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And there are people around. Do you do nothing? Do you tinker around with it? Or you jump on and blast away your best piece?
It depends. smile
Silly to have strong feelings about such a thing, but I simply would never commandeer a piano under those circumstances. Just strikes me as show-offy in the extreme.
Originally Posted by Mark_C
It depends. smile


I guess you wouldn't do it if they were all strangers? What if they are mostly people who know you?
Originally Posted by MathTeacher
Originally Posted by Mark_C
It depends. smile


I guess you wouldn't do it if they were all strangers? What if they are mostly people who know you?


I doubt that, "in public," they would be mostly people who know me. In any case, I think that playing the piano in a public venue without a specific or implied invitation to do so would be presumptuous in the extreme.

Regards,
Originally Posted by BruceD
Originally Posted by MathTeacher
Originally Posted by Mark_C
It depends. smile


I guess you wouldn't do it if they were all strangers? What if they are mostly people who know you?


I doubt that, "in public," they would be mostly people who know me. In any case, I think that playing the piano in a public venue without a specific or implied invitation to do so would be presumptuous in the extreme.

Regards,


I couldn't agree more. But even if I know the people I'm not about to climb on board without an invitation. Even then, I'd be careful to assess whether they really wanted to hear something or were just being polite.

Edit: just to add, it's not (of course) as if I don't share the very human impulse to show others any talents or abilities I might have, But I have an even stronger desire to keep this need under wraps. And all that said, as to the former, it's an impulse that continues to wane as I age...
It depends. If it is a hotel piano where I'm staying as a guest, I'll ask the clerk at the front desk if I can play it. I bat about .500 on those requests.

If it is in a private home and I am a guest at some social function, I'll wait to be invited.

If it's got a "do not touch" or "do not play" sign, I respect the sign and refrain from playing.

If it's located in a place where there's no obvious person to ask permission, I'll play it as long as there doesn't seem to be anything going on nearby that I might be disrupting. I'll also play it if I see other people playing it and then leaving.

Originally Posted by Monica K.
It depends. If it is a hotel piano where I'm staying as a guest, I'll ask the clerk at the front desk if I can play it. I bat about .500 on those requests....

me2

Footnotes: Begging raises it to about .600. ha
Making advance arrangements raises it to maybe .800.
how much alcohol have I consumed ? 1-5 , show off, 5 - 10 , try and steal it.
Originally Posted by Monica K.
It depends. If it is a hotel piano where I'm staying as a guest, I'll ask the clerk at the front desk if I can play it. I bat about .500 on those requests.

If it is in a private home and I am a guest at some social function, I'll wait to be invited.

If it's got a "do not touch" or "do not play" sign, I respect the sign and refrain from playing.

If it's located in a place where there's no obvious person to ask permission, I'll play it as long as there doesn't seem to be anything going on nearby that I might be disrupting. I'll also play it if I see other people playing it and then leaving.



Good answer.
Lucky me! I don't play piano in public, so it is not an issue.
Leave it alone!
Depending, as has already been said, on the circumstances. If it won't interrupt anything then i'll play for as long as i like, not to show off but i usually just improvise little pieces for myself. I have done this a few times before, the oddest occasion, i would think, was when i came across a piano in a chinese takeaway and played something! The kitchen staff even came out to applaud me! smile
Of course, if it's in someone's home i wouldn't play it at all.
Originally Posted by TheCannibalHaddock
the oddest occasion, i would think, was when i came across a piano in a chinese takeaway and played something! The kitchen staff even came out to applaud me! smile


I think it is actually good justice for workers who are bored as heck. Listening to someone play would be a much needed remedy for them.
A hotel? If I feel like playing, I'll sit and play.

I can't go pass a piano store without stopping in and pretending I'm interested. I always drop that I'm an engineer, and I'm never bothered by the salesmen besides the occasional "oh, please come try the 9-ft concert grand in the back room."

Someone's home? I pretend like I don't notice the piano and hope I'm not asked to play something.

Weird, eh?

-Daniel
Although I don't sit down and start playing, I can't resist checking to see if it's in tune. It's sort of an ongoing poll with me. (they're never in tune)
i just check the brand and raise my eyebrows or not.
I basically never play in public. But one time I was in a hotel with hundreds of other teenagers trying to qualify for the Jeopardy Teen Tournament. The wait was getting long, so I finally decided to play the piano which was sitting unoccupied for a long time. Then some man approached me and said "That's Beethoven, right?" and walked away. It wasn't until the next day that I realized he was TV actor. I had a feeling that there were other celebrities there than Alex Trebek. Anyways, no one was bothered by my playing, which was only about 10 minutes.
Under the usual circumstances that I have such encounters, I tune it.
A generous friend visiting took me out to dinner on my 30th birthday to a pricey French restaurant in a rural setting. It was a quiet evening with only a few tables occupied. After dinner I inquired with the French owner/chef about playing a few of my pieces on his piano sitting in the restaurant. I played a short set and afterwards to my (and my friend's) surprise he wiped off our entire bill - over $200 ! And a young couple visiting from the States invited us over to their table and proceeded to order $150 bottle of Champagne, then another.... until finally the owner cut them off and told me privately they had already spent over $1000 that evening.
In the Student Activities Center on campus, the piano is there and it is more or less encouraged for people to tinker around on it, so I enjoy playing it from time to time.
It depends on the situation. Though I had a fantastic time playing and associating with other pianists in NYC when Sing For Hope's Pop-Up pianos were around.
The majority of my early piano-practicing were on the hospital's Steinway piano. (The hospital was next to my apartment)
I probably clocked 100 hours on the public piano.
The last piano I saw in public had the sign, "If you know how to play piano, please play, otherwise, don't".
I would just look at it longingly, I'm too shy to play in public. If I *really* had that (completely out of character) urge, I'd look around for a manager or desk clerk and ask if I coukd play a few pieces. If I couldn't find anyone to ask permission, I would never assume it.
BTW, in such situations, even when we've gotten permission, I think it's best to always start with something relatively soft and low-key, and 'feel out' how people are reacting and whether we're disturbing anything.
Originally Posted by Dara
A generous friend visiting took me out to dinner on my 30th birthday to a pricey French restaurant in a rural setting. It was a quiet evening with only a few tables occupied. After dinner I inquired with the French owner/chef about playing a few of my pieces on his piano sitting in the restaurant. I played a short set and afterwards to my (and my friend's) surprise he wiped off our entire bill - over $200 ! And a young couple visiting from the States invited us over to their table and proceeded to order $150 bottle of Champagne, then another.... until finally the owner cut them off and told me privately they had already spent over $1000 that evening.


You must have played REALLY REALLY well !!!!! grin
Unless you're Valentina Lisitsa, it's very rude to randomly start playing in public... but that doesnst stop even the most polite of us from doing it occasionally xD. I play the rehearsal piano at my school's theater before rehearsal for the musical starts every day.
I am amateur and not as good as you, piano corner posters. But I play any piano I find in public or out of sight. I travel on business too much (almost 50%), if I don't take advantage of pianos avaialble, I can never practice enough. The problem was my need to practice scales. I don't want to annoy people but I need to practice. So I made up combination of contrary and same motion scale with crescendo and decrescendo that I can practice scales and make it easy to listen. To my amazement, i had some people say, "wow, how nice! What is that?" I could not believe it.
Originally Posted by Arghhh
The last piano I saw in public had the sign, "If you know how to play piano, please play, otherwise, don't".
The last one I saw had the sign "Please do not play the piano". I'm assuming it meant "please do not play this piano", rather than a universal prohibition! smile

To answer the original question, no, I don't play it.
Originally Posted by FarmGirl
....The problem was my need to practice scales. I don't want to annoy people but I need to practice. So I made up combination of contrary and same motion scale with crescendo and decrescendo that I can practice scales and make it easy to listen....

Nice!
I've had the same issue, and even though I have some exercises that I use regularly which are like that, I don't think I've ever dared play them in public! In such situations I try to find passages from actual pieces that fit the bill. But it's great to hear that you do OK with those exercises!

BTW, people often ask here about what kinds of exercises are best for developing and strengthening technique. I think interesting stuff that we make up, like what you said, can be the best -- and I mean for the regular kind of practicing, not just in public.
I was in Kansas City with a 6 hour wait for the train. In a fancy hotel across the street from Union Station, up on the deserted third floor mezzanine, tucked away in a far corner was an old Yamaha grand.

So I got to play some stuff.
Originally Posted by MathTeacher
I basically never play in public. But one time I was in a hotel with hundreds of other teenagers trying to qualify for the Jeopardy Teen Tournament. The wait was getting long, so I finally decided to play the piano which was sitting unoccupied for a long time. Then some man approached me and said "That's Beethoven, right?" and walked away. It wasn't until the next day that I realized he was TV actor. I had a feeling that there were other celebrities there than Alex Trebek. Anyways, no one was bothered by my playing, which was only about 10 minutes.


What piece did you play?
I live by the rule that if it is not yours, do not touch it.
I've been visiting a lot of piano dealers...and have been invited to play on their pianos a lot, especially if there aren't a lot of people around. Mostly small stuff like a Kapustin etude, or his Variations, though I have played....the third movement of the Waldstein and the Liszt sonata...

Only when given explicit permission (or encouragement) and no customers around!!
When I see a piano in a public space it draws my curiosity and I can't resist going over to take a look. On occasion, with polite inquiry and permission I'll sit down and play. Pianos in other spaces/places are very tempting to try out. I've met some very interesting people by playing piano anonymously and sometimes it has led to performance situations. I respect other people's spaces and possessions so it's always been appreciated asking first.
Originally Posted by Miles Martin
Unless you're Valentina Lisitsa, it's very rude to randomly start playing in public...


So every other pianist should not ever play in public randomly? Why her? Is she the only person you feel knows how to play? Hopefully not, since...well I'll leave your delusion untarnished...
... I scratch it with my keys! For no good reason... I'm just an evil person! grin
Originally Posted by Nikolas
... I scratch it with my keys! For no good reason... I'm just an evil person! grin


C'mon now Nikolas,
Are you just being silly,
or presenting your angelic side?
Originally Posted by stores
Originally Posted by Miles Martin
Unless you're Valentina Lisitsa, it's very rude to randomly start playing in public...


So every other pianist should not ever play in public randomly? Why her? Is she the only person you feel knows how to play? Hopefully not, since...well I'll leave your delusion untarnished...


I'm thinking the poster you're responding to is speaking in general terms, that is, unless you're quite good it's rude.....It's not about V.L.

That bit of defense out of the way, I don't think it really matters who you are. I understand that many people are curious about how a piano might sound, or would like to sneak in a little practice while on vacation or whatever, but it makes me pretty uncomfortable.

Originally Posted by currawong
The last one I saw had the sign "Please do not play the piano". I'm assuming it meant "please do not play this piano", rather than a universal prohibition! smile


good one!

I may peek to see what kind it is but since I am no V.L., no I would not sit down and play it!
Originally Posted by Dara
[quote=Nikolas]Are you just being silly,
Just being silly...

In a more honest reply to the thread's main question:

I have resisted playing a public piano without invitation every single time. It's not about being rude, it's about being unprepared physically, emotionally and mentally! In concerts I don't have much of a problem, or live gigs, but if I'm not ready... I'm not ready.

I do feed my own need for performances though in various ways, so I don't need more 'attention' to be honest.
Not if it was a place I've never been to before and didn't have permission from the owner/manager. It would be like driving someone's car without permission.

I do have a confession though - my orchestra room had a harpischord and we weren't supposed to play it (the piano was fair game). Sometimes when the teacher wasn't around I would play some Bach on it. blush
A six foot Boesendorfer grand piano sits in a large atrium at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. No one is assigned to play it, and no one is prohibited.

And would you believe it? People line up to play it every day. They look forward to it, and practice at home for weeks before coming to the clinic.

It's a "public piano."

I have heard “Autumn Leaves,” complete with descending chromatics to subtly suggest the falling of leaves, “Blowin’ in the Wind,” with vocals ala Bob Dylan, and a fair amount of Scott Joplin. I, myself, have contributed with “Prelude, Chorale and Fugue,” Schubert “G major impromptu," and other classical selections.

Click here to see an elderly couple have a go at the Boesendorfer.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RI-l0tK8Ok0.

It's a great experience to hear people sit down and play whatever they can play. The Mayo Clinic has created a wonderful tradition, where everybody’s music is validated and applauded. It’s the proper attitude towards this "public" piano.

Less than a block from my home is another "public" piano--an old upright, painted blue and decorated by a local artist, and reasonably well in tune. It sits on a street corner, waiting for someone to come along and play it, and people do. Some are just walking by, see it, and sit down and play "chopsticks." Some have dinner at a nearby restaurant and top it off with some improvised jazz. The other day, my postman sat down and played a two part Bach invention.

It seems an organization in St. Paul named “Pianos on Parade” has gathered twenty old uprights, had local artists paint and decorate them, and left them on various intersections for people to play over the summer. Someone nearby, usually a merchant, is asked to take on the responsibility of covering them with a tarp at night and when it rains.

I love the idea of the "public piano."

[Linked Image]


Originally Posted by stores
Originally Posted by Miles Martin
Unless you're Valentina Lisitsa, it's very rude to randomly start playing in public...


So every other pianist should not ever play in public randomly? Why her? Is she the only person you feel knows how to play? Hopefully not, since...well I'll leave your delusion untarnished...


I saw this coming once I read the first bit . . .

On the OP's question, I'm surprised so many people would play whatever piano they come across. It's not yours! Surely you'd ask someone first . . .
Originally Posted by tomasino
A six foot Boesendorfer grand piano sits in a large atrium at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. No one is assigned to play it, and no one is prohibited.



I've played it several times.
Originally Posted by tomasino

It seems an organization in St. Paul named “Pianos on Parade” has gathered twenty old uprights, had local artists paint and decorate them, and left them on various intersections for people to play over the summer. Someone nearby, usually a merchant, is asked to take on the responsibility of covering them with a tarp at night and when it rains.

I love the idea of the "public piano."


We live in St. Paul and had a great time this summer visiting the pianos from Pianos on Parade. I have a fun video on youtube of my 10 year old playing various pieces on about a dozen of the pianos around town (I'll PM it to anyone interested - the pianos are fun!).

I hope they do it again next summer!

Our family loves public pianos and the 10 year old is always happy to play with permission.
Originally Posted by stores
Originally Posted by Miles Martin
Unless you're Valentina Lisitsa, it's very rude to randomly start playing in public...


So every other pianist should not ever play in public randomly? Why her? Is she the only person you feel knows how to play? Hopefully not, since...well I'll leave your delusion untarnished...

An agressive but fair response, IMO.
Originally Posted by cardguy
Originally Posted by stores
Originally Posted by Miles Martin
Unless you're Valentina Lisitsa, it's very rude to randomly start playing in public...


So every other pianist should not ever play in public randomly? Why her? Is she the only person you feel knows how to play? Hopefully not, since...well I'll leave your delusion untarnished...


I'm thinking the poster you're responding to is speaking in general terms, that is, unless you're quite good it's rude.....It's not about V.L.

That bit of defense out of the way, I don't think it really matters who you are. I understand that many people are curious about how a piano might sound, or would like to sneak in a little practice while on vacation or whatever, but it makes me pretty uncomfortable.



There are two sides of this. It may be rude to play if you are not good, but on the other hand if you are good, many listeners may think you are just being cocky.

Perhaps the solution is to not play a difficult piece.
I have encountered this challenge many times.
My rule of thumb is: pianos are made to be played. If they are in the open public, it is easier for the owner to place a "please do not play" sign on the piano than it is for them to ask someone to stop, so they will use the sign if they really do not want people to touch it. Obviously, if the piano is locked, has a rope barrier around it, or has a giant cloth over it to protect it, that is a "do not touch" indication. Besides, these machines have wheels, so the owner can simply push it against the wall.
Polite discretion is important; I know a few pieces that make perfect "elevator music" which people barely notice, and there are times to just leave the instrument alone. If a piano is in someone else's house, I don't touch it.

I started teaching myself piano in college, and every dorm building had a Yamaha upright in the main activity room. It was put there to be played, just like the pool table and TV, so that may have affected my judgement.

My playing abilities make this very easy. Being self-taught for 3 years (I started proper lessons 2 months ago), I've memorized only a few songs (mostly just parts of songs), and they are far above my actual skill level. I can be impressive for nearly 5 minutes. If anyone asks me how long I have played, I just respond "about two months", and they are certain to be impressed.
Originally Posted by Maxtor


My playing abilities make this very easy. Being self-taught for 3 years (I started proper lessons 2 months ago), I've memorized only a few songs (mostly just parts of songs), and they are far above my actual skill level. I can be impressive for nearly 5 minutes. If anyone asks me how long I have played, I just respond "about two months", and they are certain to be impressed.


Which certainly casts new light on the Messiaen weirdness...


Once I was invited to speak at a luncheon, and after greeting the first person, I said "excuse me, I need to check out that piano over there in the corner" before continuing to "work the room". I didn't play it, I just needed to see what kind it was.

Another time I attended a children's recital. There was a cookies and coffee luncheon afterwards, and I discreetly and softly played the piano. A woman heard me play and asked what the music was and I said it was some stuff I wrote. She said "You need to make a CD. I'm a graphic artist and I'll do the cover art for free." So in the next 6 months I recorded the CD, she did the artwork and it turned out very good.

So I guess it depends on the circumstances. I'm very curious about every piano I see, and will always at least check them out a little, but I won't play it if that would be rude or inappropriate.
That's so cool, Larry! I'd never do it, but it sounds like it turned out serendipitously for you smile
I love to perform, so whenever I see a piano, I must suppress my desire to play it. One of my pet peeves is a piano with a "Do not touch" sign. Of course, if it's an antique in a museum, it's understandable...doesn't stop me from wanting to play it though!

A couple days ago, I went with my friend to the London Heritage Farm in Steveston, for tea. It's a very old home (ca. 1890) that has been turned into a museum, and not many people come for tea there. In the tea room, there was an old piano about the same age as the house. I asked the waitress if anybody ever plays it. She said that it's usually at Christmas time, but that I was welcome to play it.
So I went ahead and played whatever I could recall from memory: Chopin waltzes, a Mozart sonata, etc.. The few people who were there really loved it. smile

Then there's the Piano House, a store on Main Street. The manager knows me well enough that he always invites me to play the usually roped off Bosendorfer. I dream of one day purchasing that piano...

So I'd normally ask permission before playing any piano, unless common sense tells me otherwise.
It depends on what YOU want to do, and what's allowed. Aspara, I have the same feeling when I see a piano! My fingers just itch to run over the keys! (Especially if its a grand)
If I see one, I'll always go over to have a closer look..

Then I'll decide whether I can chance my luck by playing it without causing a riot (raised eyebrows - and/or applause - is OK by me... grin).

This was in fact one of the ways I managed to keep my technique (relatively) intact during the many, many years when I didn't have a piano to practice on, i.e. between leaving university and last year, when I finally bought one.

Sometimes, I've been surprised by how accomodating other people are: I've practised for hours on an ancient (but well-looked-after) grand in a stately home belonging to the late Queen Mother when I was at a weekend conference there; similarly on the upright in the bar of the ferry between Seward, AK and Bellingham, WA on my way back from an expedition; several hospitals (in the corridors and residences); bars in holiday resorts; many stately homes, museums, youth hostels, restaurants, conference centres, hotel lobbys, gyms, churches, even pianos prepped for concerts (before & after the concert) and therefore not strictly public.

After all, someone can only tell you to push off, and as they say, nothing ventured, nothing gained. I reduce the likelihood of the former by playing only melodically (and harmonically) lovely music, so, no Carter, Boulez or Stockhausen.... grin, and carefully gauge how wide a dynamic range I can safely use.

The polite side of me cringes when I look back at myself afterwards, but I can't seem to keep away if I see a piano. I always need to feel it, compare it to mine, marvel at how gorgeous it is, I could easily sit and play for hours wherever I was, if I knew enough pieces by heart to do that without feeling like a nuisance for repeating things.
However, saying that, I always ask permission if there is someone around to ask, and try not to overstay my welcome.
I suppose I should be thankful for this compulsion... it was thanks to this I decided to become a musician instead of having a medical career. Whilst on work experience in a hospital, all I wanted to do was leave the room and sit on the piano in the corridor. I realised I couldn't stand being so desperate to play all day and that I'd just have to make a career of it. =P
Plus, you can sometimes get the chance to play some lush pianos you'd never even dream of touching otherwise thanks to their expense.
What troubles me the most is that usually when you start playing a piece (especially in a "come-play-something-for-us!"-setting where you know most of the people, not so much in public), after 10 seconds somebody either says "now play something romantic, please!" or even just interrupts you to try twinkle twinkle, little star. In the best case, they start talking about something that they came to think about while you were playing. It's hard to show a complete piece and share some musical ideas, which would be a good way to use an opportunity like that, but only few people who respect art enough can really listen with interest in that social setting.

Other than that, much I agree with has already been said. I too have that urge to play a newly discovered piano and although there's a case for being polite and not showing off, I think it's more valuable to share music with other people, and public pianos are usually there to be played. But I would definitely choose pieces most people can appreciate, and not Schoenberg or even a long and not-so-accessible Beethoven Sonata movement, which doesn't mean saloon pieces only. People can only get so much from something new as it connects with what they know already.

By the way: I had that "play something romantic!" moment a while ago and found the expectations of the audience (all non-musicians) interesting. I didn't really have a romantic era or nocturne-like piece prepared, so I played Kapustin's Sarabande (a dreamy slow jazz-infused piece). Even though I played it a bit faster than usual, the tempo was quite slow, but they perceived it as fast and unromantic anyways because there were mainly 8th notes. Then I played Bach's Aria from the Goldberg Variations with a little bit of pedal and all of a sudden it was romantic. And needless to say, I didn't have to play the second part. So what do we learn? a) Bach can be butchered into any style or emotion and still sound convincing even with a lackluster performance and b) there is a huge discrepancy between what most non-musicians expect and hear from someone who can play that fabled piano-thingy and what a musician would like to convey.

Sorry for the long ramble wink any more public performance stories?
I walk up to the unoccupied public piano and place a small hand-written sign on the keys reading:

"No Heart and Soul, No Chopsticks, No Knuckle Song,
and under any circumstances, absolutely
No Fur Elise!"

That should keep the riffraff out. Mmmph!
I play it..
Originally Posted by erichlof
I walk up to the unoccupied public piano and place a small hand-written sign on the keys reading:

"No Heart and Soul, No Chopsticks, No Knuckle Song,
and under any circumstances, absolutely
No Fur Elise!"

That should keep the riffraff out. Mmmph!


No Moonlight Sonata (first movement) either please! smile
When I see an unoccupied piano in public I hope that one of those new age players doesn't sit down. smile

Originally Posted by MathTeacher
And there are people around. Do you do nothing? Do you tinker around with it? Or you jump on and blast away your best piece?


Not only would I blast away my nest piece, I would do a SCOTT JOPLIN RAGTIME MARATHON!!!!!!
Originally Posted by Froglegs
Originally Posted by MathTeacher
And there are people around. Do you do nothing? Do you tinker around with it? Or you jump on and blast away your best piece?


Not only would I blast away my nest piece, I would do a SCOTT JOPLIN RAGTIME MARATHON!!!!!!


I absolutely love playing ragtime in public. It's a real crowd-pleaser.
Actually, have you seen the movie 'Shine'? There is one scene where the almost completely forgotten pianist David Helfgott is recognised again as a great pianist when he plays the flight of the bumblebee on a piano in a lonely cafe in Perth, Australia.
Originally Posted by Froglegs
Actually, have you seen the movie 'Shine'? There is one scene where the almost completely forgotten pianist David Helfgott is recognised again as a great pianist when he plays the flight of the bumblebee on a piano in a lonely cafe in Perth, Australia.


Yes, I remember that scene very well too.
I stare at the piano and momentarily project an image of myself playing it, then I smile and move on.
I can't resist a piano, never could.
I'll ask if it's appropriate, or if nobody is around to ask, I play dumb (not hard for me) and assume it's ok.

We recently took a group of forums members on a European Tour.
At one point our guide (who is from Munich) took us to the BMW headquarters in Munich.

[Linked Image]

I'm the guy with the organge shirt, playing the Steinway Grand.
We all gravitated immediately to the piano (yes I asked in this case). It wasn't until I finished playing (and got a nice hand from the crowd) that I realized we were surrounded by cars :-)

I browsed the pictures from the trip a while ago and had a good chuckle at the description of that one! grin

I've played on public pianos before: music shops, hotel lobbies. There's this one at my local grocery store which I don't bother to touch, though. It depends where I am.
Originally Posted by Piano World
...It wasn't until I finished playing (and got a nice hand from the crowd) that I realized we were surrounded by cars :-)


cars and motorcycles!

When I find an unoccupied piano, I usually climb in and take a nap.
I don't think it's rude to play at all, and to be honest I'm amazed that others do. Assuming of course that it is actually a public place (not a home), and that nothing nearby would be disrupted by the noise. I also wouldn't play anything too loud/flashy/obnoxious. We have a piano in our campus center and people play it all the time. I don't just because I'm embarrassed (there too many infinitely more accomplished pianists at my university), but if the place was relatively empty I might. I certainly don't mind it when others do, though sometimes I become jealous :P
I play a piece. Can't resist.
I was really surprised yesterday when I went to the Opera House Open Day. There was a play-me piano for visitors - but it was a "Disklavier" instead of a real piano!
Originally Posted by ChopinAddict
...I went to the Opera House Open Day...
Gorgeous weather for it! smile
I've been warmly thanked a few times for caving into the urge to play the piano that sits in a far corner of the lobby of the children's Hospital where I work. I think whether or not to play depends on the context and whether or not it appears to be interrupting anything. If all checks out, but there's a few people within earshot, I'll still go for it.
Iv'e done it several times , for example in a resturant in Poland i asked if i could play on the piano beacause i couldn't manage to eat the food and don't think about the piano rigth behind me. At that time i hadn't played piano for four day's due to the trip it was pleasing.
What do you do when you see an unoccupied piano in public?

What do you do when you see an unoccupied piano in private ?
Originally Posted by Dara
What do you do when you see an unoccupied piano in public?

What do you do when you see an unoccupied piano in private ?


Well...that stays between me and the piano... smile
Originally Posted by Larry B
Originally Posted by Dara
What do you do when you see an unoccupied piano in public?

What do you do when you see an unoccupied piano in private ?


Well...that stays between me and the piano... smile


Hmmm.... There's got to be some kind of "unoccupied piano in Vegas" joke here.... ;-)

It depends. I hate to be coy and play pianos surreptitiously so i ask directly wether the piano is available and for what? Some of the pianos are maintained for events.

It's best to build some relationship with the organisers and introduce yourself but you might try a very short piece before the security gurad has time to tell you to stop.
Originally Posted by stores
Originally Posted by tomasino
A six foot Boesendorfer grand piano sits in a large atrium at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. No one is assigned to play it, and no one is prohibited.



I've played it several times.


I went there to interview for graduate school, and had a fabulous time playing that piano. I ran through Beethoven Op. 2 No. 3, and while I was playing a section of broken octaves, an old man on oxygen who was being wheeled by gave me a fist pump thumb

That night after the building was empty of all but the most obsessive researchers, I convinced a current graduate student to let me back into the atrium, and I played that piano for about 5 hours. It's the best "public" piano I've ever come across.

More generally, I think a lot of people have been describing my policy: if there's nothing to interrupt and people look like they might be receptive, I play something small and sedate and look to their response before continuing with anything else.

Originally Posted by MarkH

More generally, I think a lot of people have been describing my policy: if there's nothing to interrupt and people look like they might be receptive, I play something small and sedate and look to their response before continuing with anything else.



I agree, as long as nobody get irritate, it is ok to play. It is a good practice to play in the public. However, this kind of playing is totally different from a real concert, because we are not the main attention so that we do not feel nervous.
Originally Posted by RonaldSteinway
However, this kind of playing is totally different from a real concert, because we are not the main attention so that we do not feel nervous.


True.
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