Pop fans, how about Billy Joel’s famous tune, “Piano Man”? Why not learn to play it? For you rockers, how about Elton John? He studied classical piano, and you can hear his virtuosity in every song and solo. Imagine Lang Lang bringing the audience to its feet with a spectacular Beethoven concerto, or Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Speaking of rhapsodies, one of the best movies of 2018 was “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which reminded us all of Freddy Mercury’s genius in his chart-topping hit of that name. Listen, and be inspired!
The piano: powerful, yet sensitive
Pianists tap into a rich musical history. Their instrument grew out of the harpsichord, the focus of famous fugues and concertos by composers such as J.S. Bach and Domenico Scarlatti. Today we hear their works mainly on the piano, which gradually supplanted the harpsichord because of a crucial invention around 1700. On a harpsichord, each key plucks a string, and each note has approximately the same loudness. By contrast, on a piano, keys strike the strings with felt-covered hammers. The pianist can press lightly to get a soft sound, or pound to play loud. This innovation makes the piano infinitely more expressive than the harpsichord.
Always ready to play
Piano is a great “first” instrument because it needs no setup or tuning at the start of a lessonor practice session, and no packing up at the end. Electronic keyboards are easily portable and can produce a wide variety of sounds, even mimicking other instruments. The piano is also extremely versatile. There is an extensive library of piano music for people of all interests and skill levels. And the keyboard makes it easy to visualize and understand scales and chords.