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#1925161 - 07/10/12 05:28 PM Re: How to Start an Amateur Pianist Group or Piano Party Group [Re: RonaldSteinway]
A Rebours Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/05/09
Posts: 221
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
To me, it is a great opportunity to practice playing in front of people. But most adults do not see this way.


Ronald,

You are so right. I've gotten much better playing at my teacher's recitals after getting more experience with playing in front of adults during the piano retreats I've gone to. Plus, sharing the ups and downs learning the piano with other adult students face to face in my locale would help to break up the solitary practice.

A R
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#1925167 - 07/10/12 05:44 PM Re: How to Start an Amateur Pianist Group or Piano Party Group [Re: bennevis]
A Rebours Offline
Full Member

Registered: 06/05/09
Posts: 221
Originally Posted By: bennevis


Unless one is talented and started performing in front of audiences (or taking part in competitions) when young, my impression is that most adult pianists don't enjoy playing for strangers or even acquaintances/friends in formal or semi-formal settings. Most don't even feel comfortable playing during dinner parties, when there's less scrutiny.


What you say above may be true, but I made it real clear that the group I was trying to organize did NOT require one to perform. I was trying to get together a group of adults who loved piano and wanted to share their experiences in an informal setting, such as meeting for lunch, and just Talking about piano. We could go from there as to what we might do as a group. But only one person responded to the invite and no one came to the second meeting. (The one person who came the first time wasn't available). The community in which I live is very insular and unless you've been raised here, it is difficult to meet people with similar interests. But I thought I'd give it a shot but organizing a group didn't work out.

A R
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#1925176 - 07/10/12 06:25 PM Re: How to Start an Amateur Pianist Group or Piano Party Group [Re: A Rebours]
BruceD Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 17830
Loc: Victoria, BC
Originally Posted By: A Rebours
Originally Posted By: bennevis


Unless one is talented and started performing in front of audiences (or taking part in competitions) when young, my impression is that most adult pianists don't enjoy playing for strangers or even acquaintances/friends in formal or semi-formal settings. Most don't even feel comfortable playing during dinner parties, when there's less scrutiny.


What you say above may be true, but I made it real clear that the group I was trying to organize did NOT require one to perform. I was trying to get together a group of adults who loved piano and wanted to share their experiences in an informal setting, such as meeting for lunch, and just Talking about piano. [...]A R


The primary reason that our group was formed was to give adults the experience of playing for others in a supportive, non-critical environment which excludes teachers, friends and even spouses who are not members.

One member who has been with the group since I joined six years ago was so nervous when playing in front of others that she could hardly control her shaking and played as many wrong notes as right ones. She, however, persevered, mostly because she saw how much others with less nervousness enjoyed performing and she wanted to be among those. She now performs regularly with much greater ease and self confidence, she continues to improve, and she gives credit to our group for her liberated status as a "performer."

I do wonder, though, about the goals of those adults who take lessons and who practice diligently but who don't aspire to perform even for close friends or relatives. Would an amateur painter study painting without ever showing the result? Would a budding writer never let anyone read what was written? Yes, there must be some sense of accomplishment for mastering repertoire in private, but those who refuse to perform must surely be missing out on the greatest accomplishment in music: sharing with others.

Regards,
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#1925179 - 07/10/12 06:42 PM Re: How to Start an Amateur Pianist Group or Piano Party Group [Re: A Rebours]
Piano Again Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/04
Posts: 1162
Loc: Washington metro
I think the terror of performing that people experience when they try it the first few times puts them off of it -- they think that it will always be like that. And in a way, it is :), but at the same time, it's a vital part of the musical experience. And it's not just adults -- I've talked with so many people who had these terrible experiences performing when they were kids and never wanted to do it again. I don't know exactly how you persuade people that if they persist, though it's never exactly easy, it will get easier.



Edited by Piano Again (07/10/12 06:43 PM)
Edit Reason: to fix emoticon
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#1925222 - 07/10/12 09:07 PM Re: How to Start an Amateur Pianist Group or Piano Party Group [Re: A Rebours]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1474
There are several gentlemen in my group who have no courage to perform. To me, it is too bad. What will happen if they mess up? Nothing...a little embarrass may be, but move on, try again next time. I messed up big time too, but I kept trying.

Another problem with adult is that they do not want to perform the same piece twice. They think that people will say something. Like several people in my group, they are starting running out of pieces that they can play so that they do not want to come any more. I agree that it is kind of embarrassing to play the same pieces over and over. But my thought is that I will not give up a piece until I can play well in front of people. They may say that I can play only one piece, but I do not care. At the end of the day, I feel that I am able to conquer the piece if I can play well in front of people.

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#1925250 - 07/10/12 10:09 PM Re: How to Start an Amateur Pianist Group or Piano Party Group [Re: RonaldSteinway]
jmcintyre Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/10/10
Posts: 228
Loc: Wash. DC area
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
There are several gentlemen in my group who have no courage to perform. To me, it is too bad. What will happen if they mess up? Nothing...a little embarrass may be, but move on, try again next time. I messed up big time too, but I kept trying.


Last weekend my wife and I went to a piano night organized through Meetup (our first time). The hostess, a teacher who works mostly with kids, said to some of the more reluctant/nervous performers "Dont worry. Nobody is going to pinch you if you make a mistake!"

To the OP: I hope you won't give up hope. Even if it's just you and the one other person who took the bait, that's a start, and better than nothing.
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#1925331 - 07/11/12 05:16 AM Re: How to Start an Amateur Pianist Group or Piano Party Group [Re: BruceD]
bennevis Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4825
Originally Posted By: BruceD
I do wonder, though, about the goals of those adults who take lessons and who practice diligently but who don't aspire to perform even for close friends or relatives. Would an amateur painter study painting without ever showing the result? Would a budding writer never let anyone read what was written? Yes, there must be some sense of accomplishment for mastering repertoire in private, but those who refuse to perform must surely be missing out on the greatest accomplishment in music: sharing with others.

Regards,


It may surprise you to learn that there are many, many amateur painters/artists who have a huge stash of paintings, watercolors and drawings which noone has ever seen but themselves: I was reminded of that when the paintings of Sir Winston Churchill went on display for the first time ever last week. Does anyone know that this great Prime Minister was a very accomplished painter? It was a private hobby for him. And the same applies to writing, for many people. (There must be lots of potential 'War & Peace'-like novels lying around in people's attics around the world, whose authors never let anyone else read, let alone contemplate publishing....).

And I'd guess that applies too to playing piano, for many people who took it up as a hobby - it also applied to me: I never thought of playing in public even after I obtained my performance diploma. (I was, and still am, very shy, and would never dream of speaking in public even now, after losing my fear of playing in public long ago grin). Piano playing was just one of my private passions (chess too, though it's usually more satisfying to beat a human opponent than a computer grin, so I did enter some public tournaments).

If you were taught from young that the goal of learning to play a musical instrument was public performance, and your teacher made you play in front of others regularly, you would have a very different mindset to someone who only ever had private teachers who never encouraged their students to perform for others.

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#1925398 - 07/11/12 11:09 AM Re: How to Start an Amateur Pianist Group or Piano Party Group [Re: bennevis]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1474
Originally Posted By: bennevis

And I'd guess that applies too to playing piano, for many people who took it up as a hobby - it also applied to me: I never thought of playing in public even after I obtained my performance diploma. (I was, and still am, very shy, and would never dream of speaking in public even now, after losing my fear of playing in public long ago grin). Piano playing was just one of my private passions (chess too, though it's usually more satisfying to beat a human opponent than a computer grin, so I did enter some public tournaments).

If you were taught from young that the goal of learning to play a musical instrument was public performance, and your teacher made you play in front of others regularly, you would have a very different mindset to someone who only ever had private teachers who never encouraged their students to perform for others.


There 3 stages:
1. You get in peace with the piece.
2. You get in peace with the piano.
3. You get in peace with the audience.

I guess you have accomplished no. 1 and 2, you should challenge yourself to conquer no. 3. Use it as a goal....it is fun and satisfying. You get better as you do it over and over.

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#1925500 - 07/11/12 04:42 PM Re: How to Start an Amateur Pianist Group or Piano Party Group [Re: A Rebours]
musica71 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/04/08
Posts: 415
Loc: Bend, Or.
Performing in front of ANY kind of an audience is surely good for one's musical growth. You work so much harder when you have a performance coming up. You also learn so much about yourself, controlling nerves, being extremely well prepared, etc. After all of that work don't you want to share with someone else?? I would hope so.
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#1925597 - 07/11/12 10:20 PM Re: How to Start an Amateur Pianist Group or Piano Party Group [Re: musica71]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1474
Originally Posted By: musica71
Performing in front of ANY kind of an audience is surely good for one's musical growth. You work so much harder when you have a performance coming up. You also learn so much about yourself, controlling nerves, being extremely well prepared, etc. After all of that work don't you want to share with someone else?? I would hope so.


+1, I always learned something every time I perform.

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#1925614 - 07/11/12 11:15 PM Re: How to Start an Amateur Pianist Group or Piano Party Group [Re: A Rebours]
musica71 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/04/08
Posts: 415
Loc: Bend, Or.
I do not agree with the reluctance to play apiece again for the group! Have you not noticed that at these Adult Amateur Competitions some people play some of the same repertoire year after year. That is fine, a piece of substance grows and matures. One can constantly find ways to improve and I think that musicians appreciate seeing the improvement in a challenging work. I would much rather play for people that are knowledgable rather than those that don't know what is going on and think everything is wonderful!


Edited by musica71 (07/11/12 11:16 PM)
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#1925698 - 07/12/12 04:12 AM Re: How to Start an Amateur Pianist Group or Piano Party Group [Re: BruceD]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7761
Originally Posted By: BruceD

I do wonder, though, about the goals of those adults who take lessons and who practice diligently but who don't aspire to perform even for close friends or relatives. Would an amateur painter study painting without ever showing the result? Would a budding writer never let anyone read what was written? Yes, there must be some sense of accomplishment for mastering repertoire in private, but those who refuse to perform must surely be missing out on the greatest accomplishment in music: sharing with others.



You have been around here long enough to have read the various threads talking about this kind of thing, and you must know there are those of who simply loathe performing live, for various and sometimes complex reasons.

So I'll throw it back and ask you why you would assume that anyone would want to perform? I think playing classical music is a perfectly self-contained activity myself, something like the way that reading good literature or poetry can be. There is nothing about it that would dictate a need to perform it for others, as far as I can tell.

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#1925704 - 07/12/12 04:34 AM Re: How to Start an Amateur Pianist Group or Piano Party Group [Re: Piano Again]
wr Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/23/07
Posts: 7761
Originally Posted By: Piano Again
I don't know exactly how you persuade people that if they persist, though it's never exactly easy, it will get easier.


Unless it doesn't. For some of us, it gets worse. Or gets totally unpredictable, which can be equally awful.

I grew up playing in front of people, so if the "it gets easier" theory were a sound one, as an old geezer, I should about as at ease as one can get. Instead, performing was such a traumatic experience, I eventually stopped playing in front of people entirely. At most, I record myself and take part in e-citals here (and usually berate myself a lot about even that). Who knows, things may still change, but that's where I am now.

It's interesting that even someone as experienced and admired and capable as Argerich still hates being a solo performer, so much so that she almost never appears on stage alone.

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#1925807 - 07/12/12 11:34 AM Re: How to Start an Amateur Pianist Group or Piano Party Group [Re: musica71]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1474
Originally Posted By: musica71
I do not agree with the reluctance to play apiece again for the group! Have you not noticed that at these Adult Amateur Competitions some people play some of the same repertoire year after year. That is fine, a piece of substance grows and matures. One can constantly find ways to improve and I think that musicians appreciate seeing the improvement in a challenging work. I would much rather play for people that are knowledgable rather than those that don't know what is going on and think everything is wonderful!


I agree with you. Even though we play the same pieces over and over again, we most likely improve the quality of the playing. Keep changing the pieces is good for those who are capable of doing so, but not good for many people.

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#1925834 - 07/12/12 12:49 PM Re: How to Start an Amateur Pianist Group or Piano Party Group [Re: A Rebours]
Piano Again Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/04
Posts: 1162
Loc: Washington metro
I do think adults have unreasonably high expectations. They are measuring their performances against professional ones. What really happens is that improvements tend to be incremental, but because the whole thing doesn't measure up to some mental image of perfection they discount those improvements. And then each piece has its own challenges that may be different from those of other pieces, so you might play something that turns out pretty well, but then another piece will not.

The fear is always there, but over time you can learn to trust yourself more and deal with it better. And yeah, maybe it's not worth it to everyone. It is to me, and if I were a teacher I would strongly encourage my students to keep trying. The musical experience is not complete without performing.
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#1925847 - 07/12/12 01:22 PM Re: How to Start an Amateur Pianist Group or Piano Party Group [Re: Piano Again]
bennevis Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/14/10
Posts: 4825
Originally Posted By: Piano Again
I do think adults have unreasonably high expectations. They are measuring their performances against professional ones. What really happens is that improvements tend to be incremental, but because the whole thing doesn't measure up to some mental image of perfection they discount those improvements. And then each piece has its own challenges that may be different from those of other pieces, so you might play something that turns out pretty well, but then another piece will not.

The fear is always there, but over time you can learn to trust yourself more and deal with it better. And yeah, maybe it's not worth it to everyone. It is to me, and if I were a teacher I would strongly encourage my students to keep trying. The musical experience is not complete without performing.



Personally, I'd say the musical experience is not complete if you're not enjoying yourself. Music isn't meant to be an ordeal, it's meant to be enjoyed, and for self-fulfilment, to enrich one's soul. If someone is too shy to perform in public, why subject themselves to it? The same applies to public speaking - would anyone who is shy (and in his right mind) offer themselves up to speak at a wedding reception in front of an audience, like a lamb to the slaughter?

Let's not forget what Western 'classical music' was originally intended for (and it wasn't public performance.....).

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#1925864 - 07/12/12 02:25 PM Re: How to Start an Amateur Pianist Group or Piano Party Group [Re: A Rebours]
musica71 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/04/08
Posts: 415
Loc: Bend, Or.
Ronald, Of course you would be doing other pieces as well..but to keep some in the repertoire is good. I taught piano for 42 years and had one girl who locked herself in the bathroom the day of a recital. Good Grief, if one feels that way forget it. (She did play very well too). I guess it just comes down to personalities.

Some people love to be in (or tolerate) the spotlight, others shrivel at the thought. It can be a big achievement to conquer the fear and just do it! Obviously those of us who enter the Competitions are getting some satisfaction from the whole thing. For me the preparation, meeting people, euphoria when it goes reasonably well is worth it.
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#1925889 - 07/12/12 03:30 PM Re: How to Start an Amateur Pianist Group or Piano Party Group [Re: A Rebours]
JimF Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 10/08/09
Posts: 1673
Loc: south florida
To the OP A. Rebours,

I would encourage you not to give up, but maybe lower your sights a bit. I was able to get a small (5 total) group of adult students together at my house by calling it a "recital practice." We held it two weeks before my teacher's annual recital (all were her students, but no reason that would have to be true). Sending invites out got no response. I got names and phone numbers from the teacher and called them with a personal invitation...very low key, just thought you might be interested, etc.. We met at 3pm on a Sunday afternoon. Five students and three spouse/others. Drinks of choice, munchies, and conversation came first...then whoever wanted to play their piece. No one was more than intermediate level and no one had much recital experience. We had a blast and by the end people were calling out "I'm next" to get another shot at the bench.

If I were you I would....

Start with the idea of meeting just once (not forming a group that someone has to "join") because you thought it would be nice to "know some other people that play the piano"

Starting with one or two others would be fine, maybe keying off your teacher's recital date. Invite the spouses/significant others if they would care to come along.

Keep it fun. Serve alcohol or have it available...it may not be good for the piano playing (not with me, anyway) but it is still the best social lubricant around.


If your group is anything like mine they will be asking you when is the next get-together by the time they are going out the door.

good luck,

Jim
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#1950734 - 08/29/12 04:42 AM Re: How to Start an Amateur Pianist Group or Piano Party Group [Re: A Rebours]
Lorraine SE22 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/28/11
Posts: 22
Loc: United Kingdom
I started off with a small group of local pianists at my house in London. It quickly grew big enough to be able to hold it at various venues in London including Steinway Hall. We set up a blog and word spread quickly! We meet about 3 - 4 times a year.
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#1950885 - 08/29/12 11:56 AM Re: How to Start an Amateur Pianist Group or Piano Party Group [Re: A Rebours]
Thrill Science Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 513
Loc: California
I would love to be in a group of local adult amateurs at all levels who would play for each other! I tried several times to scrape up interest in my neighborhood and failed.

But I'm willing to try again! If anyone is in the Sunnyvale, CA area, send me a private message on piano world.

I've had small recitals in my home that went well, for example:



(This is NOT me playing!)



Edited by Thrill Science (08/29/12 11:58 AM)
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#1950922 - 08/29/12 12:44 PM Re: How to Start an Amateur Pianist Group or Piano Party Group [Re: A Rebours]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1474
It is like pulling teeth to gather adults.
I have done this for 2 years, do not enjoy at all the process of rounding up the adults.
But once we are together, it is always enjoyable.
Most of the time, only the same people came, and the same people who always made excuses not to come.
I invited them for 3 quarters, if they did not show up, I just dropped them.

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#1951129 - 08/29/12 07:16 PM Re: How to Start an Amateur Pianist Group or Piano Party Group [Re: Thrill Science]
jdw Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/04/11
Posts: 944
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
Thrill Science,

I'm nowhere near Sunnyvale, but happen to notice you're set up not to receive PM's, so you may not hear from neighbors.
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#1951190 - 08/29/12 09:32 PM Re: How to Start an Amateur Pianist Group or Piano Party Group [Re: jdw]
Thrill Science Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 513
Loc: California
Originally Posted By: jdw
Thrill Science,

I'm nowhere near Sunnyvale, but happen to notice you're set up not to receive PM's, so you may not hear from neighbors.


Thanks! *That's* why I never hear from anyone!

(Now it's time to turn off the computer and practice.)
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#1951342 - 08/30/12 04:17 AM Re: How to Start an Amateur Pianist Group or Piano Party Group [Re: A Rebours]
MaryAnn Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/16/11
Posts: 388
Loc: Japan
I held a piano salon in my home for the people I work with who play piano. It was easy to organize since we all work together and have an electronic announcement board. It was a lot of fun. I was by far the least experienced person there (I've only been playing a year), but everyone was very encouraging. One participant went on to win an adult amateur competition with her piece.

I am waiting for someone else to host the next one because I only have a digital piano, so it really wasn't good enough for the more experienced players.


Edited by MaryAnn (08/30/12 04:18 AM)

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#1951445 - 08/30/12 10:22 AM Re: How to Start an Amateur Pianist Group or Piano Party Group [Re: A Rebours]
FarmGirl Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 1893
Loc: Scottsdale, AZ
Thrill Science, I don't live in Sunny Vale but my girl friend (DMA in Piano Performance) does. Would love to connect with you when I go up there. I am encouraging her to set up annual Piano master class for adults.
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#1986114 - 11/13/12 11:29 AM Re: How to Start an Amateur Pianist Group or Piano Party Group [Re: FarmGirl]
Thrill Science Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 513
Loc: California
Who was it who was nearby me in Sunnyvale, CA? We're having a small in-home recital this Sunday and I forgot who it was who messaged me!
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#1986369 - 11/13/12 10:00 PM Re: How to Start an Amateur Pianist Group or Piano Party Group [Re: A Rebours]
P I A N O piano Offline
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Registered: 12/30/07
Posts: 425
Loc: Ann Arbor, Michigan
I thought that PW had links listed by city for the purposes of forming piano groups...
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#1986550 - 11/14/12 08:52 AM Re: How to Start an Amateur Pianist Group or Piano Party Group [Re: A Rebours]
Auntie Lynn Offline
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Registered: 12/07/04
Posts: 1105
Loc: San Francisco, CA
I haven't read this whole thread, but it's a lot more fun if you make it poluck and BYO...

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