Thursday, May 25, 2017

The Headline Read: Putin Plays Piano

So the headline on a recent news article was about Russian president, Vladimir Putin, playing piano during a recent visit to China. 

The main gist of the article was that Putin's playing was less than professional and that he, upon hearing the performance had been videotaped without his knowledge, blamed the out-of-tune piano for his poor performance.

It is not uncommon to hear of political leaders who play musical instruments. 

Our own presidents have been known to play instruments and make music.

For instance...Bill Clinton played his saxophone on the Arsenio Hall show. (I remember this one.)

Or perhaps, Richard Nixon playing a piece he wrote on the piano. (I do NOT remember this one!)

So President Putin playing piano is not so surprising.

The quality of Putin's playing is not really an issue.  After all, he is the president of a country.  He has other things on his mind - things more pressing than practicing piano, I imagine.

So why even bring the article up?

As a musician and a music educator I was irritated by one sentence in the article. 

Upon reading that one sentence, nothing else the author had written even mattered.

The sentence in question:

"Putin, a 64-year-old former KGB spy has demonstrated 
his skills on the piano in the past, 
although he has mostly cultivated a more macho image."

[Source: "Putin Blames Out-of-Tune Piano for Hesitant Rendition of Soviet Melody" By Reuters, Retrieved May 15th, 2017.]


Perhaps I am reading too much into this.  

The unknown author seems to slam the idea of a man playing piano considering it somehow less macho than other things a man might do.

It makes me wonder why a discussion of Putin's amateur piano performance merited a disparaging remark that piano playing is somehow not macho.

It is 2017.

I thought we were beyond stereotyping gender roles.

Apparently not.

What do you think?