Last summer, a collaborative piano grad student contacted me and asked if I’d “talk shop” in return for coffee. After verifying with mutual acquaintances that she wasn’t a crazy person, I met her at Starbucks, and we chatted for well over an hour.
Like me, this pianist had started out in the sciences and veered off into music. I was very impressed that she was proactively networking and cold-emailing local pianists for career advice. Our meeting got me thinking how fortunate I am to have not one, but several mentors who have enabled my musical career.
My mentors have provided me with opportunities, encouragement, and second chances. I think “second chances” may be the most valuable of the three. Having the faith of a mentor — one who expresses, “I believe in you, and I know you can do better” — is incredibly motivating. I know that without some of the second chances I’ve received, I wouldn’t be where I am today.
I hope someday I can “pay it forward” and be a mentor to another aspiring pianist. Until I’m influential enough to make a difference, talking shop over coffee will have to do. Email me 🙂