Who is the pianist?

Yue You

Professor Daneen Bergland

SINQ: Popular Culture

Assignment: Big Picture Blog Post Rough Draft



Who is the pianist?

Pianists, which are always considered as talented, smart and cool. But how do people define “pianist”? The stereotype of pianists is the persons who performs in a concert by themselves, they are paid for playing the piano to people. When we hear about someone is a pianist, we will think that he may be a rich person or talented person. But, how could we define “pianist” today? Do pianists have to be talented?

Can we call all of the people who can play piano “pianist”? It’s not about how adept at playing the piano skill of that person has. It’s about how we define pianist.



There is a movie called piano no mori which is Japanese animated film. This movie is about a kid who like playing the piano but he couldn’t play it well. Throughout the movie, he is trying to play Mozart’s music, but he is always fail to play the music well. He can’t even make the piano sounds good. But this movie is about a persistent kid who is really in love with music and this kind of movies always have happy endings. The ending of this movie is that the kid uses his own style to play Mozart’s music, although he did not get the 1st place award, he improved a lot. This movie is not specifically for the purpose of the film about how to be a genuine, the film does not mean to teach people to pursuit something, such as diligence & success, talent & Interest. There is a clip moved me a lot. He faces people’s doubt about his piano skill, he can still try to do it and never ever give up. Can we all him as a “young pianist”? He tried so hard to achieve his goal, why not? Not only can the person who have music talent and is successful in this field be regarded as pianists. We respect anyone who put effort on their dream nowadays. The leading actor in this movie has not talent in piano but he put effort on it. Some people may think about only the persons who have talent on it and have well piano skill could be called pianists. Research on child prodigies indicates that exceptional musical abilities are often acquired through optimal environmental conditions (DukeTIP, par 2). It proves the person who doesn’t have the talent on playing the piano may also be a “talented pianist”.


piano 2

Ajino used to be a famous piano player and he is the one who knows the secret of the piano in the forest. — asianwiki.com

Another documentary movie which is called Evgeny Kissin – The Gift of Music. This is a documentary movie about a famous pianist whose name is Evgeny Kissin. Almost everyone thinks Kissin is a genius in playing the piano. But in this movie, we can easily see that he has put so much effort into playing the piano. The talent which people think of is the result of his hard-working. Think about it, if you have talent in something but you don’t work hard on it. Will you be successful? In this movie, Kissin did not have any important international piano competition “guarantee”, nor is it from any prominent teacher door. He doesn’t have those “guarantee” but we can still call him “pianist” because of his amazing piano skill. We can know not only the persons who have piano competition rewards or something else can be regarded as pianists, but also the persons who have good piano skill can be considered as pianists. Once you learn how to maximize your existing potential, your progress towards becoming a highly successful professional musician will become much faster than ever before (Hess, par 13).


A few nights ago, Hong Kongers greeted the return of the prodigious Russian pianist, Evgeny Kissin, with pure rapture. — interlude.hk

Pianists are those people who are never give up playing the piano. In the movie which is called KJ Music And Life. The leading actor in this movie is called a “genius teenager pianist”. But when he grow up, he found out he can’t improve his piano skill because some problems such as no free time to practice it because of heavy study tasks, then he gave up doing it. If a pianist can give up his piano easily, he can’t be considered as a pianist. Although he has gift on playing the piano, he gave it up and it means he left from this field from then on. There is another person who did the opposite thing. According to What It Really Means To Be A Working Musician, the author explain how he is crazy about playing music and explain how he persists doing it as a part-time musician. The author calls himself as a “part-time musician” and he refer to  a list about how to become a part-time musician.

  1. Playing in multiple bands so that they gig as much as five times a week.
  2. Playing at weddings and other gigs that come with a guaranteed $1000 – $3000 per gig.
  3. Teaching music, as much as 20 -40 kids a week.
  4. Church music director.
  5. Being in a cover band.
  6. Playing on cruises or in dinner theaters.
  7. Playing in a house band or being the solo piano player at a bar. (Jason, par 6)

According to the list, we can easily see that if you really want to do something, you will always find out a way to do it.

In conclusion, the identity of pianists are portrayed more and more popularization. According to Popular Protest Music and the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, “However, what has become apparent over the past few years is that, after every setback, we have witnessed grassroots musicians, writers, artists, and activists forcefully bringing the voice of the revolution and its demands back into the public scene.” We have to say, most of famous musicians and writers are from grassroots at the beginning. If they are not famous, should we call them musicians or artists? The answer is absolute, yes.

Two learning moment

The first significant learning moment during the term is Newsworthy Criteria. Before week seven, I don’t know how to think about a news at all. The criteria is very useful, I can use it to determine if a news piece is newsworthy or not. Nowadays, we can see so many news in newspaper or other social media, but it’s really hard to recognize which news is good which is not that good. Now I can use this list to think about it.

The second significant learning moment during this term is that a pdf called DECONSTRUCTING AN ADVERTISEMENT. We will see so many advertisements when we open the videos from YouTube. We may ignore them, but how many of us will analysis them? This form is a really good tool to help us to analysis an advertisement.

  1. Make observations.
  2. Determine the purpose of the advertisement.
  3. Determine the assumptions the advertisement makes & the messages it sends.
  4. Consider the consequences of these messages.

Follow these four steps, analyzing an advertisement is not a hard thing for me anymore. Although I’m not in a major which is relate to advertisement, from I learned it on, anytime I saw an interesting advertisement, I can say, oh, I know why the seller made this advertisement in such a weird color, etc.


Anastasia, Valassopoulos, and Mostafa Dalia Said. “Popular Protest Music and the 2011 Egyptian Revolution.” Popluar Music and Society 37.5 (2014): 638-59. TaylorFrancisOnline. TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 4 PARK SQUARE, MILTON PARK, ABINGDON OX14 4RN, OXON, ENGLAND. Web. 12 Nov. 2015.

Evgeny Kissin – The Gift of Music. Perf. Evgeny Kissin. Film.

Hess, Tom. “Why Only Few People Become Successful Professional Musicians And How You Can Join Them.” Tom Hess Music Corporation. Web. 12 Nov. 2015. <http://tomhess.net/HowToBeAProfessionalMusician.aspx&gt;.

Piano No Mori. Dir. Masayuki Kojima. Film.

“Musical Talent: Innate or Learned?” Duke TIP. 18 Aug. 2006. Web. 12 Nov. 2015. <https://tip.duke.edu/node/658&gt;.

“What It Really Means To Be A Working Musician.” One Working Musician. 8 Mar. 2011. Web. 12 Nov. 2015. <http://oneworkingmusician.com/what-it-really-means-to-be-a-working-musician&gt;.

KJ Music And Life. Dir. Jingwei Zhang. Film.




One thought on “Who is the pianist?

  1. Youyue94,

    This blog hits right at home for me. I agree %100 with everything you argue of what it means to be a pianoist. I am a music major and my instrument is the piano. My intended major is composition, but I have to pass an audition with my instrument in order to become a music major. I tried my freshmen year winter term and didn’t pass. I am trying again this fall term and hope for the best.
    It really struck a chord, pun intended, when you argued: “If a pianoist can give up the piano easily, he can’t be considered as pianist. Although he has the gift on playing the piano, he gave it up and it means he left from this field from then on.” It’s very true. You need to put diligent dedication into your craft in order to own a title. It’s a very great reminder for me that yes, although I lack skill and was not immersed in music as a child, I am a pianoist because I refuse to give up. I have been playing since I was 7, which makes 12 years now, and it’s very heartbreaking that even with all my years of playing, I didn’t attend to my craft in a manner that would be appropriate enough to present at a level that they expect in a School of Music’s audition requirements. It’s defeating when I didn’t realize as a kid that I wanted to be a music major. No one in my family encouraged it in the past because “it’s not a career.” Without the grassroots of encouragement, I am what I am today. But this blog post has lifted up my spirits so much because it serves as a great reminder that to define a musician does not mean having professional skills. It means to obtain the skill to refuse to ever give up on their gift. Thank you so much.
    I would love for you, if you could, read my blog and tell me what you think. My thesis is arguing how to define a musician overall, including the bad qualities that wouldn’t support an artist in the greatest light and maybe shouldn’t earn their title. It’s called:
    “Musician (myo͞o-zĭsh′ən): Any Person, Whether Professional or Not, Skilled in Music”
    I would greatly appreciate your feedback and see what you have to say in juxtaposition to your essay.
    Again, thank for this uplifting blog!


Comments are closed.