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
 

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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

Piano Player for Hire Chicago Suburbs … and Beyond!

As a full time, professional piano player for hire, I love living here. Chicago is a great city.

The suburbs are loaded with wonderful opportunities for live music too.

2018 has been a great year in so many ways. The weather has been fantastic! Lots of warmth and only occasional (sometimes heavy ) snowfall.

I love the diversity of this city. I love the diversity of my gigs. This Holiday week was no exception.

Thursday we played a Dueling Pianos gig up in Wisconsin. It was a company party. Company Christmas parties are the best. People really know how to turn out after working so hard all year. turning out to be a regular gig because the response has been overwhelming. Word is getting out about the fun to be had at Gruben’s on Thursday.

Friday we got a call to play a last-minute slot in Central Illinois. All American Dueling Pianos went out to a club date for a Cabaret-esque kind of show. It wasn’t packed. There were only about 100 people there all night. But we got to stretch out a little bit. I got to do some comedy because people were sitting theater style. It sort of forced them to actually pay attention to the punch lines.

My dueling pianos partner for the night got to do a whole bunch of Sinatra and Tony Bennett. Then later the dance floor filled up and we went through all the current hits that got requested.

Saturday Night turned into a long day. I started by playing a 3 hour recording session for some spots I’ve been producing for a multi-media company who needs original music.

Then I headed out to Barrington Hills, IL for a swanky event at some friends’ home. Private house parties are the way to go at this time of year. No need to worry about traffic or parking or bad weather.

Jackie & Tom had me out to their home for their Annual Holiday Bash. It was the third time I’ve been out there play ing solo piano.

When you build your own Piano Bar, There’s no need to let me leave. We partied until close to 3 AM.

Then Sunday afternoon was a surprise 60th Wedding Anniversary in Lake Bluff, IL. VERY low key and the perfect end to a sweet, enjoyable weekend. Playing all the standards from 50s, 60s and beyond was a true test of my versatility.

But it was the joy of seeing old friends and family connect again over lunch and laughs. There was a video montage of photographs playing on the TV. Everyone enjoyed reminiscing. So I played the soundtrack. Very low key and extremely cool to be part of such a celebration.

Plus, our hosts asked me to MC a ‘game show’ for the celebrants. 

I must say it is an honor to be able to play music every day of every week. Bringing joy and laughter (and sometimes tears) is a gift I am truly grateful for and I wouldn’t be able to do it without you.

Call to book your private party, company events, and anniversary parties. It would be an honor and a pleasure. 

773-527-7417 is the number to call and afterward, you’ll be glad you did.