Music, Arts & Entertainment

A Career in Music

Itzhak Perlman

Lesson time 11:28 min

Mr. Perlman discusses the realities of standing out as a professional musician and how you can follow a variety of paths toward building a career in music.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: The Realities of Competition • A Variety of Paths • "Ask Mr. P" - Student Q and A


[MUSIC PLAYING] First of all, if you're wanting to have a musical career, do you have a talent? Do you have the passion? Do you say I can't live without playing the violin? If you do that, then comes the next step-- is how talented are you, and what kind of teacher do you have at an early age? And as you advance, in eight years become 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10 years old, 11 years old, then how good are you? And usually, these days when somebody is sort of OK, people are immediately saying, oh, got to go to Juilliard or got to go to Curtis or got to go someplace. So that of course, then you have to figure out how good are you and whether you are going to extend the tape to see on what level you are. And then it'll be told to you. You will see if your child is good enough to attend a serious music school. Of course, there are serious music school and there are between many, many levels of music schools and so on. So I suppose that's a part of what parents should be doing if they're interested and if they see that their kids are really, really excited about playing the instrument. Of course, parents have to play a part of this by practicing with the kids. And practicing is drudgery. And when you are alone to practice, it's lonely. And the violin is not exactly easy. So it helps if the parent is a musician, then you can do it. Otherwise, it's up to the teacher, and it's up to somebody that can help you practice. I was a music advisor and music director for a couple of orchestras. And I was involved in listening to auditions for positions in the violin section of the orchestra. And a lot of people apply, and the level is very, very high. So there's a lot of a lot of competition out there. And sometimes it can be a little bit discouraging. But I keep saying, keep plugging, and then find ways that you can make music, that you can be active musically and still make a living. And that's easy. But you have to be inventive. You have to be imaginative and so on. But the competition is fierce. And speaking of competitions, a lot of kids choose to attend, to go to competitions. And again, the situation with competitions when I was growing up-- quote, "growing up"-- is totally different. When you talk about the 1950s, for example, competitions were very few. You had a Tchaikovsky competition, you had a Queen Elizabeth competition that was on the other side of that water, and here in the United States, you had the Leventritt, which I won, and you had Merriweather Post. And that was more or less-- that's what it was. And right now, competitions are every little place there's a competition. There is the blah blah competition, there's the blue blue competition, there's everything. The Tchaikovsky is just one. And then of course, those big competitions have the junior department, the senior department, and so on. So they all go through these competitions. Now I don't basically believe in competitions. But they tell me that it organizes them to pr...

About the Instructor

The world’s reigning virtuoso violin player, Itzhak Perlman performs for presidents, royals, and classical music lovers around the world. Now the beloved Juilliard instructor and 15-time Grammy Award winner brings his passion for teaching to a wide audience for the first time. Learn fundamental techniques, practice strategies, and how to add richness and depth to your sound. Give your most dynamic performance yet.

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Itzhak Perlman

In his first-ever online class, virtuoso violin player Itzhak Perlman breaks down his techniques for improved practice and powerful performances.

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