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#2985204 - 04/15/19 08:23 AM Re: OT Gripe: "There's a piano. Play us something!" [Re: Toano88]
Outkaster Offline
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Again that isn't what the OP is talking about.
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#2985205 - 04/15/19 08:29 AM Re: OT Gripe: "There's a piano. Play us something!" [Re: Toano88]
The Real MC Online   content
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I have my "technical difficulties" solo piano pieces too. There was a thread on them a few years ago.

For me music is a hobby and I'm happy to play some piano at a party. For others like the OP, lighten up. One, you don't have to put on the entire show for free. Two, there could be a VIP in the party who could give your next big break. Three, people recognize your talent so show some gratitude.

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#2985207 - 04/15/19 08:43 AM Re: OT Gripe: "There's a piano. Play us something!" [Re: The Real MC]
Wastrel Offline
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I typically enjoy playing for people too, when it's fun and people sincerely want to hear and enjoy it. But there are times when someone is being pushy about it, or it's awkward in the context, or just the wrong idea at the wrong time, where the musician should be able to politely decline.
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#2985209 - 04/15/19 08:57 AM Re: OT Gripe: "There's a piano. Play us something!" [Re: The Real MC]
MathOfInsects Online   content
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LOL.

Holy cow. I must have picked a slow day on KC to post this one...

We're not talking about a Woody Allen movie-like gathering of friends for a fun and relaxed party where your playing would only make things even better.

We're talking about any piano, anywhere. On a tour of your kids' future middle school. In the living room of a house you are dropping your kid at to carpool. In the corner of the restaurant you are picking up lunch at. In a hotel lobby. In a room you are having an informational meeting in. In the barre room at the gym. Or even, yes, at a party when being "the performer," even for a minute, would be at odds with your frame of mind while attending.

When people know you play an instrument, all it seems to take is the existence of that instrument in proximity, for people to not just ask but demand that you play it, and to even seem to get a little offended when you don't.

If you are the type to sit down and play any piano, anywhere, at the slightest prompting, more power to you. I have my own theories about why you might be doing that, but if it's actually because of some evangelistic belief in the extraordinary soul-healing power of music, good on you, particularly if you fancy yourself Bill Evans-level talented. For me, it often feels not only self-indulgent and inappropriate, but also a complete perversion of why we might be in a particular place at that time.

As for it not happening or being comparable with other professions...yah, duh. That's why I said:

Originally Posted By: MathOfInsects
Music has to be one of the few professions where people think that just because they like what you do, you owe it to them to do it for them on command.


But as I said, I think I chose a particularly slow time to post this one. So many high horses riding through this little thread! smile

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#2985210 - 04/15/19 08:58 AM Re: OT Gripe: "There's a piano. Play us something!" [Re: Moonglow]
I-missRichardTee Offline
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Registered: 09/04/11
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Originally Posted By: Moonglow
One evening last week I was at a recption for our new Department Chair. It was held at a rather upscale 1920’s gangster/speakeasy-themed establishment that had a well-kept Yamaha Grand over in the corner, and of course, a couple of our secretaries asked for me to play. Tensions have been running high in our department, so I started with some light semi-classical/new age improv, and after a few songs, one of my colleagues came up to me and said, “this is great, you are changing the entire mood here.” I eventually broke into some more uptempo selections, and folks started to gather around the piano, eating, drinking, laughing, etc. Probably felt better about that easy 30-minute set than many recent paid gigs. We have all been blessed with a gift, and what we do with it is our gift back to the world.


This

Hey Moonglow... can you aaa play aaaa "Moonglow"? But seriously Folk, your avatar is slowing driving me crazy.... I keep thinking ( and I think I have asked you before.. but have forgotten ) that pic, is BF Skinner. I don't think it is.. but that name pops in my head. Skip on the request for Moonglow to play Moonglow or even Theme from Picnic, but who is the person in the avatar?
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#2985212 - 04/15/19 09:06 AM Re: OT Gripe: "There's a piano. Play us something!" [Re: Marzzz]
I-missRichardTee Offline
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Originally Posted By: Marzzz
I am a physician...enough said. When people ask me what I do, I usually say "bicycle messenger," or if they really probe, I "manage medical properties."


Wow, this is so cool, and I live a hop skip and a freeway from you. Doc I got this ache. n. That is N as in and.. not the other n.
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#2985214 - 04/15/19 09:09 AM Re: OT Gripe: "There's a piano. Play us something!" [Re: WesG]
I-missRichardTee Offline
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Registered: 09/04/11
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Originally Posted By: WesG
I figured out how handle this. When folks ask me to play something, I play Something. By George Harrison.


you you you got a gift my friend

see the following video for more detail, or something like that. Get it? Something.

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We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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#2985216 - 04/15/19 09:11 AM Re: OT Gripe: "There's a piano. Play us something!" [Re: Jazz+]
I-missRichardTee Offline
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Registered: 09/04/11
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Originally Posted By: Jazz+
A pro will sit down and tear up the piano, dazzle them for one song.


Wait wait, are you hinting that MATH of Insects is not a Pro? Look he has told us many times, in various ways. He's a pro's pro.
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You don’t have ideas, ideas have you
We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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#2985218 - 04/15/19 09:14 AM Re: OT Gripe: "There's a piano. Play us something!" [Re: Spider76]
I-missRichardTee Offline
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Registered: 09/04/11
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Originally Posted By: Spider76
Well, usually I AM the one who sees a piano in the room and starts annoying everybody with clueless improvisations (because for the life of me I can't remember a song note-for-note)...until people are like "Ehm, wow, great, ok, so... will you stop now so we can get back talking/eating/drinking?"


My kingdom for a horse or failing that, an honest man.. three cheers for this ahem Spider man.


Edited by I-missRichardTee (04/15/19 09:14 AM)
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We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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#2985223 - 04/15/19 09:22 AM Re: OT Gripe: "There's a piano. Play us something!" [Re: I-missRichardTee]
I-missRichardTee Offline
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A parable I heard on this topic was the one about the three bricklayers. A traveler came upon three men working. He asked the first man what he was doing and the man said he was laying bricks. He asked the second man the same question and he said he was putting up a wall. When he got to the third man and asked him what he was doing he said he was building a cathedral.

They were all doing the same thing. The first man had a job. The second man had a career. The third man had a calling.

Do you look at what you do every day as a calling? It doesn’t necessarily have to be the job of your dreams, but can you see the big picture in your daily actions? Do you realize what a difference you are making?

We may be laying bricks every day, but if we can envision the cathedral and move through our days with intention and passion, we are living our best life.
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You don’t have ideas, ideas have you
We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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#2985225 - 04/15/19 09:28 AM Re: OT Gripe: "There's a piano. Play us something!" [Re: MathOfInsects]
I-missRichardTee Offline
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Registered: 09/04/11
Posts: 7539
Loc: S. Ca. USA
Originally Posted By: MathOfInsects
LOL.

Holy cow. I must have picked a slow day on KC to post this one...

We're not talking about a Woody Allen movie-like gathering of friends for a fun and relaxed party where your playing would only make things even better.

We're talking about any piano, anywhere. On a tour of your kids' future middle school. In the living room of a house you are dropping your kid at to carpool. In the corner of the restaurant you are picking up lunch at. In a hotel lobby. In a room you are having an informational meeting in. In the barre room at the gym. Or even, yes, at a party when being "the performer," even for a minute, would be at odds with your frame of mind while attending.

When people know you play an instrument, all it seems to take is the existence of that instrument in proximity, for people to not just ask but demand that you play it, and to even seem to get a little offended when you don't.

If you are the type to sit down and play any piano, anywhere, at the slightest prompting, more power to you. I have my own theories about why you might be doing that, but if it's actually because of some evangelistic belief in the extraordinary soul-healing power of music, good on you, particularly if you fancy yourself Bill Evans-level talented. For me, it often feels not only self-indulgent and inappropriate, but also a complete perversion of why we might be in a particular place at that time.

As for it not happening or being comparable with other professions...yah, duh. That's why I said:

Originally Posted By: MathOfInsects
Music has to be one of the few professions where people think that just because they like what you do, you owe it to them to do it for them on command.


But as I said, I think I chose a particularly slow time to post this one. So many high horses riding through this little thread! smile



Or. you are a litte bit of a clown.
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You don’t have ideas, ideas have you
We see the world, not as it is, but as we are. "One mans food is another mans poison". I defend your right to speak hate. Tolerance to a point, not agreement

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#2985226 - 04/15/19 09:39 AM Re: OT Gripe: "There's a piano. Play us something!" [Re: I-missRichardTee]
Joe Muscara Offline
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MOI - a clown? What-Ever do you mean, sir?
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#2985229 - 04/15/19 09:43 AM Re: OT Gripe: "There's a piano. Play us something!" [Re: Joe Muscara]
Adan Offline
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Registered: 01/14/10
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Loc: San Francisco
So you post about your distaste for playing music for the unwashed masses, then attack musicians who might not share your distaste. Not one of your better threads, MOI. But based on your long history of mostly worthwhile threads, I'll give you a pass. It's probably just a slow day for you.
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#2985230 - 04/15/19 09:43 AM Re: OT Gripe: "There's a piano. Play us something!" [Re: I-missRichardTee]
Jazz+ Offline
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Registered: 05/15/04
Posts: 6329
Any place, any piano, if asked I will oblige and play "Linus and Lucy" for 1 Chorus.
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#2985233 - 04/15/19 09:51 AM Re: OT Gripe: "There's a piano. Play us something!" [Re: MathOfInsects]
Dr88s Online   content
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Posts: 1351
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OT to MOI's complaint, but germane to the conversation:

I realize that the only time I've ever asked been asked to play at an event was by my drunk great uncle at my own Bar Mitzvah. I'll never forget his meaty thumb and forefinger squeezing the back of my thirteen year old neck pulling me to his face to hear him slurring, but slowly enough with intent, "Doctor Eightyeights, if you don't play for us right now, I'm going to kill you".

Fun times.
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#2985234 - 04/15/19 09:53 AM Re: OT Gripe: "There's a piano. Play us something!" [Re: Dr88s]
doughnuts Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 01/12/11
Posts: 316
Originally Posted By: Dr88s
OT to MOI's complaint, but germane to the conversation:

I realize that the only time I've ever asked been asked to play at an event was by my drunk great uncle at my own Bar Mitzvah. I'll never forget his meaty thumb and forefinger squeezing the back of my thirteen year old neck pulling me to his face to hear him slurring, but slowly enough with intent, "Doctor Eightyeights, if you don't play for us right now, I'm going to kill you".

Fun times.


So Meyer Lansky was your great uncle...cool!

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#2985237 - 04/15/19 10:00 AM Re: OT Gripe: "There's a piano. Play us something!" [Re: Outkaster]
PianoMan51 Offline
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Registered: 02/02/10
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Originally Posted By: Outkaster
Were not talking about earning drinks. The OP is talking about being put on the spot to play when you don't want to.


Sorry, I was referring to social occasions with friends, family, colleagues. And in situations where I am willing to play. See the post before mine for a list of suggested songs.

Regarding the OP’s dilemma, I was always (in my sister’s words) trotted out like a trained monkey as a kid. Eventually I tried to decline and was hit with scorn and sarcasm until I relented. Once I went to college I flat out refused. My Dad got it. My Mom never did and took it as a personal insult. Today I wish I had just done a quick performance and paid my social dues.

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#2985239 - 04/15/19 10:18 AM Re: OT Gripe: "There's a piano. Play us something!" [Re: PianoMan51]
MathOfInsects Online   content
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Yes, the unwashed masses thing is completely down the wrong path, at least for me. It’s much more the residual discomfort of the “trained monkey” years in childhood.
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#2985240 - 04/15/19 10:21 AM Re: OT Gripe: "There's a piano. Play us something!" [Re: PianoMan51]
Bif_ Offline
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Registered: 05/16/09
Posts: 1352
Loc: Indiana
My gripe about "there's a piano" is when you sit down and people start making requests, like playing a top 40 song that has full instrumentation/production and heavily reliant on the beat, or asking for a specific song (like I'm a human jukebox). I also like it (NOT!) when you finish playing a song and they say, "I prefer country music" (or whatever genre I didn't play).

I do like the idea of having a handful of songs prepped for just this situation. Good suggestion.
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#2985241 - 04/15/19 10:24 AM Re: OT Gripe: "There's a piano. Play us something!" [Re: PianoMan51]
Toano88 Offline
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Registered: 04/30/10
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When I was a child I had the opposite. My Dad would point out my mistakes and would make comments like don't quit your day job. Which for a 10 year old was mowing the lawn and weeding his garden. He has Alzheimer's now and loves to hear me play the real old country hits he used to listen to. He doesn't always remember my name but he still knows the words to most of those songs. I sometimes wish we'd had that relationship back then.


Edited by Toano88 (04/15/19 10:25 AM)
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#2985244 - 04/15/19 10:34 AM Re: OT Gripe: "There's a piano. Play us something!" [Re: I-missRichardTee]
Bobadohshe Offline
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Registered: 12/25/06
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Lots of thoughts on this one as someone who has struggled his way through how to handle this damn situation through his whole life.

Many people have said 'you have to read the room'. That's for sure.

You also have to know yourself and whether it is in your temperament to 'hold court' around a piano and captivate an audience in that way. For some of us it's very natural, like a Fats Waller or a Liberace. For others of us, myself included, though I can perform solo, I do not like vying for peoples divided, casual attention and sometimes struggle with the appropriate language to pad the time before sitting down at the piano, while sitting down at the piano, and after playing and getting up and wrapping up the episode in a casual social setting. I feel like I often seem cumbersome and lacking in grace.

But I have come up with ways to handle this situation.

For me I have to assess basically: how heavy of a 'moment of art' is really appropriate here? Sometimes you have to save the askers from themselves. If you are going to start playing and people are going to start talking amongst themselves 15 seconds later and lose interest, if you are playing something heavy, wonderful and vulnerable, then the entire experience will be ruined. Some younger people (these days I'd say under 40, Millennial and younger) lack the etiquette to know how to listen to you play properly. Playing an intimate Chopin Nocturne or Mendelssohn Songs Without Words selection might be too much to ask. Even Maple Leaf Rag with all its strains could be more than the moment actually warrants.

So sometimes the 'performance' they really want is to hear something more casual, fun, flashy and cute. What will satisfy their itch to see you play something but not place a burden of attention on them and basically isn't something too vulnerable/emotional? For me and people of my generation it would be sitting down and ripping out a bombastic chorus of the Legend of Zelda theme. (or something like that, maybe Super Mario Bros, maybe the theme from the Office) Then before they know it I have gotten back up and closed the fallboard. We're done, moving on, that was super fun.

That's what has worked for me, and maybe I have a bit too much latent trauma from my early days in high school and college as a socially awkward kid. It seems like these kinds of encounters always go smoothly for me now, but they didn't use to. It took me years to figure out how to not get to emotional or expect too much out of the 'audience'.
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#2985289 - 04/15/19 01:26 PM Re: OT Gripe: "There's a piano. Play us something!" [Re: Toano88]
J_tour Offline
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Posts: 650
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Well, you can always turn it back on the asker/demander and say "What do you want to hear?"

That sometimes shuts them up.

Or just do a really flashy flourish cribbed from Liszt or something and then play something ridiculous like "Dueling Banjos" or some TV/movie theme song if you can't think of a tune that's appropriate or you just feel like screwing around.

They usually don't ask for an encore!

And you can make the asker go fetch you a large glass of whiskey, and sit down in a comfortable chair and wait for the groupies to show up.

But, I do think it's a comparatively small investment in practice time to have a handful of arrangements of canned music or at least some snippets of impressive-sounding stuff so you can take the pressure off yourself to play an entire tune like Liberace or whatever.

Of course, I'm a bit of a contrarian and don't like people telling me what to do, so it really depends on what I feel like doing. But I still keep some little scraps of legit music in my active memory just to be like "all right, mofo, here's what you get."

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#2985336 - 04/15/19 08:40 PM Re: OT Gripe: "There's a piano. Play us something!" [Re: J_tour]
Mighty Motif Max Offline
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Loc: Northeastern MN, U.S.
Originally Posted By: MathOfInsects
It’s much more the residual discomfort of the “trained monkey” years in childhood.


I guess I never had that so keep that in mind for the rest of what I say. smile

Originally Posted By: J_tour
Well, you can always turn it back on the asker/demander and say "What do you want to hear?"


That's what I always do. If they've got a request and I happen to know it, then I'll play it. If it's not one I know, we'll try to find one I do know. But I'll only play one song. Unless it's friends/family. People are pretty appreciative of the one song and tend to leave it at that. I've never had to tell someone off so to speak. That said there are times when it wouldn't be appropriate. Like if an older person with dementia asked you to play a Broadway piece at a quiet supper club during dinner. laugh

Just my feeling about it. And this holds true on vacations etc where I'm not in my gigging area, so the "doing it just to selfishly get your name out/show off" thing doesn't apply. I've always liked sharing music with people. That might just be part of my personality though. Not showing off necessarily, but just playing something for others' enjoyment. That's just my thing I guess. idk
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#2985353 - 04/15/19 10:30 PM Re: OT Gripe: "There's a piano. Play us something!" [Re: Toano88]
Quai34 Offline
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Registered: 08/05/17
Posts: 266
Loc: Canada, MB
I know so many songs with a music sheet but very few by heart so, I always have my classic "Misty/Errol Garber" ready, plus a classic boogie in C plus some slowly/faster blue improv at hands....then, usually I stop because they just started to talk together and my next piece is a Chopin's waltz....
If I know there will be a piano,and the guests at the party are "dumb/bad mouth guys/jerk/whatever you call them, I bring my score and play for me....
but if they ask and I'm not in the mood, I said so, "well, not really on the mood today for specific reasons that I cannot tell..." So, they imagine the worst and they don't bother me anymore...
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#2985368 - 04/16/19 01:42 AM Re: OT Gripe: "There's a piano. Play us something!" [Re: Quai34]
J_tour Offline
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Registered: 08/31/05
Posts: 650
Loc: PDX, OR
Originally Posted By: Quai34
but if they ask and I'm not in the mood, I said so, "well, not really on the mood today for specific reasons that I cannot tell..." So, they imagine the worst and they don't bother me anymore...


Or, for extra emphasis (provided one is in the mood): "See, you probably didn't want to know this, but I have this sore on my penis and it really hurts me to sit on the piano bench while working the pedals. The doc said it was probably nothing, but I'm trying to let it heal. Alcohol's an effective pain reliever, though! Let's go in the kitchen and see where they're hiding the good stuff!"

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#2985485 - 04/16/19 02:38 PM Re: OT Gripe: "There's a piano. Play us something!" [Re: Toano88]
konaboy Offline
Gold Member

Registered: 09/23/02
Posts: 994
i don't understand you at all. any opportunity to play piano is fun, especially to an eager audience. you shouldn't compare to doing a tax report or painting a wall, you've got it all wrong, with due respect.
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#2985564 - 04/17/19 03:18 AM Re: OT Gripe: "There's a piano. Play us something!" [Re: MathOfInsects]
BRW Offline
Senior Member

Registered: 10/01/12
Posts: 351
OP - I do get what you're saying. I don't think the analogy describing dentists etc. is entirely apt, but it's kind of what it is.

It has always kind of annoyed me too, especially in absurd situations regarding any location where there just happens to be a keyboard.

It's a similar thing when someone says: "Oh you're a musician (or a pianist etc.)? My daughter, 5, just started playing the piano!" as if you're supposed to relate - even though I know they mean nothing by it.

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#2985568 - 04/17/19 03:53 AM Re: OT Gripe: "There's a piano. Play us something!" [Re: MathOfInsects]
dvalley Offline
Member

Registered: 09/05/18
Posts: 2
Loc: Maryland
If I see a good piano in a room I can't resist trying it out. Many times this is not acceptable because it's in a place where they don't want people to start noodling on it.

If at a party they ask me to play something I start playing.
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#2985574 - 04/17/19 04:50 AM Re: OT Gripe: "There's a piano. Play us something!" [Re: konaboy]
Outkaster Offline
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Registered: 02/25/06
Posts: 6541
Loc: Rochester, NY
Originally Posted By: konaboy
i don't understand you at all. any opportunity to play piano is fun, especially to an eager audience. you shouldn't compare to doing a tax report or painting a wall, you've got it all wrong, with due respect.


Doesn't mean you have to play if you don't want to.
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#2985576 - 04/17/19 04:51 AM Re: OT Gripe: "There's a piano. Play us something!" [Re: MathOfInsects]
Synthoid Offline
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What does the gig pay? laugh
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