This question might be too subjective, but I'll try to make it as precise as possible.

Learning music is like learning a language, and as with any language, there is no point learning it if it is not to communicate with other people (or at least I see it that way, you are welcome to disagree).

I take piano courses in a school which organise little concerts, twice a year, and I get the opportunity to play 5 minutes each times in front of an audience.

Well, 5 minutes is not enough for me. I would love to play piano concerti or beethoven sonates in front of an audience, but it would take a minimum of 30 min each time. 5 minutes twice a year doesn't guive me nearly enough time to share the things I learn every year.

There are a few places with public pianos, and I do play there everytime I can, and it is such a fulfilling experience. But sometimes the piano is broken, sometimes nobody is feeling like listening, sometimes some staff tells me I need to go.

Moreover, when I'm home I would consider myself happy if my relatives let me play with the sound on (luckily I have an electronic piano with headphones).

I know I will never drop the piano, because playing for myself gives me already so much gratification. But lately I have been looking for a deeper meaning than just satisfying my egoistic impulses of self-gratification. I figured that proffesional piano players bring so much to people who listen to them, by sharing the stories and emotions of classical composers and giving inspiration to people.

Can I do that too ? Perhaps when I'm given the chance to play in front of people, but when I am chilling with friends, nobody wants to hear me play the 17th beethoven sonata for 30 mins. Maybe I'm just not good enough. I've discussed that with some of my relatives. The answer is always : "it doesn't really matter if you play well or not, beethoven just sucks".

In order to communicate better with people, I'm now learning improvisation and other styles of music, so that I can adapt to the audience.

Honestly, it feels overwhelming. No matter how hard I try, I can't manage to justify the time spent playing the piano, considering I will only be playing for myself.

EDIT : thanks for your comments, I have edited the title to make my question clearer. I am seeking any opportunity to play in front of people, but they are lacking. I would gladly welcome any suggestion about how to get more opportunities.

But really I am more interested about tips of people who have already dealt with this issue (come on I can't be the only one) without falling into the extreme of becoming a professional at any cost.

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    It’s fun. Why do you listen to music if you’re not a professional? – Todd Wilcox May 10 '18 at 12:31
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    I play music for the same reason I listen to music, so that answers your question of why I play music. People do all kinds of things without getting paid for it. – Todd Wilcox May 10 '18 at 13:36
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    'I can't manage to justify the time spent playing the piano other than satisfying myself and only myself.' Justify to whom? If you can't justify the time to yourself, that contradicts your earlier statement that 'playing for myself gives me already gives me so much gratification.' Because it obviously doesn't, or else you wouldn't be seeking outside affirmation. Maybe you're looking at the wrong problem and you need to find other performance opportunities, other uses of your skills, other ways of getting out there, than the limited chances that occur to play Beethoven sonatas. – Steve Mansfield May 10 '18 at 13:41
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    @Tim I think I'd see music as more like food - you can cook for yourself and eat, or for others.... or others can cook for you... or you can enjoy the natural music you find in the environment, just as you can eat the fruit, nuts, and dogs that you find in the park... – topo Reinstate Monica May 10 '18 at 15:54
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    @topomorto - you do mean hot dogs..? And maybe not the nuts out jogging... – Tim May 10 '18 at 16:01

How about playing for older people in retirement homes? I bet they would love listening to classical music.


I can assure you there are situations where folks will get dressed up and make a night on the town just to see and hear a good classical piano concert. The problem for you is that you have to make a name for yourself by working your way up through the ranks. This is usually done by starting at the beginning, which is usually where you'll be when school is through. Then you align yourself with artists and managers and agents and promoters who can see your talent and will help you understand how things will work for you. there's also probably the need for a day job until things start happening for you. I won't say it'll be easy, but if you truly wish to be a performer and are willing to do the work, things usually work out in the end. Warning there are pitfalls all along the way.


Learning music is like learning a language, and as with any language, there is no point learning it if it is not to communicate with other people (or at least I see it that way, you are welcome to disagree).

Many people learn a second language simply for the ability to enjoy literature (or other media) in the original tongue. I can read Old Norse and enjoy reading the family sagas, but have no desire (or opportunity) to converse with anyone in this dead language. Sure, I could learn modern Icelandic, but I learned the language specifically to enjoy the old literature.

If you're passionate about a certain genre of music, it's quite possible to enjoy mastering those pieces purely for your own enjoyment. However, if you really need an audience to motivate you, start recording yourself. Once you're at level you're comfortable with you can publish these on a forum like youtube and try to build an audience.

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