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Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists (Read 2761 times)

Offline pencilart3

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Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
« on: July 21, 2016, 05:28:03 PM »
"Is he a happy composer or a sad composer?"

"Is this a hard song?"
You might have seen one of my videos without knowing it was that nut from the forum
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Offline ajlongspiano

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #1 on: July 21, 2016, 05:39:38 PM »
" How long have you been playing? " I always hate answering that. My usual response is "many hours."

Best,

AJ

Offline visitor

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #2 on: July 21, 2016, 05:42:24 PM »
"can you accompany me on this _____ sonata/concerto? I have a jury in 3 weeks"

"can you accompany me on these 5 art songs? Recital is next week...."

"why don't you just get a page turner, isn't that easier than memorizing?...."

"can you use the soft pedal more? it's too loud...."

"will you play Yiruma?"


Offline ajlongspiano

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #3 on: July 21, 2016, 05:43:39 PM »

Offline chopinlover01

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #4 on: July 21, 2016, 06:02:12 PM »
The first two are never bad. I say sure, and then hold out my wallet.
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Offline ajlongspiano

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #5 on: July 21, 2016, 06:07:02 PM »
The first two are never bad. I say sure, and then hold out my wallet.

That's going to be me at conservatory in five weeks...

Best,

AJ

Offline pencilart3

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #6 on: July 21, 2016, 06:45:28 PM »
I guess bad is subjective. Answering the question, "Is Gravel or Revel or Ravel or whatever in general a happy composer?" to somebody who wants a serious answer can be a bit time consuming. E.g. my dad hahaha and Yiruma SUCKS lol
You might have seen one of my videos without knowing it was that nut from the forum
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Offline georgey

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #7 on: July 21, 2016, 06:49:58 PM »
"Is he a happy composer or a sad composer?"

"Is this a hard song?"


You need to learn to speak their language:

Q:  Is he a happy composer or a sad composer?  A: He is a happy composer.

Q: Is this a hard song?  A:  Yes, this is a very hard song.

Offline pencilart3

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #8 on: July 21, 2016, 06:55:22 PM »
Yes, this is a very hard song.

* while listening to traumerei *
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Offline georgey

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #9 on: July 21, 2016, 07:22:47 PM »
* while listening to traumerei *

Q: Is this a hard song?  A: No, this is a pretty easy song.

Offline chopinlover01

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #10 on: July 21, 2016, 10:56:04 PM »
I guess bad is subjective. Answering the question, "Is Gravel or Revel or Ravel or whatever in general a happy composer?" to somebody who wants a serious answer can be a bit time consuming. E.g. my dad hahaha and Yiruma SUCKS lol
Oh I was just talking about how Visitors first two comments aren't annoyances, but gigs!
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Offline pencilart3

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #11 on: July 21, 2016, 11:01:26 PM »
Q: Is this a hard song?  A: No, this is a pretty easy song.

*while speaking to my 6 year old student who has played for 2 weeks and cannot play the first bar*

oh I see chopinlover haha
You might have seen one of my videos without knowing it was that nut from the forum
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Offline georgey

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #12 on: July 22, 2016, 12:00:58 AM »
*while speaking to my 6 year old student who has played for 2 weeks and cannot play the first bar*

oh I see chopinlover haha

If the person is a paying student of yours or has at least an 80% chance of becoming a paying student and they are asking questions in good faith, they need to speak your language, but consider their age.

Q: Is he a happy composer or a sad composer?  A:  I would ask:  Are you asking if he was happy while living or are you asking did he write happy sounding music?  Then go from there.
Q: Is this a hard song?  A: I would explain that Schumann wrote many songs, but Traumerei is not a song.  Schumann originally called this work Leichte Stücke (Easy Pieces). Etc, etc.

Otherwise (non-paying student or < 80% chance of being a paying student):

I would speak their language.  If you don’t know what they mean, fake it.  Examples:
Q:  Is he a happy composer or a sad composer?  A: He is a happy composer.
Q: Is this a hard song?  A:  Yes, this is a very hard song.   No, this is a pretty easy song. ;) ;) ;)

Offline ted

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #13 on: July 22, 2016, 01:04:41 AM »
I always pay very careful attention to the remarks and questions of non-musicians and non-pianists about my music. This is because, unlike musicians, especially accomplished ones, they do not worry about the effect of what they say, or whether or not their comments might seem inappropriate to their musical standing. In this regard, sincerity and naivety seem to me more important than lack of knowledge, and more likely to impart something I can learn from.
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Offline lostinidlewonder

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #14 on: July 22, 2016, 05:08:57 AM »
How did you get so good, you must be born with it?
No it's a lot of practice, countless hours over many years.
No you must have the talent!
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
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Online timothy42b

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #15 on: July 22, 2016, 12:41:23 PM »
I always pay very careful attention to the remarks and questions of non-musicians and non-pianists about my music. This is because, unlike musicians, especially accomplished ones, they do not worry about the effect of what they say, or whether or not their comments might seem inappropriate to their musical standing. In this regard, sincerity and naivety seem to me more important than lack of knowledge, and more likely to impart something I can learn from.

Sometimes their observations are more valid than those deeply immersed in the field.  We may know how hard something is, e.g., and make allowances for some failures and even admire how close somebody came, while a nonmusician will recognize it just sounded bad. 

They are also not as attentive to wrong notes but extremely conscious of variation in time, whereas pianists tend to be the reverse. 
Tim

Offline visitor

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #16 on: July 22, 2016, 12:54:27 PM »
Oh I was just talking about how Visitors first two comments aren't annoyances, but gigs!
I didn't read the topic question as necc. being good or bad questions, just questions one might hear from folks less than really familar with piano. I didn't pass judgement saying I didn't like any of those questions.  My 'gig' questions illustrate other musician's ignorance of what is in many instances an unreasonable request (lots of music, potentially very difficult, formal performance, looming /quickly approaching deadline, and assumption said pianist can just fit them in and sit down and play, not have to learn, practice their music in addition to current commitments, etc). I agree, if undertaken, there would be a hefty premium in direct ration to the volume, difficulty of music and inversely proportional to the timeline
 8)

Offline pencilart3

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #17 on: July 22, 2016, 01:53:09 PM »
What georgey you got a problem with me teaching some kids piano?
You might have seen one of my videos without knowing it was that nut from the forum
youtube.com/noahjohnson1810

Offline georgey

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #18 on: July 22, 2016, 02:59:14 PM »
What georgey you got a problem with me teaching some kids piano?

No!  I think you will make a great teacher.  But I was hoping that maybe Trump would go away.  His speech was a little depressing last night.  I just turned on CNN today and he is still talking.

Offline pencilart3

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #19 on: July 22, 2016, 07:00:39 PM »
oh ok haha yeah trump should be quiet for once in his life
You might have seen one of my videos without knowing it was that nut from the forum
youtube.com/noahjohnson1810

Offline chopinlover01

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #20 on: July 22, 2016, 07:31:25 PM »
By the way, not to derail this thread, but if you're right leaning and fed up with Trump, Gary Johnson isn't a bad option..
Jazz Ambassador 8)

Offline pencilart3

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #21 on: July 22, 2016, 08:54:54 PM »
haha whenever I see ' respighi ' I can't help but think of some italian dish
You might have seen one of my videos without knowing it was that nut from the forum
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Offline chopinlover01

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #22 on: July 22, 2016, 09:38:22 PM »
Not sure how that's relevant, but okay.
Jazz Ambassador 8)

Offline pencilart3

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #23 on: July 22, 2016, 10:18:18 PM »
lol it is in your signature... and much more applicable to this piano discussion than a political candidate!
You might have seen one of my videos without knowing it was that nut from the forum
youtube.com/noahjohnson1810

Offline georgey

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #24 on: July 23, 2016, 12:58:11 AM »
lol it is in your signature... and much more applicable to this piano discussion than a political candidate!

Sorry guys.  My fault.  :)

Offline ajlongspiano

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #25 on: July 23, 2016, 01:27:35 AM »
lol it is in your signature... and much more applicable to this piano discussion than a political candidate!

Noah, you have a point my friend.

Best,

AJ

Offline ted

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #26 on: July 23, 2016, 02:26:06 AM »
They are also not as attentive to wrong notes but extremely conscious of variation in time, whereas pianists tend to be the reverse. 

Now there is a very interesting observation, which on reflection I find to be true but which had not occurred to me.
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Offline pencilart3

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #27 on: July 23, 2016, 02:39:16 AM »
Noah, you have a point my friend.

Best,

AJ

haha I often do ;)

anyway let's get back to the topic

"So what draws you to piano?"

I don't mind the question but I find it a little hard to answer. What draws you to anything? uh, the piano part of it....
You might have seen one of my videos without knowing it was that nut from the forum
youtube.com/noahjohnson1810

Offline georgey

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #28 on: July 23, 2016, 03:43:25 AM »
.

Offline stevensk

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #29 on: July 23, 2016, 12:53:43 PM »

-Are you working or just playing?  (from my wife)

Offline visitor

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #30 on: July 23, 2016, 01:15:14 PM »
haha I often do ;)

anyway let's get back to the topic

"So what draws you to piano?"

I don't mind the question but I find it a little hard to answer. What draws you to o anything? uh, the piano part of it....

self depreciating humor works well to disarm these [types] questions even when innocently asked.
 Usually reply w a difference in mass ie. gravity
but  i will chime back that in all seriousness  it several
1. I am lazy and w piano no Need to carry around d ones own instrument
2. I can't  sing.
3. I look better sitting down  from the side lol
 

Offline Bob

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #31 on: July 23, 2016, 04:53:42 PM »
Not a question but I comment I hear somewhat frequently....

"You can take a day off."
Favorite new teacher quote -- "You found the only possible wrong answer."

Offline rachmaninoff_forever

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #32 on: July 24, 2016, 02:42:56 PM »
Aren't all questions ignorant by virtue of them being questions in the first place? ::)

Anyways I often get asked what instrument is the tattoo on my arm for (it's a measure of a score)
Live large, die large.  Leave a giant coffin.

Offline minor9th

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #33 on: August 22, 2016, 06:58:33 PM »
"Is piano really all that hard to play? It looks like you just run your fingers over the keys."

Offline adodd81802

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #34 on: August 22, 2016, 08:14:50 PM »
"Is piano really all that hard to play? It looks like you just run your fingers over the keys."

I don't know anybody that has ever said that, even ignorant people
"England is a country of pianos, they are everywhere."

Offline stevensk

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #35 on: August 22, 2016, 09:24:30 PM »
I don't know anybody that has ever said that, even ignorant people

From adolescents:

1) What is the fastest piece you can play?
2) What is the hardes pianopiece ever written? ..can you play it?
3) I know the name of the hardes pianopiece in the world. Its called fur Elsie or something like that. Can you play it?
4) Is this a baby grand?
5) Is this a Steinway?

From older people:

1) Are you an educated concert pianist?
2) Whats your everyday work?
3) We have a son that are VERY musical
4) Do you like Frank Sinatra?
5) Im tone-deaf but I must say that this was the best I have heard!

From drunks:
1) Can you play Sweet home albama?..rockn roll? >:(
2) Cant we start a band? ::)
3) I waaant to hear "soonlight moonata" :P
4) You have nice hands  :P

Offline pjjslp

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #36 on: August 23, 2016, 08:50:34 PM »
"Oh, you play piano? Can you play [name of random pop song, show tune, or old standard]?"

"Well, no. I play mainly classical and playing that type of song by ear isn't really my strong suit."

Followed by either a vaguely dismissive comment or facial expression, with the implication that I can't be much of a pianist if I can't produce a song from the Lion King on command. :P

Offline adodd81802

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #37 on: August 23, 2016, 11:37:30 PM »
"Oh, you play piano? Can you play [name of random pop song, show tune, or old standard]?"

"Well, no. I play mainly classical and playing that type of song by ear isn't really my strong suit."

Followed by either a vaguely dismissive comment or facial expression, with the implication that I can't be much of a pianist if I can't produce a song from the Lion King on command. :P

now THAT I can relate too
"England is a country of pianos, they are everywhere."

Offline pianoplunker

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #38 on: August 24, 2016, 01:57:48 AM »
" How long have you been playing? " I always hate answering that. My usual response is "many hours."

Best,

AJ

lol  I usually refer to the time my playing started. " Oh, I have been playing since around 8:00pm "

Online timothy42b

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #39 on: August 25, 2016, 12:16:40 PM »
"Oh, you play piano? Can you play [name of random pop song, show tune, or old standard]?"

"Well, no. I play mainly classical and playing that type of song by ear isn't really my strong suit."

Followed by either a vaguely dismissive comment or facial expression, with the implication that I can't be much of a pianist if I can't produce a song from the Lion King on command. :P

Well.............I think I might side with the commenter.  A skilled pianist should be able to reproduce a bit of a pop song by ear - not necessarily with the correct chords and voicing, but certainly within the standards of the musically unsophisticated. 

You CAN play Happy Birthday, right? 
Tim

Offline pjjslp

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Re: Ignorant questions we get from non-pianists
«Reply #40 on: August 25, 2016, 10:54:13 PM »
Well.............I think I might side with the commenter.  A skilled pianist should be able to reproduce a bit of a pop song by ear - not necessarily with the correct chords and voicing, but certainly within the standards of the musically unsophisticated. 

You CAN play Happy Birthday, right? 

Oh, sure, I can plunk out a melody line and probably add some simple harmonies and chords. I've done that, much to the disappointment of the requester, who seemed to be hoping for an impressive fully realized spontaneous performance. Because obviously if you can play a Beethoven sonata, you can totally play Goodbye, Yellow Brick Road just like Elton John, right? The implication was that what they're asking for is "easier," which for me, it is not. College sorority sisters thought my ability to sight read the Les Mis songbook adequately would translate to an ability to play anything they'd ever heard, ever. I think musically unsophisticated people are possibly likely to have higher standards for a pianist to sit down and accurately replicate the original due precisely to their lack of experience.