One of my students is working at the early advanced stage of Classical piano. This week Chopin Waltz in b minor and Gnossienne #6 by Satie. Sophisticated music.
She is a retired executive whose career spanned the globe. She is an avid concert goer. As in, more than a concert a week.
At the end of class I complemented her on her playing and knowledge of the music, it's context, and style. She was slightly taken back. She quickly explained that she has friends who are so much more sophisticated and nuanced in their appreciation of classical music. (One wrote liner notes for a major classical music label, one was a critic if I recall correctly as well.)
I pointed out to her that she has learned more than she knew through those friendships. She recalled the after concert socializing where great debates on the merits of the performance.
Furthermore, decades of concert going at the great halls of the world leaves a mark. A significant mark.
You've got to learn your instrument. Then, you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail.
I'm a professional pianist and music educator in West Toronto Ontario. I'm also a devoted percussionist and drum teacher.