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#2007320 - 01/01/13 03:14 AM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: keystring]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6033
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: keystring
I am bothered about why the teacher told it. He's manipulating the student into not playing through fear of being laughed at. But there is something worse, because it could undermine the student's confidence at such events from then on. There is the idea that the judges that you are playing in front of find you and every other amateur laughable and inferior. How do you play in front of people who you think may hold that attitude under their bland demeanour? I've only played at exams, not competitions, but I trusted that the person judging me knew I was a student who was still learning, but took me seriously. If my teacher had told me beforehand that judges laugh at students I don't know how that would have affected my confidence. I don't like manipulation, period.


It is unclear (based on the way the original post is written) as to exactly WHEN the teacher made the comment....before or after the competition. In either instance it would have been inappropriate to share the comment.

In an ideal world one would hope that the judges in a competition or exam were taking you seriously. But you can't really know (or worry about) what they or anyone else in the audience are thinking. Just focus on playing your pieces to the best of your ability.
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#2007323 - 01/01/13 03:43 AM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: keystring]
Hakki Offline
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Registered: 05/26/01
Posts: 2100
Originally Posted By: keystring
Actually I don't think that you can play something at an exam against the teacher's wishes, because the choices are submitted ahead of time and the teacher is part of that.


So what make you think that a student can play something at a competition against the teacher's wishes?

Besides, in this case it was not just a wish, the teacher told her that she screwed/would screw (probably Ronald should make this clear) the nocturne.
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#2007324 - 01/01/13 03:44 AM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: carey]
keystring Online   content
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Originally Posted By: carey

It is unclear (based on the way the original post is written) as to exactly WHEN the teacher made the comment....before or after the competition. In either instance it would have been inappropriate to share the comment.

The way the OP was writing, it would seem before, because he says that "it worked" and the student chose another piece. I agree with what you are saying, however.

Quote:

In an ideal world one would hope that the judges in a competition or exam were taking you seriously. But you can't really know (or worry about) what they or anyone else in the audience are thinking. Just focus on playing your pieces to the best of your ability.

True. But you are also trying to build confidence in your student, and planting that kind of image in a student's head does not seem to be good.

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#2007329 - 01/01/13 03:59 AM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: RonaldSteinway]
slipperykeys Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/03/12
Posts: 341
Loc: Dorset, England
There is so much here to consider. As I have made several comments already I am now in a different situation to the reaction I would have given at the time.

I am actually less annoyed at the judge, I don't think much of him, but that is his failing, and more offended by the teacher. I think I would have to go back to this at some time if it was me as I do not know if I could let it rest. Why did the teacher need an off-hand (presumably) comment to make a definite decision?

Why didn't the teacher (presumably) challenge the judge making such a remark?

Does anybody remember the series "The Wonder Years"?

Kevin takes piano lessons in one episode and plays a piece at a recital for other students. He plays poorly but is very upset when another child plays the same piece well and the teacher explains why she allowed that to happen.

Typically, and most usefully.... I have forgotten the explanation!
Well, it was a long time ago but, as was often the case in The Wonder Years, it was a beautiful study of humanity, challenge and life-lessons.

Not least, as Valentina Lisitsa said when asked who was the best, Vladimir Horowitz, Glenn Gould or Lang Lang, "Who knows? There is no one truth".



Edited by slipperykeys (01/01/13 04:02 AM)

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#2007341 - 01/01/13 05:55 AM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: Hakki]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11178
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: Hakki

So what make you think that a student can play something at a competition against the teacher's wishes?

Carey asked me if I had ever played a piece at an exam against my teacher's wishes, and I said that I didn't think it would be possible because our pieces are registered along with the teacher's approval ahead of time. The passage you quoted says the word exam. I never expressed such a thought.

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#2007408 - 01/01/13 10:17 AM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: keystring]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6033
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: Hakki

So what make you think that a student can play something at a competition against the teacher's wishes?

Carey asked me if I had ever played a piece at an exam against my teacher's wishes, and I said that I didn't think it would be possible because our pieces are registered along with the teacher's approval ahead of time. The passage you quoted says the word exam. I never expressed such a thought.


and it was Hakki (not me) who asked the exam question. smile
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#2007474 - 01/01/13 01:24 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: slipperykeys]
cefinow Offline
Full Member

Registered: 12/27/10
Posts: 355
Originally Posted By: slipperykeys


Does anybody remember the series "The Wonder Years"?

Kevin takes piano lessons in one episode and plays a piece at a recital for other students. He plays poorly but is very upset when another child plays the same piece well and the teacher explains why she allowed that to happen.

Typically, and most usefully.... I have forgotten the explanation!
Well, it was a long time ago but, as was often the case in The Wonder Years, it was a beautiful study of humanity, challenge and life-lessons.



[Digression alert.] This piqued my interest, so I looked up the episode in question and found a transcript. To sum up the missing explanation... At a dress rehearsal a week before the recital, Kevin finds out that his teacher's star piano pupil is playing the same piece he is! He is dismayed. Star pupil plays a flawless rendition. Teacher announces that she wants to show how two performers have a different interpretation of the same piece. Kevin then plays, and bombs. Despite encouragement, he withdraws from the recital. ... then regrets it. Here's the closing sequence, while Kevin is watching the star pupil play "his" piece at the recital.

[Shot of KEVIN stopped on his bike, looking toward the house in the background.]
NARRATOR: I never did forget that night. I remember the light glowing from Mrs. Carples' window. And I remember the darkness falling as I sat out there on the street looking in.
And now... More than twenty years later... I still remember every note of the music that wandered out into the still night air. The only thing is... I can't remember how to play it anymore. [He rides his bike off down the street.]

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#2007524 - 01/01/13 03:38 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: carey]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1454
Originally Posted By: carey


It is unclear (based on the way the original post is written) as to exactly WHEN the teacher made the comment....before or after the competition. In either instance it would have been inappropriate to share the comment.


This judge did not comment on this particular student, but commenting on general participants. They often wanted to laugh when they listened to the participants way of playing. By the way, I had a lesson with my teacher last Saturday. I confirmed with him what the judge said. He did confirmed what I stated earlier.

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#2007528 - 01/01/13 03:40 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: RonaldSteinway]
Mark_C Offline
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Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19292
Loc: New York
You misread his post. Take another look.

And BTW, this is an example of how easy it is to misunderstand something, or to get it at least a little wrong in a way that changes the meaning a lot, even something pretty simple like in the above post. And it's why there's reason to have doubt about what was conveyed 3rd hand in the OP (which was something much less simple) and even IMO 2nd hand, as in the above post.

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#2007559 - 01/01/13 04:25 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: Mark_C]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6033
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: Mark_C
You misread his post. Take another look.

And BTW, this is an example of how easy it is to misunderstand something, or to get it at least a little wrong in a way that changes the meaning a lot, even something pretty simple like in the above post. And it's why there's reason to have doubt about what was conveyed 3rd hand in the OP (which was something much less simple) and even IMO 2nd hand, as in the above post.

Which, I believe, has been part of the problem with this entire thread !!!! grin
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#2007565 - 01/01/13 04:38 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: RonaldSteinway]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6033
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
Originally Posted By: carey


It is unclear (based on the way the original post is written) as to exactly WHEN the teacher made the comment....before or after the competition. In either instance it would have been inappropriate to share the comment.


This judge did not comment on this particular student, but commenting on general participants. They often wanted to laugh when they listened to the participants way of playing. By the way, I had a lesson with my teacher last Saturday. I confirmed with him what the judge said. He did confirmed what I stated earlier.


So it would appear the judge made the comment to your teacher AFTER the competition - and that the comment had nothing to do with the teacher's decision to not have his student perform the Nocturne.

My point is that your teacher should not have shared this comment with you or any of his other students. smile
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#2007608 - 01/01/13 06:20 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: carey]
keystring Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 12/11/07
Posts: 11178
Loc: Canada
Originally Posted By: carey

My point is that your teacher should not have shared this comment with you or any of his other students. smile

I agree. And the reason is that picturing your audience or a judge with a particular attitude which is humiliating or denigrating to the performer can affect the performer, especially if he is still a student getting used to it. It is not an image to share, and there is no reason for doing so.

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#2007609 - 01/01/13 06:21 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: carey]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1454
Originally Posted By: carey
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
Originally Posted By: carey


It is unclear (based on the way the original post is written) as to exactly WHEN the teacher made the comment....before or after the competition. In either instance it would have been inappropriate to share the comment.


This judge did not comment on this particular student, but commenting on general participants. They often wanted to laugh when they listened to the participants way of playing. By the way, I had a lesson with my teacher last Saturday. I confirmed with him what the judge said. He did confirmed what I stated earlier.


So it would appear the judge made the comment to your teacher AFTER the competition - and that the comment had nothing to do with the teacher's decision to not have his student perform the Nocturne.

My point is that your teacher should not have shared this comment with you or any of his other students. smile



Yes, the judge made the comment after the competition.
I do not know what ignited the conversation.

My thought is that it is painful to hear what the judges really think, but I'd rather know the real standard so that I know how to plan my next competition that I will enter.

Before this incident, I had heard people saying that if we play difficult pieces but we cannot execute well, the judges consider that we cannot play that piece. But what this judge said to my teacher and the teacher told my friend who is planning to enter adult piano competitions really affirms what I had heard. Not pleasant, but I think useful if we view in certain way.

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#2007611 - 01/01/13 06:24 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: keystring]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1454
Originally Posted By: keystring
Originally Posted By: carey

My point is that your teacher should not have shared this comment with you or any of his other students. smile

I agree. And the reason is that picturing your audience or a judge with a particular attitude which is humiliating or denigrating to the performer can affect the performer, especially if he is still a student getting used to it. It is not an image to share, and there is no reason for doing so.


To me the live streaming thing is much scarier than people in the audiences.

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#2007623 - 01/01/13 06:57 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: RonaldSteinway]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19097
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
Before this incident, I had heard people saying that if we play difficult pieces but we cannot execute well, the judges consider that we cannot play that piece.
I think that virtually goes without saying.

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#2007644 - 01/01/13 07:55 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: pianoloverus]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1454
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
Before this incident, I had heard people saying that if we play difficult pieces but we cannot execute well, the judges consider that we cannot play that piece.
I think that virtually goes without saying.


It depends on the individual's standard. Playing well is relative. My friend who often entered amateur competitions has such a high standard so that he is rarely impressed by most of the amateur people. Yet, some other people can be impressed by adults who play pieces often by professionals. Now I know that judges in this amateur level expect people to play at professional level too. That is why unprofessional playing really annoys them.

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#2007690 - 01/01/13 09:26 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: RonaldSteinway]
musica71 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/04/08
Posts: 411
Loc: Bend, Or.
Ronald...Surely judges do not expect "professional level" playing at an Amateur Competition (though some competitors reach that level). What they expect is a well prepared program at the level of the competitor. That level depends totally upon what the Amateur is capable of under pressure.


Edited by musica71 (01/01/13 09:27 PM)
Edit Reason: Wrong spelling.
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#2007705 - 01/01/13 10:12 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: musica71]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6033
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: musica71
Ronald...Surely judges do not expect "professional level" playing at an Amateur Competition (though some competitors reach that level). What they expect is a well prepared program at the level of the competitor. That level depends totally upon what the Amateur is capable of under pressure.

Well said !!!! thumb
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#2007774 - 01/02/13 01:19 AM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: musica71]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19292
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: musica71
Ronald...Surely judges do not expect "professional level" playing at an Amateur Competition (though some competitors reach that level). What they expect is a well prepared program at the level of the competitor. That level depends totally upon what the Amateur is capable of under pressure.

Well said is dam right!! thumb

Quote:
Edit Reason: Wrong spelling

We don't expect correct spelling. grin

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#2007775 - 01/02/13 01:22 AM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: RonaldSteinway]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5067
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
Before this incident, I had heard people saying that if we play difficult pieces but we cannot execute well, the judges consider that we cannot play that piece.
I think that virtually goes without saying.


It depends on the individual's standard. Playing well is relative. My friend who often entered amateur competitions has such a high standard so that he is rarely impressed by most of the amateur people. Yet, some other people can be impressed by adults who play pieces often by professionals. Now I know that judges in this amateur level expect people to play at professional level too. That is why unprofessional playing really annoys them.

If these judges are well-versed in said competitions, they should know what to expect, and should not be annoyed. If they are brand new, they should be coached on etiquette while being a judge, and on what to expect for the duration of their amateur judging careers.

If they find they cannot deal with the caliber of pianist with which they are being presented, perhaps they should upgrade themselves to professional competitions only. Once they get there, they still should be coached on etiquette while being a judge.
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#2007842 - 01/02/13 08:21 AM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: musica71]
RonaldSteinway Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/11/08
Posts: 1454
Originally Posted By: musica71
Ronald...Surely judges do not expect "professional level" playing at an Amateur Competition (though some competitors reach that level). What they expect is a well prepared program at the level of the competitor. That level depends totally upon what the Amateur is capable of under pressure.


Yes, they do not expect, but their standard is still at professional level. They are delighted by those who can play at the professional qualities. That is why most of finalists in big competitions have strong piano background. Either they went to prestigious conservatories, or they were prodigies. People who cannot play at professional quality seldom advance to final.

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#2007867 - 01/02/13 09:21 AM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: musica71]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19097
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: musica71
Ronald...Surely judges do not expect "professional level" playing at an Amateur Competition (though some competitors reach that level). What they expect is a well prepared program at the level of the competitor. That level depends totally upon what the Amateur is capable of under pressure.
This is exactly the point.

All the teacher was trying to tell his student was not to attempt a piece beyond his abilities (which apparently the Chopin Nocturne was). This is exactly what the teacher should be doing, and it was very silly for the student to be upset that he had been already working on it for two weeks. He can always play it for his own pleasure or some place other than the competition.

I have watched some of the bigger amateur competitions that have been posted on YouTube or broadcast live. I think a fair number of the competitors attempt works demanding the highest level of professional virtuosity and end up obviously struggling(and sometimes failing) to pull the piece off without many wrong notes, slowing down during the most difficult passages, etc. If they'd just play something at an advanced but somewhat less difficult level they'd have more of a chance of showing their musical abilities which sometimes get completely lost in their obvious struggle to just play the notes.


Edited by pianoloverus (01/02/13 05:42 PM)

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#2007870 - 01/02/13 09:29 AM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: RonaldSteinway]
carey Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/13/05
Posts: 6033
Loc: Phoenix, Arizona
Originally Posted By: RonaldSteinway
Originally Posted By: musica71
Ronald...Surely judges do not expect "professional level" playing at an Amateur Competition (though some competitors reach that level). What they expect is a well prepared program at the level of the competitor. That level depends totally upon what the Amateur is capable of under pressure.


Yes, they do not expect, but their standard is still at professional level. They are delighted by those who can play at the professional qualities. That is why most of finalists in big competitions have strong piano background. Either they went to prestigious conservatories, or they were prodigies. People who cannot play at professional quality seldom advance to final.


Well, that's the way the world works.

And besides, playing the piano is not about "winning" - IMHO its about the sheer joy, satisfaction and pleasure that comes from being able to play beautiful music to the best of one's ability - whatever that might be.
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#2008077 - 01/02/13 04:30 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: carey]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5834
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: carey
And besides, playing the piano is not about "winning" - IMHO its about the sheer joy, satisfaction and pleasure that comes from being able to play beautiful music to the best of one's ability - whatever that might be.
Worth repeating. thumb
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#2008112 - 01/02/13 05:29 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: currawong]
Cinnamonbear Offline
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/09/10
Posts: 3722
Loc: Rockford, IL
Originally Posted By: currawong
Originally Posted By: carey
And besides, playing the piano is not about "winning" - IMHO its about the sheer joy, satisfaction and pleasure that comes from being able to play beautiful music to the best of one's ability - whatever that might be.
Worth repeating. thumb


Again. grin
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but at least I'm slow.

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#2008178 - 01/02/13 07:43 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: Cinnamonbear]
ChopinAddict Offline
6000 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/29/09
Posts: 6077
Loc: Land of the never-ending music
Originally Posted By: Cinnamonbear
Originally Posted By: currawong
Originally Posted By: carey
And besides, playing the piano is not about "winning" - IMHO its about the sheer joy, satisfaction and pleasure that comes from being able to play beautiful music to the best of one's ability - whatever that might be.
Worth repeating. thumb


Again. grin


And again. smile
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Music is my best friend.


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#2008201 - 01/02/13 08:38 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: ChopinAddict]
pianoloverus Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/29/01
Posts: 19097
Loc: New York City
Originally Posted By: ChopinAddict
Originally Posted By: Cinnamonbear
Originally Posted By: currawong
Originally Posted By: carey
And besides, playing the piano is not about "winning" - IMHO its about the sheer joy, satisfaction and pleasure that comes from being able to play beautiful music to the best of one's ability - whatever that might be.
Worth repeating. thumb


Again. grin


And again. smile
I don't think think it's that simple. That's part of it, but many people have big egos, and certainly at the professional level there are major monetary considerations involved in the result of a competition.

If winning is of no importance, why not just let each competitor perform and give no prizes? Why have there been lengthy discussions at PW by amateur competitors about every tiny detail involved in participating in a competition?

Even in a recital a professional must win the approval of the audience and/or critics to be successful. And amateurs also want to win the approval of their audience.

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#2008211 - 01/02/13 09:08 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: pianoloverus]
Mark_C Offline
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/11/09
Posts: 19292
Loc: New York
Originally Posted By: ChopinAddict
Originally Posted By: Cinnamonbear
Originally Posted By: currawong
Originally Posted By: carey
...its about the sheer joy, satisfaction and pleasure that comes from being able to play beautiful music to the best of one's ability...
Worth repeating.thumb
Again. grin
And again. smile

+1

Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
I don't think think it's that simple.

+1 grin

As is often the case, everybody is 100% right, including the opposite views. smile

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#2008215 - 01/02/13 09:17 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: Mark_C]
jdw Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/04/11
Posts: 799
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
A favorite quotation from John Stuart Mill: "In all intellectual debates, both sides tend to be correct in what they affirm, and wrong in what they deny."

(not sure this is exactly an "intellectual debate," but still... smile )
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#2008224 - 01/02/13 09:34 PM Re: one opinion of an amateur piano judge [Re: pianoloverus]
currawong Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 05/15/07
Posts: 5834
Loc: Down Under
Originally Posted By: pianoloverus
[I don't think think it's that simple. That's part of it, but many people have big egos, and certainly at the professional level there are major monetary considerations involved in the result of a competition.
carey said playing the piano is not about winning. He was speaking about more than competitions. Of course big things sometimes hang on the results of competitions. But I would still say "playing the piano is not about winning".
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