How to become a concert pianist

Written by chad hagy
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How to become a concert pianist
It takes years of practice and dedication to become a concern pianist. (Getty Images)

Learning how to become a concert pianist takes nerves of steel, a flamboyant personality and a high level of skill. Do you think Liberace and Dino just sat down behind a piano and instantly had a career as a concert pianist? However, you don't have to have diamond-encrusted pianos and other flashy things to make a living in this type of musical career.

Skill level:


  1. 1

    Know how to read music. If you can only play by ear, you may not have a good chance at becoming a concert pianist. When you play by ear, you are simply replaying the same thing that many pianists have played before you. Lovers of fine music come to hear a different interpretation – your interpretation – of the same classical music songs they have heard before. You have to be able to read the music so you can put your own personal twist on it.

  2. 2

    Practice as much as you can. Even if you think you're a great pianist already, practice is the key to turning your skill into a profession and obtaining the label "concert pianist." Even Liberace practised! It helps keep your playing tight, your fingers loose and your mind focused on playing.

  3. 3

    Possess passion, dedication and love for music. People will know if you don't really love music because it will show through as you play the piano. Music is as much about feelings and emotions as it is about skill. Without feeling, your music is just drab and boring, and your listeners can tell.

  4. 4

    Study theory and technical aspects of the piano. If you want to become a performer, you need to know everything there is to know about the pieces you're playing and the instrument you play. Study the history of the music you play, whether it's baroque, contemporary or any other time period. Know the cultural influences and the story of the person who wrote it. The more knowledge you have, the more interpretation and feeling you can put into it when you're playing.

  5. 5

    Start playing for audiences. Your family and friends will tell you that you sound good regardless of how you sound. Find other people, such as other musicians and others in the music industry to listen to you play. They will give you honest opinions and feedback that will help you become a concert pianist. The more you perform for people, the more likely you are to get a following and play at larger venues. After a while, you might even set your sights on places like the Royal Albert Hall!

  6. 6

    Earn the title of "concert pianist." You can't just play for a few people and call yourself a concert pianist. This is a title that colleagues and peers give you after you have the experience and skills needed to have such a prestigious title.

  7. 7

    Create a gimmick. Many successful people have gimmicks that have helped them get noticed in their industry. In comedy, Carrot Top has his props. In rock music, Jimi Hendrix played behind his head and set his guitar on fire. Creating something that will get you noticed amongst your peers may bring in more people to your concerts.

Tips and warnings

  • Be comfortable playing in front of people. As a concert pianist, your entire career is based on performing on stage for audiences that can be rather critical. If you're not comfortable playing on stage, either get over it or look for another career path.
  • Play in competitions. Winning piano competitions won't necessarily make you a "concert pianist," but it will get you noticed by your peers and colleagues.
  • Be prepared to take criticism on your way to becoming a concert pianist. People will say some mean things and they won't hold back, either. If you let negative comments discourage you from achieving your dream, you'll never be a successful concert pianist. Use the negative comments to fuel your ambition and show them they are wrong.

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