I admit it. I wrote a post called “19 Reasons I Hate the Piano”.
I guess I was feeling a bit annoyed that day.
But these days I need a dose of gratitude. With all of the bad news going around I knew I needed to take stock of the things I am thankful for. I really am so very thankful for the piano and for music. I had actually finished (but didn’t publish) this post before the COVID 19 situation I feel that this might be a good “pick me up” for teachers as we head into month 7 of this new and unfamiliar world. I hope this finds all of you safe and your families well.
I started out playing the violin and played in the orchestra all the way through high school. I took private lessons for two years with an amazing teacher. Marilyn Benachowsky was a Julliard Graduate and had retired from her position as concertmistress with the Detroit Symphony! I loved her but I barely practiced my violin. Though my teacher was amazing, and I think the violin is beautiful (when someone else plays it) I was also studying the piano and when practice time came around the 88 keys always won out over the bow and strings.
When I was seven years old, my pop bought an antique player piano. The kind that uses paper rolls of music with holes that you pump air through, the keys go up and down and make music. (That’s my best explanation).
Anyway, as soon as I saw that piano, I wanted to play it. I took me a while to convince my mom to send me to lessons but she did and that, as they say, was IT!
So, here are 24 reasons I love, love, love the piano.
Some of the reasons are serious and some are just well…silly. Have fun reading.
1- Pianists don’t need other musicians – Playing the piano means being self-sufficient. I can play with others if I wish to, but the piano is just fine all by itself. (And these days that’s a big deal.)
2- Pianists can play any style of music. – The piano is a versatile instrument. Classical, pop, jazz just about any style of music can be played on the piano. Other instruments can do this as well, but the piano easily lends itself to many genres.
3- I get to play lots of different pianos – Most musicians bring their instruments with them wherever they go. As piano players, we play whatever is at the venue. I have gotten to experience playing some amazing pianos. Pianos that I could never afford to buy myself.
Of course, I have also come across some really bad pianos, but that’s a subject covered in another post.
3 -It looks good in the house – FACT! Pianos look great. Especially grand pianos. Rich people but them just to have as furniture. Having a piano in the house just makes you look like you belong on the “A-List”.
4 -Good for the brain – Playing any musical instrument is good for the brain.
According the Huffington Post
“Playing music keeps your brain sharp.”
Science has shown that musical training can change brain structure and function for the better, improve long-term memory and lead to better brain development for those who start in childhood.”
True story alert!
I remember telling my mom about this.
“Gee mom music is supposed to make you smarter I play music and I don’t feel like I am that smart.”
“Well imagine what you’d be like if you didn’t play music”
5- I get to be in charge – HA! The music director thinks he is in charge, but we all know who really sets the tempo and tone of the music.
Let’s just keep this little fact to ourselves.
6 -Chopin and Liszt – Enough said. Chopin composed only for the piano and Liszt is best known for his piano works. We are uniquely blessed by these composers and the wonderful (though finger-busting) works they have left us.
7 -Piano teachers have the most students – Yep, the number one most popular instrument is the piano. Always has been, always will be. Sorry guitars it’s rough being number 2.
8 -Pianists get more work than other musicians – Church work, accompanying, restaurants, retirement homes, parties, and the list goes on. I do a fair amount of playing, usually, there is only one person in the group who’s actually getting a paycheck…and guess who that is.
9 -Good at music theory – Bam! We rule the music theory class because our instrument lays it all out for us. Why do you think all of the other music majors have to take a keyboard class?
10 – I am never bored – Almost never. Being a musician means you always have something to do. The piano is always there just waiting to be played.
11 – I can drink Starbucks while I practice – I can set my cup right on my piano (calm down, I use a spill proof cup and a coaster) and take a sip whenever I want to. You can’t do that so easily while playing the bassoon.
I don’t know why but Starbucks seems to make its way into a lot of my writing. I’ll have a Grande Pike with a little bit of cream and no sugar.
I’m sweet enough…thank you very much.
12 -Pianists have the largest repertoire – More music is written for the piano than for any other instrument we will never run out of music to play.
13 – You can sound good from day one – A student can come to her first piano lesson and play something that sounds good. Other instruments, not so much. Take the violin for instance, most students don’t even get to play anything at the first lesson, after that, it takes a long time to start sounding pleasant.
14 – You can join a rock band – It’s kind of fun to let loose. I subbed in for a church band last week, the people were nice, and there was no pressure whatsoever, most of the music just featured four chords.
15 – You can annoy your neighbors – Have an annoying neighbor who likes to call on you and make sure you get a ticket if your car is parked in the wrong place? (I do). A little Rachmaninoff at midnight will fix her wagon… and make you feel better too!
Of course, if I wanted to be really unkind, I would play my violin.
16 -You can use headphones – If you have a digital keyboard you can practice almost silently which is great if you are an insomniac like me and decide to practice at 4 am.
17 – Pianists are the smartest musicians – I don’t actually know if this is true, but it used to seem this way to me when I was a kid. Whenever, there was a group of musicians it always seemed like the piano player was the one who really knew what was going on. He could play everybody’s parts, transpose the music to other keys, and answer questions. When I grew up, I wanted to be THAT guy.
18 – I can take revenge on singers –
Please, remember this is on the “silly” list.
I love singers, I am a singer. 99.9 percent of singers are professional, considerate human beings and I love working with them. But should you come across one who isn’t treating you nicely. You can just raise the key of her song by a major third.
Just kidding. I never actually did this.
But I did think about it once or twice.
19 It’s Ok to be old – I find myself happy about this as I move closer and closer to becoming the stereotypical little old lady piano teacher. Music is one of the few things in life that you can just keep getting better at. You can always be learning a new piece or even a new genre. The longer you teach the more experience you gain.
There just doesn’t seem to be a bias against older musicians the way there is in other professions.
Being older can be just fine, but two things are important. Keep your youthful enthusiasm and know when to say when. I know there may come a point where I just can’t do my job as well as I do now. If and when this happens, I am prepared to retire and enjoy making music for myself.
20 – I can do things with my left hand that other people can’t. Just a “fun fact” I’ll bet you can write with your left hand too.
21 – I can always have a seat – Maybe the service is standing room only, but I always have a seat on the bench, plus I never have to stand up to play like some musicians.
22 – I love to practice – There is nothing like getting into the practice zone. The soothing beauty of the music, the meditative ticking of the metronome, and the intensity of mental focus it takes to learn music takes me away from all of life’s challenges for a time.
23 – It’s the endless game – Amen. The piano is an endless game, and I love this. I will never run out of music to play. I will always be able to improve. The fact is I never have anything to do because music is always there. I can always play, practice, listen, learn, and enjoy music. Forever!
24 – People admire us – Let’s face it. The piano is wonderful and everyone (well, almost everyone except a few of my students) wishes they could play it. When I tell people what I do for a living they are impressed!
Never mind that I’m not getting rich or famous they think it’s cool…and it is!
So there are 24 reasons I love the piano. What about you? Do you have anything to add. Leave a comment below.
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