Does she play the piano? Is she a pianist?

wanabee

Senior Member
Japanese
Dear all,

A: Is she a pianist?
B: No.
A: I mean, does she play the piano?
B: Yes.

I made up the dialog. Would it be unusual to ask 'Is she a pianist' to mean 'Does she play the piano?'?
 
  • NLmarkSE

    Senior Member
    Dutch (the Nederlands)
    I'd say so, yes. A pianist, to me, is someone who has learned how to play very well, but anyone can "play the piano", even if they just barely manage to play "Mary had a little lamb."

    Although I would still only use the expression "to play the piano" if someone is actively doing it, like following a course, or doing it on a weekly basis, trying to get better at it. Or if they already know the basics but haven't played in a while.

    I followed piano lessons many years ago. Although I haven't touched a piano in at least a year, I would say that I "play the piano", but I am certainly not a pianist.
     

    wanabee

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thank you very much, NLmarkSE!
    How about a piano player? Is she a piano player? Is it equivalent to 'Does she play the piano?"?
     

    RM1(SS)

    Senior Member
    English - US (Midwest)
    A pianist, to me, is a professional or semi-professional - someone like Vladimir Ashkenazy, for instance, or the person who plays the piano at church every Sunday.
     

    wanabee

    Senior Member
    Japanese
    Thank you very much, RM1!
    How about a piano player? Is she a piano player? Is it strange to ask 'Is the a piano player' in place of 'Does she play the piano?"?
     
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