Learning new songs is part and parcel of our daily existence as a piano player who plays live music regularly. The challenge is sifting through all the new music and finding what works and what doesn’t work.
In my opinion most of the Pop and Country music these days has become homogenized. For those of you that didn’t grow up in the 60s ‘homogenized’ is not a sexual connotation. It means that everything is made the same. Some might say made to the same standard of quality. But I think what has happened is that most of the popular songs have the same chord changes and a drought of tasty melodies. I know there are some great and talented songwriters out there. But by the time their tune gets to the producer and to the recording process, there are changes that get made to make the song palatable. Axis of Awesome did this comedy music bit that has become a perfect example of what I’m taking about
That’s okay by me. I don’t mind. I just know, as a writer, there are so many possibilities harmonically and melodically speaking, that there is no excuse for this. Even if a song were to have one ‘mystery chord’ in there somewhere, it would go a long way. It could be laziness. It could be ignorance.
But I think what has happened is when people like something, the creators replicate it because they know it’s a winning formula. This is true in every successful business. The music business is no different.
I think Adele has had some good success with adding tasty chords into her songs. Bruno Mars is copying many of the greats that came before him. They are both quite open about the fact that they are standing the shoulders of the giants who came before them.
My job is a piano player is to interpret what is out there and make it my own. For example, I don’t use massive amounts of music production techniques at our performances. I know some players use backing tracks and drum machines, even at dueling pianos shows. That’s cool. I never found it all that inspiring. As a piano player who works a lot I find I get inspiration from the people who are listening. I like that kind of energy rather than a technical energy.
The idea is that then the piano player turns the song into something of his own. Since we are all standing on the shoulders of the great ones who came before us, the only thing left for us to do is to personalize it.
That’s one of the things I learned early on as I was an aspiring musician learning to become a professional piano player. I used to think “Who is the best piano player?”. But then I realized it’s all one magic trick. Once you learn that one trick everything else after that is about adding the personality you were born with or that you are willing to let shine through.
So when I learn a new One Direction song or something from Jason Aldean, it doesn’t matter to me that all the same chords sequences are being used over and over again. I try to find the essence of the tune and make it my own. Sometimes I get it right, other times I need to keep learning.
Another beautiful frosty day in November here in Chicago. We had another successful corporate event last night. It was a dueling pianos show in Peoria IL courtesy of Central Illinois Dueling Pianos. Thank you very much Andrew
We entertained a whole bunch of government officials. Some newly elected. Some newly un-elected. And of course all of their staff. We had a lot of laughs.
I love that part of our job as a musician, as an entertainer for an event.
When Was The Last Time You Had A Good Laugh?
Getting people to laugh. Sometimes we’re just improvising. Sometimes they’re routines that we have been doing for years. But the thing about dueling pianos is we are always going to have something different.
It’s because of the audience. Every audience, tho similar, is different. Different requests. Different celebrations. Just different.
But we know you’re going to have fun. We know we’re going to get you to where you want to go. You want to have fun and you need to laugh. We just have to organize the deck chairs, if you will. Alphabetize the chaos.
We had that rolling laughter last night. That interactive banter that keys off of people in the audience and their responses. A quality dueling piano show allows for that to happen. It’s so flexible.
I feel like the laughter is the key. I have always been looking for that laugh. As long as I can remember. Its a key component of what I do. Getting people to laugh.
One of the ways to do it is to be able to laugh at myself. That right there is probably the top way to get others’ to join me in laughter. I don’t take this whole music and comedy thing too seriously. I know, comedy is a serious business and all. But I just don’t take myself too seriously.
I hope you don’t either. And don’t take it too personally either. We’re all human. We’re all really kind of the same – for the most part. We all do and think the same stupid stuff. So it’s okay to laugh at yourself sometimes. It lightens the load we have to carry.
I think I read something somewhere about how laughter releases a chemical into our systems that keeps us young. I hope that’s true. Because there are times when I absolutely crave hearing laughter and having a good laugh – at myself most of all.
I hope you have a great Holiday season. We are busy busy busy again. Yet there are still a few dates open. I’d love to help you laugh some night too. Call me and we’ll see what we can do.
… I wonder if they’re going to make it ….
“A perfect marriage is just two imperfect people
who refuse to give up on each other.”
My In-Laws Ginny and Terry Cory
who just celebrated 60 year of pure marital bliss.
Happy 60th Anniversary
Yes. You heard that right. 60 years. An amazing feat in any endeavor. We had the great opportunity to help them celebrate this monumental occasion with an anniversary party last weekend.
Also, Happy Valentine’s Day everyone. I know it’s a big holiday now and yes it falls on Saturday night this year (2015) and I heard we are going to be sold out this weekend for both shows. And I know a lot of people don’t really like Valentine’s Day for all kinds of reasons but I guess the biggest one would be if you’re alone and you want to be with someone I could see how this holiday would kind of suck. wedding band music.
But I’m going to tell you this story anyway because Valentine’s Day is my mother in law’s favorite holiday. I’m not sure about my father in law. He doesn’t have to express his opinion on the subject one way or the other which is probably one reason why he has been married for 60 years.
Ginny and Terry got married in January, 1955. They didn’t really get married. They eloped actually. They sat down with the preacher, who did the honors, for an hour and a half before he gave them their vows. I’m pretty sure he thought he was looking at a pair of dumb kids. And more than likely he probably was. But they made it through. 4 daughters and 7 grand kids later. I’ll bet they didn’t have wedding band music at their elopement …
So I guess if you’re with someone now, way to go and keep on going. And if you’re not with someone and you want to be, hang in there. No one was meant to be alone who didn’t desire the company of another.
Of course some of you women out there you may be like Marie Corelli who said,
“I never married because I have three pets at home that answer the same purpose as a husband.
I have a dog that growls every morning,
a parrot who swears all afternoon,
and a cat who comes home late at night.”
Or maybe you’re thinking …
“Bigamy is having one husband too many. Monogamy is the same.” Erica Jong
Happy Valentine’s Day one and all.
Happy Anniversary Ginny and Terry!
We have another in town dueling pianos show coming up
Wednesday, March 18 2015
We will be singing and playing piano at Bub City. That’s right. It’s a country bar. Great BBQ to go with some great live music too. Chicago dueling pianos in a bar setting. Rare for us. Fortunate for you.
We usually perform our dueling pianos show for corporate events and fund raiser entertainment. But this night is different. This is a public show in a fantastic country bar that serves phenomenal BBQ.
So when you do the math dueling pianos chicago featuring country music. How does that work?
We do the same interactive live music show only we’re adding a new wrinkle to the dueing pianos set up — we’ll performing with a fiddle player.
Are we going to see you there? Sure hope so.
435 North Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60654
Come for the BBQ Stay for the Live Music
So I think I’m finally figuring out how to use Priceline.com to my advantage. Since I travel so much as a piano player for hire, I figured it’s worth making it work for me and our family budget.
But I’m wondering something …
Who the hell picks these paintings?
Not that they’re bad or anything. I’m just kind of wondering cuz they are exceptionally non-descript.
There’s nothing about them that make you go, “Oh. That’s really cool. I think I should get some for my collection. Let me call my art broker and see if he can cut me a deal on a bulk purchase.”
And what the hell is with this smell?
These NON-SMOKING rooms smell all perfumey. And not that good kind of perfumey, like wow I need some of this funk in my house right now too. It’ll go great with those paintings I just bought.
I would rather have the old stale cigarette smoke from yesteryear.
No. Wait. I wouldn’t. That was REALLY disgusting.
But this new smell seems like it’s designed to be cat house friendly or something. I can hear the voice over on the radio spot: “It smells like a brothel, but bring the kids anyway. It’s safe and won’t deform their growth. Plus, it’ll create all kinds of fresh and special memories you can share for a lifetime.”
Oh well. The price was right. Here’s to shopping on the Internet.
Bye for now.
Hey everybody. I’ve done my best to take some serious time off over the Holidaze to reconnect with family. So I am a little tardy in posting this gig that came up here.
We will be at tonight Saturday December 27 2014 from 9-12 Mid Great Live music and comedy. you know the kind of comedy where we try to be Spontaneous all over again
So bring some friends — We know you got some.
This way you don’t have to sit around the house wondering what to talk about next with all your goofy relatives. Remember you married them. Not their whole damn family.