Classical Piano Lessons: Are they the best way to learn general Piano?

Updated: Jan 12

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ABRSM Contributor Sylvette

Much of what we regard as 'classical' music was the pop music of its day. Some was good, some not, and similarly some modern music pieces are better than others. Even looking back 40 years or so, some pop songs have survived while many others have sunk into obscurity. I believe that there is nothing inherently better in playing something that was written 300 years than in something written 300 days ago, but the 300 year old one must have had something about it to ensure its survival. Surely what is important is the development of good, secure technique, both in playing and in reading and interpreting the music, rather than worrying too much about the source of the repertoire?

ABRSM Contributor RoseRodent

For me it would very much depend on what you mean by General Piano. I have a number of skills that pianist friends find very difficult, and they have skills I am missing. I can't play Romantic repertoire because I find it hard to read the notes, as I'm used to reading either a horizontal line (counterpoint) or a predictable chord. I also don't play this repertoire through choice, I don't like the noise that comes out and I can't pedal so it's not really achievable. But I can certainly do things like transpose at the piano, play from open score (including string quartet where you have to work with 3 clefs), improvise an accompaniment, play from a melody line and chords. All things that I find most pianists do not learn to do. Many would run a mile when presented with a viola partin alto clef and instructions to play on the fly "something that will work", whereas I would die if given written out music much about Grade 3 standard and expected to sight read it. What is "piano playing"?

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