good for the adult hobbyist, slowly going through the piano masterpieces that lie like the jewels in Ali Baba’s cave as our powers improve, though some, we will have to admit, lie beyond our reach. Plus the teacher is a very beautiful women, as if that matters. Very nice, thanks

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