After a year of lessons with Maute, Debussy entered the Paris Conservatoire at the age of ten. There, Debussy excelled at his lessons whilst receiving numerous awards. As well, he made many friends with future well-known composers such as Gabriel Pierne and Paul Vidal.
On January 16, 1876 Debussy performed at his first concert as an accompianist to the singer Leontine Mendes. As the months passed, though, Debussy began to win fewer and fewer awards for piano.
Some time later, Debussy stayed at the Chateau of Chenonceaux with Marguerite Wilson-Pelouze, an admirer of Wagner. Upon his first taste of the life of luxury Debussy made the decision to turn to composing music.
After just a few years of classes, though, Debussy eventually pulled out of the school in order to begin teaching of his own.