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#2081419 - 05/12/13 02:39 PM Re: The fine line between amateur and professional [Re: Andromaque]  
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Damon Offline
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Originally Posted by Andromaque
The definition discussion has been exhausted around here. How about we flip the question aorund.
The article that I posted captured my attention long enough that I read and shared it. Yet, I was not intrigued enough to check out the guy's playing, though I noticed that he has several pieces on You Tube. The honest reason is the fact that he is billed as an amateur. It is not that I never listen to amateurs or that doing so would be "beneath me". It is simply that the label implies - to me- less refined playing and with a very busy life, I frankly would not spend time or money on amateur concerts. Having said that, I have at times listened to amateurs and enjoyed their playing. but it would seem that I maintain a prejudice against them. So, how about you? excluding performance by family and friends, do you attend amateur concerts? do you check out amateur recordings on You Tube?

PS. I know that many people on PW play well. This is not a comment on anyone in particular.


I don't really attend concerts at all anymore, mostly due to a lack of programmed material that interests me. However, it's the program that would entice me to attend, not the perceived level of the performer. When I find a performance I like of something familiar, on youtube, I'll listen to the other postings by that performer without regard to their pay-grade. You are right that the definition discussion has been discussed to definite disgust, but I've heard plenty of crappy "professional" performances, so sticking with the definition that "pros are paid", makes sense to me. IMO, it would be best if some folks would just stop using the word.

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#2081421 - 05/12/13 02:50 PM Re: The fine line between amateur and professional [Re: Damon]  
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Originally Posted by Damon
IMO, it would be best if some folks would just stop using the word.


That is a good idea. It might be better to use the term "Non-Professional".


#2081424 - 05/12/13 03:00 PM Re: The fine line between amateur and professional [Re: Hakki]  
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patH Offline
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Germany
Originally Posted by Hakki
Originally Posted by Damon
IMO, it would be best if some folks would just stop using the word.


That is a good idea. It might be better to use the term "Non-Professional".


Maybe it's people who don't have English as first language (like me) who will continue to use "amateur". In German, when talking about non-professionals without good skills, you usually say "Laie" (layman). "Amateur" is e.g. used in sports and does not have a negative connotation, when used in a specific context.

And last year, I found a French piano dealer online that allows you to filter pianos according to size and according to level. The levels being "Loisir" (leisure), "Etude" (study), "Amateur", "Professionnel" and "Prestige".

Some pianos fall in more than one category. In fact, there are quite a few pianos that fall both in the "Amateur" and "Professionnel" category. So "Amateur" obviously does not have a negative connotation there.

Last edited by patH; 05/12/13 03:01 PM.

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#2081430 - 05/12/13 03:30 PM Re: The fine line between amateur and professional [Re: Andromaque]  
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1RC Offline
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Alberta

Originally Posted by Damon
You are right that the definition discussion has been discussed to definite disgust, but I've heard plenty of crappy "professional" performances, so sticking with the definition that "pros are paid", makes sense to me. IMO, it would be best if some folks would just stop using the word.


laugh
Communication conundrums. If there's one thing internet forums has taught me it's a fine sense of whether someone is looking for the idea behind the words or not. Ever talk to people offline? It can be sloppy business!

Anyways, I will say that I do at times check out amateur recordings on youtube. That indulgence of curiousity isn't too demanding. Would an amateur performance really have much more of an audience than friends and family in any case?

A former piano teacher used to tell me I had moments of world class playing, and I don't think he was always exaggerating to be a nice guy. But I also think we both knew the impractical amount of time it took me to bring a piece to that level, and the inconsistency (the hope was to expand those moments into the standard). I can understand how somebody would choose to spend their time and attention on an established name.

The same teacher also would say that some people could become professional simply by deciding one day to act like one.

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#2081491 - 05/12/13 05:44 PM Re: The fine line between amateur and professional [Re: Andromaque]  
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RonaldSteinway Offline
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For those who had followed amateur competitions, they should know that there are many levels of participants. I personally categorize them into 4 classes:

1. Winners and finalists (ex-prodigies, graduates from top conservatories).
2. Strong Seminalists (people with piano degrees from pretty good schools, and non degree people who are really into playing piano with pretty high level of talent. These people are pretty consistent in getting into semifinal, and in rare occasion they got into final)
3. Weak semifinalists ( they are basically the bottom of the semifinal people. They are pretty good for a real amateur, but their odds to get into semifinal is low, not like the strong semifinalists category. Many people who graduated from small music schools are usually in this categories).
4. Real amateurs (Most of them have no music degree. Many of them join the competition just to have fun and to help the organizers to fund the event. Majority will never advance to the semifinal, but they enjoy the activities. By the way, I am one of these people).

#2081512 - 05/12/13 06:20 PM Re: The fine line between amateur and professional [Re: Andromaque]  
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Iowa City, IA
I'd also flip the question around another way and suggest that many "professionals" do not exhibit the kind of refined playing many expect from that label.

And there's the question of what "pianist" means. Many people would consider me a professional at certain kinds of playing - I'm a decent chamber music player, can do great work in a pit orchestra, have been an orchestral pianist, am a great rehearsal pianist for choral or theater groups, and can do any kind of background/incidental music someone might need. I can transpose parts, read open score fairly well, realize figured bass/continuo, and comp/improvise jazz from chord charts in a big band or combo setting.

But many people would not consider me a "professional" solo recitalist or concerto soloist. I've done both of those things, but I don't find myself motivated to prepare and pursue those things. Partly because I'm not as good as a lot of the people who do that kind of work, partly because of the time commitment, and partly because classical performance is not lucrative at all, seeing as how there are so many students and academic faculty members who will play for free just to get another line on their resumes.

Originally Posted by Andromaque
The definition discussion has been exhausted around here. How about we flip the question aorund.
The article that I posted captured my attention long enough that I read and shared it. Yet, I was not intrigued enough to check out the guy's playing, though I noticed that he has several pieces on You Tube. The honest reason is the fact that he is billed as an amateur. It is not that I never listen to amateurs or that doing so would be "beneath me". It is simply that the label implies - to me- less refined playing and with a very busy life, I frankly would not spend time or money on amateur concerts. Having said that, I have at times listened to amateurs and enjoyed their playing. but it would seem that I maintain a prejudice against them. So, how about you? excluding performance by family and friends, do you attend amateur concerts? do you check out amateur recordings on You Tube?

PS. I know that many people on PW play well. This is not a comment on anyone in particular.


"If we continually try to force a child to do what he is afraid to do, he will become more timid, and will use his brains and energy, not to explore the unknown, but to find ways to avoid the pressures we put on him." (John Holt)

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#2081551 - 05/12/13 07:49 PM Re: The fine line between amateur and professional [Re: Andromaque]  
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RonaldSteinway Offline
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Kreisler,

Is it fair to say that people who play piano at your level are not the Djokovic or Nadal level in a tennis world, but they are also not pianists who should compete against people who did not go to a music school (formal piano trainings)? I think people at your level may be like rank 200 or even 400 of professional tennis players, but these people are still too good for regular people who never had a formal tennis training in the past and who play for fun on a community tennis court. To me, you are still a professional, you are just not the top ones.

#2081583 - 05/12/13 08:58 PM Re: The fine line between amateur and professional [Re: Andromaque]  
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1RC Offline
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Alberta
I would agree that the field of music is much wider than often gets discussed in the pianist corner or academic circles. There have been many careers founded on an instrumental skillset of a handful of guitar chords. There are likely people who turn their noses up at anyone who would spend hours daily learning to play 200 yr old music.

Where does this desire to rank and compare come from? What is it for?

#2081589 - 05/12/13 09:21 PM Re: The fine line between amateur and professional [Re: Andromaque]  
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wr Offline
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Originally Posted by Andromaque
excluding performance by family and friends, do you attend amateur concerts? do you check out amateur recordings on You Tube?


I don't actually know of any amateur concerts by people who are not friends and acquaintances.

Yes, I do listen to some amateurs on YouTube at times. Sometimes it's because they are playing music that is otherwise not available. And other times maybe it is because I empathize with them enough so that I simply enjoy the music along with them. Or maybe I just don't have any standards. grin

#2081683 - 05/13/13 03:06 AM Re: The fine line between amateur and professional [Re: 1RC]  
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Originally Posted by 1RC
There have been many careers founded on an instrumental skillset of a handful of guitar chords.


You're exactly right. mad

Mediocrity works, as long as there are people are prepared to pay for it (and others are prepared to promote it - not that I'm referring to a couple of TV shows....).


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
#2081690 - 05/13/13 03:19 AM Re: The fine line between amateur and professional [Re: wr]  
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Originally Posted by wr
Sometimes it's because they are playing music that is otherwise not available. And other times maybe it is because I empathize with them enough so that I simply enjoy the music along with them. Or maybe I just don't have any standards. grin


I've heard music played by amateur pianists in free concerts that I've never heard from professionals, nor seen on any concert program. Occasionally it is contemporary, and unpublished; but often, it's music that wouldn't have sounded out of place (or lacking in quality) in a program alongside the great composers - if only the composer had a greater profile.

There's just so much fine piano music around, and not enough time to hear it all.


"I don't play accurately - anyone can play accurately - but I play with wonderful expression. As far as the piano is concerned, sentiment is my forte. I keep science for Life."
#2081781 - 05/13/13 09:25 AM Re: The fine line between amateur and professional [Re: wr]  
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Originally Posted by wr
Originally Posted by Andromaque
excluding performance by family and friends, do you attend amateur concerts? do you check out amateur recordings on You Tube?


I don't actually know of any amateur concerts by people who are not friends and acquaintances.


I go to student and faculty performances once in a while (college campus).

And in our area we have many performances monthly given by people who fall into the vast middle area between professional traveling concertizers and the dabbling amateurs who have little or no professional-level training. That group would include church music directors who are clearly excellent (and well-trained) musicians, but who are not going to threaten the income of Pollini or Lang Lang. It would also include "real amateurs," people with day jobs, who form groups to play a type of music they love. Heck, one of my friends is a physician who plays in a really good local Klezmer band! I know another group that plays great Celtic music, but most of the members also have day jobs.

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