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How Did I Get Started in Music and Comedy?

Live Music or Comedy? 

People ask me all the time how I got into this? By ‘this,’ they think they mean “playing the piano.” 

But by ‘this’, I think they mean ‘entertaining.’ 

When I was a youngster growing up, I was the middle child. So that’s one reason why I’m so good at making people laugh. The middle child was always in need of attention. They aren’t as important as the first two. The newness of parenting has worn off. So the middle child needed to resort to other tactics.

I picked comedy. Or maybe comedy picked me. Music came along for the ride. 

 

We had dinner as a family every night at the same time. Dad came home on the 5:36 train out of downtown Chicago. After saying grace, my main task was to crack the stern veneer of my Father’s deadly gaze. Manners were very important to him. Not so much to me. 

My first comedy clubs were the family dinner table. It was a packed room of 8 every night. I was ecstatic when someone was invited over for dinner. I could go through my old routines all over again. 

My sister told me later. We should have never laughed at your jokes. It only encouraged you. 

It was not until my early 20s that I realized what a jokester my Dad was. He loved to sing and laugh and always enjoyed a party. But he died too young for both of us. I only have his memory and his letters from home when I was away at camp to remind me.

We would sing. Loud! 

At the local pizza joint in a neighboring suburb, there was a piano player and a banjo player every weekend.  They performed “Follow the bouncing ball,” Sing-along. We would get to eat pizza for dinner — with a Coke. My Dad would have a beer with his friends. 

And we would sing. Loud! 

We also sang at the Catholic school and in church. But nothing beat the pub for really kicking it out. Even if I didn’t know the ‘old fogey’ tunes they were playing, I still learned them and remembered them for the next time. Or figured ’em out before the song was through. 

That’s what happens now when I have a mixed age room. I’ll pick current songs the youngsters want and pack them in with the standards the old folks want. 

Performing doesn’t feel like a gift. I had to earn it. Lord knows, my family was a tough crowd. Mom, Dad, all my siblings didn’t fall for anything.

 

I can’t Dazzle them with Brilliance. Nor Baffle them with Bull. 

The same holds true for every audience since. 

I still view it as a gift when I see the joy in the crowd’s collective faces. Hear their laughter. Enjoy their compliments, handshakes, and hugs. 

I feel like a kid riding his bike for the very first time. Every time I step on stage. 

Let’s be kids again together. Give me a call for your next event. 

Business or pleasure. 

Company events and private house parties. 

I have theme party ideas galore. 

Ice breakers for conventions to let your prospects sales staff get to know each other. 

Surprise birthday parties that create long-lasting memories for all. 

It’ll be a blast! 

 

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  3. Employee Appreciation Night

Don’t Trust Your Next Event Entertainment to an Amateur

Get the only entertainer who will deliver your message that will last for months – not days, with custom written music and comedy created specifically for you, your employees and your company’s culture. Interactive music and comedy that creates good feelings and memories that will last a lifetime.

Book The Piano Music Show for Your Next Holiday Event or Party

Piano Music Show and Comedy
 

Copyright © Piano Music Show 2019, All Rights Reserved

Chicago Piano Player for Hire

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Chicago Piano Player Learns A New Word

 

The Word of The Year for 2018 is …Nomophobia.

Did you know what it means? I didn’t. So I had to look it up. Living in in Chicago as a professional piano player for hire, I found this year’s Word of The Year to be quite important.

 

It means a fear of not having your mobile phone with you.

Sounds real to me. Most fears are not real. This one could be potentially dangerous.

  • Not having a new lead be able to contact you quickly could be a deal killer.

  • Missed last minute gigs from other musicians.

  • Follow up calls from corporate event gigs that are usually built on trust and communication.

  • Notifications of certain special emails.

  • Text messages which most people feel like are to be instantaneously returned nowadays.

Nomophobia. Career killing.
Momentum choking.
Financial catastrophe Danger.

 

Working Chicago Piano Player

Or at least I thought so until I went without my phone for a few days.

I was working on the cruise ship gig. It was back in 2016. I didn’t think I was going to be able to last out there without it. There was little to no wifi available. The ship wifi was unreliable. The wifi in foreign ports was useless unless you went to a Burger King. (BTW The Burger King both in Jamaica & in St. Thomas had horrendous wifi.)

The thought of being unable to return calls and book my next gig was next to impossible to fathom. But I forged ahead.

I found that in a very short amount of time I was able to function just fine. Of course, it helped that I got a better data package. I also made sure I had more than one choice available.

For example, if the ship wifi was out, I could text or send a Facebook Messenger text. But this was back in 2016. So much has changed in that short amount of time.

I’ve noticed through our online marketing that more than 75% of our leads come through mobile. The uptick in videos is skyrocketing. The planned imbalance between land lines and cell phones is practically complete. 

Cruise Ship Entertainer 

If I hadn’t been on the cruise ship for those 2+ years, I don’t know how I would be able to function without my phone. Seriously. It’s one of those things right now. I’ve been back on land since March of 2018. It is now Winter of 2019. I have my blue tooth in my ear all day long. I need to keep charging my phone up every chance I get.

My kids are constantly on the phone. Telling “stories” on their pages and anxiously searching out likes for their pictures. I hate using my phone for that. But I don’t think my adult children are about to change their habits. Their phones are rarely used to actually ‘tele’-phone me anymore. Its usually some sort of group text designed to set up a time for meeting.

So next time you want to call me up and book a gig, I will probably answer right away. Quicker if you’re texting. It’s the way things are these days.

Nomophobia. The future of our lives – exaggerated. 

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Don’t Trust Your Next Event Entertainment to an Amateur

Get the only entertainer who will deliver your message that will last for months – not days, with custom written music and comedy created specifically for you, your employees and your company’s culture. Interactive music and comedy that creates good feelings and memories that will last a lifetime.

Book The Piano Music Show for Your Next Holiday Event or Party

Piano Music Show and Comedy
 

Copyright © Piano Music Show 2019, All Rights Reserved

Music Entertainment Done Right….

Live Music Entertainment Done Right …

Is it an old wive’s tale or is it actually possible today in this modern age of wifi and playlists? 

Live music played by real live musicians is hard enough to find … but when you combine that with a highly skilled entertainer, you’ve got a winning combination … no matter who your audience is, quality entertainment with a focused message for your mission, will link them in ar quicker than just another DJ.

The Holiday season or the monthly sales meeting .. either one will benefit from the buoyancy of live music entertainment at your company parties, at your trade show, at your client appreciation dinner.

Stop thinking about it and contact Dan right away at 773-527-7417

 

PIano Music Maker Satisfies The Masses

As a piano music maker in the piano bars around Chicago  

I get the opportunity to meet and greet some of the finest of citizens.

It is my pleasure to introduce to one such group of fine patrons from the late night gig last week. Just a warning Poison Squirrels, I mean, Boys and Girls, alcohol was involved in this particular encounter.  

This is just one cute little tale I’d love to pull on your coat tails about, Gather ’round kids . . .

;/;/;/;/;/;/;/;/;;/;/;/;/;/;/;/;/;;/;/;/;/;/;/;/;/;;/;/;/;/;/;/;/;/;

I took a break and walked around the room to talk with people at the club and see what they wanted to hear for the next set.

One highly energetic and slightly giddy trio of young women had a request of sorts.

The first one said, “Let’s find you some good songs to play. Do you play any Shania Twain?”

No. I haven’t played any of her songs in years.”

The next wanted to know, “Do you do any Taylor Swift?”

Do I look like I know any Taylor Swift?”

So the next one says, “How about some N’Sync?”

I said, “I thought you wanted to hear something good.”

piano music, live music, comedy,

To All My Friends

They finally laughed. In fact, it was as if someone flipped a switch because then the first one said, “Well I just thought you could spice things up. What Lionel Richie do you know that will really rock the house?”

I smiled and told them, “Ummmmm … how ’bout none?” They got the joke.

I quickly changed the subject by getting someone to take our picture. I love my job!

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-

The best part is I get to play to all kinds of people. When folks have an idea about what they think is going to be a good song, I can usually play it. But as a professional, I know which songs are going to work. Stress the word ‘KNOW’. I’ve been doing this awhile now. I’ve got a repertoire that expands decades. Anything you want to hear will fit. However, as a profession piano music maker, I can tell you, without a doubt, that Lionel Richie will never get the room rocking. Sorry my dear.  Thanks for playing along though. We sure appricate the thoughts and condolences.

 

Life As A Cruise Ship Piano Entertainer

The kids on the cruise ship are hilarious. They are very antsy and energetic. Like, constantly. But mostly right after a meal. They can’t understand how grown ups just want sit back and talk and relax after a good bite. Kids got to get up and run around. They got to do things.

This is especially so when the child has been fed a very steady diet of soft serve ice cream. It can’t be beat. They don’t want anything but french fries and ice cream. Who can blame them? If I didn’t have repercussions from eating like that I would do it all the time. It’s hypnotizing to think about. Donuts and ice cream. No veggies. No rice cakes. Just ice cream. Mmmmmmmm … mesmerizing.

I saw one little tyke this AM who didn’t look any older than 2 years old. I don’t even think he had been walking for more than a month or two. He was holding his Mom’s hand as they were walking along the pool deck to go to the buffet.

It was as if he could smell the ice cream 50 meters away because once he realized where they were going, he just looked up at his Mom as if to say, “Can’t you move any faster Lady?” I mean he was pulling on her limb as if he wasn’t going to stand for the delay in the proceedings and if she didn’t get with the program, he was going to have to release of her of her duties so he could get on over to the ice cream! “Let’s get on with it!” 2 years old.

His poor mother knew exactly what was going on and was not going to release him until he got something nutritious in him first. But she looked utterly defeated. She knew she should not have brought this kid with them on this trip. She thought she was going to catch up on her sleep. She thought she was going to relax. But Nooooo. This 2 year old needed ice cream and immediately after he was going to run around. Probably where danger existed in the form of swimming pools and slippery floors.

I can’t say I miss those days. I’m only working on this cruise ship as an entertainer because our kids are grown up and out of high school now. This is my time to sit back and watch all those parents deal with saying no to ice cream.

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.