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Piano Playing Skill Level

Piano Playing Level

  • Piano Roll Only

    Votes: 13 11.6%
  • Intermediate

    Votes: 64 57.1%
  • Confident Pro

    Votes: 30 26.8%
  • Pianist - Concert Level

    Votes: 5 4.5%

  • Total voters
    112

pondinthestream

Active Member
I was a very good guitarist, classical and electric. No piano much at all. I dont play at all anymore, arthritis, but also dont really feel the need. Would have been good to have learnt the piano, but would have been good to learn cello. Probably best would have been singing and percussion. That is, the more the better. But I have no problem composing what I want over and above the natural effort required to compose anything worthwhile at all.
 

Arbee

Senior Member
You don't need amazingly virtuosic piano technique to be a good composer, but putting in the work to get acceptably good at the piano inevitably improves one's all-round musicianship, which in turn will feed into one's writing.
Flipside, or it can make your playing too busy. Frank Sinatra's MD once said to me in rehearsal "too many notes, play less". By the time he'd said it three times he was happy, by which time I was playing one handed with three fingers 😁. Moral to the story? Just because you can doesn't mean you should 👍
 

muk

Senior Member
I am accomplished with many years of classical training. I am not on a concert pianist level, but I am very good at sight reading and can play virtuosic pieces. For my work piano skills have been essential on several levels. They are important for my workflow in the DAW (I play in everything live). I do compose at the piano (or with paper and pencil). And I learned a lot about music thanks to my piano classes. I got to know a lot of classical repertoire and theory. I concur with @SupremeFist. Basic piano playing skills will always be very beneficial.
 

el-bo

Senior Moment
I agree with another comment about the poll missing a level between 'Piano Roll' and 'Intermediate'. I write and play all my parts in with a keyboard. It takes a while to suss it all out, and get it recorded correctly (Im still of the ol'skool, who will keep recording takes until I get it right). Would definitely like to improve my skills, so performances would come together with a lot less effort.
 

TomislavEP

Senior Member
The piano is my primary instrument and I'm playing it and constantly improving my skills for more than thirty years now. I started at the age of six, and while I don't have any classical background, I'm a very proficient pianist, keyboardist, and guitarist. For the past decade, my main source of income is working as a pro, session, and studio musician, though I'm also hoping to finally capitalize on my work as a composer and producer, which are perhaps my biggest passions.

Speaking of which, I completely agree that you don't have to be an extremely skilled instrumentalist in order to be a quality composer or producer. However, for me, the bond between the actual instrument and the composition (although I most often work with VI's for the sake of convenience) is an inseparable one. This is likely due to the fact that I'm almost completely self-taught; I'm guessing that some classically trained composers feel quite comfortable while working traditionally - by writing music down either on paper or in the notation program. But even though most of the people these days tend to compose by recording and editing their performances, thanks to the modern tools available, you can still accomplish most tasks even if you are not primarily an instrumentalist.
 
OP
3DC

3DC

Member
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  • #28
Guys this poll was not meant to be a scientific proof but rather a rough indicator on how important is for you actual playing of piano in your every day music production.

The results are within expectations I think. To me the most fascinating thing is that some of you get away with piano roll only. :)

Thanks again for poll participation and supportive comments. :thumbsup:
 

Stringtree

membur
To look at it another way, it's an entirely different experience to create music or improvise on the piano or guitar with one's eyes closed.

This isn't virtuosity, just a comfortable familiarity. Omitting the visual aspect is very freeing, just like not looking at waveforms in a DAW and using just one's ears.
 

Doorak94

New Member
I'm classically trained (originally wanted to be a concert pianist) but the only reasons i use the piano are for recording single melody lines and maybe some piano sketches. Everything else i use the piano roll. I dont think its necessary for composition at all.

Well trained Ears > well trained pianist
 

el-bo

Senior Moment
Guys this poll was not meant to be a scientific proof but rather a rough indicator on how important is for you actual playing of piano in your every day music production.
One of the problems is you seem to be wanting an answer to a question other than the one the poll is asking i.e How important actual playing of piano is to us, rather than our skill level But that's different to our skill level. The other problem is that there are more levels between not playing and intermediate levels.

S'all good :2thumbs:
 

Stephen Limbaugh

le nouveau 36 rue Ballu
At the link below, there is a sketch of the piano part of a concerto I have been writing that was composed directly into the DAW with a mouse. There are probably no non-pianists writing piano concertos, but knowing the capabilities of any instrument, familiarity with music theory, and of course technical recording knowledge are all necessary, but none sufficient conditions for advanced writing.


Post in thread 'Composing orchestral music with score sheet vs DAW'
https://vi-control.net/community/th...ic-with-score-sheet-vs-daw.96620/post-4705051
 

Virtuoso

Socially Distant Member
Confident pro and concert pianist are pretty much the same thing, unless you're up there in that special place with people like Rubalcaba or Argerich.
Not sure about that. I've been playing piano since I was 4 (46 years!) to a fairly advanced level, played keyboards in a few large touring bands in the 90s, but I feel there's a huge (and for me) uncrossable gulf between confident pro and concert pianist level. I was up close at a Stephen Hough concert a couple of years ago and slunk home in shame wanting to put all my gear on Craigslist!

Guitarists are a different bunch. I was at a clinic with Dave Kilminster where, ten minutes in, it became apparent that most of the room of self-described 'advanced level' guitarists couldn't actually hear the difference between a major and a minor chord.
 
I'll add a funny anecdote about being a keyboardist. For those of you who played keyboards in bands, especially rock bands in our college years, we were always considered "the geek of the band". My guitarist friends used to rib me about it, but recently one of them admitted that "you got the last laugh". Why? Because if you're an accomplished keyboardist with an assortment of VIs at your fingertips, the world is your oyster.
 
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Gerbil

Senior Member
Not sure about that. I've been playing piano since I was 4 (46 years!) to a fairly advanced level, played keyboards in a few large touring bands in the 90s, but I feel there's a huge (and for me) uncrossable gulf between confident pro and concert pianist level. I was up close at a Stephen Hough concert a couple of years ago and slunk home in shame wanting to put all my gear on Craigslist!

Guitarists are a different bunch. I was at a clinic with Dave Kilminster where, ten minutes in, it became apparent that most of the room of self-described 'advanced level' guitarists couldn't actually hear the difference between a major and a minor chord.
If I was told a confident professional pianist was coming in, I'd expect someone who can play concert works and sight read to a professional standard and have a lot of concert playing experience. If I was told a concert pianist was on their way, I'd expect exactly the same. They're the same thing from where I'm from. But if that concert pianist was Evgeny Kissin, I'd expect something extra (and no-one on here is at that level).
 
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3DC

3DC

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If I was told a confident professional pianist was coming in, I'd expect someone who can play concert works and sight read to a professional standard and have a lot of concert playing experience. If I was told a concert pianist was on their way, I'd expect exactly the same. They're the same thing from where I'm from. But if that concert pianist was Evgeny Kissin, I'd expect something extra (and no-one on here is at that level).
The poll only very roughly indicate at the same time piano playing levels and actual use of piano-keyboard in music production. Its not intended to take it so seriously.

So again very roughly:

"Pianist" is by definition somebody who is capable of sight reading of complex piano pieces and spends considerable time on classic concert repertoire every single day.
I would expect in this poll choice somebody with excellent classic music portfolio, music theory and orchestration knowledge and even experience on music projects with live orchestra.
Piano and perfect piano playing is therefore critical in every day work.

"Confident Pro" is intended more like advanced keyboard-piano player. Somebody very confident in every day piano playing, scales, chords, inversions, pop songs and even band gigs but would not venture in concert hall. I would expect in this poll choice advanced and experienced music producers with wide knowledge of all sorts of DAWs and music libraries.
Piano and perfect piano playing is not so critical in every day work however the ability to produce fast something professional on keyboard-piano is.

Intermediate is meant for the rest of us - from beginner up - those who use piano for learning and some serious or professional work - on inevitable path to "Confident Pro". :thumbsup:
Piano and perfect piano playing is not our absolute priority in every day work. We are more focused on learning or end result of music production.

"Piano Roll Only" is self explanatory I guess. :)

I apologize for any confusion or bad poll classification. I was just curious to see how important is piano and piano playing skill in every day work for this community.
 

Gerbil

Senior Member
I apologize for any confusion or bad poll classification. I was just curious to see how important is piano and piano playing skill in every day work for this community.
No apologies needed :) I get what you meant now.
 

ZeroZero

Senior Member
I took to piano late. I played lots of brass and woods a bit of guitar. Been going on keys 10 years now and I am fairly fluent. I know what Miles Davis meant now, when he was asked "How do you play the Trumpet?". He said (and I paraphrase) Go and learn the piano.
 

ZeroZero

Senior Member
The poll only very roughly indicate at the same time piano playing levels and actual use of piano-keyboard in music production. Its not intended to take it so seriously.

So again very roughly:

"Pianist" is by definition somebody who is capable of sight reading of complex piano pieces and spends considerable time on classic concert repertoire every single day.
I would expect in this poll choice somebody with excellent classic music portfolio, music theory and orchestration knowledge and even experience on music projects with live orchestra.
Piano and perfect piano playing is therefore critical in every day work.

"Confident Pro" is intended more like advanced keyboard-piano player. Somebody very confident in every day piano playing, scales, chords, inversions, pop songs and even band gigs but would not venture in concert hall. I would expect in this poll choice advanced and experienced music producers with wide knowledge of all sorts of DAWs and music libraries.
Piano and perfect piano playing is not so critical in every day work however the ability to produce fast something professional on keyboard-piano is.

Intermediate is meant for the rest of us - from beginner up - those who use piano for learning and some serious or professional work - on inevitable path to "Confident Pro". :thumbsup:
Piano and perfect piano playing is not our absolute priority in every day work. We are more focused on learning or end result of music production.

"Piano Roll Only" is self explanatory I guess. :)

I apologize for any confusion or bad poll classification. I was just curious to see how important is piano and piano playing skill in every day work for this community.
There are lots of confident pros inthe Jazz world that do not sioght read music. I am near pro level and play hundreds of Jazz numbers, I memorise them all, so I hardly ever sight read, there is no need. Real Book Style you memorise the tune and the chords and then you create. This will never give you the skills of sight reading. My wife can read more or less anything, but take the page away and she falls over. So, I disagree with this analysis - which seems classivally orientated
 

José Herring

Senior Member
I've decided to take my piano playing more seriously. I would consider myself a life long beginner. I have no interest in learning the works of other composers on the Piano besides maybe 3 or 4 pieces that I dearly love. What I wanted was to get more of my ideas out on the keyboard before I actually start composing and producing them.

What I did was to get a book by Dohnanyi on finger independence and oh boy after a few weeks of that my piano playing is improving to the point that I actually look and sound like I know how to play. I think after a year I might even be able to take some basic gigs playing keyboards. I'm amazed on how much of piano playing just comes down to finger independence, strength and muscle memory.
 
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