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You can play the piano??

Posted By: loveschopintoomuch

You can play the piano?? - 11/11/08 01:50 PM

More and more I find people so surprised (amazed, startled, shocked, envious???) that I can play the piano.

Just yesterday, as I was writing out a check for the man who rid our lawn of a gazillion leaves, he obviously looked into my living room and saw my grand piano. First he mentioned how beautiful it was. And I replied it was pretty old just like me. And then he (in a really wonderous tone) asked if I played. When I answered that "I try," he seemed so respectful (?)...I don't know if that's the right word, but it comes close.

He has a long Polish last name, so I told him (never miss a chance) that Chopin was Polish. I wonder now if he knew whom I meant. And then I mentioned Marie Curie and Copernicus.

I mean no disrespect for this man because he is the most responsible and hard-working person I've ever met. He comes when he says he'll come and does a perfect job on my lawn and scrubs. But he probably doesn't have much of an education. He might have had to quit school to earn a living. He has four children who often help him out, and they are so much like their father.

Later, I thought how very lucky I was. Although I never had much as a child, I did have a mother who scraped together $50 for a piano when I was a teen and who managed to find $2.00 for a piano lesson each week. I know this was a hardship for her. And I was very lucky to realize the value of an education and went to a public college to get my degree. I didn't have to worry about supporting a family. And I was very lucky to marry a man who made good money, so now I have all the material things that make life comfortable, including a beautiful piano and all the time in the world to play it.

I wished I could have told this man that the ability to play the piano pales in comparison to how hard he has to work everyday, 12 to 14 hours, I'm sure. In the heat and the rain and snow (he also owns a snowplow). And it is he who deserves my admiration and respect.

But, to get back to my original thought...why do you think that people are so taken with the idea that we can play? They seem to think it is an exceptional gift and (I'm not kidding here), they put us on some kind of invisible pedestal as if we were so special.

Have you found this to be true?

Kathleen
Posted By: Blackbird

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/11/08 02:18 PM

Perhaps when he sees a person working 12 hours a day he understands how to achieve it.

When he sees that person work a 14 hour day he will keep up with them.

He understands hard work and long hours.

but he doesn't understand or believe he would ever he able to play that piano.

It is outside his experience, much as if you asked me to service my car smile
Posted By: sotto voce

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/11/08 02:40 PM

Kathleen, my own experiences have been very different from yours (for the most part).

As a general rule—i.e., more often than not—I have found people to treat my musical avocation with indifference (and sometimes complete disinterest!). I would need to indulge in a lot of armchair psychology to speculate about why that may be, so I'll limit it to the observation that the realm of classical piano is far outside most people's ken.

I suspect that many don't know how they are "supposed" to react to it, and perhaps not to respond or acknowledge it at all is found to be the safest and most comfortable choice. Dang.

Steven
Posted By: loveschopintoomuch

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/11/08 03:24 PM

blackbird: You may be right although I think he is just in awe of people who choose to use their spare time pursuing such a lofty goal...instead of watching TV, that is. Or maybe he thinks we are super smart. (Ha...just in my case.)

Steven: With the bit of psychology I possess, I would definitely put these people in the class of snobs. Their apathy is nothing more than a way of coping with their admiration and even envy of your talents. I would make a guess that these people just have to wear designer clothes (with the labels preferably showing) and eat at only the "in" restaurants.

Anyone (with a healthy quantity of self-esteem) who has heard you play can only marvel and be happy for you and be proud for and with you,

I would suggest (just a suggestion, of course) that you find new acquaintances. Maybe just or two would do.

People who seem to begrudge you and your accomplishment are not people worthy of your friendship.

My best as always,
Kathleen
Posted By: gmm1

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/11/08 03:32 PM

Hmmm. Interesting post, Kathleen, and interesting response from Blackbird and Sotto voce.

I guess I have seen it both ways. One relative of mine can't believe I "waste so much time" when there is no chance I can ever make money doing it (did you guess he is young???).

Others are blown away that I even try, and wish they could/would try as well (did you guess they are old like us????)

I don't generally advertize that I am learning, as it just might lead to wanting me to play. Those that do know may ask how it's going to be polite, but I do get the sense that some could care less.

And then, the moments that make my day: My granddaughter looking at me as if I was special, my lovely bride crying everytime I attempt to play her favorite piece, the little girl in Sam Adams who touched my arm so lightly hoping something besides sweat would rub off on her.

Yea, those people are special to me. They think I am gifted and talented and smart.... I will never play for them.....
Posted By: sotto voce

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/11/08 03:58 PM

Quote
Originally posted by loveschopintoomuch:
People who seem to begrudge you and your accomplishment are not people worthy of your friendship.
I have long interpreted others' reactions to our joys and successes as a barometer of character.

I should make it clear, though, that the folks who have regarded my piano practice with indifference have been a very diverse lot: a one-time romantic interest, friends and family of my partner, neighbors, a very old friend whom I hadn't seen in many years who stayed with me for a few days, and even laborers doing household renovations.

There's no common denominator there that would allow me to ascribe snobbery (or any other single reason) to their behavior; I've come to accept that most people don't "get it."

Steven
Posted By: -Frycek

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/11/08 04:56 PM

A couple of days ago I had to take the plumber/remodeller who is going to be redoing our untouched since 1932 bathroom into my "piano room" since a plumbing access hatch is in there. He saw my big square grand and asked "What is that!?" I told him a piano and he seems so interested in it I had to open it up for him. I asked him if he played and he said, "no, can't carry a tune, but my first wife, she could, she could do anything with music, play, sing - - " spoken in a tone of great admiration. I had the definite impression that I'd made a few brownie points with him too.
Posted By: BB Player

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/11/08 06:23 PM

When strangers come into our house and see our piano, for some reason they without fail assume my wife is the one that plays.
Posted By: SAMoore

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/11/08 06:24 PM

I find most people are truly interested (and a little surprised) that I'm (still!!!) taking piano lessons. Out of these some (my husband and sons) are quite proud, some are a little inspired (friends and coworkers), some a little amused I think (mom), and almost all think that after 7 years, I should be able to play just about anything... sigh, sigh...
Posted By: RobM

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/11/08 06:31 PM

Thats an interesting observation Kathleen, I can definitely relate to what you're saying. I think that this 'awe' that many people have towards piano players (or anyone who plays an instrument or possesses a skill that has required a lot of dedication for that matter) stems from the fact that a lot of people have a desire to attain such a skill but, for whatever reason, have never attempted/bothered to learn. I can't recall the number of times I've heard people say "I've always wanted to play the piano!" or something of that nature when they discover that I play (or attempt to at least).....but it's quite a few!

As has already been mentioned, it does tend to be people of a slightly older generation who have this 'awe' towards piano players. Many colleagues of mine who are of a similar age in their early-mid twenties really couldn't give a crap! :p And thats fine by me - I don't care what they think about it and I would never expect to be considered in a different manner to anybody else just because I play the piano. So I wouldn't agree with regarding people such as this as 'snobs'.....in fact I'd be inclined to say it's slightly snobbish behaviour to expect others to consider you with any greater esteem because you play the piano.
Posted By: ChatNoir

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/11/08 07:43 PM

This reminds me of a little story that appeared in the Norwegian newspapers about 40 years ago. A music class at a high school in Stavanger was in session, and the janitor, and older man in his 60's, had to come in and measure a broken window. The students asked him in jest if he wanted to play someting for them at the same time. Much to their surprise, the janitor put away his tools, walked over to the piano, sat down and played a Chopin valse. 24 jaws dropped in unison, and the story hit the papers including a photo of the artist.
Posted By: quiescen

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/11/08 08:30 PM

I can think of 2 reasons right off the bat. Reason #1: They're intimidated by the "classical" factor and think you have to be a genius to play.

Reason #2: That shiny sea of black and white keys looks scary to someone who has never taken the time to understand. The piano can be a scary instrument but like all others, easily understood with the right explanation.

-----------------------------------
Play New Age Piano
http://www.quiescencemusic.com
Posted By: Les Koltvedt

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/11/08 09:15 PM

Quote
Originally posted by BB Player:
When strangers come into our house and see our piano, for some reason they without fail assume my wife is the one that plays.
Ditto here and then, if asked to play, I tell them that I'm taking lessons and the response is... "you gotta be kidding me"...does put a smile on my face...

Had my mother-in-laws surprise 80th birthday party this past Sat... and she asked me to play something for her...made my day...although I haven't let her know that...lol
Posted By: Laura D

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/11/08 10:19 PM

And then there was my recent house guest who commented that she had heard enough of one particular piece I was working on. She does play the piano (I don't know how well, she never touched my piano in 3 weeks), and I guess she assumed I *already* knew how to play (but she would have had to assume I hadn't learned very well! smile ). I told her I was trying to make it better, finished the practice session, and never played it again while she was here. I told my husband I should pick out some particularly nasty two bars (those zigzag bars from Minuet 1 of the Bach Partita in B-flat were what I had in mind) and work on them over and over for hours. Then another two bars.

On the other hand, there have been a number of people who do not play who have expressed some sort of admiration for the effort I am making. But I am sure very few of them realize the work it takes!

And there is the lady at church who plays for choir and sight reads like a whiz who is amazed at the technique I have learned and how fast my fingers can go. I appreciate people like her--who can make me feel good even when they are way better than I am!
Posted By: melwig

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/11/08 11:20 PM

I believe that people's response tends to be rooted in their ability to value and appreciate music. Some love to listen to music and admire those who play it. Others could care less and are unimpressed by anything musical. Either way, I try to never take anyone's reaction personally. It's only an indication of one's ability to take in the riches life has to offer. I agree that those older seem to appreciate more. Those seasoned by time just seem to be nicer people. I suppose after experiencing enough heartache in life one chooses to try their best to make it a nicer place.
Posted By: kentm

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/11/08 11:31 PM

When people put me on a pedestal at the thought that I play the piano, I just PLAY for them.....

They take me off the pedestal real quick... wink
Posted By: flyboy01

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/12/08 03:15 AM

I get the same reaction from some people when they learn that I am a certified pilot
with our own plane. Some people are in awe, others shake their head and say I'm crazy.

Now that I am trying to learn how to play the piano I am the one in awe of you good people that are eons ahead of me with your progress.
Posted By: Dave123

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/12/08 03:53 AM

Quote
Originally posted by loveschopintoomuch:


But, to get back to my original thought...why do you think that people are so taken with the idea that we can play? They seem to think it is an exceptional gift and (I'm not kidding here), they put us on some kind of invisible pedestal as if we were so special.

I get a mixed reaction when I tell people I play a piano and taking lessons, most of them their eyes pop out when I tell them what my interests and hobbies are. I also enjoy doing pencil drawings and pastel drawing mainly portraits, as well as play the piano (term used loosely in my case laugh ) Being a millwright by trade working machinery maintenance and construction, we are stereotyped as beer guzzling, rough and ready type people. Well I am not I enjoy my interests and my family and friends are very supportive, even though a little surprised I play.
I guess the old cliche, "you can't judge a book by it's cover" is true in my case. I don't think anyone puts me on a pedestal but it does create allot of questions in conversation, and genuine interest.
Posted By: Dave123

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/12/08 03:56 AM

DP
Posted By: Danny Niklas

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/12/08 05:24 AM

Quote
Originally posted by loveschopintoomuch:

But, to get back to my original thought...why do you think that people are so taken with the idea that we can play? They seem to think it is an exceptional gift and (I'm not kidding here), they put us on some kind of invisible pedestal as if we were so special.

Have you found this to be true?

Kathleen
I think the same of dancers or contortionists.
I don't think they're exceptional gifts, but exceptional skills for sure. I admire them in awe, and what they can do seems almost magical to me. I feel the same about classical guitarists.
To see their fingers moving fast on the keys of the guitar as they produce polyphonic music using just one part, is fantastic. Their invisible pedestal is all deserved in my opinion.

If we weren't able to play the piano, we would think it's exceptional too. After all the idea of producing the music of a whole orchestral, with perfectly coordinated finger and arms motions IS exceptional. And I'm in awe and admiration anyway, when I see a concert pianist playing with total effortless control and spectacular coordination. There's something inherently beautiful in watching the fingers of a pianist moving coordinately, it's far more suggesstive than looking at a trumpet player.

You might see a parallel with circus. What we love abour jugglers is their extreme coordination.
That's why we observe them with such awe.
Posted By: Ted

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/12/08 09:37 AM

I have found over the years that most people can take a maximum of about ten minutes of any sort of piano music. But then most trained musicians and pianists don't seem to respond directly to the sound experience anyway but are busily thinking ABOUT it in relation to a host of external considerations and comparisons, what they have been taught and their musical experiences of the past.

So in answer to the original question I tend to say yes, many people do respond in such an incredulous way but I think only a very small number of these do so because of primary, naive love of our piano sound itself. They would probably respond the same to somebody who could lift a heavy weight, run a four minute mile or perform feats of mental arithmetic. Where I used to come unstuck years ago was believing they liked my actual sounds, which mistake led to many misunderstandings.
Posted By: loveschopintoomuch

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/12/08 01:59 PM

I really enjoyed reading all your responses. And I believe there was a element of truth in all of them.

Perhaps I used too wide a brush to paint certain people as snobs. But, you know, the definition of a snob are those who look down on others or who feel superior to them, usually to boost their own ego. And I would bet big money that if you asked any of them if they wished they could play, they would answer "Yes." I still think it is a form of sour grapes, for we all envy and are amazed by true skill and/or talent. If for nothing else, but for the amount of dedication, time and patience involved.

I think melwig's observation is the key... that people for whom music is so important are more appreciative of those who possess the ability to play. thumb And yes, older people who remember the music of years past can be the most appreciative of all.

I have to interject my favorite story here. We had some friends over last year and they all insisted I play (which I hate because of performance anxiety). But I finally gave in and played a somewhat easier version of Chopin's...#10, 3. I managed to get through it with no noticeable mistakes and received a warm round of applause. Then Bob gets up and walks over to the piano and asks if I could play his all-time favorite piece..."The Warsaw Concerto." eek I told him that I would have to hire an orchestra and conductor to do so. Again, just an indication that those who can not play have no idea of how difficult it is. :rolleyes:

From all of the above, I guess it is a mixed bag of experiences, some funny and some sad.

But I happen to think you are all very special in what you do. It is often a thankless and oh so frustrating ambition, but one that can fulfill us so completely that we labor on. smile

My very best to all,
Kathleen
Posted By: Woody-Woodruff

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/12/08 02:14 PM

Kathleen,
I think all of us are gulity of patting ourselves on the back when we FINALLY get something right. It is what keeps us going. On the other hand, we also severely repremand oursleves when we don't. Regarding others, unless you play the instrument you have no idea how much time and effort goes into playing it. Just my opinion.
Woody
Posted By: Akvarn

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/12/08 02:49 PM

Kathleen, that story reminds me of one time when a relative asked me to have a look at her roof to see if it was possible to cover it with tiles. It wasn't possible since the construction was too weak and there was no way to easily and inexpensively reinforce the structure. She was totally devastated because she was convinced that an engineer like me would easily come up with some "miraculous" way to fulfill her wish. I guess lack of experience is a key factor here: Learning the piano, taking education and lots of other things in life require that you put your heart into it. Some people take on challenges like that all their life, others steer away. Maybe people in the latter of the two groups fail (more often, anyway) to recognize the efforts required to play the piano at a decent level.

People usually aren't surprised when I tell them I play the piano (or guitar for that matter), but they seem to expect me to be good at it. That bothers me a bit since I don't like to perform in front of people. The lack of surprise might be due to my general profile: I like to play golf, speak Russian and a couple of other foreign languages and have more education than anyone will ever need. I probably just fit into the picture most people have of pianists. :rolleyes:
Posted By: Kymber

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/12/08 02:58 PM

A few things come to mind.
People are often in awe of things they can’t do.
You usually only hear and see a pianist after they are already pretty decent.
You rarely see the hard work and preparation that goes into it. And most likely never hear all the bad playing that goes on before it gets good.
I used to do Tae Kwon Do and I would get that WOW response as well. People would tell me how they wish they could do TKD but they can’t because they thought you have to be quick, strong and flexible to do martial arts. I would tell them that you develop that as you practice. But, they weren’t having it. They truly believed that they couldn’t do it and for some reason I could. If only they knew what a clumsy doofus I really am – LOL

Another funny story:
My coworker wants to play piano SO bad. But, she can’t afford a teacher. She had three lessons a long time ago. I told her about some group lessons and one day seminars that might be more affordable. But, she felt a little intimidated. So, I told her one day we could go over the practice rooms and I would show her enough so that at least the piano wasn’t so foreign to her and so she might feel a little more comfortable if she chose to go to the seminar or something. So, we went. I showed her how recognize the notes by looking at the black keys. She was thrilled by this. Apparently the other person didn’t tell her how to do this. I told her to quiz herself every day until she knew every note immediately when she looked at the keyboard. Then I showed her how to play C major and G major and a couple of chords. I went of some basic theory stuff and that was about it. We work in the same dept but our offices are across the hall from each other. When I went over to her side to use the photocopier our supervisor said she couldn’t she couldn’t stop talking about the lesson and she kept going on about how good I was she could tell because of the way my finger moved. She had everyone in the office thinking I was a musical genius-LOL. I kept saying I only play a little bit. But they weren’t buying it.
So, I guess I will have to practice extra hard now to live up to my reputation smile
Posted By: Kymber

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/12/08 03:50 PM

"I happen to think you are all very special in what you do. It is often a thankless and oh so frustrating ambition, but one that can fulfill us so completely that we labor on".
That was a nice thing to say smile

I forgot the mention this in my previous reply. Whenever I tell my friends that I am doing things like taking voice lessons or piano (among other things) they always comment on my courage and they would never have the nerve to do something like that. I think it's kind of sad that the first thought people have is that is it something that is unatainable. But I guess as someone put it (I can't remember who) Obstacles are their to weed out the people who don't want it bad enough (obstacles including our own thoughts). I guess we want it bad enough smile
Posted By: ProdigalPianist

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/12/08 11:23 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Laura D:
told her I was trying to make it better, finished the practice session, and never played it again while she was here. I told my husband I should pick out some particularly nasty two bars (those zigzag bars from Minuet 1 of the Bach Partita in B-flat were what I had in mind) and work on them over and over for hours. Then another two bars.
You are much kinder than I would have been. I would have suggested Motel 6 if she didn't like it.

What is it about that Partita??? My husband refers to it as "The Twiddley Bonk Song"!! (he came up with that name when I was learning the Gigue but applies it equally to the other parts!

THAT was the piece that explained to him what I meant when I warned him, before we bought the piano, when he was insisting that he *would too* like listening to me practice, that listening to me _practice_ was not the same thing as listening to me *play*...he knows that now...thanks to the Twiddley Bonk Song!! laugh
Posted By: Piano World

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/13/08 12:01 AM

Quote
Originally posted by flyboy01:
I get the same reaction from some people when they learn that I am a certified pilot
with our own plane. Some people are in awe, others shake their head and say I'm crazy.

Now that I am trying to learn how to play the piano I am the one in awe of you good people that are eons ahead of me with your progress.
Ah, see now, I'm jealous of you :-)

I took some flying lessons, absolutely loved it (in spite of my fear of heights). My instructor, a retired Belgium Air Force pilot (with 50+ years flying experience) told me it was too bad I hadn't started sooner, as I'd have probably been a good commercial pilot (I'm already dangerously close to the point where they put them out to pasture).

Unfortunately the FAA made getting my medical near impossible.

Now, back to pianos.

I've experienced both reactions as well.
People who appreciate piano music, or have some understanding of what it takes to learn an instrument are impressed. Some even after I've played :-)

It's funny when I tell people about founding/hosting Piano World, and they ask if I play. Duh
Posted By: ProdigalPianist

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/13/08 12:10 AM

Kathleen,
My guess (and it is only a guess) is that the fact that your piano is a grand is a major part of what impressed him. Grand pianos spell out "Serious Musician" to almost everybody. The fact that you have invested the money and the space for a grand speaks of a different relationship (in most people's minds) to the piano...where I grew up, grands in private homes are rarer than hen's teeth, and garner much more respect.

Edited because I can spell but can't type, apparently.
Posted By: Laura D

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/13/08 12:37 AM

Oh, ProdigalPianist, you made me laugh! Nah, she was an ok houseguest other than that one episode. Bought lots of gifts, took kids to HersheyPark, cooked meals, did dishes, etc. How can I complain? (Except here smile )

And I'm so glad somebody else can sympathize about that Partita. I worked for hours on that, would get one 4-measure bar up to speed, and the next day it would be completely gone. I could not hear the piece to keep it in my head--it seemed like just so many random notes. Finally my teacher told me to play it in chords. Wow, what a difference! Play the two RH eighth notes together with the LH note, all the way through the piece. All of a sudden it sounded like very nice Bach. I played it that way for two weeks and enjoyed it, and now I can work on it and I'm finally getting somewhere!
Posted By: sotto voce

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/13/08 01:30 AM

Quote
Originally posted by ProdigalPianist:
Kathleen,
My guess (and it is only a guess) is that the fact that your piano is a grand is a major part of what impressed him. Grand pianos spell out "Serious Musician" to almost everybody. The fact that you have invested the money and the space for a grand speaks of a different relationship (in most people's minds) to the piano...where I grew up, grands in private homes are rarer than hen's teeth, and garner much more respect.

Edited because I can spell but can't type, apparently.
I think that's a very good point (even though my own Baldwin M hasn't seemed to have that effect).

But I wonder if the impression a domestic grand piano makes may be the opposite one in the future—a connotation of pretentiousness—because it is so frequently a must-have item in the decorating budgets of aggressively upwardly mobile types who don't play at all but believe that a PSO makes a tasteful statement about their imagined sophistication.

Steven
Posted By: BillM

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/13/08 01:56 AM

Steven - what is a PSO?
Posted By: Blackbird

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/13/08 03:02 AM

Quote
Originally posted by b528nf7:
Steven - what is a PSO?
Ditto smile

Life is always work living if you learn something new each day
Posted By: ChatNoir

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/13/08 04:35 AM

I guess I can with fair accuracy assume that PSO is Piano Shaped Object.
It certainly could not be the Portland Symphony Orchestra, could it?
Then again, the upward mobile types will sometimes stop at nothing.
Posted By: sotto voce

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/13/08 04:37 AM

Quote
Originally posted by Blackbird:
Quote
Originally posted by b528nf7:
[b] Steven - what is a PSO?
Ditto smile [/b]
It's an acronym for "piano-shaped object"—a piece of furniture that may or may not be a worthwhile musical instrument (though in the context of my post it's frequently a Steinway just for the classy cachet it confers).

Sometimes PSO is confused with another acronym: POS.

From the Free Online Dictionary :

PSO = Piano-Shaped Object (shoddily made or badly damaged piano)
POS = Piece Of Stuff (polite form)

smile

Steven
Posted By: -Frycek

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/13/08 01:42 PM

Quote
Originally posted by sotto voce:
But I wonder if the impression a domestic grand piano makes may be the opposite one in the future—a connotation of pretentiousness—because it is so frequently a must-have item in the decorating budgets of aggressively upwardly mobile types who don't play at all but believe that a PSO makes a tasteful statement about their imagined sophistication.

Steven [/QB]
If we ever reach that point then the sight of something like my second hand Paderewski editions, held open with clothes pins, piled onto the music desk of my battered, but dusted and recently tuned, no recognizable name (but with real ivory keys! and home made string cover) 1937 "not quite" grand will speak volumes.
Posted By: Ivory Dreams

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/13/08 02:17 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Laura D:
And then there was my recent house guest who commented that she had heard enough of one particular piece I was working on.
I love my piano and my time at the piano. I would have answered: "Well bless your heart..., Sweetie, I didn't know you were planning on leaving so soon... Do you need some help with your luggage?"

DON'T MESS WITH MY MUSIC.... This person would need a motel reservation for future visits.
Posted By: loveschopintoomuch

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/13/08 02:36 PM

So great to read all of the above.

I am not, by nature, a materialistic person...far from it. The ONLY thing I have ever wanted and dreamed about was a grand piano. It did epitomized the total and complete grandeur of music composed for the piano. And, naturally, Chopin deserved the very best.

And so, about 20 years ago, I bought mine (a 1917 Lyon and Healy and in almost perfect shape) for just $2,000. True it does have a few problems (cracked sound board), but its tone is heavenly. Every time I sit at it, I get this very strange feeling that it is demanding me to do my best, for that's what it was made for.

On other note (pardon the pun), have you ever noticed in a movie or something on TV, when a piano is shown in someone's living room...that there is either one piece of music on the stand or none at all? Good grief. I have about 15 different books and pieces of sheet music scattered about, a glass filled with sharpened pencils, a timer, and lots of clothes pins (Frycek...ha!). Anyone who is serious about the piano (and this is just a guess) would have more than one piece of music on board.

Kathleen
Posted By: Kymber

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/13/08 03:06 PM

Kathleen,
Yes, I noticed that there is always a piano in the background. But it never hit me that you rarely see any music. A very important detail the set designer left out.

I also noticed sometimes they will have the piano covered pictures frames-lots of them. I appreciate the sentiment but it makes me nervous that if someone was doing some serious playing they would fall like dominos.
Posted By: Donna R.

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/13/08 04:02 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Akvarn:

People usually aren't surprised when I tell them I play the piano (or guitar for that matter), but they seem to expect me to be good at it.
I always say I'm learning to play. That usually dampens expectations somewhat. But it does drive me crazy when someone asks me to play, listens to my small and not very difficult repertoire, and then asks for something by Liszt or Chopin, or, my favorite request :rolleyes: , Rhapsody in Blue (don't I just wish . . . )
Posted By: ProdigalPianist

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/13/08 06:48 PM

Quote
Originally posted by sotto voce:
Quote
Originally posted by ProdigalPianist:
[b] Kathleen,
My guess (and it is only a guess) is that the fact that your piano is a grand is a major part of what impressed him. Grand pianos spell out "Serious Musician" to almost everybody. The fact that you have invested the money and the space for a grand speaks of a different relationship (in most people's minds) to the piano...where I grew up, grands in private homes are rarer than hen's teeth, and garner much more respect.

Edited because I can spell but can't type, apparently.
I think that's a very good point (even though my own Baldwin M hasn't seemed to have that effect).

But I wonder if the impression a domestic grand piano makes may be the opposite one in the future—a connotation of pretentiousness—because it is so frequently a must-have item in the decorating budgets of aggressively upwardly mobile types who don't play at all but believe that a PSO makes a tasteful statement about their imagined sophistication.

Steven [/b]
I think how a person views a grand piano in a private home depends more on their socio-economic status than anything.

People with "old money" probably inherited it from grandma or great-grandma and it's a 1920's Steinway...possibly that never gets played or tuned. "Everybody" in their social circle took lessons from very good teachers as children, the way they learned French. They expect to see grands in people's homes as a matter of course.

People with "new money" buy a grand because their house was designed with one in mind, and it makes them look rich and classy. They either buy cheap no-name PSO's or a 'known' brand for extra props. This is the group where grand=pretentious.

People who are not in the old or new money crowd that want to be...also might count as pretentious.

Then there are the "cultured/academics"...may not have much money but if they have a grand it's because somebody somewhere played well...this is also a group that you will find high-quality inherited grands in.

I'm from working-class/blue collar/redneck stock. If you have a grand piano in your house it's really something special and you must really care about pianos. Or you're nuts for spending that much money because you could have gotten a 50 year old spinet that hadn't been tuned in 45 years that was *just as good*....which is what my and my husband's families think wink
Posted By: Bachrocks

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/14/08 02:51 PM

Quote
Originally posted by BB Player:
When strangers come into our house and see our piano, for some reason they without fail assume my wife is the one that plays.
Don't feel bad. People come to our house, see our huge collection of books and ask me if my HUSBAND has read all of them! I say, "Between us, we've read them all." My husband, when asked, freely admits "My wife reads faster than I do, she's read more of them."
Posted By: Blackbird

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/14/08 03:09 PM

I now realise my lowly place in life. I've never been into anyone's house with a Grand Piano.

frown

Slopes off back to the proletariat

Slope, slope slope sl..........

wink
Posted By: -Frycek

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/14/08 03:48 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Blackbird:
I now realise my lowly place in life. I've never been into anyone's house with a Grand Piano.

frown

Slopes off back to the proletariat

Slope, slope slope sl..........

wink
Neither have I. Mine is the only grand I know personally and only the second one I've ever played. This proletariat got hers for $1800 when my tuner called and told me he had a cream puff I might be interested in, original owner, little old man, only played it after church on Sundays, etc. It was the best tax refund money I ever spent.
Posted By: Soleil_nuage

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/14/08 06:27 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Blackbird:
I now realise my lowly place in life. I've never been into anyone's house with a Grand Piano.

frown

Slopes off back to the proletariat

Slope, slope slope sl..........

wink
Hahaha! Same here. My boss is the only person I know that has a grand piano, although I have never been to her house. When she told me about it, she abashedly said that it is not a Steinway.

When I have mentioned to people that I am learning the piano (and the cello), the reactions have been mixed. Some are impressed, some intimidated, some jealous, some indifferent, and some incredulous (as in "you're learning not one, but two instruments?! Why are you doing that?!").

My music journey has turned me into a social misfit in a way. To be able to afford both piano and cello lessons and the istruments themselves and still meet my financial goals, I have had to cut out quite a few expenses. These include: annual vacations, bi-monthly road trips, eating out, happy hours, fashionable/trendy attire, manicures and pedicures, cable, just to name some. You know, things that "normal" people do and talk about in social settings.

I think I need to find a new crowd that understands that making these sacrifices for music or other passions does not mean that you are odd or crazy!
Posted By: loveschopintoomuch

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/14/08 07:06 PM

Soleil_nuage:

Gosh, even Chopin went out and partied.

I admire your dedication and the obvious sacrifices you have made, but I hope you can find a little time (if not money) to seek out friendships that will support your goals.

Good luck,
Kathleen
Posted By: Blackbird

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/14/08 07:08 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Soleil_nuage:

Hahaha! Same here. My boss is the only person I know that has a grand piano, although I have never been to her house. When she told me about it, she abashedly said that it is not a Steinway.

When I have mentioned to people that I am learning the piano (and the cello), the reactions have been mixed. Some are impressed, some intimidated, some jealous, some indifferent, and some incredulous (as in "you're learning not one, but two instruments?! Why are you doing that?!").

My music journey has turned me into a social misfit in a way.
I'm just a misfit full stop. smile

Quote
To be able to afford both piano and cello lessons and the istruments themselves and still meet my financial goals, I have had to cut out quite a few expenses. These include: annual vacations, bi-monthly road trips, eating out, happy hours, fashionable/trendy attire, manicures and pedicures,
I thought manicures and pedicures were what the French did to their dogs wink

Quote
cable, just to name some. You know, things that "normal" people do and talk about in social settings.
Normality is such over-rated, being a multi instrument musician has got to be more fun smile
Posted By: loveschopintoomuch

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/14/08 07:14 PM

I just happen to think of something that needs mentioning, I believe.

No one would think it strange if a young man spent all of his time practicing football, basketball etc. Most would probably give him a lot of credit.

No one would think it weird if a mother got up at 5 in the morning everyday to drive to daughter to an ice skating rink, so she could practice, in hopes of one day making the Olympics.

The same with those who spend hours and hours in the pool everyday, honinng their swimming skills.

Not to mention those race car drivers who not only spend lots of time and money on their "advocation," but risk their lives in doing so. Look at the thousands who show up for the Indiapolis 500 every year, just to see cars going round and round in a circle. And the noise is deafening.

Oh, let's not forget those body builders who spend hours in the gym lifting weights to turn their bodies into something almost hideous (JMO).

I guess I could go on with more examples, but I think you get the point.

My ladyfriend spends her free time putting together 10,000 piece jig-saw puzzles and make dish cloths. :rolleyes:

Kathleen
Posted By: sotto voce

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/14/08 07:22 PM

Quote
Originally posted by loveschopintoomuch:
No one would think it strange if a young man spent all of his time practicing football, basketball etc. Most would probably give him a lot of credit.

No one would think it weird if a mother got up at 5 in the morning everyday to drive to daughter to an ice skating rink, so she could practice, in hopes of one day making the Olympics....
I'd like to imagine that neither would anyone think it strange that a young woman spent her time practicing football or basketball, or if a mother drove her son to early morning figure-skating practice ... but I guess we're not there yet! shocked

I'm just teasing, Kathleen, no offense intended. My only point is that stratification of activities by gender is what makes people guess that it's the 'lady of the house' who plays the piano and the 'erudite gentleman' who reads the books. smile

Steven
Posted By: loveschopintoomuch

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/14/08 10:51 PM

Of course, you are so right, Steven. And I most certainly thought of the gender bias as I was writing. But for the sake of brevity, I chose not to be PC. wink

Kathleen
Posted By: swingal

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/15/08 11:42 AM

Having read through all these posts I conclude that we should be very pleased with our selves, especially as we get so much pleasure from this wonderful website. Particularly the members input.

I've suffered for years with unsympathetic people in the listening vacinity of the piano. We cannot understand why others do not appreciate music, which in our case is piano music.

I'm no psychologist ( though we have one as a member!) But the human being is a person of great variables in mind,senses and thought. The emotions of people act in strange ways. Jealousy for one.

The best solution is to try and find that person who gells with your piano playing genre, and is genuinly complimentary.

Regards to all,

Alan (swingal)
Posted By: TrapperJohn

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/15/08 12:10 PM

Quote
Originally posted by Kymber:
I also noticed sometimes they will have the piano covered pictures frames-lots of them. I appreciate the sentiment but it makes me nervous that if someone was doing some serious playing they would fall like dominos.
laugh
Posted By: loveschopintoomuch

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/15/08 01:40 PM

I can think of another story that might be of interest.

Years ago while I was working at a college, I attended a retirement "party" for one of the employees. It was held in the student lounge, a large open area, nicely appointed. Of course, there was a table filled with food and drink (non alcoholic, of course) and a receiving line to bid farewell to the retiree.

As I mingled, I heard the opening bars of Chopin's 3rd etude, #10. At first I thought it was coming from a loud speaker, but then I noticed, in a far corner, a piano and a young woman seated at the keyboard. She was playing beautifully, and I walked over to stand a few paces behind her so I could see her hands. In time, a few people joined me, about 5 (including the president of the college). The rest of the crowd (about 200 I would guess) continued to chatter away, seemingly completely unaware of this wondrous music and the young woman who was playing so gloriously. When she finished, we gave her a hearty round of applause (as hearty as six people could manage) and she beamed with appreciation.

I thought to myself...what a bunch of clods! I was referring to the others in the room, who were academically educated and supposedly possessed some degree of intelligence. And yet, they were oblivious or insensitive to the music.

But, and I believe this is a rich point to ponder. On any given day, go to the Art Institute in your city. We have a magnificent one in Chicago. The place is packed. People wandering from room to room, programs in their hands and gazing intently at the Rubens and Rembrandt's, etc. Yet I would guess that few could paint at all. But for some reason, the sense of sight seems to be so much stronger and appealing than that of sound.

I would appreciate your views on this if you have them.


smile Kathleen
Posted By: Blackbird

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/15/08 01:57 PM

Quote
Originally posted by loveschopintoomuch:
But for some reason, the sense of sight seems to be so much stronger and appealing than that of sound.

I would appreciate your views on this if you have them.


smile Kathleen
As I look at my partner I can do no other than agree wholeheartedly
wink
Posted By: nutchai

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/15/08 02:13 PM

I wish I could read all the stories right now but sadly I have exams to study for frown but I would like to put in my own story haha smile

About a week ago, I was sitting down in the library studying off my laptop when an acquaintance came up to me to talk. She then spotted my Ipod nano and said to me "You better not listen to all these asian songs that everybody else listens to." (because I'm asian) with a snide look on her face. She then proceeds to go through my playlists and to her surprise she's faced with a whole list of classical music from the Romantic era. Mainly Rachmaninoff, Chopin and Liszt piano music.

She then shoots me this look that spells "L-O-S-E-R", exclaims "Omg you listen to classical music?!" and runs off to her friends to tell them her discovery. After a chatter of words, I hear the sound of a snigger from her friends.

About 15 mins later she returns my ipod and its pouch accessory and comments "The pouch was much more fun that your Ipod".

Haha Ah well... Cest la vie
Posted By: mom3gram

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/15/08 02:15 PM

Quote
Originally posted by loveschopintoomuch:

But for some reason, the sense of sight seems to be so much stronger and appealing than that of sound.


smile Kathleen
I don't think this is true, Kathleen. The people you are referring to were at the museum specifically to view art. They were interested in the paintings, that's why they came.

I am an artist, and I participate in many local, as well as non local, art shows. We have had some of them inside, or outside shopping malls. Basically hardly anyone stops to see the art. Most do not even turn their heads as they pass by. We have also had shows in large libraries. You could take a poll as people leave, and I'm willing to bet that most of them were not even aware that there were paintings hanging in the building. And a local art school will hang a huge banner outside their building stating "art show today", and when I go in to see their show I am usually the only one in the place except for the people taking classes. Their opening receptions are usually packed, but most of those people are the artists themselves, and their families and friends.

So basically, the non music/visual art public sometimes seems to be too busy doing their own thing to bother with the art or music around them.
Posted By: SAMoore

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/15/08 02:55 PM

Perhaps it's because a painting is still and music is motion. We can stare at and absorb a picture for as long as we want but music passes.
Posted By: Larisa

Re: You can play the piano?? - 11/16/08 05:19 AM

I have to admit, though, that I am not emotionally moved by visual art. There's nothing wrong with my eyes - I have perfect 20/20 vision - but when I see a painting, I think "Hmm, pretty picture" and move on. Music reaches my heart, but visual art does not.

So I kinda understand the sort of person who just doesn't "get" music. My reaction to visual art is similar. I know it can have a lot of meaning, I know that many many people derive a lot of emotional satisfaction from it - but I don't.
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