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Can you play piano? #2606954 01/21/17 06:22 PM
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Jolly Offline OP
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At what point can you call yourself a pianist. Or simply a piano player?

Is it after a certain number of lessons? Is it when you can perform a certain piece?

Is it when you can play more than one style of music?

Or is it when you can play by ear, and adjust to a band on the fly?

Or when you can compose your own works?

Lots of folks on this board with varying levels of skill, so the answer may not be the same for all....I'm just curious, so give me a piece of your opinion, please...


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Re: Can you play piano? [Re: Jolly] #2606960 01/21/17 06:50 PM
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When you get out of method books into little pieces by big composers, and play like what you're doing is actually on purpose, it has begun.



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Re: Can you play piano? [Re: Jolly] #2606968 01/21/17 07:05 PM
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When you know you have to open the fallboard before playing.

Re: Can you play piano? [Re: Jolly] #2606969 01/21/17 07:05 PM
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When you can tell the difference between the white and black keys.

Re: Can you play piano? [Re: Jolly] #2606971 01/21/17 07:08 PM
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Somewhere between Solfeggieto and Fur Elise.

Re: Can you play piano? [Re: Jolly] #2606996 01/21/17 08:24 PM
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I play more advanced works, but call myself a piano player. My dad was an organist - he got paid. My mom was a violist who also got paid and also played publicly. I just play for myself 99% of the time, and occasionally for others. But... just one person's definition I suppose!

However, I also ride bikes and consider myself a cyclist. Maybe I define myself more by riding than playing piano.

Re: Can you play piano? [Re: Jolly] #2607004 01/21/17 08:51 PM
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Jolly Offline OP
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Are Floyd Kramer, Pig Robbins and Fats Waller pianists?

What about somebody who has had no or very few lessons and plays by ear, unable to read a line of music?

Would you term them piano players or pianists?


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Re: Can you play piano? [Re: Jolly] #2607031 01/21/17 10:15 PM
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When you care enough about the instrument and being able to play it that you make it a part of your personal life to keep learning and playing.

I would say I started feeling like I could actually play piano when I decided to take on un sospiro almost two years ago, before that I was a rather unmotivated student, now I actively practice, and set my goals, (instead of my piano teacher trying to give me goals before I really knew what I wanted to work to) and thus I feel when I sit down at piano, I actually can play it, not just repeat something that means little to me.



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Re: Can you play piano? [Re: Jolly] #2607039 01/21/17 10:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Jolly
Are Floyd Kramer, Pig Robbins and Fats Waller pianists?

What about somebody who has had no or very few lessons and plays by ear, unable to read a line of music?

Would you term them piano players or pianists?


I would not be snotty enough about reverse snottiness to differentiate--all who play the piano are pianists. laugh


WhoDwaldi
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Re: Can you play piano? [Re: Jolly] #2607074 01/22/17 01:49 AM
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I personally do not consider myself a pianist. If someone asks me to play I mostly don't have anything prepared and cannot play without preparation. A real pianist could, whether playing from the sheet, memory or improvise. The music or the level really doesn't make a difference imo.

So I consider myself "a piano student", but not even a real one, since I work full time with something else. It would be great to be a pianist one day, but it might not ever happen...

Re: Can you play piano? [Re: Jolly] #2607101 01/22/17 04:36 AM
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I have played the piano obsessively almost every day for decades, have recorded hundreds of hours of my improvisation and have written many piano pieces, therefore in the purely functional sense of the word I suppose I must be a pianist. However, I have never been in the music business in any capacity, know hardly any professional pianists or musicians personally and never perform. So if asked I always answer that I am not a pianist, because the word as generally used implies interactive abilities and experience I do not possess. In short, it is a word other people who know me might possibly use about me but one I have never used to describe myself.


"We shall always love the music of the masters, but they are all dead and now it's our turn." - Llewelyn Jones, my piano teacher
Re: Can you play piano? [Re: Jolly] #2607108 01/22/17 05:32 AM
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I live through music... Teaching, composing, publishing, performing.

Yes I can play the piano (badly after years of non practice)

Re: Can you play piano? [Re: Jolly] #2607111 01/22/17 06:15 AM
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I am not a pianist.

I just happen to play the piano.


"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."
Re: Can you play piano? [Re: Jolly] #2607118 01/22/17 06:58 AM
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I have taken to describing myself as a mediocre pianist. whome

But generally, I prefer to say "I play the piano" rather than "I'm a pianist." Not so much because of what it means to me, but because of what it might mean to the person I'm talking to. I don't play the traditional classical repertoire, I don't make my living through piano, I didn't start learning at age three, I don't practice 7 hours a day.... Etc.

Nevertheless, piano is an important part of my life and an even more important part of who I am, and that influences some many things in my life because I do various things to make sure I have a well-maintained piano, have time to play and practice, do things connected to music.... and so on. So it doesn't really matter what label I use, IMO, but anyone who knows me knows how important piano is to me and how much time I devote to it.


Started piano June 1999.
Proud owner of a Yamaha C2

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Re: Can you play piano? [Re: Jolly] #2607121 01/22/17 07:20 AM
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Funny question - I don't usually think about making the distinction. Looking at a handful of online dictionaries, they all basically define the word "pianist" as being someone who plays the piano. Some go further and add that it especially means playing it as a job, or that it means playing at an advanced level. It looks like a pretty loose distinction, actually.

Anyway, I guess I most often leave it up to others, who will sometimes refer to me as a "pianist" and sometimes as "one who plays the piano". It's been that way for more than a half-century now. Myself, I don't think either way, really - it's just part of my life.

But if I'm talking to someone who doesn't know me, and I want to mention it, it'll often be as an activity ("I play the piano") rather than an identity ("I am a pianist"), but that's not set in stone. Of course, in conversation, everything depends on context, and I have described myself and my involvement with music in all sorts of ways. Sometimes, for example, "amateur musician" seems right, without bringing up the piano at all.

Re: Can you play piano? [Re: Jolly] #2607156 01/22/17 09:39 AM
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There's no way I"d live long enough to learn to sight read, but I caught on learning to play by ear pretty quickly. I'm good with a piano player label. If someone asks, I say "mmm I play a little bit", but Council On Aging and the like are the only offers for playing I'd accept.

If I thought about it much I'd probably say Rach was a pianist and Waller is a player ... but if the next guy asked I might reverse the two to see what reaction I'd get. It's all good.


Rerun

"Seat of the pants piano player" DMD


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Re: Can you play piano? [Re: Jolly] #2607169 01/22/17 10:02 AM
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Why is a dancer a dancer but a pianist is a pianist only under certain circumstances? I am a pianist. I might not be good or great, but that doesn't change anything. Besides, I like the term, "Amateur" because it implies a love for something. So, I'm an amateur pianist, I accept that.

I'm sure my poor Steinway wishes I was more. But, he treats me well.

Last edited by Isabelle1949; 01/22/17 10:02 AM.

Always working to improve "Chopsticks". I'll never give up on it.
Re: Can you play piano? [Re: Jolly] #2607225 01/22/17 12:26 PM
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We've gotten away from the old niceties and terms:

"Piano Player" (someone on the bandstand behind chicken wire to stop the thrown beer bottles) (also, one who gets shot in westerns)

"Accomplished Pianist" (amateur)

"Concert Pianist" (Horowitz/Rubinstein)

"Singer/Songwriter" (one who wrote it, singing it, while self-accompanying)

"Composer" (asked from stage to stand at the premiere)

"With the Composer at the Keyboard" (nobody else would bother to learn it for the premiere 😀)


WhoDwaldi
Howard (by Kawai) 5' 10"
Re: Can you play piano? [Re: Jolly] #2607231 01/22/17 01:25 PM
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This is all sounding like music school games. Having gone through a music degree, let me tell you what every day is like. "Are you a musician? Really? Maybe you're not. How do you know you're a musician? Maybe you're not that good. You can't be a musician if you're not that good. You passed that last exam, but that doesn't mean you're a musician. I know musicians and you might not be one." This kind of stuff leaves a lot of people by the side of the road for no good reason. Or sends them into computers, like me. I came back to it much later, but now I consider myself a piano nerd.


Re: Can you play piano? [Re: Jolly] #2607255 01/22/17 02:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Jolly
At what point can you call yourself a pianist. Or simply a piano player?

Is it after a certain number of lessons? Is it when you can perform a certain piece?

Is it when you can play more than one style of music?

Or is it when you can play by ear, and adjust to a band on the fly?

Or when you can compose your own works?

Lots of folks on this board with varying levels of skill, so the answer may not be the same for all....I'm just curious, so give me a piece of your opinion, please...


I would very much like to know your answers to these questions.


Keith D Kerman
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keith@pianocraft.net 888-840-5460
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