Tuesday, August 05, 2008

9 Places to Connect Online With Other Pianists

Do you enjoy arguing with other pianists about the merits of New York vs. Hamburg Steinways? Are gray market Yamahas worth the money? Need a place to share your worship of Sviatoslav Richter? Or would you prefer discussing mid-70's New York City Horowitz sightings? What about discussing the finer points of where to put a Nachschlag?

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you might wish to consider joining a piano forum or discussion group. Far from being a relic of the Wild West internet of the mid-90's, piano forums are still a vital place to connect with other pianists from around the globe and discuss a myriad number of issues with other like-minded people. Not sure where to go? Here are 9 choices:

1.) Piano Forums at Piano World

With several hundred thousand unique visitors a month, the Piano Forums at Piano World is probably the largest piano forum in the world. Forums on pianos and pianists, for technicians and composers are just a sampling of a site that offers a remarkable depth of conversation and experience.

2.) Piano Street Piano Forum

Originally launched as pianoforum.net, Piano Street offers downloadable sheet music and recordings as well as both a forum and chat room. The forum offers a well-organized list of subjects for discussion, including performance, repertoire, teaching, instruments, a student's corner for beginners, and an audition room for members to post their own recordings to the forum.

3.) Piano Society: The Classical Piano Forum

The Piano Society is a site on which pianists can post their bios and upload recordings for free. In return, visitors to the site can listen to all 2800 recordings by the 150+ pianists who have signed up so far. The Piano Society claims to be "the largest resource of free classical piano recordings on the Internet" and I think they're probably right on that account. The forum is smaller than most, with 418 registered users at time of writing, but they look quite active and write about quite a variety of subjects.

4.) UK Piano Page Discussion Forums

This is part of the huge Association of Blind Piano Tuners UK Piano Page, which offers a huge amount of resources on piano history, as well as catalogues of piano tuners, movers, teachers, and accompanists. The forum, like the site, is geared towards the UK piano community, but still contains a large amount of practical information indispensable to those in the UK and elsewhere.

5.) Speed Demon Community Forums

Yet another forum, but with a way hipper vibe than the others and Web 2.0 features such as usergroups, profiles, private messages, and a search function. Topics have up-to-date titles, such as SDC Legendz - da Dizciplez of FURY (roughly translated as: "The Great Pianists" for those of you not not yet familiar with teh lingo of teh internetz.)

6.) We Bang Steinways Facebook Group (Facebook ID required)

For those on Facebook, this is one of the groups that is considered de rigeur to join in the piano community, with over 4000 members at present. Like other Facebook groups, it contains a news section, as well as videos, posted items, a discussion board, and a wall. The vast majority of group members are students, so this is an ideal place for those shopping for college programs to get information on teachers and schools.

People for the Ethical Treatment of Accompanists Facebook Group (Facebook ID required)

From the group's description:
An organization designed to protect accompanists from the abuses commonly heaped upon them including, but not limited to, the following: insufficient payment and inappropriate demands for rehearsals and lessons.

Please also note that the title of this group does NOT include the words "collaborative pianist" for two reasons: it does NOT make us equal partners with those we accompany and in some cases it is used in a pejorative fashion. For us to be truly equal it requires the instrumentalists and vocalists to be collaborative as well--and the dropping of any reference to a term that calls one instrument "the collaborative one."
With 2000 members, this is probably the largest gathering of accompanists/collaborative pianists on the internet. Although often criticized for not containing the upper echelons of the field and too many "rank-and-file" pianists, this is a group that asks a lot of questions regarding the relationship of soloist to pianist, financial considerations, and the invisibility that many of us face in the profession.

8.) Piano Chat Group on Y!Music Groups

Started in 1999, this group peaked in the years following, dropped off in 2003-4, and is now staging a comeback in posting frequency. With many of the same features as the other groups, this one might be a possibility for those that already utilize several Yahoo services.

9.) rec.music.makers.piano

Part of the original Usenet universe, this group goes back to the early years of the World Wide Web in 1994. Although not as popular as many of the other groups on this list, this group is now hosted by Google Groups, with features familiar to those that use other Google services, such as starring posts and subscribing to feeds. The messages aren't as well-crafted as those on forums, but for raw message board power and the occasional flame war, you can't beat the atmosphere of the old Usenet.

What forums do you read and participate in?


  1. Anonymous3:15 AM

    This was a great post now that peer-to-peer interaction is at the forefront of the web (i.e. - "2.0"). I will pass these links on to my audience.

  2. Hi there, thanks for providing very good information, I can definitely use this as a reference. Thanks again