Category Archives: corporate entertainers

How You (and Your Team) Can Be More Creative

The last couple of weeks I have been writing about how I remain creative on demand; whenever I need to be, No matter how close the deadline. These are ideas you can put in place with your team and your staff too …. or I can come and show you and your team in concert.

Sure I spent ten years at The Second City mastering the art of improvisation with the best of the best in the entertainment industry today. Yes, I continue to write and record and perform on stage on a regular basis. But there are multiple ways to teach creativity. Cultivate it if you will. And you don’t have to be a professional entertainer who plays multiple instruments to be able to do this too.

But people always ask me how do you make up so many funny parodies to popular songs?

Basically, it’s my job. I spend hours and hours writing new bits and memorizing current pop hits (so I can roast those songs to the joy of everyone). This is what I do.

But there are techniques that anyone can use to become more creative. It doesn’t matter what line of work you are in. We are all creative to a certain degree.

The seminal book written by Julia Cameron helps maintain my Muse in the manner to which she has become accustomed. There is journaling which we talked about last week. Writing about three pages longhand in a spiral notebook every morning is a fantastic way to ‘clean the pipes’ of all the debris that clogs up the creative water lines.

The other side of that same coin is to go on what Ms. Cameron calls an Artist’s Date.

This is time spent by myself in an activity that allows me to play. To do whatever I want. I turn off the phone. I go by myself. I am alone. I may be around people like if I want to go to a candy store or a movie. I am essentially taking myself out on a date.

It was very unnerving at first. I thought I was dating a little kid. That was what it felt like cuz that was what I was doing.

We all have a playful side to our personalities that gets ignored as we get older and have more responsibilities. As creative human beings it is important to remember what that part of us wants.

At first, I was at a loss to think about what to do or where to go on my Artist Date. So I started simple.

I took myself to a toy store. I looked around at all the toys and asked myself which one would I like to play with the most? I picked out a paper airplane kit complete with instructions on elaborate flying forms to make out of the included cardboard. It wasn’t until I had made one of them, that I realized as much as I thought I wanted to play with paper airplanes, my playful self didn’t like following directions.

So the next time I went to an art supply store. I bought some crayons and a coloring book. Again, I realized I don’t like coloring inside the lines. So I took some paper out of the printer and started coloring.

I have since collected numerous crayons, markers and paints. I have a sketchbook and I bought a book about different patterns I can use as inspiration to get me started.

I love having my crayons with me when I go on the road … when I’m in between gigs in my hotel room … or I’m waiting for my flight at the airport. It relaxes me and it keeps me in tune with that ‘still small quiet voice’ that we all need to listen to more often. (And now I’m finding I don’t mind coloring inside the lines — sometimes)

I do other Artist’s Dates. Now that I have gotten into the rhythm of it. I make a date with myself at least once a week. Every other month I go off by myself for a whole day. Sometimes even an overnight. It still shocks me the amount of chatter I hear in my head. The criticism. The negativity. And I’m a positive person. I become a grown up fighting with the little child. “You can’t do that.” “That costs too much.” “That looks dangerous.” “People will laugh at you in that helmet.”

But I do things anyway. Because that is the essence of creativity. Doing things that no one else would do. Doing things even if you don’t do them right or …. you’re gonna make a mistake or … because it might …. look silly … be stupid ….. sound weird … fail … succeed … and on and on and on

So take a look at this book. The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron. It has opened up multiple avenues of creativity for me. You don’t have to be a professional entertainer or music producer. You can use this in all walks of life, business, family, with the kids, without the kids …. just get the book and try out the exercises within the pages. Or better yet … call me up and I’ll come over and run through some Fear Erasing, Brain expanding, Playful Games that will help you and your team become more productive. Team Building Sessions for grown ups who like to play.

You will be glad you did.

Oh … BTW … this is an affiliate link. When you get your book through this link, I do get a small percentage. It won’t cost you anything extra. And since it is through Amazon, you can donate a portion of your sale price to go to a charity of your choice. Pretty cool if you ask me.

TheArtist’sWayByJuliaCameron

MechanicalPencils.09Lead

CollegeRuledNotebook

LeatherCoveredJournal

To learn more about how I can provide unique and memorable music and comedy at your event, call Amber at (773) 527-7417.
Check out some of my other projects.

I always love the feedback!

All the best,

Dan Gillogly

Part 2 How do you know the words to so many songs?

One question I get asked all the time is “How do you know the words to so many songs?”

I make ‘em up!

Which is only partly true. These days with contemporary tunes most times a verse and chorus is all you need before people get bored and want something else. We call it The ADD Factor. Some people get easily distracted.

I also like improvising words to songs that interact with the people in the room. This works best in a cabaret setting. The concert stage goes well with primarily scripted material. But when I’m in a smaller venue I make em up from time to time.

I also have gotten pretty good at parody songs. So if you have a customized message you want to get out to your clients or customers, give me a call. I can write, perform and record em for you.

It wasn’t always this way for me. When I was the music director at The Second City e.t.c. theater, I worked with the best of the best in the entertainment business today. I had the opportunity to write and perform with the like of Stephen Colbert, Oscar winning Adam McKay, and way too many others to mention.

I learned how to improvise and I learned how to script the best jokes, the best songs and THE BEST CONTENT.

I learned in the circus tent under the bright lights in front of a live audience, a receptive audience that wanted to see you fall from the high wire yet always ecstatically acknowledged when you succeeded.  I learned to try something new and daring.

I learned in the writing sessions that went on for days, sometimes weeks, hunting for the perfect phrase, the right combination of gesture and timing.

So to summarize, Please don’t try this at home folks. I am a professional. Or do try this at home and have fun with it!

To learn more about how I can provide unique and memorable music and comedy at your event, call Amber at (773) 527-7417.

Check out some of my other projects.

MyCDLink

MyChildrensBook

MyPodcast

I always love the feedback!

All the best,

Dan Gillogly

[email protected]

Www.pianomusicshow.com

www.allamericanduelingpianos.com 

+1 773-527-7417

 

Why Live Music is So Important

Sometimes we really can’t explain why or what we’re doing onstage when we’re playing live music at company events or as party entertainers. But we do know this: It Is SO-O important.

I had a woman come up to me after a show this last weekend. She was so emphatic about letting us know how good she felt.

She said, “My husband and I haven’t been out since our house was destroyed in a tornado.”

I think the Greeks were right. Music helps to heal. It moves large internal objects that we can not see. God gave us music so we could pray with out words.

She was positively invigorated after an evening of live music and comedy. When I see that happen, I just want to tell everybody. It is so essential that we work to get ourselves back in balance — especially after Mother nature changes our lives forever in a single act.

The tornado that took their house changed their lives in an instant. Hard to explain why. Never may be a good one. But I do know this. Music can change your life for the better in an instant too. Hard to explain why. We just know that is does. Sometime music may not get rid of all the lousy things that are going on in between your ears or in your neighborhood. But will change how you feel so that maybe — just maybe you can get through all the stuff you can not explain.

Our jobs as entertainers is to help people feel better — in spite of what is going on.

I don’t know her name. But I know I will never forget her. We don’t know how important live music is for our souls. But I do know this. I am truly honored and blessed and every time I get onstage. Thank you in advance for letting us help you.

Comedy Music Gets Them Out of Their Shell

“I’ve seen a lot of comedy music shows but you dueling piano guys guys are the best!”

I don’t know how often we have heard that one, but we hear it a lot. People just love us as corporate entertainers. It’s not just the comedy music that everyone likes, it’s the improvisation, the customizing of the material to fit your clients, your event, your evening. It’s powerful. It’s cathartic. And above all it creates memories that last a lifetime.

Not just talking about in Chicago either. The Comedy Music shows that we perform go all over the USA and we hear that everywhere we go. Why?

comedy music and fun. laughter chicago piano music

Can You Get Out Of YOUR Shell?

B’cuz Dan spent 10 years at he Second City where he learned how to improvise and make people laugh — no matter what.

We’ve seen audiences like these two stone faced Ja-Mokes come out of their shells before the night is through. ===>>>

And we will do the same for you at your next company events. We will be the corporate entertainers everyone will be talking about for all the right reasons. Good clean music and comedy. You’ll be saying, “I never thought piano music could be so much fun!” And I’ll just say  “Thanks. We knew you’d love it!”

It’s all in the connection with the audience. No two audiences are the same and when you add the universal language of laughter and music … well you get a highly combustible combination of great laughs and great memories.

It is not about any one thing. It’s not only about the music. It’s not only about the comedy. Comedy Music is two words that can be muddled up in the hands of amateurs.

Our professional showmanship and entertainment GUARANTEES you will get clean music and comedy. Entertainment that is worthy of your company events.

So give us a call and GUARANTEE your clients and guests will get out of their shell at your next company event. 773-527-7417

July 4th Thank You To All

July 4th Thank You thoughts:

I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history, naval architecture, navigation, commerce, and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.

John Adams

On this 4th of July 2016 I am truly living the American Dream. I would like to thank you.

So I am having a Christmas in July Special. This special is good until July 25th 2016.

Solo Piano Entertianer | $200 off

Musical Comedian Comedy Singer | $200 off

Stan Baloney| $200 off

Team Building and Bonding | $400

Custom Songs  |10% off

Stan Baloney     Shout outs by Stan | Buy one get one free

Book your Holiday Event now! Call me at 773 527 7417!

I get to play music for a living. That s because of the sacrifices people made before me. My Grandfather (not that I knew him or anything) apparently came here from Ireland and worked as a laborer. My Dad went to school on the GI Bill and started and ran a very successful law firm Chicago for decades. I have been able to raise a family playing music and writing and producing CDs and theater projects with an endless list of quality artists.

Happy Birthday America!

I owe you so much I can not express the depth of my gratitude. So I will attempt to give something back 1 song, 1 lyric, 1 show at a time and a Christmas in July special. And I will hope that it begins to fulfill my obligation that this is truly the greatest republic in the history of man kind.
God Bless America and God Bless You. 
Now let’s hear Ray Charles’s gratitude.

More On Chicago Mayoral Election Results 2015

Hi There and Welcome to Another Installment The Piano Bench Blog Cast:
Chicago Mayoral Election Results  

Today’s broadcast comes in the form of some more great piano music and comedy. Our topic? Chicago mayoral election results. I certainly hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed writing and recording.

Chicago politics has no shortage of great comedy material. So tune in regularly.
And be sure to contact me, Dan, for your custom written music and comedy for your client appreciation night, your corporate event or hospital visit.

Warm Weather Means Chicago Dueling Pianos At Navy Pier

Chicago Dueling Pianos at Navy Pier must mean …
The warm weather is here?

It’s the first warm day of spring here in Chicago. I think we may be close to 70º. I took my walk outdoors today instead of on the treadmill like I usually do. I saw the robins out in earnest. The smell of BBQ was prevalent throughout the entire neighborhood. A sure sign that Chicagoans are ready for the warm weather to appear and the snow blowers and salt to disappear.

Dueling pianos, entertainment for events,

Chicago Dueling Pianos Show

We are down at Navy Pier tonight for a dueling pianos show at a corporate event. Entertaining in front of several thousand people. We’ve got the traditional dueling pianos fun; sing along, dance along, laugh along live music entertainment. Yet tonight we have added a new wrinkle. We’ve added a drummer to the festivities.

That’s one of the reasons why Chicago Dueling Pianos are one of the most versatile party ideas. 

We can take your requests so that you get to decide which music you want to hear. But we can add a full band, or just a drummer like we’re doing tonight. We can add a featured vocalist. It just gives the extra added dimension to our regular piano music entertainment for events. chicago dueling pianos 

So after we do load in and sound check, I think I’m going to go for an additional walk down around Navy Pier and enjoy this beautiful weather. You never know how long it is going to last. Because you know what they say, If you don’t like the weather in Chicago, wait 5 minutes. It’ll change.

Call us for your live music entertainment at your next corporate event, charity events or backyard BBQ. We love BBQ! HeckFire … we’ll c’mon by before it hits 80º. We’re not picky. Live music and comedy goes with every kind of weather. So does Chicago Dueling Pianos for that matter … 

What can we say? We’re Chicagoans! Give us a call. 773-527-7414

We can GUARANTEE … You Will Look Good B’cuz We Sound Good!

Alcohol with Your Piano Music Entertainment? Aghast!

Alcohol was invented so the Irish would not rule the world.” – Irish Proverb

When I’m out playing piano music in public, many folks ask me questions that are quite similar. They range in similarities like, “What do you do during the day for work?” and “What does your wife think of what you do for a living?”; things like that. I would love to write an entire blog post about each of those questions.

But in honor of the great St. Patrick’s Day coming up this week, I would like dedicate this holiday blog post to the patron saint of Ireland with a post about alcohol.

Alcohol is the great social lubricant.” – Also Irish Proverb

A couple of questions I get asked all the time would be:

  1. Where are you playing that we can go see you?” I don’t play out in bars all that often. But when I do, I like Dos Equis …. oooppppss Sorry. I do play out public sometimes when the schedule opens up. But for the most part I like to concentrate on company events and corporate gigs. They’re not as easy to perform at as a bar gig. They require a little more finesse and a whole lot more restraint. Certainly neither of my two favorite things to do in the whole world; restraint and finesse that is.I like the raucousness of a bar gig or restaurant. People cutting loose, cracking jokes, laughing at things that are not normally funny in polite company. But isn’t that the point of going out drinking with your friends? No need to be polite.At company events and corporate functions where we are providing live music entertainment, people tend to hold back a bit because they have a level of decorum they need to uphold in the course of daily commerce. No sweat. People want to keep their jobs.

    For when the wine is in, the wit is out.” – Thomas Beacon

    But that brings us to the next question I get a lot:

  2. Do you think that we need to serve alcohol at our event to be able to get people to sing louder?The answer is a resounding, “No!”“How so?” you ask.I answer thusly.Have you ever heard a room full of kids sing loudly?Of course you have.

    Well they can certainly get pretty loud. And I don’t think ALL of them have been drinking. Do you?

    You answered “No. Probably not ALL of them Dan.”

    So I repeat myself. No. You do not need to serve alcohol at your company event to be able to get people to sing along loudly.

    Does it help?

    Hell yeah!

    It also helps if you’ve got the winning lottery ticket in your pocket. But it’s not going to solve all your problems.

    You will need to hire a professional entertainer (like me, for instance) who knows the tried and true formula for a successful evening of piano music entertainment. Someone who knows how to get people interacting knowing that they won’t be embarrassed come Monday morning around the water cooler, or feel like they’re the only on who knows how to have fun after hours. No.

    If you are not going to serve alcohol at your event, then might I make my professional recommendation that before you start your party, make sure the sun has gone down and that you just gave them all raises.

    But No, you do not need alcohol to be served in order to have a good time with live music entertainment for events at your company party.

Thanks for playing along and I’m certainly glad you’ve decided to read this far. Maybe you would indeed like to go a bit further. Give me a call at 1 773 527 7417 to see how affordable live piano music can be at your event.

Happy St Patty’s Day one and all! 

The whole world is about three drinks behind.” – Humphrey Bogart

piano music entertainment and green beer celebrations

Happy St Patty’s Day

You Call It Piano Music Entertainment. Your Soul Calls It Thirst Quencher

You Call It Piano Music Entertainment
Your Soul Calls It Thirst Quencher

It was one of those gigs where I was so happy I took piano lessons as a kid, I had stuck with it as and adult and, most importantly, remained a professional so that I could witness what I am about to tell you.

No one thinks they really need live music. Most importantly the ‘Bean Counters’ who sit around in their office and don’t realize that music truly is the universal language that we all understand.

That’s okay. We all have a job to do.

My job today is to let you know how important
live music and comedy can be for your soul.

It’s like Gatorade after a 60 minute workout. It’s like scratching an itch in a hard to reach place. It’s like a hug and a kiss from a loved one who has returned from a long trip.
Here’s the story …

piano music entertainment

Sing Like No One Can Hear You

This guy was your typical office worker who didn’t have anything else going on his life except to be an office worker. He was kinda grumpy. He had no sense of humor. He had no friends. So he was the guy that made everyone feel a little uncomfortable.

He wore the weird shirt that didn’t appear to coordinate with his tie – or anything else that he wore for that matter. And his hair was always a little bit messy. He didn’t talk much because, well, he liked to be quiet.

Let’s call him ‘Ralph’.

What nobody knew about ‘Ralph’ was he had watched his Mom die of cancer when he was 10 back in 1969. As you can imagine it was horrible.

She was a single Mom. He was an only child. They were not members of a church so there was no support network of any kind. After she died he went to live with an aunt he had never met, in a state he had never been to, with an ‘uncle’ who wasn’t married to his aunt. They had no other kids either. His aunt was nice enough and all. But let’s just say ‘nurturing’ was not a concept she knew much about.

School was also a little rough for Ralph in this small rural town of about 4000 people. They were nice and everything. But having come from a large city school, he felt lost and way behind the other kids.

He wasn’t very coordinated or even remotely interested in sports. He just didn’t get the importance of all that running around and throwing balls and stuff. No one had ever showed him how and he didn’t have any allegiance to one team or another. So, seriously. Like, what’s the point?

The thing about his new school tho, was they had a choir as part of their curriculum. He had no idea how it would change his life.

Choir allowed Ralph to be around other people – especially girls. It allowed him to comfortably shift into his changing voice as puberty set in. It allowed him to express his emotions which ran so deep and so pensive at such a vulnerable and tenuous time of his life.

He stayed with choir all through middle school and high school. He didn’t excel at singing. He was never a featured soloist or anything. He just really enjoyed it for reasons that a growing young man could simply not explain.

But that’s where it ended. College was not in the picture for Ralph. He went to work and learned finance. He was actually pretty good at analysis. He eventually learned accounting with a small local firm that had hired him right out of high school.

In 89 that small local firm was bought out by a much larger one which then grew into a multi-billion dollar corporation through the 90s. He was a good and consistent employee. He was promoted regularly but never to management. He got transferred back to his hometown city in 98 where he just slipped easily into the anonymity of the hustle and bustle. He lives there to this day.

He never married. He never joined a church or a community choir. He doesn’t do much of anything in the way of outside activities. He likes going to the movies. But he feels too shy to search for anything. No one ever gave him permission.

Until one night in February his company event consisted of a large Holiday Party featuring piano music entertainment.

‘Ralph’ was sitting alone, kind of in the background. I don’t think he was eating much off the buffet. I didn’t notice his beverage of choice. But I did notice he was alone.

When I perform I never call anyone out. I never embarrass anyone. What I use is a technique I call “A Saucer of Milk”. It’s like when you want to call a cat over. You don’t yell or command. You just lay out a saucer of milk. If you want what we have to offer, (and your soul knows you do), then you’ll be over in time.

This story is getting a little long. So I am going to finish this tomorrow.

In the meantime, thanks for listening and let me know when you want to have great live music and comedy in the form of piano music entertainment and interactive, sing along fun that brings people together and creates life long memories for everyone in attendance.

Vicki Update: Live Music Gig Transportation

Just a quick update on Vicki my lovely cargo van for pulling gear to out live music gig. She is all better now. It was the ignition that needed to be replaced. But my mechanic Scott was so spectacular at going the extra mile, we also wound having to swap out the fuse box. Apparently, in that model of Chevy Express Van, the fuse box is under the master cylinder and gets all corroded and wet throughout the years.

So he had to pull that out and replace it with all new fuses after cleaning it out.

So here’s to safe travels to tonight’s corporate entertainment event in Chicago.