“Facts” of dubious distinction

Here are some “facts” I’ve heard during my musical career that I later discovered to be false. I’m sure there are many more; these are just the ones that I’ve remembered during the last 5 minutes or so.

“You can’t ever look at your hands while playing piano.”

“This chord voicing is hipper than that one.”

“Louis Armstrong was wrong to use celeste on his recording of Basin St. Blues.”

“Nice guys finish last.”

“Elvis is pop, not country.”

“West Side Story is corny.”

“Miles Davis composed the tune Blue In Green.”

“Always keep a steady tempo when practicing sightreading.”

“This is how to play Chopin.”

“Improvisation cannot be taught.”

Do you have your own list? If so, we’d love to read it in the comments section below!

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4 thoughts on ““Facts” of dubious distinction”

  1. Stated by a few former piano teachers:

    1. If you start after age (insert a number) you’ll never play piano well.

    2. If your hands are small, you can never play piano.

    3. If you don’t have a natural sense of rhythm, you can never learn it.

    4. You should decide on one style of music. Classical, pop, and jazz don’t mix.

    5. Classical musicians don’t improvise or play by ear.

    6. Bach and Beethoven were so great, we (regular people) are really unworthy to play them.

    Not kidding!

    Six is enough. I don’t want to think about others….

    • Thanks so much for sharing these, Diane! These were from your own piano teachers? If so, I’m delighted that you’ve moved on and transcended these attempts at limiting your musical development. (Btw, I’m glad that nobody ever told Bach and Beethoven about #5!)

  2. I did have a couple of crazy teachers in my teens–well, maybe one wasn’t crazy, but would only work with star material that would enhance her own rep. I stopped playing for a couple decades mostly because I believed them.

    Fortunately there are lots of great teachers out there! I’m playing again, working hard, and the joy is back 🙂 The past is far away, but hope others don’t get discouraged (especially kids!) by such “facts of dubious distinction.”

    Ha ha….Imagine what Bach and Beethoven could play –anything/everything they wanted! That’s musicianship!

    • I agree that there are lots of great piano teachers, and I’m especially glad that you’ve returned to the piano in such a joyous way. One of my students, who is retired, considers herself a “piano restarter.” I LOVE that term!

      Enjoy every moment of your playing, Diane!


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