Piano is a somewhat lonely hobby.

Posted by: justpin

Piano is a somewhat lonely hobby. - 05/07/13 04:02 PM

So my question is at what level (not grades) do you reckon you'd have to be to play with other people, a band or just jamming with others?

I've heard guitarists can learn the most common chords and practice them over and over and be able to jam with each other. But what about pianists?

TBH since I started playing I seem to have become a bit of a hermit.
Posted by: jotur

Re: Piano is a somewhat lonely hobby. - 05/07/13 04:06 PM

I started playing oom-pah with a Scottish dance group, with fiddles on the melody, when I restarted in 1995. So I think for that kind of jamming, one can start pretty early. Maybe your area has a "mega band" that plays for contra dances - an all-comers band that meets a couple of times before a dance and then plays the dance. Those can be really fun, and generally, since they're "all comers" and "sit-in" kinds of community bands they're pretty welcoming to newer players.

Cathy
Posted by: Rickster

Re: Piano is a somewhat lonely hobby. - 05/07/13 05:21 PM

I hate to say it, but I’m a lonely guy. The piano offers me comfort and companionship that I otherwise do not have, for various reasons. I do play music with my two sons (who are very good musicians, by the way) on occasion. And, playing with a group or band is an excellent way to improve your playing skills.

As far as how well you need to play in order to play with a band, it depends on how good the rest of the band is. smile

If you can keep good time and know a wide range of chord progressions, you’ve got what it takes.

Another advantage of playing with a group is that it masks your mistakes to an extent. When you play by yourself all the time, you are solo continuously.

But, hey, life is what it is. smile

Rick
Posted by: earlofmar

Re: Piano is a somewhat lonely hobby. - 05/07/13 05:30 PM

I used to jam quite a bit in my late teens with a fellow guitarist and a bass player. We were not great musicians but that never stopped us. There should be no difference for piano. If you can find people at your level, or preferably a bit better, who want to play together you will find jamming a very rewarding experience.

If you can play three chords on the piano you have all you need for a pop song, if you can play a simple 12 bar blues you can jamb for hours......days
Posted by: Oongawa

Re: Piano is a somewhat lonely hobby. - 05/07/13 06:08 PM

I can't concentrate when other people are playing. It is SO distracting, I feel like I can't hear myself.
Any tips?
Posted by: UK Paul UK

Re: Piano is a somewhat lonely hobby. - 05/07/13 06:23 PM

With all l the self criticism and hours of practice with a mountain of doubt to fght against.... it can be a very indvidual thing.... but if we wanted an easy hobby with instant social gratification, we would all be playing xbox right? :-)
Posted by: -Frycek

Re: Piano is a somewhat lonely hobby. - 05/07/13 06:55 PM

Yeah, it's a lonely hobby/obsession/profession, whatever. That's why we have each other.
Posted by: earlofmar

Re: Piano is a somewhat lonely hobby. - 05/07/13 07:43 PM

Originally Posted By: Oongawa
I can't concentrate when other people are playing. It is SO distracting, I feel like I can't hear myself.
Any tips?


A common problem, but playing with other people is a skill like any other that must be slowly learned and mastered.
Posted by: mehdifshp

Re: Piano is a somewhat lonely hobby. - 05/07/13 07:48 PM

It is kind of comforting to know other people have the same problem with the piano!!

Sometimes I too think it makes me lonely, but it worth it!
Posted by: Michael_99

Re: Piano is a somewhat lonely hobby. - 05/07/13 08:10 PM

justpin, I have read your post, here:

So my question is at what level (not grades) do you reckon you'd have to be to play with other people, a band or just jamming with others?

I've heard guitarists can learn the most common chords and practice them over and over and be able to jam with each other. But what about pianists?

TBH since I started playing I seem to have become a bit of a hermit.

________________________________________________


I saw an ad in a community newspaper that said words to the effect "adult community band - players welcome from any levels". I showed up and said I am interested in playing in the band. The conductor said what instrument do you play. I said I can read simple music and know the names of the notes. I could get a trumpet and a teacher to help me learn. The conductor said why don't you play a rhythm instrument. Somebody nearby quietly said play a sax. It is easy, has buttons. I was 45. I went the next day to the music store asked to rent a sax. I guess by the look of me they though I could play because they brought out a professional alto. I said, no, no, no, I am a beginner. So they found me a student model. I would only play the opening and closing notes of every piece they played for many months because everything was way over my head. I was surrounded by people/musicians from all walks of life, all sort of band instruments. The first thing I learned was that knowing the notes in a c scale was not reading music. But with an awesome teacher helping me every week, it was a wonderful experience. Look around and there are people looking for other musicians to play duets or jam with at all levels.
Posted by: bolt

Re: Piano is a somewhat lonely hobby. - 05/07/13 09:00 PM

Well I think that if you got a little bit decent at jazz piano you could find an amateur jazz guitar player to jam with, and maybe a drummer too, and go from there. A digital keyboard at the $1000 level should get some fairly good Rhodes-type sounds, so then you'd have two sounds: piano and electric piano.

Alternatively: once intermediate on piano it should be possible to find an intermediate-level cellist and violinist or violist to attempt some baroque or classical trio stuff e.g. Haydn. Plus, with a digital you could switch to harpsichord mode.

Anyway, these are things I've thought of for myself. I don't think it would be that hard to do the classical or baroque trio thing, for fun, starting with easier material. I'll bet there are intermediate-level cellists and violists that would like someone to try that with. Shouldn't be too hard to find them. For instance: join the celloworld.com and violinworld.com forums and post invitations.
Posted by: 4evrBeginR

Re: Piano is a somewhat lonely hobby. - 05/07/13 09:18 PM

Piano is a lonely hobby.

Playing with others is a very different activity than playing on your own, and it is something that needs to be, practiced, like everything else. I don't think it is related to a grade level where that ability happens. It's better if you know what you're doing first of course, but if you never played with others, you'd never know how. It depends on how shy you are. The more shy you are, the higher the grade level you'd probably need before you're willing to risk it.

If you do a lot of transposition, you are better equiped to play with someone whose instrument may not be as flexible as the piano. If you cannot transpose to save your life, then even if you are at grade 10 piano, you probably will have trouble playing with others, but that's ok. See my first sentence.
Posted by: Sand Tiger

Re: Piano is a somewhat lonely hobby. - 05/07/13 09:18 PM

Like so many other questions, it depends. It depends on the pianist, the other musicians, the venue. My sister's husband had no piano lessons, no formal training, was quite beginner in terms of skill, but was comfortable playing keyboard in a band with his buddies. Attitude, stage presence, an outgoing personality can go a long way. Sometimes personality can carry the day, even if the music is so-so.

I've heard many other similar stories on the forum and in person about a beginner pianist/keyboard player having a good time in a group. Again, attitude tends to be the key factor, the attitude of the pianist, the other musicians, the audience.

On the other side, an introvert, perfectionist playing with not so friendly strangers, is going to have a tough go. The skill level of the pianist might be considered a minor concern, because as a musician's skill level goes up, so does his/her standards.

As for myself, I am weak at playing with other musicians. I prefer to play solo. It is something I am working on. It is not an easy hill for me to climb. Some other folks are the other way, and much prefer a group setting, and get much more nervous playing solo.
Posted by: rnaple

Re: Piano is a somewhat lonely hobby. - 05/07/13 09:46 PM

Just to add to the conversation. My Teacher told me we have a senior orchestra here. Anybody can join. Just be feeble minded (I added that).
She added that once I get piano down. It is so easy to go to just about any other instrument. Piano is the center of learning. She should know. She has taught all the other instruments for 30 years.

Personally, myself... I am a loner. I get very lonely in rooms full of people. I am never lonely when alone. I am perfectly happy with piano alone. I do love the company of animals. Any animals. They take to me.
Posted by: Mr. Square

Re: Piano is a somewhat lonely hobby. - 05/07/13 10:00 PM

Originally Posted By: rnaple
I am a loner. I get very lonely in rooms full of people. I am never lonely when alone.


This is me...

I have played guitar for decades and never been any good. I have a buddie that hold jam sessions at his house twice a year for any and all that care to sit in. He is a working musician and very accommodating of folk like me who rarely play with others. It definitely gets easier the more you do it. I cannot wait to play keys with this group. My target is next year.
Posted by: earlofmar

Re: Piano is a somewhat lonely hobby. - 05/08/13 01:27 AM

Originally Posted By: rnaple


Personally, myself... I am a loner. I get very lonely in rooms full of people. I am never lonely when alone. I am perfectly happy with piano alone.


I know that is a good description of myself and I would think in order to be able to spend the hours required for the piano it would fit most of the people on the forum.
Posted by: peterws

Re: Piano is a somewhat lonely hobby. - 05/08/13 06:10 AM

It`d be darn good to get back in a band . . .playing in pubs . . . that`s about it now. Either 60`s 70`s stuff, or New Orleans jazz. Hmmmmm . . . . !
Posted by: contrapiano

Re: Piano is a somewhat lonely hobby. - 05/08/13 08:20 AM

I had been playing piano for 6 or 7 years when I decided to start an "open" contra dance band. We play reels, jigs, and waltzes. On the reels and jigs I play bass notes and right hand chords around or just below middle C. On the waltzes I sometimes play melody but only on tunes that I know real well. The piano player is the time keeper, with timing being much more important than playing the correct chord. We played well from the start but were slow. Now, 3 years later, I can play the chords for any tune, up to tempo, with little practice. We are being hired to play for dances. My job is much easier than that of the melody players. If there is an in-tune house piano available I play it, otherwise I usually use my 61 key Casio, connected to the house sound system. The other musicians have trouble tuning to a flat piano. Jamming with others on tunes that I don't know requires the additional skill of figuring out the chords. It helps to know a few of the major guitar chords, even though I don't play guitar very well. I have learned a lot from playing with others.
Posted by: jotur

Re: Piano is a somewhat lonely hobby. - 05/08/13 11:44 AM

Good for you contrapiano! Pianos are such a great part of contra dance bands (not all of them, but lots of them, and they're just perfect, IMHO, of course) I read the guitar player's fingers sometimes, too, when I'm at a session without sheet music. The band I'm in is playing this Saturday night for the Santa Fe contra - nice to meet a fellow dance musician here!

Cathy
Posted by: contrapiano

Re: Piano is a somewhat lonely hobby. - 05/13/13 02:43 PM

We played for another dance on Saturday. This was an open band, open mic dance. We played for free but got to dance for free the rest of the evening. To simplify the band change I played another musician's instrument...a 64 key Melodigrand acoustic piano. He carries it around in a small pickup truck. It is an amazing piano for its size. I was sure to use that lowest A, the one that doesn't exist on the Casio, a few times.
Posted by: jotur

Re: Piano is a somewhat lonely hobby. - 05/13/13 04:59 PM

We had a blast at out contra - good caller, our friends turned out laugh , we had a good group still there at the end of the night. Sounds like yours was fun, too, contrapiano.

Cathy
Posted by: sleepingcats

Re: Piano is a somewhat lonely hobby. - 05/15/13 08:03 PM

Originally Posted By: justpin
So my question is at what level (not grades) do you reckon you'd have to be to play with other people, a band or just jamming with others?

I've heard guitarists can learn the most common chords and practice them over and over and be able to jam with each other. But what about pianists?

TBH since I started playing I seem to have become a bit of a hermit.


I agree it's lonely. It would be so fun to practice duets with someone, or anything, even taking turns practicing arpeggios or scales; also to compare notes from our own teachers, practice the left hand while your partner plays the right, etc., Just a variety of ways to learn a piece to cement it into our brains, and not feel so alone.... frown
Posted by: zillybug

Re: Piano is a somewhat lonely hobby. - 05/16/13 08:37 PM

I love to play but it can be lonely. The school where I take my private lesson offers a class for adults that focuses on playing together. There are only 4 of us in the class and we play duets and sometimes quartets together. Also I have a friend who recently started taking lessons from my teacher so we also play together as well as a friend who is a cellist. I'm not lonely anymore but I now have a lot of music to learn. I had never played with anyone previously so it has been quite an experience and it does help you grow musically.
Judy
Posted by: licany

Re: Piano is a somewhat lonely hobby. - 05/20/13 05:17 AM

I agree what you said. But to outside, we are lonely. To me ,we are not alone because there are full of melody reside our heart.
Posted by: bluebilly

Re: Piano is a somewhat lonely hobby. - 05/20/13 08:40 AM

I see the basic problem with trying to play piano with other musicians is that most orchestras, or bands, usually only require one pianist, lots of other instruments but only one piano. Playing Violin, for instance, would be more advantageous. Although, I did see an advert placed by a local amateur orchestra near here asking for new members and it did say "No more Trumpets please". smile
Posted by: FarmGirl

Re: Piano is a somewhat lonely hobby. - 05/20/13 10:05 AM

Lonely? When I re-restarted the piano, I thought so. Not any more. Ever since I had my piano party, things have changed dramatically. Maybe it's got up do with my starting to take a performance class? Maybe it's my very musical church? I don't know. But now I'm surrounded by many pianist friends. When I have parties in my house, it's really fun. I just had church musicians. We sang and play the piano from classical to country. They were at my house until midnight. I had to kick them out. Unlike my piano party, they drink one and half bottles of wine per person. I think it's because of lots of silly singing we did. One of the pianist were particularly gifted playing by the ear. So we were using her like a free karaoke machine.

Additionally my piano and organ teacher's want to play with me. After they tell me that I got practice more, they want to go out for drink. I told each of them that I need time to practice. Anyway it's a good pain to have. I remember feeling extremely lonely for a long time.
Posted by: FarmGirl

Re: Piano is a somewhat lonely hobby. - 05/20/13 10:08 AM

Ahh lots of spelling mistakes. Sorry. I'm not correcting it - it's kinda hard in a phone
Posted by: Brent H

Re: Piano is a somewhat lonely hobby. - 05/20/13 02:32 PM

If by "jamming" you mean following along with a group playing songs by ear, you can only play as much as you can hear. A beginner guitar player probably learns a couple variations on a I-IV-V7 chord progression over his first few evenings and then spends quite a while longer learning how to fit those in to a variety of simple pop or folk type tunes, up to tempo and in time with the group.

You could probably learn an analogous couple of I-IV-V7 type patterns on piano even faster than most guitar beginners. But you'll have to be a little more careful fitting them in to a group playing. Depending of course on what kind of jam session you're talking about. Piano chords take a bit more care than strummed guitar "cowboy" chords to fit into the flow.

The problem is going to come if/when you play with a group that moves very far from the easiest folk-type progressions and cadences. Simple, not particularly colorful voicings of the actual chords will usually be easy enough to get under your hands but hearing those in songs you have not prepared ahead of time requires a trained ear, which is a skill of its own and not trivial to acquire.

P.S. If you really want to make music with others, you're not a very fluent instrumentalist and you don't want to be forced to stay with the very most basic tunes then you probably ought to find a way to sing instead of play until you get some chops. Most people can sing a tune 100x more complicated than they can play harmony/accompaniment for on an instrument they're just learning.