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#2299514 - 07/07/14 01:20 PM What's proper etiquette on playing piano as a guest?
LePiano Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 2
Dear fellow beginners,

I am a beginner, started from scratch at 28 years old (now 1.5 years). I love playing piano and I am not afraid (or little shame) playing to other people. When I visit someone or go to a house party, quite often the host has a piano. I would love to put my hands on these charming keyboards.

I always ask for permission of course. And I usually play two small pieces, three at most, such as arranged versions of Walking in the air from The Snowman, Music of the night from Phantom of the Opera. My skill is not sophisticated, but sounds OK with practise. To be honest, if it's a party, I also intend to attract some girls' attention, since I am single.

My question is: what is the proper etiquette on playing piano as a guest? Is it considered rude? Will it offend other guests? Or will my showing-off offend other guys? I doubt about the last one, since my skill is beginner level and probably some guests (guys or gals) are much better player than me.

Thank you for any inputs!

Yi - piano lover who doesn't want to be rude


Edited by LePiano (07/07/14 01:38 PM)

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#2299526 - 07/07/14 01:49 PM Re: What's proper etiquette on playing piano as a guest? [Re: LePiano]
jdw Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/04/11
Posts: 1001
Loc: Philadelphia, PA
I think a lot depends on the kind of gathering and the attitude of the host. Personally, I love it if people ask to play the piano at my house. I feel it's there to be played (as long as no one puts drinks on it!). But at some parties and for some people, it wouldn't work.

I think your etiquette is ok as long as you use your judgment about the occasion and ask permission.
_________________________
1989 Baldwin R
Currently working on:
Grieg, Papillon
Mozart, K 330
Brahms, Op. 118 no. 2

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#2299534 - 07/07/14 02:26 PM Re: What's proper etiquette on playing piano as a guest? [Re: LePiano]
knotty Offline
2000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/01/07
Posts: 2995
Loc: Bethesda, MD (Washington D.C)
>>To be honest, if it's a party, I also intend to attract some girls' attention, since I am single.

I love this bit. I really do. It's amazing how true that actually is. There's something incredibly attractive about seeing someone else perform.
But at the same time, and that's my opinion, noone in their right mind would ever want to live with a musician. Unless they were one themselves ...
:-)

Pianos are there to be played. I let everyone play. Kids included. I like to hear others play. I think most people do.

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#2299538 - 07/07/14 02:38 PM Re: What's proper etiquette on playing piano as a guest? [Re: LePiano]
Polyphonist Offline
7000 Post Club Member

Registered: 03/03/13
Posts: 7648
Loc: New York City
After requesting and receiving approval from the host, you can play as long as you want until you are asked to stop, provided you know what you're doing.
_________________________
Regards,

Polyphonist

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#2299547 - 07/07/14 02:47 PM Re: What's proper etiquette on playing piano as a guest? [Re: LePiano]
rpw Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 04/04/14
Posts: 78
I don't think there is any special etiquette. Just don't spill your beer on the keyboard.

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#2299559 - 07/07/14 03:22 PM Re: What's proper etiquette on playing piano as a guest? [Re: LePiano]
Morodiene Online   content
Yikes! 10000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/06/07
Posts: 12048
Loc: Boynton Beach, FL
I definitely think it's OK to ask permission, and I'm sure most people would say OK. If someone says yes and they really don't want you to play, then that's their fault for not knowing how to say no. I don't agree with playing for as long as you like, I think 3 shorter pieces (like 2-3 minutes each) is good, and then see if they ask for more smile
_________________________
private piano/voice teacher - full time
MTNA member
www.valeoconservatory.com
Petrof 9'2 Concert, Yamaha G3, Roland FP-7, Yamaha MOX6, Kawai MP11

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#2299565 - 07/07/14 03:36 PM Re: What's proper etiquette on playing piano as a guest? [Re: LePiano]
LePiano Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 07/07/14
Posts: 2
Thanks a lot, everyone! I guess the consensus is let's --

Keep Calm and Play Piano!

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#2299569 - 07/07/14 03:43 PM Re: What's proper etiquette on playing piano as a guest? [Re: LePiano]
peterws Online   content
3000 Post Club Member

Registered: 07/21/12
Posts: 3705
Loc: Northern England.
Learn to boogie! THe girls`ll love it . . .everybody else will to.
_________________________
"I'm playing all the right notes but not necessarily in the right order." Eric Morecambe

""

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#2299582 - 07/07/14 04:33 PM Re: What's proper etiquette on playing piano as a guest? [Re: peterws]
ClsscLib Offline

Platinum Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 03/14/08
Posts: 1777
Loc: Northern VA, U.S.
Originally Posted By: peterws
Learn to boogie! THe girls`ll love it . . .everybody else will to.


Learn "Great Balls of Fire."
_________________________


"People may say I can't sing, but no one can ever say I didn't sing."

-- Florence Foster Jenkins

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#2299594 - 07/07/14 05:01 PM Re: What's proper etiquette on playing piano as a guest? [Re: LePiano]
WellTemperedPizza Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/26/13
Posts: 64
Loc: London, UK
If people want to hear it and ask you to play then cool, otherwise don't be 'that guy'.

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#2299669 - 07/07/14 10:22 PM Re: What's proper etiquette on playing piano as a guest? [Re: ClsscLib]
David Farley Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 10/27/13
Posts: 365
Loc: Illinois
Originally Posted By: ClsscLib
Originally Posted By: peterws
Learn to boogie! THe girls`ll love it . . .everybody else will to.


Learn "Great Balls of Fire."


Also "Linus and Lucy" and "The Entertainer."

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#2299670 - 07/07/14 10:35 PM Re: What's proper etiquette on playing piano as a guest? [Re: Polyphonist]
Derulux Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/06/05
Posts: 5321
Loc: Philadelphia
Originally Posted By: Polyphonist
After requesting and receiving approval from the host, you can play as long as you want until you are asked to stop, provided you know what you're doing.

In terms of length, I think it depends on what kind of party it is. I tend to agree with Poly that, given the right atmosphere, play away. Often, I will ask the host if it is okay to keep playing, and I will always try to gauge the party's reception to my playing.

All this said, I typically do not play at a party unless specifically asked to do so, and even then, I decline about half the time. But this has more to do with me than whether it is socially acceptable. If the piano is there, like Poly and others have said, play away.
_________________________
Every day we are afforded a new chance. The problem with life is not that you run out of chances. In the end, what you run out of are days.

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#2299681 - 07/07/14 11:13 PM Re: What's proper etiquette on playing piano as a guest? [Re: LePiano]
Mr Super-Hunky Offline
4000 Post Club Member

Registered: 04/17/05
Posts: 4243
Loc: Arizona.
I say play away, but instead of being overly cautious, why not place a 'tips' cup on top of the piano and see what happens.

You never know. Cash, pretty girls phone numbers, olive pits, you never know what you'll get.

And who knows, you could pump a bit pf life into the party and make everyone get a little stupid.

It's all good!

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#2299701 - 07/08/14 12:59 AM Re: What's proper etiquette on playing piano as a guest? [Re: Mr Super-Hunky]
tickler Offline
Full Member

Registered: 03/14/07
Posts: 376
Loc: Chicagoland
Once the host has said it's ok to play -- whatever you do -- respect the host and the piano.

Start of rant ...

IMHO: Do not ever, ever put anything on the piano except sheet music on the rack. No cups -- not even tip cups. No glasses, no plates of half-eaten food. Don't pile your sheet music on the side, or on the closed top.

Doesn't matter if the piano is ancient, or is scratched, or if the host has put stuff on top of it. It's their piano after all, so they can take liberties. Guests should not.

Doesn't matter if other guests are putting their wine glasses on the lid. Let them be the ones kicked out of the party, or never asked back. Don't make the host regret allowing you near the piano.

Ok, end of rant.

For me, the bottom line is that the host is giving you a great gift -- a chance to play a different piano, to see what music you can coax out of it. Don't abuse the privilege.
_________________________
Music should strike fire from the heart of man, and bring tears from the eyes of woman. -- Beethoven
1911 Steinway A-II (2007 Rebuild)

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#2299786 - 07/08/14 08:34 AM Re: What's proper etiquette on playing piano as a guest? [Re: tickler]
Purkoy Offline
Full Member

Registered: 05/13/14
Posts: 53
Loc: United Kingdom
Originally Posted By: tickler
Do not ever, ever put anything on the piano except sheet music on the rack. No cups -- not even tip cups. No glasses, no plates of half-eaten food.


It seems almost too obvious a point to make, as though no one in their right minds would ever do something like that. Yet it's happened to me, and the surface of brand new and very expensive loudspeakers was stained badly by wine glasses whose bases were wet with red wine, put there thoughtlessly. I'd dread having that happen to my piano.

If it's a general gathering, rather than something music-orientated, then my main piano is closed and protected with a good quality strong duty covering, but there's a full-size DP in another room, rather less expensive, open for anyone who wants to try it.
_________________________


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#2299812 - 07/08/14 10:11 AM Re: What's proper etiquette on playing piano as a guest? [Re: Morodiene]
FarmGirl Offline

Silver Supporter until Jan 02 2013


Registered: 09/14/10
Posts: 1993
Loc: Scottsdale, AZ
Originally Posted By: Morodiene
I definitely think it's OK to ask permission, and I'm sure most people would say OK. If someone says yes and they really don't want you to play, then that's their fault for not knowing how to say no. I don't agree with playing for as long as you like, I think 3 shorter pieces (like 2-3 minutes each) is good, and then see if they ask for more smile


Best advice. Play a couple of shorter pieces and see if they want more. We need to watch the feedback from others. Since I have multiple pianists friends from beginner to professionals, hogging piano becomes problem. As a host, I do not want to interrupt and say, "Hey, dude. that's very nice but your time is up.".
_________________________
Solo - Liszt Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2, Schubert Sonata D960 Andante sostenute (9/7/14), Bach f minor Fugue WTC Bk1, Rachmaninoff Elegie Op 3 #1, Chopin Trois Nouvelles Etudes #1



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