\"\"
Piano Forum logo

Why do you LOVE the piano? (Read 728 times)

Offline anacrusis

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 214
Why do you LOVE the piano?
« on: January 20, 2021, 11:22:32 PM »
Hello everyone,

I'm a former college student of piano and about three quarters through my degree I started realizing I didn't necessarily love having it as my job. After I finished college I have spent some time thinking about why I play the piano and what role I want it to have in my life.

I concluded that I still love the piano, and many pieces in the repertoire. I both love how it feels physically to move the keys, and also being able to recreate these pieces myself in the moment, to feel myself ceating the sounds I find so emotionally moving when I hear them. Still not sure what I want to do with my playing, all I know is that I get rather grumpy if I can't practise as much as I want due to work or other studies etc.

So I thought it'd be fun to ask and hear from everyone else here - why do YOU love the piano? What draws you to the instrument and to continue playing? Is it a job, or a hobby that is fun, or just something you just need to do?

Offline ivorycherry

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 120
Re: Why do you LOVE the piano?
«Reply #1 on: January 21, 2021, 12:24:46 AM »
I love the piano more than any instrument because not only am I able to express my emotions, but there are beyond infinite ways to do it on the piano. So many genres, styles, composers, and pieces.

I actually started the piano becases my mom forced me to(which Iím almost sure is the case with most of you) and I hated playing it for the first 3 years. But later actually started really enjoying it playing pieces for ďfunĒ.

Whatís drawn me to it the most is definitely romantic era music like Chopin, Liszt, and Scriabin. Iíve thought of quitting so so so many times but then come to the realization the next day that I NEED to play and if I quit Iíd be missing out on so much.

But I generally like it most because I can express my emotions in so many ways by being able to play a key in so many ways and have your own interpretation for pieces.

Offline ranjit

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 682
Re: Why do you LOVE the piano?
«Reply #2 on: January 21, 2021, 06:14:00 AM »
For me, it establishes a close link between imagining a piece of music and communicating or realizing it.

Offline lostinidlewonder

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 6067
Re: Why do you LOVE the piano?
«Reply #3 on: January 22, 2021, 10:15:32 AM »
I'm a former college student of piano and about three quarters through my degree I started realizing I didn't necessarily love having it as my job.
How did you come to the conclusion that you wouldn't want it as a job? Were you doing any work in the music field?

As a performer I loved organising events, networking with people/businesses, selling tickets, presenting a concert and of course playing piano on stage for others. It wasn't just playing the piano which I enjoyed but the whole process of putting together such an event. As a teacher I love the unique journey each and every student goes through and the many different ways in which people learn and develop skills. It is also very nice to get to know people and their family, their culture, experiences in life etc. I predominantly teach at peoples home and not many jobs allow you that intimate window into peoples lives, I found I really love observing people and the many ways life is lived.

After I finished college I have spent some time thinking about why I play the piano and what role I want it to have in my life.

I concluded that I still love the piano, and many pieces in the repertoire. I both love how it feels physically to move the keys, and also being able to recreate these pieces myself in the moment, to feel myself ceating the sounds I find so emotionally moving when I hear them. Still not sure what I want to do with my playing, all I know is that I get rather grumpy if I can't practise as much as I want due to work or other studies etc.
What is life if it is spent just on your own inside a solitary box? If we want to do piano for a living but want nothing to do with other people it is not a healthy way to escape the reality of life. It is intoxicating that we can remove ourselves from this world when we sit infront of the piano but we should not exist in this realm for extended periods. There is not enough to learn in life from just the piano you need that conflict and unity with other people. You need to take some kind of responsibility with music in such a way that it connect with other people, then you will find a fufilling career in music.
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
www.facebook.com/groups/348933611793249/

Offline brogers70

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 1129
Re: Why do you LOVE the piano?
«Reply #4 on: January 22, 2021, 12:11:47 PM »
.....
What is life if it is spent just on your own inside a solitary box? If we want to do piano for a living but want nothing to do with other people it is not a healthy way to escape the reality of life. It is intoxicating that we can remove ourselves from this world when we sit infront of the piano but we should not exist in this realm for extended periods. There is not enough to learn in life from just the piano you need that conflict and unity with other people. You need to take some kind of responsibility with music in such a way that it connect with other people, then you will find a fufilling career in music.

Gee, that seems like rather an extreme reaction to the OP. Lots of people with active lives out in the world recharge themselves with solitary hobbies. Absolutely nothing wrong with approaching the piano that way. It's fine to go out and make your living doing something else, and then to come home and sit with your piano and Bach for an hour or to.

Offline lostinidlewonder

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 6067
Re: Why do you LOVE the piano?
«Reply #5 on: January 22, 2021, 12:53:53 PM »
Gee, that seems like rather an extreme reaction to the OP. Lots of people with active lives out in the world recharge themselves with solitary hobbies. Absolutely nothing wrong with approaching the piano that way. It's fine to go out and make your living doing something else, and then to come home and sit with your piano and Bach for an hour or to.
It's because I am writing for an experience taking piano as a profession. Of course doing other than a profession might have all that they want. It seems however that the OP can't stand being away from the piano and would like to make it a career in some way. So my response is in that context. It is difficult to have a career which does not include a service to other people, how else can you be paid?
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
www.facebook.com/groups/348933611793249/

Offline ahinton

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 12053
Re: Why do you LOVE the piano?
«Reply #6 on: January 22, 2021, 02:12:18 PM »
I love the piano for reasons that are probably different to those of most members here.

Having been raised in what was effectively a music-free zone, my musical birth, so to speak, as I approached the age of 12, was listening to a broadcast of Chopinís F minor Ballade that much later I discovered to have been played by John Ogdon (I was so transfixed by what I'd heard that I took no notice of who the pianist was); I wished that Iíd known this when working with John on his recordoing of Sorabji's Opus Clavicembalisticum as I would then have been able to tell him that he got me started almost a quarter century earlier!Ö

As a non-pianist with no pianistic ambitions besides developing a facility for writing for the instrument, I developed an irrepressible fascination for the piano in my latter 'teens and, from my first term at London's Royal College of Music, would make frequent visits to its library and to the Westminster Library and return with sheaves of piano music to take to basement practice rooms to try to wade through it. I was especially exercised as to how the finest piano composers always seemed to be among the finest pianists of their time and wanted to try to tap into how the relationship between playing the instrument and composing for it worked for them in practice. The composers upon whom I principally focused throughout this arduous journey were Chopin, Liszt, Alkan, Busoni, Godowsky, Scriabin, Rachmaninoff and Medtner. Whether that protracted experience helped me to write any more effectively for the piano I cannot say, but I do not regret one moment of the experience! Years later, I had some discussions of this with composer/pianist Ronald Stevenson.

I find the piano to be an instrument on which almost everything seems possible, given the requisite imagination and technique on the part of the composer and the performer as well as the finest of instruments.

Do I wish that I could play the instrument myself? Well, my usual answer is "piano playing is for pianists!" but I suppose that it would be nice if I did have facility at the piano although, even if I had such, I think that I would feel more inclined to perform others' music than my own.

Best,

Alistair
Alistair Hinton
Curator / Director
The Sorabji Archive

Offline anacrusis

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 214
Re: Why do you LOVE the piano?
«Reply #7 on: January 22, 2021, 05:00:06 PM »
Thank you all for sharing your experiences, I very much enjoyed reading them. Keep 'em coming!

Quote
How did you come to the conclusion that you wouldn't want it as a job? Were you doing any work in the music field?

I tried a number of things during my studies, ranging from playing chamber music gigs, accompanying choirs, helping arranging festivals and concerts, to doing solo gigs, and teaching all ages and levels. Some of it was fun but I often felt a lack of fulfillment. I didn't like force feeding myself music for a deadline, I didn't particularly like practising chamber parts alone nor rehearsing, and I found teaching stressful. I somehow also felt like I have talents that were not being utilized in these settings. I very much liked the social aspect though, and being able to talk with likeminded people about music.

Quote
What is life if it is spent just on your own inside a solitary box? If we want to do piano for a living but want nothing to do with other people it is not a healthy way to escape the reality of life. It is intoxicating that we can remove ourselves from this world when we sit infront of the piano but we should not exist in this realm for extended periods. There is not enough to learn in life from just the piano you need that conflict and unity with other people. You need to take some kind of responsibility with music in such a way that it connect with other people, then you will find a fufilling career in music.

I think you misunderstood me :P I do not expect making money from playing piano if I do not interact with people. I have not completely ruled out performing again at some point, because I used to like that part, but the last few years I have not performed for anyone and I cannot say I have missed it. Right now I enjoy working on my own repertoire at my own pace. If I'm not on form, I can just not practise that day and try again tomorrow since I have no deadlines looming, and that feels rather liberating.

So when I say that I am looking at what role piano should have in my life I mean more in the sense - should it be part of my job, or should it be a hobby? Should it be a solitary activity for my own fulfilment or something I share with others? etc.

Offline lostinidlewonder

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 6067
Re: Why do you LOVE the piano?
«Reply #8 on: January 23, 2021, 01:45:16 AM »
I tried a number of things during my studies, ranging from playing chamber music gigs, accompanying choirs, helping arranging festivals and concerts, to doing solo gigs, and teaching all ages and levels. Some of it was fun but I often felt a lack of fulfillment. I didn't like force feeding myself music for a deadline, I didn't particularly like practising chamber parts alone nor rehearsing, and I found teaching stressful. I somehow also felt like I have talents that were not being utilized in these settings. I very much liked the social aspect though, and being able to talk with likeminded people about music.
So what do you expect from a job? It would be nice to be paid to simply practice piano alone in a room whenever you feel like it but that's not going to happen unless you start some kind of live video stream online and get a large following.


I think you misunderstood me :P
I am writing in terms of you taking music as a career, since you opened the post with the fact that you first studied music wanting to take it as a career but afterwards you found you might not want to do it.

I do not expect making money from playing piano if I do not interact with people.
I mean that should be first and foremost the more interesting part of your job, music is very much a "people" job, doing a music job just because of the music is not really going to work. It is interacting with people through music that then should interest you if you want to take it up as a career and it seems you have experience some of that. There is plenty of skills and education to come to you when taking music as a career, so although you might not feel totally utilized in the way you expect once you take up new responsilbities in music you will see different pathways open up which you can develop.

have not completely ruled out performing again at some point, because I used to like that part, but the last few years I have not performed for anyone and I cannot say I have missed it. Right now I enjoy working on my own repertoire at my own pace. If I'm not on form, I can just not practise that day and try again tomorrow since I have no deadlines looming, and that feels rather liberating.
That is all fine but in terms of career that is more interesting to me. You can do whatever you want with the piano if you have no responsilbility for others and that might be quite fine for the vast majority of people. If you however want to take it as a career you have to think about some of the things I mentioned in my previous response. As a performer playing with no deadlines will leave you with very little work and limited success.

So when I say that I am looking at what role piano should have in my life I mean more in the sense - should it be part of my job, or should it be a hobby? Should it be a solitary activity for my own fulfilment or something I share with others? etc.
I mean it is not really a difficult discussion to ask if it should be a hobby since there are practically no restraints in taking up that activity. To make music a job is an interesting discussion because you need to understand what kind of responsiblity in music you want to take. You mentioned some of your working experience with music and how it was mostly unsatisfactory but I really wonder what kind of work you are looking for to make a career out of? All jobs are hard in some way or another, it is not just like doing a hobby, you also learn to love things you didn't realize you could.
"The biggest risk in life is to take no risk at all."
www.facebook.com/groups/348933611793249/

Online ted

  • PS Silver Member
  • Sr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 3842
Re: Why do you LOVE the piano?
«Reply #9 on: January 23, 2021, 04:36:02 AM »
I do not love the piano per se but rather as a convenient medium of creation. I always wanted to create in any subject I learned and the piano has a hugely diverse range of technique, vocabulary and expressive power. The teacher of my youth wanted me to be a professional pianist in fields other than classical but I resisted his efforts at persuasion, firstly because I thought I was not good enough and secondly because my personality did not lend itself to performance. Luckily for me I was able to earn a very good living in another way and develop my music independently. I composed many piano pieces in the earlier decades of my life, some of them not bad, but two events caused me to embrace recorded free improvisation as my sole medium, especially since retirement. The first was  the availability of relatively cheap, very high quality digital home recording devices and the second was hearing the free improvisation concerts of Keith Jarrett. Suddenly, I realised that for the first time in history it had become viable to treat a recorded improvisation as an artistic end product.

The jury is still out as to whether or not I am solipsistic or selfish in taking this direction. I have been accused of it but I tend to think not as I share everything in various ways and anybody can have my recordings. I am not a good mixer and am seldom moved by music at concerts so I do not bother with them but that is just my personality for better or worse. 
"We're all bums when the wagon comes." - Waller

Offline nw746

  • PS Silver Member
  • Jr. Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 92
Re: Why do you LOVE the piano?
«Reply #10 on: January 23, 2021, 09:30:53 AM »
I wouldn't say I love the piano, to be honest. I don't. The piano as an instrument is fairly average. I love the piano repertoire, though. Or really keyboard repertoire in general, if you start at Frescobaldi and Byrd and Sweelinck (which I do). The sonatas of Beethoven were my formative musical experiences, and have shaped my musical tastes and interests ever since; the piano music of Schubert is probably the thing I have the most actual love for; the pianistic repertoire from Chopin, Alkan & Liszt to Szymanowski, Medtner & Ravel is full of riches that are readily accessible to sight-reading, and I at least love listening to the later piano repertoire from Webern through Stockhausen to Finnissy even though I will likely never have the capacity to play most of it.

In an ideal world, I guess, I'd be able to just play pieces from the piano repertoire without having to put any work into learning them. But that's not realistic, so I guess I put up with the drudgery of learning pieces in the hope that maybe someday I'll get enough technical accuracy, tone quality and evenness of sound to be able to make music out of them.

I also honestly do enjoy performing, if I can get past the initial performance anxiety, but I am not a marketable commodity and therefore don't expect to ever have a career as a concert pianist regardless of technical skills: I'm old by pianist standards (29), physically unattractive, haven't studied with any big names, and am not interested in the competition circuit. That said giving private or small scale performances for family and friends, or taking part in friends' and colleagues' performances, is something I could see myself doing. I likely won't make any money from it, though.

Offline anacrusis

  • PS Silver Member
  • Full Member
  • ***
  • Posts: 214
Re: Why do you LOVE the piano?
«Reply #11 on: January 29, 2021, 07:19:58 PM »
So what do you expect from a job? It would be nice to be paid to simply practice piano alone in a room whenever you feel like it but that's not going to happen unless you start some kind of live video stream online and get a large following.

I am writing in terms of you taking music as a career, since you opened the post with the fact that you first studied music wanting to take it as a career but afterwards you found you might not want to do it.

What I expect from a job is that I will enjoy it most of the time. I do not expect to be paid sitting alone in a room! This is why I am exploring the possibility to have another thing as my job and being free to do as I please with my playing. I am understanding that all the things you said are included in a pianistic career are included in a pianistic career, what I ended up questioning as I explored these things as a student was if I wanted to do these things full time as a career. Does this make sense?

Quote
I wouldn't say I love the piano, to be honest. I don't. The piano as an instrument is fairly average. I love the piano repertoire, though

I can understand this perspective, though I love the feeling of playing something I know well, and of working on something I really love and am excited about. I cannot say I love going to concerts or necessarily listening to the instrument as such. I'm either in analytical "teacher" mode, which is fun - I enjoy giving feedback to people - but being a piano student immersed in music all day led me to mostly want to listen to the few pianists or recordings that really excite me for my own leisure.