Young people make different degrees of progress in their first years of learning an instrument. Many do not think they will take up music professionally, as they have other interests at school that they are good at.
The popular picture of a ‘young genius’ is that he or she is chained to an instrument in a frantic effort to complete an impossibly high number of practice-hours every day. It's true that reaching a high standard through hard practice early on in life is important if you want to pursue a career as a soloist playing all over the world. But it's also important to remember that playing an instrument is more than just a physical act. It's a mental, artistic act as well, and this side of playing has to be developed. It's a dull performer who has no imagination on which to draw – and that means a more generally developed imagination as well a musical one.
Ben Chappell describes how he moved towards a decision to become a professional musician while at school.