To begin with, competition is very great, and in the musical world there are many more artists, and many more concerts than formerly ; also though the best talent is still most rare and precious,yet the general level of achievement is no doubt a good deal higher than it used to be. The young student therefore must seriously consider the outlook in front of him before he decides to take up the arduous career of a pianist, and I need scarcely mention that his first business should be to try and ascertain whether he has a decided disposition for the instrument. Unless he possesses this, it is in the highest degree a waste of time for him to commence the study of it at all.Of course it is hard for the young, or even for friends around them to determine the exact measure of their capacity at the outset,for real talent is in itself a fusion of so many different qualities.
Musical disposition and fame
The gift or inborn disposition for music does not necessarily develop into true talent in the sense in which I understand it,namely, as a certain power containing within it elements which are able to bring forth great superiority of attainment in whatsoever branch of the human intelligence they actuate. It is strange that the faculty of easy musical expression alone is not enough to ensure success, though people have often been deluded into thinking so, and thereby much bitter disappointment and misery have been caused to unrecognized aspirants after, fame.
Musical instinct and talent
How many there are who give the impression of being astonishingly endowed with the musical instinct, and even possess what is known as perfect pitch, which appears to be an unerring discrimination of the ear between the various sounds of the scale. Such people certainly seem to have a wonderful natural facility in all things appertaining to music, yet they often do not arrive at any particular eminence in the profession. One is told that it is such a pity “So and So” has such a genius for music, but is so lazy he will not work, or so nervous he cannot do himself justice, or that some other drawback hinders him! -But the fact probably is, in cases like these, that the musical propensity is there no doubt,sometimes even in a high measure, but the necessary talent or power is not present with it, to enable it to attain a successful development.
What, then, should the student seek for in himself when he feels that he has the gift of music and wonders whether he possesses sufficient talent accompanying it to succeed professionally? Well,he must consider, amongst other things, if he is capable of many years of hard unremitting work at the development of the technical side of his art. He must also find in himself physical endurance,courage, coolness in emergency, command of nerves, determination, inexhaustible patience, self-confidence, and, above all, such a love of his art for its own sake as will carry him over every disappointment.