There is hardly an instrument that oozes classes like the piano. It looks picturesque and, more importantly, sounds elegant, which is why many people try to learn the instrument. Speaking as someone who took piano classes at the age of 7, I can assure you that it takes years of practice to master and even decades to perfect. It is a very demanding instrument and requires constant concentration from the musician. While being a pianist is mostly awesome, there are a few times when we wish the instrument would just fall on us and end our misery. Without further ado, here’s my list of the ten worst things about being a pianist.
1. “Play a tune for me, mate.”
If you (like me) have ever made the mistake of uploading a picture of yourself playing the instrument on social media, your friends will have said this to you at least once. If only there were a way to let people know that not everyone who plays the piano is Beethoven. If only.
I understand that the piano isn’t designed to be taken from point A to B, but there are times when transportation is crucial e.g. parties, concerts, and gigs. It is at these times that I wish I had gotten violin classes instead. Not only is it difficult to move a piano, but it is also very easy to get injured during the process.
3. Drowning Out in Concerts
Pianists who have played gigs with their bands know exactly what I’m talking about here. You’re somehow able to get the piano to the gig. You’re sitting backstage waiting for your band to be introduced and you’re all pumped up, but when the concert begins, you see that the organizers have given the microphones only to the vocalist and the guitarists. Nothing’s more infuriating than your piano’s sound getting suppressed in concerts, and by your band members no less. Et tu, Brute?
4. Hand Cramps
The worst thing about a piano has to be when your body gives up on you and your hands start cramping up. Now, I understand that this problem can easily be solved by drinking loads of water, but that’s probably not a bright idea, especially for pianists with small bladders and currently in the middle of a long concert.
Let me make this clear, guitarists and violinists have it easy. I mean, when their respective instrument plays off key, all they need to do is turn a few pegs and they’re good to go. Compare that to a piano which has a tuning mechanism that resembles the Enigma machine from World War II. Pianists are forced to call a tuning specialist and wait for the professional to tune the instrument which, by the way, can take HOURS!
When I was a child, I loved that I could look at things and not worry about the price tag. Now that I’m making a living for myself, I realize that pianos cost nothing short of a small fortune, and that’s putting it mildly. I understand that pianos cost a lot, but my god, Yamaha! 200,000 USD for a CFX? Us pianists aren’t exactly made of money, okay!
7. When Muscle Memory Lets You Down
There’s only so many times you can practice the piano. Considering it weighs a ton and is virtually impossible to transport, all pianists rely heavily on muscle memory carrying them over the finish line. However, sometimes muscle memory can let you down big time. To quote a personal example, I was playing Jingle Bells at my family’s Christmas party once and I don’t even know how, but somewhere along the line, I switched to Fur Elise. And because my parents have keen ears, it’s safe to say that I was left red-faced.
8. Choking in Competitions
It’s one thing to mess up in front of family members and another altogether to choke in a room full of strangers. My heart goes out to all pianists who made a fool of themselves on stage and received harsh words of criticism for their troubles. At least you tried, and that’s all that matters!
9. Electronic Pianos
You cannot call yourself a cyclist if your bike has training wheels. Similarly, you cannot call yourself a pianist if you play an electronic piano. Acoustic or bust, my friends, acoustic or bust.
10. The Lang Lang Pose
The infamous Lang Lang pose is something all pianists have tried to replicate at least once in their lives. The piano maestro looks absolutely majestic as he pounds on the keys, but let me assure you that he has something that neither of us does i.e. bags of talent and grace. Thus, when trying to recreate the Lang Lang pose, you look either deranged or spastic (and I honestly don’t know what’s worse).