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Snobbishness in piano - (Read 2364 times)

Offline tinyhands

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Snobbishness in piano -
« on: March 02, 2016, 11:26:34 PM »
Hello, I'm quite new to this forum and I've found it very interesting reading so many different posts and opinions on such a huge range of piano matters. Not sure where to post this thought? One thing I have often wondered over the years, is why does there often seem to be within the piano world a bit of snobbishness when it comes to learning this instrument in particular? Over other instruments I mean.. It's like lots of people can learn the guitar in their bedroom , teaching themselves off YouTube videos for example and that's accepted, they can 'play the guitar'  fine.. Accepted.. Or the violin.. You can play Classical or folk music, jam in a band. fine... . People just accept that..yet sometimes I feel with piano there can be an air of snobbery.. Ie you are 'not classically trained' 😏sometimes I see comments on YouTube videos and people get quite worked up and angry in general... Especially if the pianist is banging out the pop tunes Lol! Surely if you like to play the piano it doesn't really matter what you play or how you learn? Who cares if all you want to play is Elton John? For the record I love learning classical pieces and love the discipline and technique of classical teaching but then I also love boogie  woogie, jazz, and gospel piano... All sorts of styles to be honest 😍 I often go to classical recitals and concerts yet I can actually feel out of place at times ( knowing a lot about classical music myself) because the audience can take itself so seriously and be so stuffy in their reactions. No wonder classical music can be seen as elitist and doesn't engage people from varied social groups. People can be so critical or when it comes to performers like Lang Lang, whatever you think of him, he engages young people into music Surely that's a good thing? or the pianist Yuja Wang.. Totally amazing talented woman yet all some people can comment on is the length of her skirt or how high her heels are!! What's with that?? Come on people surely it's time we all stopped being so stuffy..  What do you guys think?

Offline mjames

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #1 on: March 02, 2016, 11:55:42 PM »
because classical music like most elitist subcultures is self-alienating. anything related to popular culture is instantly frowned upon.
Composing/improvising

Chopin's 4th ballade and 3rd sonata.
Scriabin Op. 42 no. 1, 2, and 3.
Bach Partita No.4

Offline huaidongxi

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #2 on: March 03, 2016, 12:25:45 AM »
thank you for voicing your experiences and reactions.  you are probably not the only pianist/music lover who has had those opinions.

the piano has not had the same history as a populist instrument as plucked or bowed stringed instruments (or percussion for that matter, which the piano as a hybrid is a variation).  there have always been homemade, folkloric, itinerant vagabond/minstrel versions of these other instrument categories.  the livelihoods of the earliest piano practitioners and composers depended on pleasing the wealthy, upper strata of society.  the industrial revolution made it possible for the middle classes to own pianos, and learning piano literature was a sign of refinement and education. hope you have read Jane Austen -- women in the social milieu she came from and wrote about were expected to learn the piano as part of 'proper breeding'.

the piano really started to become part of popular music and its practitioners after industrialized production, when proprietors of public houses, taverns, saloons, houses of prostitution gained access to the instrument (in this last category, Vienna, Paris, London were probably among the first to enjoy them in the leisure houses).  but the tradition of formal, western European schools of instruction is fairly strong even with the practitioners of popular piano music -- nearly all those we remember from their gaining fame or leaving a body of compositions (Joplin, Morton, and forward into the 20th century) had 'classical' training.

Offline kawai_cs

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #3 on: March 03, 2016, 12:30:17 AM »
I think it is a good thing that we try to be conservative and pure in relation to piano music and piano playing. Why not keep the good tradition and why change, why loosen up? For what sake? I think that too many things has been loosened up in the modern word and it is for bad. I.e. why do I see people in their pjs in public???? Why do I see people in shorts in classical music concert??? >:(

I think it is a good thing to approach the piano with respect in every way. No matter if it is teaching, learning, performing or enjoying a performance. Let's keep what is good in the tradition. Let's not change just for the sake of our convenience and laziness.  
Chopin, 10-8 | Chopin, 25-12 | Haydn, HOB XVI:20

Offline mjames

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #4 on: March 03, 2016, 12:46:28 AM »
Why do I see people in shorts in classical music concert??? >:(
 

Because they are there to listen to music not to play dress up.
Composing/improvising

Chopin's 4th ballade and 3rd sonata.
Scriabin Op. 42 no. 1, 2, and 3.
Bach Partita No.4

Offline kawai_cs

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #5 on: March 03, 2016, 01:42:16 AM »
It is a part of savior faire to dress appropriately for an occasion. I guess some parents did not teach it to their children and that is a shame.
Chopin, 10-8 | Chopin, 25-12 | Haydn, HOB XVI:20

Offline huaidongxi

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #6 on: March 03, 2016, 01:53:18 AM »
since wearing shorts has been raised in the discussion, are there not outdoor concerts during the summer in places like Chicago, or the Tanglewood festival, where it gets sticky and hot for performers and audiences ?  have not attended them, myself.

Offline mjames

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #7 on: March 03, 2016, 02:07:09 AM »
It is a part of savior faire to dress appropriately for an occasion. I guess some parents did not teach it to their children and that is a shame.

You can't even write out a reply without inserting condescending and insulting remarks about a person's and their family's character.

I guess that must be a part of the "classical tradition" too.
Composing/improvising

Chopin's 4th ballade and 3rd sonata.
Scriabin Op. 42 no. 1, 2, and 3.
Bach Partita No.4

Offline kawai_cs

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #8 on: March 03, 2016, 11:27:11 AM »
I didn't mean to be condescending or insulting and I didn't mean to offend you or your family. I apologize if it came thru like this.
My point is there are rules that are there for a reason since ages, i.e. dressing up for special occasions is not only a way of celebrating our lives a little more but also a way of showing respect. It is important to teach children savoir vivre rules. I observe today's world is getting more and more slapdash.
Chopin, 10-8 | Chopin, 25-12 | Haydn, HOB XVI:20

Offline outin

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #9 on: March 03, 2016, 01:26:54 PM »
I didn't mean to be condescending or insulting and I didn't mean to offend you or your family. I apologize if it came thru like this.
My point is there are rules that are there for a reason since ages, i.e. dressing up for special occasions is not only a way of celebrating our lives a little more but also a way of showing respect. It is important to teach children savoir vivre rules. I observe today's world is getting more and more slapdash.


Than again there are many valid reasons to question any such rules. The fact that they are old does not in any way ensure that they make sense now. Many parents prefer their offspring to grow up as thinking and critical individuals and questioning old habits is an important part of this.

Offline jimroof

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #10 on: March 03, 2016, 03:34:16 PM »
I do think that pianists tend to be a bit proud of what they do and what they have accomplished.  But, I do not think they are any more snobbish than other 'serious' musicians who are cellists, violinists, oboists or bassoonists...

I think the reason that serious PIANISTS tend to stick out is because piano is one of the rare instruments that attracts players of every level on a grand scale, and it is one of the rare instruments that has application in every kind of music genre. 

If you ask the average 5 piece cover band that is playing a wedding reception how they learned their instruments, you are likely to find that the bassist, guitarists and drummer were as likely to have been self taught as they were to have had instruction.  The keyboard player?  Odds are decent that they learned their skills through serious study. 

Piano attracts a certain kind of person too.  I have played in bands before.  Drummers TEND to be free-wheeling.  Guitarists TEND to be showmen.  Bass players TEND to be a bit more reserved and cerebral, and keyboard players tend to be the perfectionist intellectuals (the shoe sort of fits me too...), and perfectionist intellectuals are ripe for being labeled snobs.

One other reason why I think pianists might be viewed as snobs is because so many people took at least some piano instruction and can play simple tunes.  When they come face to face with someone who has excelled at the instrument, jealousy might be at least partially to blame as the one who failed to achieve much feels compelled to pin some negative on the one who has learned well.
Chopin Ballades
Chopin Scherzos 2 and 3
Mephisto Waltz 1
Beethoven Piano Concerto 3
Schumann Concerto Am
Ginastera Piano Sonata
L'isle Joyeuse
Feux d'Artifice
Prokofiev Sonata Dm

Offline brogers70

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #11 on: March 03, 2016, 07:29:29 PM »
It is a part of savior faire to dress appropriately for an occasion. I guess some parents did not teach it to their children and that is a shame.

I suspect that when you dress for a concert you where clothes that would have struck Liszt's audiences as completely uncivilized. Times change.

Offline klavieronin

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #12 on: March 04, 2016, 01:12:09 AM »
When I was studying there were plenty of people who looked down on pianists - string players and conductors in particular - so I'm not sure it's true that pianists are especially snobbish.

Having said that, I agree that classical musicians and audiences can be rather conservative and maybe that's what you are seeing.

Since you mentioned Lang Lang and Yuja Wang, I personally am one of those people who are critical of the way Lang Lang performs. There is no question that he has an astounding technique but I just can't help furrowing my brow at the way he keeps changing tempo or bashing on the keyboard. It just sounds unmusical. When it come to Yuja Wang on the other hand, I think she is fantastic and I couldn't care less how she is dressed. She could perform in pasties and a g-string as far as I'm concerned, she is still a brilliant pianist.

Offline dcstudio

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #13 on: March 04, 2016, 03:46:40 AM »
When I was studying there were plenty of people who looked down on pianists

please.. did you go to bizarr-o U??-- we are the kings of music school.   Even those of us on the bottom rungs get serious respect.   Every theory class, music history, music ed, whatever--the non-pianist teacher will ask--"can I have one of you pianists to play this ex.?"   When the accompanist misses Woman's Chorus practice--"who are my piano performance majors?"--when the horn player can't play his own part-writing ex-- "will one of you piano players please help him out?"   Most of the conductors were pianists---except those marching band guys--and they hired us to play at their juries.  

They were all overly nice to us--everyone had to hire an accompanist for their juries--and a lot of them had to hire us to go to lessons with them, too.   "Piano major" was whispered in hushed reverence not only at my school...but every other one I have ever seen.  

Over half the piano majors played horns as their secondary--and a lot of them played piano in one lab band and their horn in another...

the only ones who dogged on us were the professors---and the "darlings" of the department.  We rock in theory always---usually sight-singing too.  We come in knowing our key signatures, and how to read a grand staff... We usually have a serious knowledge base of music literature and piano literature...the music history department loves us too  we can hold our own with the theory and  majors all day... and we can play too--which makes us the best friend of every non-pianist composition major.

dude... what are you talking about? percussion and vocal majors got no respect... and flute--and sax--lol.

Offline dcstudio

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #14 on: March 04, 2016, 04:18:30 AM »


to the OP--I have never seen anyone get angry simply because a pianist was playing a pop tune.

usually they get angry when an inexperienced pianist completely murders a great work and then claims it's genius...lol... or when they claim that they have some magical power to understand music even though they can't play a thing.

there is snobbishness... it is centered on a desire to appear to be a person of "good taste" by demonstrating one's superior understanding of that which is "good" music from that which is "undesirable."   Students very often fall victim to this mindset from instructors who are themselves, neurotic.   Musicians who actually perform for a living--usually get over this... usually.

Offline klavieronin

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #15 on: March 04, 2016, 12:53:00 PM »
please.. did you go to bizarr-o U??

Of course, everything you said is true but there is a certain type of person who takes pleasure in deriding the piano's relative lack of expressiveness (compared to, say, the cello). They're not common but they do exist. Also, pianists were everywhere at bizarr-o U. Maybe some people just felt a little overwhelmed.

Offline virtuoso80

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #16 on: March 04, 2016, 01:11:04 PM »
I mostly want to comment on snobbishness in general - I find it very difficult not to be a 'snob' sometimes, because I can't help but hear my 14-year-old self in the sensibilities of opinions expressed by others about music; the person I was before I got exposed to so much, before I went on my vast, extensive journey to develop my taste to greater and greater extents, the me before many, many different evolutions of thought and advancements of knowledge. I'm proud that I understand music as well as I do, and it took mountains of time and effort to do so.

So, when I hear 'lay people' talk about music and express opinions, I often instantly recognize their thought process: It's me, back at 14-years-old again! Back when I didn't have the first clue what the hell I was talking about. And yet, I am not supposed to DARE to suggest that our opinions are anything but perfectly equal, that maybe I've got a better ear than them, that maybe I'm further along in the development of taste and understanding, and know what I'm talking about more than they do - to do so automatically makes wrong...just 'cause.

I had a friend who was an artist, who would take me along with him to see exhibits in the city. I don't get art so much. One observation of how HE saw a work of art, and I saw the pattern similar to mine with music - his eye and artistic taste were just so much more developed than mine. I just didn't 'get it' with a lot of the paintings and installations, while he did. And how is this surprising? He lived and breathed this stuff. I hadn't nearly put in the work he had into understanding, and I hadn't even tried painting once in my life, so of course he understood it better than me.

 If someone had approached us and asked about the artistic value of a particular work, I would have said, "Talk to him, his opinion is superior to mine." Think about that: I have no problem acknowledging a more informed and developed eye as offering a superior opinion to my own. The modern sensibility seems to teach people that all opinions are automatically fantastic, even if you have no clue what you're talking about, and it should not ever be DARED to suggest on opinion might be better than another. That makes no sense to me, and if I have zero problem being on the other side of it with art, why can't others accept being on that side of it with me and music?

Offline virtuoso80

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #17 on: March 04, 2016, 01:13:51 PM »
repost

Offline dcstudio

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #18 on: March 05, 2016, 03:38:19 AM »
. The modern sensibility seems to teach people that all opinions are automatically fantastic, even if you have no clue what you're talking about, and it should not ever be DARED to suggest one opinion might be better than another.

brilliant :)

Offline larrys

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #19 on: March 05, 2016, 05:59:39 PM »
Its not just piano. I have a Facebook friend who taught himself classical guitar, and he plays it well! He's had 2 albums out and got invited to perform in Russia, to great applause. But because he's self taught and didn't go down the conventional route the big wigs arent interested and snub him. Its not so much the instrument that arouses the snobbery dragon, its the institution of classical music, which can be very elitist. But I believe that music is for all, not just the chosen few with certificates from a high profile music school on their walls!

Offline dcstudio

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #20 on: March 06, 2016, 05:53:48 AM »
because he's self taught and didn't go down the conventional route the big wigs arent interested and snub him

no... I would venture to guess that is not the case...   the "big wigs" are about MONEY--if you play well--I mean really play well--if you make classical music look good... and you can sell albums they embrace you with open arms.  

it isn't about how you got there... it's about how well you perform and how marketable you are--being self-taught and brilliant makes you MORE marketable.. it's a gimmick and it works

professors in colleges do not decide who will sell records or fill concert halls.  

oh I have heard that line a million times... I'm sorry, I don't know your friend or how well he plays but this attitude that a brilliant musician would be ignored do to a lack of high-end credentials... is a myth created by performers who are blaming someone else for their lack of commercial success.  It's just not true, especially with guitarists  seriously.   Most people fail at this--there are some who believe themselves to be far better musicians than they actually are--their non-musical friends are amazed.  They tell you "music is my life" then they go to play their guitar and it's so out of tune it hurts the ears--like a cat in heat at 1am or nails on a chalkboard.  It's very hard to be gracious because these people hold you hostage forcing you to listen to them play song after song absolutely horribly while their friends cheer them on.  Then they look at you waiting for you to gush in amazement at the absolute train-wreck you have just heard.  These people often buy studio time and record cds--they pay well... but it's still a gig from hell.

then when you can't fake the fact that you are at a loss for words... instead of ripping them to shreds --you politely smile and quickly walk away... then you can hear them talking..

"she thinks she is so great because she went to music school.  What a snob, she's just jealous because you play as well as she does and you didn't have to go to school and work your whole life at it like she did... "

this crap used to really piss me off...  now I find it hilarious.


Offline tinyhands

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #21 on: March 06, 2016, 12:14:46 PM »
Goodness didn't think I'd start such a debate! Lol! I'm new to forums in general. I heard about the online world but never ventured..  Just waiting to get 'trolled' next lol!! 😎 Great to hear everyone's different opinions and take on things. I'm an amateur player myself but for many years off and on and have never been through music school so I suppose I am looking at it from a laymans point of view. Maybe you are right and it's snobbishness in classical music in general? When starting back at lessons I called a few teachers and said although I love classical I really would love to explore the Jazz side ( I love Bill Evans and Vincent Guaraldi stuff) I just think the whole improvisation side of things just blows my mind and I didn't have a clue where to start with it being 'classically trained' as I child. My teacher as a child was VERY old fashioned.. I wanted to learn jazz tunes as a child and she was not impressed.. 😋 A couple of potential teachers when I returned as an adult were quite snooty with me ie-  'I am a CLASSICAL teacher' one said ' I don't teach the sort of music that you play in a bar...' 😂 anyway I'm found a great one now, she loves Monk as much as Bach and I love learning with her. 👌🏼
I watched this good debate from the Barbican in London a few years back it was about classical music and the attitudes to it , it covered the snobbishness/ trying to attract a younger crowd etc.. Worth a watch if you are interested. I'll try to attach the YouTube link . The panel were quite well known people in the UK (although Sir David Tang that chairs the debate is a terrible snob...)  James Rhodes the young pianist often gets critizied for playing in jeans and running shoes.. There are two main radio stations in the UK that play classical music BBC Radio 3 and 'Classic FM' again there's a snobbishness around the latter..they maybe only play one movement from a sonata at  a time or a more popular classical piece.  The purists argue that Classic FM Is 'dumming down' if you are a 'serious' Classical fan you listen to BBC Radio ( it usually has some Gregorian monks chanting or something equally obscure when I turn it on..😂) know a few people that get quite snooty about that one. Again surely it doesn't matter that one station is more mainstream..it exposes a mass audience to some beautiful music.. Who cares?? There's something for everyone.

I do wonder though if it's a British thing at times. My sister in law is from the US she lives in the UK and finds it bemusing people's attitudes here to EVERYTHING as she said 'you Brits are obsessed with class!'
Unfortunately we are... 😗

Offline dcstudio

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #22 on: March 06, 2016, 02:10:56 PM »
( I love Bill Evans and Vincent Guaraldi stuff) I just think the whole improvisation side of things just blows my mind and I didn't have a clue where to start with it being 'classically trained' as I child.


 'I am a CLASSICAL teacher' one said ' I don't teach the sort of music that you play in a bar...' 😂 anyway I'm found a great one now, she loves Monk as much as Bach and I love learning with her.

what your teacher meant was:

 "I can't play the sort of music that you play in a bar because if you take the sheet music away I am useless and that scares the crap out of me.  To compensate for my fears--I will instill an attitude of snobbery in my students and tell them classical music is the only music there is--that way I can maintain my image as the great pianist who can do anything."  Not ALL piano teachers have this hangup--but it sure sounds like yours did.

well hey tinyhands... you and I are going to get along just dandy..  I love Vince, too.  Vince is my... IDK if I have a word that will work... angel? lol.  His music got me noticed on YT, it never fails to catch the attention of the room, and it makes people so happy that you can feel it.  I swear there is a physical "magic" that happens--you can see people reliving the Christmastimes of their youth and it's truly amazing.  Children who have never heard this music are drawn to the piano like moths to the flame.  I will be performing the entire Christmas cd--plus a few more tunes of his with my trio this holiday season.  If you are in the gulf coast region of the US on vacation or something...come on by... lol


a gift from me to you tinyhands--a couple of my vids that have been "blessed" by Vince. Check out the view count... he is magic I tell you...lol


  this one I am reading
      this was my first upload to YT...

I do love me some Vince Guaraldi

feel free to wander through my YT channel... I don't even know what's up there anymore. lol.

btw.. I love Bill too...  for some reason though... Waltz for Debby just doesn't work like Linus and Lucy...  even though if Vince were here today he would tell you Bill is the KING.  Bill was Vince's idol.

you are welcome here tinyhands.


Offline larrys

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #23 on: March 06, 2016, 05:39:01 PM »
no... I would venture to guess that is not the case...   the "big wigs" are about MONEY--if you play well--I mean really play well--if you make classical music look good... and you can sell albums they embrace you with open arms.  

it isn't about how you got there... it's about how well you perform and how marketable you are--being self-taught and brilliant makes you MORE marketable.. it's a gimmick and it works

professors in colleges do not decide who will sell records or fill concert halls.  

oh I have heard that line a million times... I'm sorry, I don't know your friend or how well he plays but this attitude that a brilliant musician would be ignored do to a lack of high-end credentials... is a myth created by performers who are blaming someone else for their lack of commercial success.  It's just not true, especially with guitarists  seriously.   Most people fail at this--there are some who believe themselves to be far better musicians than they actually are--their non-musical friends are amazed.  They tell you "music is my life" then they go to play their guitar and it's so out of tune it hurts the ears--like a cat in heat at 1am or nails on a chalkboard.  It's very hard to be gracious because these people hold you hostage forcing you to listen to them play song after song absolutely horribly while their friends cheer them on.  Then they look at you waiting for you to gush in amazement at the absolute train-wreck you have just heard.  These people often buy studio time and record cds--they pay well... but it's still a gig from hell.

then when you can't fake the fact that you are at a loss for words... instead of ripping them to shreds --you politely smile and quickly walk away... then you can hear them talking..

"she thinks she is so great because she went to music school.  What a snob, she's just jealous because you play as well as she does and you didn't have to go to school and work your whole life at it like she did... "

this crap used to really piss me off...  now I find it hilarious.


No, the thing is it is important how you got there when it comes to classical music, which is an elitist institution.  To make it as a classical musician you have to have the credentials to show where you were taught, how you got to where you are now. It really does matter!

Offline dcstudio

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #24 on: March 06, 2016, 09:26:39 PM »
No, the thing is it is important how you got there when it comes to classical music, which is an elitist institution.  To make it as a classical musician you have to have the credentials to show where you were taught, how you got to where you are now. It really does matter!

if you are auditioning for an orchestra or a conservatory yes of course--if you want tenure at a university YES... but to go out and give concerts--to earn a living--to sell cds.. NO it doesn't.

I have been playing professionally for years... I dropped out of music school.  Yes, I am a jazzer--but I just booked a concert to play all classical piano music.   They are expecting this one to sell out due to the recent publicity I have had.   I found a cultural arts center with a grand piano and an auditorium.. I book my own concerts and promote them.  

For years I thought that because I did not graduate from Julliard I was forbidden from playing classical music and getting paid.  It's a big lie... a huge lie.

you are what you present yourself as musically speaking...  if you try to make it playing in bars you will be known as a bar pianist...   play in concert halls where people have to pay and you will get paid and be known as a concert musician.   Might be rough at first--but if you keep at it... you will earn a decent living.   If you gain publicity and your name brings with it a fan base and exposure... the orchestra will call you to play with them.  Money is the bottom line.  

I gave my very first concert---and the news showed up.   That has NEVER happened to me...lol.  

we are all taught that if we could be the best pianist we will magically be discovered and end up like Lang, Lang-- Valentina had no support when she started out...  look at her now.  Yes they are educated---but they were also both rejected by the elitists.

for the record... music school doesn't teach you jack sh!t about how to earn a living--generally speaking--a few business of music classes notwithstanding...of course.



Offline ronde_des_sylphes

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #25 on: March 06, 2016, 10:05:59 PM »
No, the thing is it is important how you got there when it comes to classical music, which is an elitist institution.  To make it as a classical musician you have to have the credentials to show where you were taught, how you got to where you are now. It really does matter!

Like dc, I don't agree with this at all. You have it the wrong way round. People who haven't had a proper training are generally not taken seriously by the classical music institution because their failings are crystal-clear to those who have been through the training system. IF you have been trained, these failings tend to have been eradicated and you reach the level at which you are a "correct" pianist. Put it another way, a self-taught pianist who can play the Liszt transcendentals to a level which is conservatory acceptable is a freak of nature and quite the exception.

However, being through the system isn't remotely enough to "make it" either. There are hundreds and thousands of fantastic pianists out there who will never be heard of by anyone other than the connoisseur, and even then probably not at all.

Dc is right to mention money talking. IF you have reached an acceptable level of competence, AND you have a product that is marketable, then you may get somewhere. The more marketable, the more likely it is that someone will wish to invest their time and money promoting it.

I speak with some feeling on this matter: as a self-taught pianist who has never been anywhere near a conservatory, but who has had a significant amount of private tuition to hopefully reach competence.. and who has been reviewed in Fanfare and elsewhere, to my mind demonstrating that you can be taken seriously despite not following the conventional career path.

Offline dcstudio

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #26 on: March 07, 2016, 12:51:57 AM »
However, being through the system isn't remotely enough to "make it" either.

3 members of my family have degrees in music.  My sister has a masters and a DMA from two different ivy league schools.   They are all die hard classical musicians who subscribe to this nonsense.   My Dr. sister still hasn't landed a job with a major symphony--which has been her lifelong dream.   I dropped out and eventually started playing for a living.

I have more commercial success and performance credentials than the rest of my family combined.   As far as being respected.. here's a vid from  9 years ago at a college where I was asked to perform as a guest artist...lol.  the drummer was a percussion guy there and wanted to show off his skills... he was abysmal.   watch this and remember that the drummer is a classically trained degreed musician...and I dropped out--so did my husband who is playing bass.

my YT account has 1.7 mill views and I was on the news last week. :)


is that proof enough?





I understand the snobbery... sometimes I even agree with it.   The public   can't tell their ass from their elbow when it comes to music---it keeps some degree of standard.


Offline klavieronin

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #27 on: March 07, 2016, 04:40:54 AM »
No, the thing is it is important how you got there when it comes to classical music, which is an elitist institution.  To make it as a classical musician you have to have the credentials to show where you were taught, how you got to where you are now. It really does matter!

That's a highly dubious claim if you don't mind me saying. While it might be true that most successful classical musicians have gone through some sort of institution, those credentials aren't what make them successful. If that were the case there would be far more successful classical musicians than there actually are.

What is important to remember, however, is that the best teachers are usually found in the institutions and so naturally they attract the most talented students. And the thing about being self taught is that you don't get the benefit of continual and prolonged expert criticism and advice, and that's what make the difference.

Offline ted

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #28 on: March 07, 2016, 05:07:18 AM »
I have only experienced two direct examples of snobbery. The first case was after I had played two Waller solos on a friend's Fazioli at a piano party. One gentleman, with a face like a bulldog chewing a wasp, told me I was guilty of sacrilege. The second was when I suggested to a very prominent composer and player that Frog Legs Rag was as good an exercise for the right hand as the Black Key Study. The same sort of bulldog + wasp face was produced and my suggestion ridiculed. I cannot take that sort of carry on seriously, and just laugh it off. Neither of those people had much idea of rhythm himself, that might have been the underlying cause !
"When I was young they said, 'Ah, wait until you are old, then you'll see.' Well, now I am old, and I have seen nothing." - Erik Satie

Offline outin

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #29 on: March 07, 2016, 05:10:14 AM »
I don't see it as snobbism to require some level of musical quality or even the endless detailed debating about interpretation of the past composers. The things that bother me are traditions that have nothing to do with the music itself. Who cares what someone is wearing if they are there to actually listen? As long as they are somewhat covered, that is. And why do orchestra members need to dress up when they could be more comfortable?

Considering what we know about how music was listened to in the days of it's composition, our traditions seem quite out of place for much of it anyway...

Offline dcstudio

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #30 on: March 07, 2016, 02:21:29 PM »
@ted... really? snobbery? come on  your statement was pointed... it was you  that was snobby not them... your rendition of fats waller notwithstanding... if they said sacrilege--your rhythm must have been questionable to say the least.   I will say though... it really pisses of the hardcore trained pianist to see someone who isn't afraid to play in front of people.  It absolutely infuriates a failed pianist to see someone not play perfectly yet still be happy with their own performance... just look at YT.  It is sooooo fun to show off in front of people like that...so good for you! lol  and yes... they are just jealous as hell. 

there is a rift and a constant debate within the piano world between the jazz and the classical... both sides think their way is the best--I usually let them have at it and take the gigs they miss out on,  it's best to be equally proficient in both.

(the wasp face... isn't that Stephen King you are referencing? I am trying to place the book... "The girl who loved tom Gordon, maybe?)

Offline virtuoso80

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #31 on: March 07, 2016, 04:14:50 PM »
I don't see it as snobbism to require some level of musical quality or even the endless detailed debating about interpretation of the past composers. The things that bother me are traditions that have nothing to do with the music itself. Who cares what someone is wearing if they are there to actually listen? As long as they are somewhat covered, that is. And why do orchestra members need to dress up when they could be more comfortable?

Considering what we know about how music was listened to in the days of it's composition, our traditions seem quite out of place for much of it anyway...

Well look, I'm a metalhead, who generally take great pride in shredding away in jeans and a t-shirt. But dressing up for an occasion can add to the specialness of the occasion. If I were going to choose something to complain about, it wouldn't be that.

Offline outin

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #32 on: March 07, 2016, 04:28:25 PM »
Well look, I'm a metalhead, who generally take great pride in shredding away in jeans and a t-shirt. But dressing up for an occasion can add to the specialness of the occasion.
Well, it adds nothing for me. And I would prefer not sitting next to people who bathed in parfums or aftershaves... It's often the "specialness" that actually makes many concerts less appealing to me...

Offline mjames

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #33 on: March 07, 2016, 04:40:39 PM »
i would argue that a great performance is what actually adds to the occasion, not what you wear. Especially when you consider that everyone around you is a stranger, so they most probably don't give a higgsboson about you wear; what you wear will most certainly have a minimal effect on their experience. The occasion is a musical performance, it's not a masquerade ball or a cosplay festival; what you wear doesn't matter. These are definitely remnants of the idea that classical music is "above" other genres.

The only tradition I value is complete silence. I'm thankful that the tradition of yelling and clapping after exciting passages ended in the 19th century.

Composing/improvising

Chopin's 4th ballade and 3rd sonata.
Scriabin Op. 42 no. 1, 2, and 3.
Bach Partita No.4

Offline dcstudio

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #34 on: March 07, 2016, 08:22:52 PM »
i would argue that a great performance is what actually adds to the occasion, not what you wear. Especially when you consider that everyone around you is a stranger, so they most probably don't give a higgsboson about you wear; what you wear will most certainly have a minimal effect on their experience. The occasion is a musical performance, it's not a masquerade ball or a cosplay festival; what you wear doesn't matter. These are definitely remnants of the idea that classical music is "above" other genres.

The only tradition I value is complete silence. I'm thankful that the tradition of yelling and clapping after exciting passages ended in the 19th century.



oh my friend, you have far too much faith in the intelligence of the public... what you wear is important so that those who are in the audience yet do not have the brain capacity to understand music will have something to remember...  it can be what they remember most--or it can be all that they remember.  some people attend these events solely to feel cultured...many actually..

how silly that we all think everyone appreciates the piano like we do... we are the exception folks.. not the norm--to some people it's beautiful... they can listen for a while... but they have no idea...  it is not part of their soul but they buy tickets too and there are way more of them than us.

Offline klavieronin

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #35 on: March 08, 2016, 08:16:17 AM »
oh my friend, you have far too much faith in the intelligence of the public... what you wear is important so that those who are in the audience yet do not have the brain capacity to understand music will have something to remember...  it can be what they remember most--or it can be all that they remember.  some people attend these events solely to feel cultured...many actually..

how silly that we all think everyone appreciates the piano like we do... we are the exception folks.. not the norm--to some people it's beautiful... they can listen for a while... but they have no idea...  it is not part of their soul but they buy tickets too and there are way more of them than us.

I had always assumed that the unofficial dress code on the classical concert stage was there so that the audience wasn't distracted from the music - "Oh, look what she's wearing. That's nice." or "What an ugly jacket." etc. during the performance.

Personally, I don't really care what people wear but if I always laugh inwardly at a performer wearing attention seeking clothes and I do find it harder to concentrate on the music as a result.

Offline dcstudio

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #36 on: March 08, 2016, 03:27:04 PM »

universal gig attire:  all black     high end means suit--not t-shirt and black dockers

Offline rachmaninoff_forever

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #37 on: March 09, 2016, 05:49:46 AM »
Snobbish musicians are just privileged self entitled spoiled brats from a stupid elitist culture.  Period.

Unless if it's part of the performance, it doesn't matter what ANYONE is wearing when there is a performance.  It doesn't 'enhance' or make the experience more memorable.  People aren't there to look at what everyone's wearing.  They're there to hear music.  

I have friends and family from the hood, OF COURSE they're not gonna come to a classical concert all dressed up in a tux.  They can't afford it! (some of them).  When I did my highschool recital, I had people coming in wearing true religion or MFG pants, a fake Gucci belt, and a jacket with a graphic of hundred dollar bills on it.  THAT'S HOW THEY DRESS.  Different people from different cultures dress differently for different situations.  If I'm performing my favorite piece with my favorite orchestra in Carnegie hall, I honestly don't care what anyone's wearing.  Just because you dress up in a tux doesn't make you a better person than them.  You're not there to look at what other people are wearing.  The fact that people show up to classical concerts in the first place show that they have some sort of respect, curiosity, or desire to hear classical music.  That should be enough.



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Offline dcstudio

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #38 on: March 09, 2016, 07:16:12 AM »
Snobbish musicians are just privileged self entitled spoiled brats from a stupid elitist culture.  Period.

Unless if it's part of the performance, it doesn't matter what ANYONE is wearing when there is a performance.  It doesn't 'enhance' or make the experience more memorable.  People aren't there to look at what everyone's wearing.  They're there to hear music.  

I have friends and family from the hood, OF COURSE they're not gonna come to a classical concert all dressed up in a tux.  They can't afford it! (some of them).  When I did my highschool recital, I had people coming in wearing true religion or MFG pants, a fake Gucci belt, and a jacket with a graphic of hundred dollar bills on it.  THAT'S HOW THEY DRESS.  Different people from different cultures dress differently for different situations.  If I'm performing my favorite piece with my favorite orchestra in Carnegie hall, I honestly don't care what anyone's wearing.  Just because you dress up in a tux doesn't make you a better person than them.  You're not there to look at what other people are wearing.  The fact that people show up to classical concerts in the first place show that they have some sort of respect, curiosity, or desire to hear classical music.  That should be enough.





ok then sounds like you have had some bad experiences..    I was speaking about what the performer should wear... gig attire..     

nobody really gives a hoot what the audience wears at Carnegie Hall--except they do have a dress code for most performances so gang attire would not be allowed.  ... and what's this "better person" because they dress different thing coming from anyway?   and from the hood?

what exactly are you ranting on about and what was said to provoke such a response?

Offline bronnestam

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #39 on: March 09, 2016, 08:51:20 AM »
Hello, I'm quite new to this forum and I've found it very interesting reading so many different posts and opinions on such a huge range of piano matters. Not sure where to post this thought? One thing I have often wondered over the years, is why does there often seem to be within the piano world a bit of snobbishness when it comes to learning this instrument in particular? Over other instruments I mean.. It's like lots of people can learn the guitar in their bedroom , teaching themselves off YouTube videos for example and that's accepted, they can 'play the guitar'  fine.. Accepted.. Or the violin.. You can play Classical or folk music, jam in a band. fine... . People just accept that..yet sometimes I feel with piano there can be an air of snobbery.. Ie you are 'not classically trained' 😏sometimes I see comments on YouTube videos and people get quite worked up and angry in general... Especially if the pianist is banging out the pop tunes Lol! Surely if you like to play the piano it doesn't really matter what you play or how you learn? Who cares if all you want to play is Elton John? For the record I love learning classical pieces and love the discipline and technique of classical teaching but then I also love boogie  woogie, jazz, and gospel piano... All sorts of styles to be honest 😍 I often go to classical recitals and concerts yet I can actually feel out of place at times ( knowing a lot about classical music myself) because the audience can take itself so seriously and be so stuffy in their reactions. No wonder classical music can be seen as elitist and doesn't engage people from varied social groups. People can be so critical or when it comes to performers like Lang Lang, whatever you think of him, he engages young people into music Surely that's a good thing? or the pianist Yuja Wang.. Totally amazing talented woman yet all some people can comment on is the length of her skirt or how high her heels are!! What's with that?? Come on people surely it's time we all stopped being so stuffy..  What do you guys think?

Let's face it, piano playing attracts plenty of social nerds. This does not mean you have to be a social nerd in order to play the piano, though. It is also difficult to master at higher levels, although extremely easy to begin with - even a small child can strike a few keys.

So, the similarity to computers is obvious. And these nerds - not all of them, of course - sometimes have a tendency of trying to ... er, shine with their skills and knowledge.

In discussion boards like this one, you normally find them at least once a day with comments that ask for approval ("I can play this and I can play that and I'm only X years old, please tell me I'm a genious") OR are just filled with attitude. Snobbishness, that is. This both reflects a sincere love for the topic as such, but also lack of social skills - I think. If you care more about your interest than about people, you can appear very ruthless sometimes.

Believe me, I've studied applied physics, the nerd rate is even bigger there! And the behaviour is otherwise very much the same ...

Then you have the so called stiff audience. Yes, there are the nerds, not necessarily pianists themselves, and there are the SOCIAL snobs who are there more to be seen than because they love the music, that is, they make concerts a social activity, some kind of an exclusive club for exclusive people ... sort of. But actually there are also plenty of prejudicies from observers, who see some music lovers with white hair and immediately draw their conclusions about "that kind of people" without really knowing what they REALLY think. Many of them just want to enjoy the music.

Then I have also been to concerts with people chatting between and DURING performances, talking in their mobile phones or texting, yawning without trying to hide it, in other words being very disturbing and rude because they feel awkward and want to demonstrate that they are NOT snobs. So to speak.

Yes, sometimes I feel a bit annoyed when a popular artist, who cannot sing and makes very simple music, sells tons of tickets and get tons of attention and is praised up to heaven by a big audience, while fantastic classical musicians have to play for empty halls and are frowned upon, while I know they have prepared for decades to become this good, and are playing music that proves its qualities over centuries and not weeks. But I try not to tell the fans that I think their taste suck. I don't want to hurt anyone. I get sad when I see how Justin Bieber and his fans are ridiculed and really HATED, because someone read about his attitude in a gossip magazine and did not like his music and the fans are young girls who are less worthy than other human beings. I cannot say that music does much for me, but at least I want to respect other people's feelings.

I don't go to concerts because I am a snob, I do it because I like it, and I like to be surrounded with people who also love to be there. I dress up a bit because I seldom find good reasons to dress up in my everyday life. Just the scent of my expensive favourite perfume gets me in "concert mood", it is a part of my preparation ritual. But I do this for my own sake and I don't give a sh*t about how other people look like, actually. And the performing pianists are usually very humble people, so I've learned.

So, people tell me all the time that this pianist is good and that one is not good at all, and that poor fellow is obviously "tone deaf" and other harsh comments. I try to rely on my own ears and taste. The older I get, the less I care about the opinion from others.  

Offline rachmaninoff_forever

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #40 on: March 09, 2016, 03:55:46 PM »
ok then sounds like you have had some bad experiences..    I was speaking about what the performer should wear... gig attire..    

nobody really gives a hoot what the audience wears at Carnegie Hall--except they do have a dress code for most performances so gang attire would not be allowed.  ... and what's this "better person" because they dress different thing coming from anyway?   and from the hood?

what exactly are you ranting on about and what was said to provoke such a response?

To prevent gang attire?  Lol people going to classical concerts to start a gang war isn't a real problem.  Yeah it's against dress code to wear gang stuff at schools but that doesn't mean everyone has to dress up in a suit or a tux.

I've gone to concerts where people are like 'omg how unclassy of them to come to a concert in a Bears jersey' blah blah blah.  If you feel the need to bash someone just because that person dresses differently from you unless it affects you in any way, then it's probably cause you, then think you're a better person than them for it and you wanna make yourself feel good.

The reason why I brought up people from the hood is because that's an entire group of people that are sort of kept out of the classical music scene partially because of this snobbery.  The classical community is too unaccepting.  I think that it's important that the audience understands what's the tradition, but if they don't wear fancy clothes, then whatever.

As far as what the performer should wear, I think the performer should always dress classy but only because the audience is gonna judge you and their opinions actually matter if you wanna have a successful career lol.
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Offline mjames

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #41 on: March 09, 2016, 04:02:54 PM »
My girlfriend couldn't care less about classical music and yet she's the first to say "OmFGGG why u no dress up????"

Last time we went together she took like 2 hours to get ready

And she fell asleep during the first movement


GGWP
Composing/improvising

Chopin's 4th ballade and 3rd sonata.
Scriabin Op. 42 no. 1, 2, and 3.
Bach Partita No.4

Offline dcstudio

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Re: Snobbishness in piano -
«Reply #42 on: March 09, 2016, 05:08:36 PM »
Last time we went together she took like 2 hours to get ready

And she fell asleep during the first movement


GGWP

lol...now that is the vast majority of concert-goers in the US in a nutshell.

it's funny when you are playing--especially in large ensembles--and things start to get stale you can actually feel the audience get bored... it will take the wind right out of you..lol and your ego then deflates right there on stage.. if they film it then you get to relive that moment and watch you face droop and hear things fall apart again.. and again... and again...   gotta love YT.

I think maybe your gf left this comment for that video

"You very good! you dress up nice!"