"My journey through life and becoming a pianist" I need advice from better pianists

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Let me just give you a quick life story: Hello, my name is Horace Robertson. I am 75 years old now. I grew up in rural Indiana on a farm. When I was 8 years old I took a sharp intrest in music after going to the city for the first time. I felt that the pianist was my instrument to express myself. However, my family made 10 times less per year than the cheapest upright. I was forced to take up the drums, on a custom made drum set, under the instruction of my father, who was a mediocre drummer. When I was 15, I had to drop out of school to help the family, I was lucky enough to start school at age 6, very few farm children had that oppurtunity. I toured Barn to Barn in my spare time raising money to go back to school by drumming on custom made sets, which wore out or had to be repaired very often, at least once a month. I got enough money from working and drumming, more from drumming though, to go back to school at age 18. I had to pretend that I was 3 years younger though. After graduating from high school at age 21, I had NO way of going to college anytime soon. I married my sweetheart at age 24, when she was only 20. Going back to the farm where I was raised on, I got acqainted with my new brothers, who were 5 and 6. A big 6 year period passed in my life with repetition. Wake Wash Work Wash Sleep Wake Wash Work Work Work............. was the cycle. When I was 30, I got the oppurtunity to go to college, and I majored in English. I ended my term at age 34, where I finally got enough money for a small upright. I taught my self to play, learning the Anna Magdalena Notebook pieces within the first year and Bach Fugues within 5 years. I took lessons from a good teacher and my playing advanced wildly. I got a high paying job, making the equivalent of 400k a year by todays standards. I bought a big house and moved my family in. I retired at age 44. At age 44 I started practicing 9-14.5 hrs a day, Sleeping 8 hours saving 1.5-7 hrs for family. I have been playing for 41 years now and my Repertoire includes: All beethoven sonatas, all chopin etudes, all chopin mazurkas, all bach wtc, anna magdalena notebook, all chopin preludes, all rach preludes, all debussy preludes, about 60 20th century works I can remember the name of. All, bach suites, inc. french, eng., ger. suites. All Mendelsohn Songs without words. All chopin Nocturnes. all rach concertos, all rach mom. musicals. all mozart sonatas, all mozart concertos, all handel suites, all schubert fantasies, sonatas, Schumann Carnaval, sonatas, kinderscenes, all miscell. Chopin, all Liszt Etudes, all Concertos of Chopin and what not. HELP ME, I cant maintain this large repertoire, and I am afraid of my finger condition. My doctor says I have 15-25 years to live based on my current living standards. Most of all, my 93 year old mother and 90 year old father may need me. My 3 sons, they are also pianists, with even bigger reperoires and technical levels than me, one of them plays 75 HOURS OF CONCERTOS ALONE, with 80 HOURS OF SOLO REPERTOIRE TO BACK IT UP!!!. The others have repertoires of 70 and 100 hours, currently, they are 55,24, and 21. What if my memory fades. Should I have spent more time with my family???

-- Horace Robertson (nonameposter@aol.com), July 19, 2003


First of all, what was your high paying job? I'd really like to know.:) 2) Nobody says you have to maintain your repertoire. 3) I wouldn't worry about your finger condition. If you warm up properly, you should be able to continue to play. 4) If your memory fades, you will find other ways to entertain yourself, or accept your situation. 5) Whether you should have spent more time with your family is water under the bridge. The question is do you want to spend more time with them now? I'm afraid they probably spend a lot of time comparing repertoires. I shudder to think what your parents' repertoires must be like. :)

-- Anita (anitagreenways@hotmail.com), July 21, 2003.

That is one large repertoire. Hm..you started when you were 34 and have been playing for at least 40 years, according to what I see. Did you ever consider becoming a concert pianist, your sons included?. Artur Rubenstien was concertizing well into his eighties, and he lived to 96. Horowitz gave concerts in his 70's/80's, and....that is one amazing repertoire. I always thought that the old dudes..no offense..have trouble memorizing and all. All Rach Concertos. Btw, do you have any advice for me on Rach 2?. All Bach WTC, which are the hardest pieces in the literature to memorize, how long did it take you to memorize the WTC? You and your sons may be among the top 10% of pianists in the world, not only ordinary pianists, you may be the top 10% of concert pianists.

-- Micheal Davis (micheal2206@hotbox.com), July 21, 2003.

I don't have an answer... but I have a questiong I am 22 years old and I am just know reaching for my dream. Playing the piano. It has been my dream for years.. but how do i get through it. I am finding it hard to get through emotionally... I am afraid of what I really want. It is keeping me from learning from my lessons.

-- Bryan Radwancky (artofb@yahoo.com), November 29, 2004.

Howdy! One thing I noticed as well in your question is that you seemed really concern with just learning music. I have nothing else to backup that conclusion other than your post, but you should really look for the emotion and passion. Don't worry about maintaining a repertoire. Always look for new challenges, but of course it is always fun to play old songs.

I was fortunate enough to have my abilities in the piano spotted when I was 9 by a professor at the University of North Texas. Now I'm 19, I haven't nearly played for as long as you have, but the most important part of playing for me now is my enjoyment. I was caught up with playing the hardest song I could get my hands on and maintaining as big of a repertoire my young age could manage.

Another thing you might want to look into is composition. I got into this around 5 years ago, you don't have to actually write down the music ... just play with your eyes closed whatever comes to your mind, and/or what you're feeling. I find great enjoyment in that, I'm sure you would too.

If you have any other questions or want to chat, drop me an e-mail.

-- Nicholas Hruskocy (omegaxan2@ufxproductions.com), December 07, 2004.

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