"You can't be a proper musician unless you play the piano". Discuss

Talk about things that are not necessarily related to music or the guitar.
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Rick Beauregard
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Re: "You can't be a proper musician unless you play the piano". Discuss

Post by Rick Beauregard » Mon Feb 04, 2019 5:44 pm

I think knowing piano, on balance, helped my general music skill. Nice and consistent. One key on the keyboard per pitch. But it may have been a negative as far as transferring fluency to the guitar at first. "Why the hell is 3-4 four frets and not five?" "Why do I have to learn, like, 4 positions for one note?" I could have avoided these thoughts altogether without the piano. Like language. Being fluent means not having to think, "how would I say this in French?" You just think in French.
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Gorn
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Re: "You can't be a proper musician unless you play the piano". Discuss

Post by Gorn » Tue Feb 05, 2019 2:28 pm

Nonsense. Playing piano or guitar or drums is just gymnastics, nothing else. To be a musician starts beyond the ability to play an instrument.
A proper musician must know how to write and understand scores (harmonical structures etc. etc. etc.). No need to play piano. Thanks to Sibelius & Co., it is very easy today.

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Re: "You can't be a proper musician unless you play the piano". Discuss

Post by Jussi » Tue Feb 05, 2019 2:55 pm

Rick Beauregard wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 5:44 pm
I think knowing piano, on balance, helped my general music skill. Nice and consistent. One key on the keyboard per pitch. But it may have been a negative as far as transferring fluency to the guitar at first. "Why the hell is 3-4 four frets and not five?" "Why do I have to learn, like, 4 positions for one note?" I could have avoided these thoughts altogether without the piano. Like language. Being fluent means not having to think, "how would I say this in French?" You just think in French.
Hi Rick,

Well put! I agree piano can be an easy starting point to learn about music because it has a straightforward layout, but if you're learning about music because you want to be a better guitarist why use anything other than a guitar? You can absolutely learn about music with guitar in mind (or in hand) and soon realise the value of 'thinking in French' rather than translating from piano.

Thanks,
Jussi

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Re: "You can't be a proper musician unless you play the piano". Discuss

Post by J.W.C. » Tue Feb 05, 2019 3:13 pm

Of course you can be a proper musician without any ability to play piano. But many musicians can benefit from learning the piano, for all the reasons listed up-thread. Some musicians might benefit more than others.

I was lucky, in that piano was my first instrument. It's no longer my primary (or favorite) instrument, but I'm very glad I know the piano. That knowledge and ability to play piano made the rest of my journey as a musician smoother and richer.

I also see what learning piano as a second instrument has done for my eldest daughter. Her first (and primary) instrument is viola. But after she started learning the piano, as well, her understanding of theory and harmony got a turbo boost. The piano lends itself to that in a way that many instruments simply do not. Guitar is pretty good for that, too (like piano, we do chords as well as melody, and frets give you at least some visual representation of semitones), but I'd say piano makes visualizing, understanding, and using theory/harmony even easier.

So do you need it? Nope. Is it useful and valuable? Almost certainly.

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joachim33
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Re: "You can't be a proper musician unless you play the piano". Discuss

Post by joachim33 » Tue Feb 05, 2019 3:22 pm

Please look up https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Quasthoff. He was denied entrance into a university program in Germany, because of an obvious inability to play the piano. His bio shows how untrue the statement is.

soltirefa
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Re: "You can't be a proper musician unless you play the piano". Discuss

Post by soltirefa » Tue Feb 05, 2019 3:34 pm

I'm going to start a music academy and all piano majors must learn guitar.

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Re: "You can't be a proper musician unless you play the piano". Discuss

Post by SleepyheadRooster » Tue Feb 05, 2019 4:28 pm

I don’t think you have to play piano to be a musician. Obviously.

But it is a hell of a great tool for composition and arranging, and despite the lack of vibrato, bends, and such (all which can all be had on an electric instrument) is is a wonderfully expressive instrument.

I have been taking lessons and playing an hour each day for about 6 months. I wish I’d started 30 years ago. My musicianship is expanding because of it.

If nothing else, you can get harmonies and chord voicings that are simply impossible on a guitar.
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Re: "You can't be a proper musician unless you play the piano". Discuss

Post by Wuuthrad » Tue Feb 05, 2019 8:06 pm

:lol: :grire:


Come on- Everyone knows percussionists aren't
"real" Musicians!

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Re: "You can't be a proper musician unless you play the piano". Discuss

Post by macnylonguitar » Tue Feb 05, 2019 8:33 pm

Ridiculous...not even worth the time but, you are not a great accomplished athlete unless you are basketball player or football player?, etc..

Hello Ted Williams, Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Jackie Robinson, Wille Mays, etc... You get the point..

BTW, I had heard this in music school, under guitar players are notoriously "bad" readers... probably true, but whether "sight reading" is corrleational to being a "great" guitarist.. there is none, nor has to be..Hello Allan Holdsworth, who could not "read" standard notation, nor had any need or interest to, and there are ton more examples...

I will say this, that Pat Martino brings up, and I think it is revolutionary and now to me, so obvious...

The piano is not the same construct as a guitar, and therefore "transferring" ones harmonic understanding of the piano to guitar to understand the guitar harmonically, does not work. One has to understand the "convention" / "invention" of the guitar to become more proficient, at least it helps understand the "structure", since in any structure will then determine ensuing behaviors... (Robert Fritz)...

The guitar is two dimensional X-Y axis, the piano is not and never will be.. The piano is 7 plus 5 = 12 notes, the guitar is 3 x's 4, three groups of 4 minor thirds (3 groups of 4 notes, a diminished 7 chord) and then repeats..this is more than likely since a human hand has four fingers and covers 4 frets nicely, and then shift repeat.

And because of the X-Y axis, you get interval /shapes on the guitar, and also chords shapes, that can be moved and have natural inversions, as well as "magic" voicings, where the chord voicing can have 5 different names / functions, and can be done in all keys. Cool stuff...

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Mollbarre
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Re: "You can't be a proper musician unless you play the piano". Discuss

Post by Mollbarre » Tue Feb 05, 2019 8:38 pm

soltirefa wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 3:34 pm
I'm going to start a music academy and all piano majors must learn guitar.
Not all instruments are considered equal.

That is not saying one is inherently "better" than the other - rather, they each bring their own unique strengths and weaknesses.
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Adrian Allan
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Re: "You can't be a proper musician unless you play the piano". Discuss

Post by Adrian Allan » Tue Feb 05, 2019 8:50 pm

Mollbarre wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 8:38 pm
soltirefa wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 3:34 pm
I'm going to start a music academy and all piano majors must learn guitar.
Not all instruments are considered equal.

That is not saying one is inherently "better" than the other - rather, they each bring their own unique strengths and weaknesses.
Kazoo vs. Steinway Grand?
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Wuuthrad
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Re: "You can't be a proper musician unless you play the piano". Discuss

Post by Wuuthrad » Tue Feb 05, 2019 8:55 pm

Seriously though, I've always been under the impression that a modern education in Classical or Serious Music involved learning Piano at some point along the way.

It certainly helps as it gives the opportunity for further diversification as a Musician or Composer.
"Pay no attention to what the critics say. A statue has never been erected in honor of a critic." -Jean Sibelius

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Michael.N.
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Re: "You can't be a proper musician unless you play the piano". Discuss

Post by Michael.N. » Tue Feb 05, 2019 10:05 pm

Adrian Allan wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 8:50 pm
Mollbarre wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 8:38 pm
soltirefa wrote:
Tue Feb 05, 2019 3:34 pm
I'm going to start a music academy and all piano majors must learn guitar.
Not all instruments are considered equal.

That is not saying one is inherently "better" than the other - rather, they each bring their own unique strengths and weaknesses.
Kazoo vs. Steinway Grand?
You ever tried playing a Steinway grand in a subway?
Historicalguitars.

astro64
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Re: "You can't be a proper musician unless you play the piano". Discuss

Post by astro64 » Tue Feb 05, 2019 11:57 pm

While we are on the topic of pianos...I would love to learn, and I'd be happy to use the topic of this thread to explain to my significant other that it is essential we acquire a medium-size grand piano. But it seems to me the biggest frustration for pianists must be that the instrument is out of tune most of the time. Is that a valid concern? I fear it would drive me nuts to practice on an out of tune piano for weeks or longer. How quickly is it out of tune after the tuner leaves the house? Then there is the issue of having to cut the nails...

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Michael.N.
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Re: "You can't be a proper musician unless you play the piano". Discuss

Post by Michael.N. » Wed Feb 06, 2019 12:25 am

Serious players might get it tuned every 3 months. Twice or once per year for those who play less. That's on a good piano that holds it's tuning relatively well.
Digital piano? They have pretty stable tuning.
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