Tag Archives: live music and comedy

How Does A Piano Player Learn So Many New Songs?

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.

When Was The Last Time You Had A Good Laugh? Dueling Pianos Music and Comedy

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.

music and comedy, comedy music, event, entertainer, comedian, musician,

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.

The Little Luxuries of Life On The Road As A Piano Entertainer

Singing and playing piano for a living as a piano entertainer becomes an athletic event every night onstage.

So in order to be prepared, I need to keep working out. Lifting weights, cardio, conditioning it’s all part of being a professional musician in this day and age.

It’s not all about being able to stay until as late as you want to or any of that anymore. Maybe it used to be before. But not these days. Now it’s s about doing all that we need to stay competitive and viable.

On this latest gig on the road, I am working on a really high end cruise ship entertainer. I feel very fortunate to have a solid contract that allows me to have both passenger status and crew status. I have a ship that has a really nice workout room.

It’s been awhile since I was around good gym equipment.

In our house we have a decent treadmill and some free weights. I do some yoga too. But I haven’t had a gym membership in quite awhile. At least not while I’m on the ship.

So it was with great wonder and satisfaction that I got to use some modern equipment now that I’m working on a cruise ship so much these days. Pretty awesome!

Being able to connect my phone or watch TV on the monitor while I’m working is a fresh, new luxury for me. I also have been getting into podcasts a lot these days. There are a lot of good ones to choose from. I love podcasts so much, I started working on my own and publishing it with original piano music that I write. Go check it out

www.patreon.com/pianomusicshow

And there you go. A good workout, a healthy meal and I was ready to go when we hit the downbeat tonight. Refreshed. Relaxed. Rejuvenated. Show time! piano entertainer 

Call Dan the Pianoman at 773-527-7417
& get your event booked right now! 

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

Life On The Road Playing Comedy Music

piano_musical_comedianUPDATE FROM A COMEDY MUSIC MAN: I’m back home in Chicago after what seems like an endless amount of time on the road, out of the country and doing some truly amazing live music gigs. I played with some very talented musicians, shared the stage with some absolutely hilarious stand ups and some mind boggling good magicians.

I’ve played dueling pianos shows, piano bars, concerts in theaters and cabarets.

The audiences were smart. I got to try out some new material and they were very gracious when the bits didn’t always connect for a home run.

Now I am back home in my new studio in my Chicago apartment. I had only lived here for a few weeks before I left. I don’t even know if this place is my home. So there was one way to find out.

Take the sheets off the recording gear and start writing something. First night home I stayed up until 630 AM just fooling around and playing some new ideas. It feels great.

I don’t know if this is my home yet or not, but I’m going to make it my own …. because wherever you are, there you are!

I’ll be back out on the road again soon. So making the most of this time is essential. As much as I love the studio time, the stage time is my lifeblood.

I’ll be heading out to Barcelona in September of 2016. I want to travel around Europe after that. I notice that Europeans respond slightly different to live music than do Americans. We get a fair amount of travelers here in Chicago at the gigs I play.

Europeans listen to live music differently. The comedy music I write tho, is most definitely slanted for American ears. I’m thinking that when I travel, I will be relying on the music part more so than the comedy part.

Comedy music. It’s not just for smart people anymore.

The Power of Live Music Entertainment Will Astound You!

The Power of Live Music Entertainment
will literally astound you!

Edison said …

“If we all did the things we are capable of doing we would literally astound ourselves.”

The power of music is astounding! I get to see it every night I am playing piano music live in a corporate event or at a club date. I can see it whether I am entertaining in a country club or at a fund raiser.

Yes I can play piano and yes I can sing. But the music isn’t mine. It belongs to all of us and my job is to provide the vehicle for you to climb in and take a ride;

A Magic Carpet Ride.

Ride Sally Ride.

Baby You Can Drive My Car.

The tricky part is letting you know you need it before you know you want it.

So I am here to tell you want it. You need it. You crave live music entertainment and you’re going to be talking about what an astounding time you had last night tomorrow morning and for the rest of your life.

You will remember your event for years to come and maybe even beyond. It won’t because of the bean dip. It won’t be that really funny story Uncle Funky tells every party ever year every time you get guys get together.

It’s going to be the live music you shared. It’s going to be the dancing and the singing and the great memories you’ve created together with me behind the piano or with my band.

I’m not making this up. The music is telling you this is true.
You know how I know?
Let me ask you a question:

Do you remember where you were when you got your first kiss?

Of course you do.

Now what was your favorite song from that time period?

See? You knew instantly.

That’s the power of music.

That song (or songs) that was playing on the radio or on the 8 track player in the car you were in at the time, ingrained your emotional happiness. It became the soundtrack to your life.

That’s the power of music.

It transcends everything that was going on at the time. You don’t remember what you ate for breakfast the morning of your first kiss. But you remember the song that was your favorite.

So call me and let’s create some more great memories with live music entertainment.

I am Dan and I am the PianoMan and I would be honored if you would let me create those moments with you and your friends and family that will last a lifetime.

Live Music Entertainment is Astounding!

Call 773-527-7417

piano music, entertainment for events, fundraising ideas, live music entertainment, piano entertainer,

Piano Music Will Raise Funds. Really!

live music entertainment for events piano player for hire

Live Music Creates Astounding Memories!

This Is Why Comedy Is Funny

A satirist is a man who discovers unpleasant things about himself
and then says them about other people.”
Peter MacArthur

That about sums it up. I love complaining. It sometimes comes out a bit caustic. I think I’m being funny. But my wife says differently.

comedy, chicago, entertainment,

The Zen of Driving

For example, when I’m driving on Chicago streets. I think I’m providing a public service when I let other drivers know how they’re doing. It works especially well in the winter time when I’m screaming at another driver with my windows rolled up. I’m pretty sure my message is getting across fabulously.

But just to make sure they actually get what I am trying to say I use sign language that involves flailing of the arms, extension of the fingers and stretching the facial muscles into contorsive positions the face was not meant to adopt.

Of course, this leads to glandular secretions and onset of early Alzheimer’s because if you were to ask me 5 minutes later what I was so creatively expressing my opinion about, I couldn’t tell you. Perhaps I have moved on to other, more worthy subjects of derision or it just didn’t merit my well intentioned wisdom. comedy 

Nevertheless, I do it strictly for the good of the community, providing a service in the name of entertainment. It’s just in my nature I guess; entertaining the rank and file. It’s cheaper than my shrink and I’m pretty it entertains you.

Plus, I don’t need to set up a play piano.

So thank you for playing along. We’ll see you at one of the music and comedy shows I have scheduled coming up. If I don’t see you then, I’ll see you later. 

Until then .. just remember …

Everything is funny as long
as it is happening to someone else.”
Will Rogers 

These Guys Are Funny …. Looking! Comedy Music and FUN!!!

Comedy Dueling Pianos

Shhhh!!!! Don’t tell anyone. We don’t want the word to get.

These guys are in need of serious plastic surgery and until they get it no one should see them. They’re so funny — looking — that you will laugh until tears run down your face and then you’ll laugh some more because you’re laughing so hard at the people around you laughing. So please don’t come and see these guys until they get some reconstructive surgery to fix their funny looks.

But if you do come out, bring money with you cuz plastic surgery isn’t cheap anymore. It used to be when no one knew what it was. But now the word has gotten out and they can’t raise enough money to fix their funny looks. So if you are planning on coming out to see some great live music and laughs with comedy music that you can laugh at till you go home, Then be sure to bring lots of money.

Live Music in Chicago Brings Out All The Finest Folks

I don’t know what it is about the winter time that gets people acting all weird. Is it the lack of sunlight? Is it the need to stay indoors so you don’t get hurt or injured?

Tonight found a sparse crowd waiting to be entertained and pleased with their very own special kind of goofy. It was truly a sight to behold.

Can you in your wildest imagination think that so many people of such a similar persuasion would all be out on a such a cold, frosty night to hear live music in Chicago. 

I had one guy who could not stop yawning. Every time I looked at him I wanted to tell him to stop.

I had two very large women who could not get enough of each other – or of me – who were utterly and completely convinced that the only way in the entire world to communicate with me was to yell loudly.

I had the guy who struck out with every single lady in the house until he found one who thought it would be desirable to chew tobacco as well. I think those two left together.

Then there was the “Birthday Girl” who wasn’t going to let anyone in the bar forget that it was her “big night”. She was nice enough until somewhere after the 25th or 26th drink that was bought for her. She was working every corner of the room leaving half finished drinks everywhere. (I counted 3 by the bandstand)

As I was getting up to leave and go home at the end of the night, she popped her head from around the corner demanding to know why I didn’t play her request from 2 and a half hours earlier of ‘Blister In The Sun’.

I said, “I thought you left.” So she flipped me off. I thought “Well that’s a classy move.” To which I said, “For a woman in a black out, you sure have a great memory.”

That drew a laugh from the bartenders and the waitstaff. Then I went home.

But not before announcing in my best Harry Caray voice “Good night everybody.”

Piano Music Country Club – Live Music and Comedy

Build Your Own Piano Bar at Your Club

for Your Members. 

Piano music and comedy at its finest.

 

chicago piano player

Chicago Piano Player Entertains!