The Piano: A Disappearing Act
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The Piano: A Disappearing Act

The slow decline of pianists world-wide

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The Piano: A Disappearing Act
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Last Thursday, while I was in my Voice Methods class, my professor said something completely jarring to me. She stressed that many of our future students will not have had much exposure to music theory and will not have grown up around music as her students have, because many people don't play piano anymore. Pianos are no longer a staple in people's homes. As someone whose passion lies in music, this is deeply upsetting.

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When music comes up in conversation, most people say, "Oh, I used to play piano," or "I stopped playing in like third grade." This is such a shock to me, because I cannot imagine my life without a piano in it. It seems to be a common thing to let (or even force) children to begin lessons at an early age and then allow them to slowly trickle out of the system. I know at my piano studio, I was one of the seldom "older students" still in lessons.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F10%2F01%2F636109552205752615-1678838444_piano-playing-animated-gif-22.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=632&h=6b3b07f265d521d5f42a3d4cad8bc9c947399226176770ba9f412b33cd0aae95&size=980x&c=1023194632 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F10%252F01%252F636109552205752615-1678838444_piano-playing-animated-gif-22.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D632%26h%3D6b3b07f265d521d5f42a3d4cad8bc9c947399226176770ba9f412b33cd0aae95%26size%3D980x%26c%3D1023194632%22%7D" expand=1]

The piano once used to be the main form of entertainment until the mid-1900s, as it was something everyone could enjoy. The piano is such a versatile instrument - it can be used in all types of settings of music. People would listen to pianists anywhere ranging from a debutante ball to a saloon parlor. This is shown in various movies, such as below in Pride & Prejudice, but seldom do you see a piano today as the life of the party.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F10%2F01%2F636109547831587499687629097_2c16b9f152fc4f2e79b5f8fb14f24b2f.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=744&h=5ac15bea00b5a8945e5208c5d6020402be8d9151240c9e839d347b27a53e4cc9&size=980x&c=3996465779 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F10%252F01%252F636109547831587499687629097_2c16b9f152fc4f2e79b5f8fb14f24b2f.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D744%26h%3D5ac15bea00b5a8945e5208c5d6020402be8d9151240c9e839d347b27a53e4cc9%26size%3D980x%26c%3D3996465779%22%7D" expand=1]

As pianists became more popular, many people began to start teaching themselves to play. Pianos were a way to get together and have fun and interact with each other - it was a very social event. Now, with the inventions of televisions, radios, and the Internet, many people have found that social interaction in various other ways, and pianos have been on a declining slope since the turn of the century.

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[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F10%2F02%2F636110320648154007-303643408_piano-playing-animated-gif-41.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=992&h=33991f85a3d61e16d3096b028768c6d39eeeb961f64e9c02a81d65ac00e15580&size=980x&c=2235024690 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F10%252F02%252F636110320648154007-303643408_piano-playing-animated-gif-41.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D992%26h%3D33991f85a3d61e16d3096b028768c6d39eeeb961f64e9c02a81d65ac00e15580%26size%3D980x%26c%3D2235024690%22%7D" expand=1]

Another important life lesson that I learned from playing the piano is that not everything comes at the drop of a hat. You're not going to be able to suddenly whip out Beethoven, Debussy, or Mozart. So many kids these days get bored if things don't come automatically, and this is because of technology advancement. Think about it - can't you remember the last time you got frustrated because microwave seconds seem to last so much longer than normal seconds or because Netflix took forever to load? We live in a "give-me-now" society, which in turn is making our children lazier and lazier.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F10%2F02%2F6361103227931759081587339739_W3tjel.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=760&h=a92f744bb4f8b89bd6a746835d6e743875ac29c7fa9cc0e59cf1332f656feeaf&size=980x&c=537373777 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F10%252F02%252F6361103227931759081587339739_W3tjel.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D760%26h%3Da92f744bb4f8b89bd6a746835d6e743875ac29c7fa9cc0e59cf1332f656feeaf%26size%3D980x%26c%3D537373777%22%7D" expand=1]

The best things in life come with time and patience, but for our generation it's hard to see that. Please, urge your children to continue in fine arts and don't let them give up on themselves so easily. Everyone has the potential to be the next Mozart if you foster that gift and let it grow. Give them a safe place where they can express themselves, they can run away to when the world around them is hard, and where they can push themselves in a way only music can. Give them a home for their soul, as I have found my home for mine.

[rebelmouse-proxy-image https://media.rbl.ms/image?u=%2Ffiles%2F2016%2F10%2F02%2F6361103233573657881653647475_piano-playing-animated-gif-16.gif&ho=https%3A%2F%2Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net&s=943&h=73b6365f307be1730cb3f39f5a50b319745b6c6ccdfdbcdf1624105aba5aa4cd&size=980x&c=4174952124 crop_info="%7B%22image%22%3A%20%22https%3A//media.rbl.ms/image%3Fu%3D%252Ffiles%252F2016%252F10%252F02%252F6361103233573657881653647475_piano-playing-animated-gif-16.gif%26ho%3Dhttps%253A%252F%252Faz616578.vo.msecnd.net%26s%3D943%26h%3D73b6365f307be1730cb3f39f5a50b319745b6c6ccdfdbcdf1624105aba5aa4cd%26size%3D980x%26c%3D4174952124%22%7D" expand=1]

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