Robert Estrin - piano expert

Becoming a Virtuoso Musician

Learn what it means to be a virtuoso musician

In this video, Robert talks about what it means to be a Virtuoso Musician, and how you can become one yourself.

Released on October 29, 2014

Post a Comment   |   Video problems? Contact Us!
DISCLAIMER: The views and the opinions expressed in this video are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Virtual Sheet Music and its employees.

Video Transcription

Hi, I'm Robert Estrin here at, and with a great question from a viewer. How do you become a virtuoso?

Now, I could make a whole series on this topic and, indeed, there will be other segments to this, but today I want to give a little overview and some perspective on what it really means to become a virtuoso.

Of course, you must assume that it takes hours and hours of practice. It takes scales and arpeggios exercises, repertoire, sight reading, playing with other musicians. There are so many components to becoming a true virtuoso musician. But just talking about the actual mechanics, there's one particular aspect to become a virtuoso technique that I know that all virtuosos should share, and this isn't just in music, by the way. This is in athletics, in art, in architecture, in nearly any discipline, and that is this.

For anybody to become, really, one of the absolute experts in their field, there has to be a time when they immerse themselves so completely for an extended amount of time. What does this mean for a musician?

Any musician you see who's a virtuoso concert pianist, or violinist, or other instrumentalist who can play incredibly difficult works with ease and fluency, even if they aren't practicing a huge amount every single day, there has to be a time in their lives when they were, an extended amount of time. You can think of it this way. For example, in order to reach outer space, you have to not travel long enough in one direction, you have to reach a certain speed, a certain velocity, escape velocity, or you'll never escape the earth's gravitational pull. That's right. So it's not a matter of how long you keep flying in one direction. You'll never escape until you reach a certain speed.

Well, so it is with developing technique on an instrument. It's not a matter of how many years you play. At some point, you have to put in many, many hours a day, pretty much all the waking hours that you've got available to devote to playing without doing damage to yourself. Virtually everyone I know who's developed mastery of their instrument or their craft has gone through this period in their lives. I'd like to hear from others out there, musicians and non-musicians alike. Anybody out there who you feel you've developed real mastery in your field, tell us about what it took and how many years it took and how many hours a day for how many years in order to get to that level of mastery to become a virtuoso in what ever field you're involved in.

Thanks again for joining me. I'm Robert Estrin here, at and
Automatic video-to-text transcription by
Post a comment, question or special request:
You may: Login  or  
Otherwise, fill the form below to post your comment:
Add your name below:

Add your email below: (to receive replies, will not be displayed or shared)

For verification purposes, please enter the word MUSIC in the field below

Comments, Questions, Requests:

Tosh * VSM MEMBER * on October 29, 2014 @5:05 pm PST
In addition to the intensive period of playing and practising referred to above, it seems to me that one also needs good guidance from teachers, or at least "not" guidance that interferes with one's development as a technician and musician. A further point I would make is that sometimes a good "model" of a virtuoso to emulate helps, at least as regards certain technical issues. Also, one needs the ability to think critically and objectively about one's own playing. An analogy that has always appealed to me is the objective of becoming an expert golfer: there are so many different swing theories out there that are advocated by different instructors, that one has to think objectively about what parts of these theories, if any, will actually work for oneself. And I think a similar problem exists with respect to mastering a musical instrument...I have had different violin teachers emphasising different...sometimes contradictory...things in their advices. In golf, a great golfer...Ben Hogan...once said you had to dig the truth out of the dirt, by working on your swing and observing what works and what doesn't. I would posit that a similar philosophy makes sense with respect to mastering a musical instrument.
Yuriy * VSM MEMBER * on October 29, 2014 @9:06 am PST
It's long been said that to become really good at any one thing, you must invest 10,000 hours into it...
erlibero * VSM MEMBER * on October 29, 2014 @3:06 am PST
Mi piacerebbe avare una traduzione in Italiano. Non è facile capire l'Americano di Robert.

Fabrizio Ferrari - moderator and CEO, on October 29, 2014 @9:10 am PST
I am sorry, but at the moment that's not possible. The Video Transcription above should help. Thank you for your patience!
Roberta on November 12, 2014 @1:34 am PST
Hi all,
I am another Italian fan of Robert in particular and of VSM in general, and let me say that if all Americans spoke like him, understanding tutorials would be a breeze... in my opinion Robert speaks as clearly as an American can speak, for Italian ears at least. And the copy below is the ultimate aid. Good job!
Questions? Problems? Contact Us.
Norton Shopping Guarantee Seal