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Young Musicians Can’t Fake It to Make It

April 8, 2015 9:45 PM
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Young Musicians Can’t Fake It to Make It

Are competitions or mentorship better for jump-starting a career?

Young classical musicians have a tough time of it these days. Sixty or 70 years ago, with the right kind of talent and temperament, top performers simply swept into view like forces of nature. Vladimir Horowitz, Rudolf Serkin, Glenn Gould and Byron Janis made their places in history without the acco...

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Comments - 2
Carl Castrogiovanni

April 8, 2015 9:48 PM

Preface: I am nothing more than an amateur musician - at MOST... {and not in the music biz}Competition in music does certainly have value - no doubt about it. Music is art, however, and too much focus on competition rather than the shear joy of the art may be a hindrance to truly spectacular performance.The drawback of competition as arbiter of financial success in music is that you could have person 'A' who is truly spectacular in talent, but loses to person 'B' who is truly spectacular in talent but just a tiny bit more so than person 'A'... Person A is worthy of a successful career, but gets ignored because they were "only" runner up?If you hew to the commercial formula for picking talent, then yes, competitions are the way to go. Otherwise, mentoring is the way to develop talent. Van Cliburn didn't need to win a competition to be financially successful because he truly had the talent. He just needed an audience...

Michael Loftus

April 8, 2015 9:46 PM

I am not against competitions per se. But I wonder if, as they are presently constituted, are they really`great for music lovers'. Or are they like beauty contests where contestants fit into a concept of beauty produced by anorexia. If the listener could see the `real' contestants would the music sound as sweet?