Tag Archives: music and comedy

The Artist’s Way and Creativity

Last week I talked about The Artist Way. As one part of The Artist’s Way exercises that I use to stay so creative and productive all the time is Journaling.

It’s a pretty simple tool. I’ve been journaling pretty much every morning now for … I don’t know …. maybe ten years now. In that time I have written countless blog posts, newsletters for subscriber lists, sales letters and other marketing materials for my music business. I also use it to stay fresh on stage with my improv comedy. But I am constantly writing songs, lyrics, piano pieces, for my CDs and for other artists, podcasts, plays, stories …. I mean the list goes on and on. It seems to be a never ending font of available source of creative energy.

I credit it, in major part to, writing in my journal everyday.

I think of it as ‘cleaning the pipes’, if you will. A data dump from the chatter of useless thoughts that get in the way when I am trying to write for a deadline for a corporate event or for an advertising piece.

What I do, what is suggested in Julia Cameron seminal book, The Artist’s Way, is to write 3 pages long hand in a notebook every morning right after waking up. Boom.

I can write about anything. I can write jibberish. Mukka Lukkah Whukkah Bukkah Blabber Dab fest swing set.

I can complain. “Oh my horrible hang nail.” “I need a haircut.” “When am I gonna get a new car?” Anything.

It can be dreams. Ambitions. Goals.

It can be Mantras or prayers. Or affirmations.

I think of it as transmitting to the universe. Clearing the way to work things out that I am thinking about.

Everyone talks about being positive all the time. I find that next too impossible. Sometimes I need to whine a little bit. The daily journal is a good place to do it. Plus, once I got into the routine of constantly writing every morning, I found that on the days that I didn’t get to it, I really missed it. So I would do it in the afternoon when I got a break.

It is suggested to get a notebook. But sometimes I write on my lap top or on my ipad if that’s what I have available. But its not the same. I can tell by my hand writing what kind of mood I am in or what I am feeling even if the words don’t exactly communicate it all.

I know some folks keep a really nice journal book. They maybe have a nice leather bound cover that they swap out new notebooks in as they get filled up. I like to go with the Standard College Ruled 1 Subject Notebook. Spiral bound.

Sometimes I splurge a little on nice pencils. But I prefer the mechanical pencils with the .09 lead. I press down on the page pretty hard some mornings when I get going and I’m in my zone. I like the different colors and feel of the pencils in my hand. I’ll put a link at the bottom of this page so you can see what I’m talking about.

So look at this book by Julia Cameron if you want to develop your creativity. It is excellent. It’s not just for musicians or artists necessarily. She talks in the book about people from every different occupation benefiting from these activities. Anyone can use them to enhance their creativity. Try it. I’ve had mind boggling good results. You will too.

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.

Artist’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

Comedy — How Am I Supposed To Do This with Music?

So I was thinking the other day. I know that’s a bad habit. But I do it anyway. Comedy

The thing is, I find myself thinking more and more all the time about this and thinking about that but it doesn’t stop me or slow me down at all.

You’d think I’d be done by now. But No-o-o-o-o-o!!!

I keep doing it all the time. Sometimes I don’t even notice I’m doing it. It just happens. Without my knowledge.

Thinking that is.

Thinking about things I’ve already thought about and things that I think I should think about in case something I was just thinking about should happen to come true. It’s ridiculous really and there appears to be no end in sight. None.

So I came up with a possible solution. Something I think might work (damn it I did it again). I don’t know if it will work or not.

Anyway, here it is. I think I should think about the things I want to think about and nothing else. Comedy works. Music is fun. Sports are a little annoying but whatever. 

What do you think?

(Crap!) Now I’m going to think about your thoughts which could be worse than being stuck on my own.

Well, have at it.

As you long as you don’t respond with “Let me think about it”.

We’ve got enough of that going on around here.

Need some custom written comedy and music for your next corporate event? Give me a call. I will think about it. But when I’m done, I’ll have some excellent live music and comedy all ready for you that will improve employee production, increase their profit potential and deliver your message and mission statement faster, more efficiently and completely legally.

Music and comedy. The most fun you can have with your mouth in public!

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.

Repetitive Spontaneity with Dueling Pianos

What?!? Another dueling pianos show? We know how to keep it fresh and spontaneous. How? Well … We use spontaneous music and comedy like no one else.

Yes. Another dueling pianos show again tonight. It was a little light last night, Friday. But the people who did show up had a great time. A small but mighty crowd as we like to say.

All American Dueling Pianos Live Music and Comedy for your corporate event

Live Music and Comedy Dueling Pianos

We promise to be completely spontaneous

— all over again.

It’s a lot of fun getting onstage not knowing if the audience is going to respond. Friday night was like that at a corporate event in Peoria IL for our dueling pianos show.

At first they weren’t sure if they liked us.
Then they weren’t sure if we were funny.
I’m not event certain they thought we were very entertaining because
at first, they just sat there looking at us and smiling.

But by the end of the night they knew. They KNEW! Good crowd. Better one on Saturday Night. We were performing for a charity event fund raiser entertainment for a church near Chicago that night.

We do it with Live Music and Comedy. Our comedy is customized to fit your event. We do it by asking all the right questions in advance of the date. And we do it through highly skilled improvisation honed over the years by performing with the greats.

Connecting with the audience is the key. But it won’t work unless your performers are authentic. As you know, a dueling pianos sow can be a whole bunch of mirror balls and fog machines. But it is not necessary. A true dueling piano show has two pianos, two mics and an audience.

The best performers play an audience as well as they can play a piano. That’s what we do at All American Dueling Pianos. We play an audience by connecting in an authentic fashion. No fancy gimmicks. Straight ahead music and comedy specifically designed for your group. Try it ..

You will be certain by the end of the night then too … you will laughing out loud and dancing up a storm … All completely spontaneously.

So if you want to get completely spontaneous all over again at your next event …

Call us at 773-527-7417

Holiday Party Ideas New Years Entertainment

Holiday Party Ideas? Think about this …

This year’s holiday party season has come to a close. It was a very interesting and varied schedule of private parties and company events.

I didn’t have many offers for NYE gigs this year. I had some bar gigs offered. I had a couple of restaurant gigs. But since Amber’s birthday is on New Year’s Day, I like to take something new and memorable. Not that I have anything against restaurant gigs. I’ve just played my share of them so much over the years, that I know they are kind of quiet and low key. Most people who go out to a restaurant on New Year’s Eve are there to celebrate early and be home by 1030.

Those that do go out to a bar are looking for a raucous time. It’s a rare night out for those folks who don’t usually go out all that often. Those of us in the business call New Year’s Eve ‘Amateur Night’ for all the reasons you can guess.

But this year I was rewarded for holding out for an interesting gig. I got a call for a private house party through an agent friend of mine. It was going to require a bit of travel. But the weather has been so mild this year that I thought it would be fun to take a road trip to the eastern part of the USA.

Our hostess had bought her childhood home in Malone, NY – a small town in upstate New York – about 30 miles from the Canadian border. The shortest distance to her home town was through the lovely country of Canada. We left in enough time to avoid a storm which smacked everyone pretty good with some sleet. But we were counting on the Canadians’ extensive experience in snow removal techniques to remain safe and unscathed. We were correct.

Not only were the roads clear and dry, there were fewer pot holes in the entire province of Ontario than there were down my entire Chicago street where I live.

piano music canada, holiday party ideas We were able to stop in Toronto for the night and heard some stellar jazz cats ringing it at an open session. Even tho I am an alum of The Second City, I have never been up to our sister city of Toronto. Very international feel to it all. And people seemed very chill, relaxed and easy going.

I wondered why that is …

Do you suppose it’s because there is less of a chance of getting shot or mugged? Or do you suppose it’s because Canadians don’t fear losing their homes and their life savings if they get sick or injured?

piano music montreal, holiday party ideas, On the return trip we made it a point to visit Old Montreal. Well worth the effort if you’ve never been. It was an easy trip from Malone, NY. Kind of like a trip to Milwaukee for most Chicagoans. Except there was less cheese and more class.

There’s way more to this story of this year’s new Year’s Eve party celebration. So tune in again later to hear more.

MLB Food 2015 Makes The Great American Past Time Even Greater

Here is my latest Blogcast! 

A variation on the blog post I sent up on Opening Day in MLB. This week we regurgitate an age old topic with a new new twist: MLB Food 2015

Enjoy! And be sure to share with your friends. We’re sure you got some … !!!

Did You Hear What Stephen Hawking Said About One Direction?

It’s nearly impossible to believe this guy Stephen Hawking could be any smarter. Seriously!

It was amazing how astute our biggest brain in this universe came up with this. Was he thinking about it before he spoke? Or did he come up with the answer before he was even asked.

Stephen Hawking, arguably the biggest brain in our known galaxy, was asked a question about fav rave boy band One Direction and the new direction their lead singer was taking. IOW,

What are the cosmological effects of Zayn Malik leaving boy band One Direction?

See what he said here:

 

http://glogleemusic.tumblr.com/post/118122779623/stephen-hawking-was-recently-asked-about-one

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.

The Story of Ralph. Piano Music: Thirst Quencher For Your Soul – Part 2

Thanks for your patience if you had to wait a day for this sequel;

Piano Music Fan: The Story of Ralph.

If you’re reading this for the first time, you might want to go check out yesterday’s blog post. Either way … we continue …

Ralph was watching me perform on stage in front of 400+ people at a company event. He knew what I charged the company for this entertainment for their event. Ralph was in finance. He thought it was way too much for one guy to make in 3 hours onstage what he made in a week. He was like, seriously? What’s the point?

But there was something in the way the piano music was so … uplifting. It became the center of the room and all the activity within. He couldn’t not tap his foot because of the infectious groove. How could all that music come from one instrument? There were no drums. There was just this guy on the piano with a microphone. Okay the stage looked really good. And it was perfectly placed in the room so that everyone had access to him and could talk to him. But, seriously. One piano and one microphone?

But the way he invited people to make requests and to sing along was smooth and inviting. Ralph didn’t remember the words to the songs but he knew the songs he was playing. Ralph found it really easy to sing along and even tho he had a very good memory, he couldn’t remember all the words.

Almost without noticing Ralph found himself getting closer to the stage. He was singing for the first time in years. Not since his days in high school choir had he felt this good. He was singing even though he wasn’t much of a singer. It was an enjoyable part of his life he had let slip away when he started working in accounting right after graduation form high school.

His happiness spread to his face. He was laughing for the first time in what seemed like an eternity. He started remembering songs he hadn’t thought of in years. And when he asked the piano player about them, he was surprised to learn he knew most of them. When the piano entertainer started playing his favorite songs, he noticed other people knew them and liked them too. Especially this one woman who was across from Ralph on the other side of the piano.

When I play piano at a company event or a fund raiser people ask me all the time, “Don’t you get tired of playing the same old songs all the time?”

I tell them, “No. Not as long as everyone is getting into them.”

If I have the chance, I usually go on to say, “I look in everyone’s eyes to see that sparkle of joy and contentment.”

Privately, I look for that moment when you have forgotten the weight of your world and you let go of the mundane and let the music take over.”

holiday party ideas, company events, piano music, entertainment for events,

Great Entertainment for Events

I saw that look in Ralph’s eyes on that frosty cold night in February. It took hold before he started moving away from the edge of the convention center wall. I saw music soar through his soul as he came closer to the piano. I saw him relax and forget his old, shy, social habits as he stood shoulder to shoulder with everyone else singing along at the piano.

I saw that timeless sparkle in his eyes when he saw her across the room. So I looked for her. There she was to my left, a simply beautiful brunette in the dazzling necklace. Wow!

She was also looking at Ralph but in a whole new way. He was barely recognizable from his daily personae. ‘Janet’ wasn’t even sure it was Ralph from down the hall from her cubicle in marketing. His tie was loosened. His hair was messy (as usual) but it looked a whole lot cooler when he was dancing. Was this really Ralph?

Without thinking Ralph crossed to the other side of the piano and said something to her that made her laugh. There was that twinkle in their eyes again. Only this time it had grown roots.

They never left each others’ side the rest of the night.

By the end of the night he was standing next to ‘Janet in Marketing’, arm in arm with her and his other co-workers whom he had never talked to very much before.

His cheeks hurt from something he didn’t normally do at a company event or from anything he did much at work – smile that is.

I was asked back to perform the next year. This time we brought a dueling pianos show into the festivities. ‘Twice the Fun’ as we like to say.

Janet and Ralph were still together. They didn’t get married. They were dating tho. He wasn’t sure he wanted to get married or have kids. He was in his 30s now and, honestly, he wasn’t sure how to be a Dad having never received much parenting when he was a kid.

But Janet has two kids from another marriage whom he loves dearly. And they love seeing their Mom be so happy with Ralph. He was a really nice guy. Not loud like most men. Just really quiet – and happy.

Would you like to create memories that last a lifetime with live music entertainment at your next event? Then give me a call at 1 773-527-7417 and I will supply piano music fun that brings everyone together with interactive music and comedy. Seriously!

P.S. Ralph was now the head of the accounting department. This year he eagerly approved the expenditure.