"It's not good for someone of a previous era to give advice out to young people, because it's so different now."
-Peter Donohoe, world renowned pianist
Couldn't have said it better myself.
Don't get me wrong, you should absolutely go study with an old guru and learn as much as you can. Finding an excellent player that has been around for a while and picking their brain is always a good idea. They have a maturity and musical intuition that only comes from decades of experience. Soak up as much of that as you can while you have the opportunity to be around these people. You'll certainly need it.
But getting started as a musician now is not the same as it was decades ago, even if you sound fantastic. That's the one thing the old seasoned teacher doesn't know as much about, by definition.
They've already established themselves long ago. You have to do that now.
You'll likely be in their shoes one day too. You'll be an invaluable mentor musically, but not as sharp with the realities your students will face. You'll be the one asking your students for computer help (or self driving car help or 3D printer help) as they ask you for career advice.
How will you help them?
I know I would try to put them in touch with players closer to where they are than where I am. Students need to have several levels of mentorship.
At the least, you need to learn from people way ahead of you and people a little ahead of you. The teacher who has been performing music longer than you've been alive has a special perspective that younger players just haven't had the time to cultivate. However, the younger player who is 5-10 years ahead of you is going to be a lot more in touch with how the game is being played today. These are the people who are going to help you learn how to stay afloat as you sow the seeds of your career.
Put all that knowledge together and you can really go places.
Since your school likely did a great job at putting you in touch with the old masters, my book Make It is a new offering to help balance the other side of the scale. As of today, I'm 28 years old and I play music for a living. I don't have a day job, a trust fund, or a magic money machine. This is not an easy feat in today's economic climate, but there is a big difference between "not easy" and "not possible". Others can accomplish the same and I am happy to teach them how.
I want you to be able to start making a living with your artistic talents and keep them growing for a long time. Make It focuses specifically on the social skills, business savvy, and mindset a young performer needs in today's day and age to accomplish that. I can't promise you instant fame and riches, but I can help to get you off to a great start.
Afraid of getting stuck in an awful job?
Afraid you'll stop making artistic progress outside of music school?
Are you unsure about how to find paid performance opportunities?
Looking at a lot of blank spaces on your calendar after school ends this year and don't know how to move forward?
These are the questions I answer and many more.
Do yourself a favor. Sign up for the mailing list and let me teach you everything I know.