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#1709798 - 07/08/11 03:49 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
Yes, Ray, whatever works! Some of my friends now use iPads with fake book apps. Easier than schlepping the music. The main thing? Have a good time.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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Piano & Music Accessories
#1771831 - 10/16/11 10:19 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
ChuckJazzRock Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/16/11
Posts: 4
Hey everyone!

New to the forum. I joined because after a handful of years in jazz piano training I'm itching more than ever to book a gig playing cocktail piano at a restaurant, bar, nightclub, hotel... wherever. I live in Los Angeles so there shouldn't be a shortage of piano venus around. Unfortunately I have no idea how to go about doing getting it done, (finding gigs, booking them, etc.) How would someone describe the steps I'd need to take to accomplish this goal?

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#1771859 - 10/16/11 10:49 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5561
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
I've found this site to be helpful for many things:

gigging musicians forum

But I found my very first paying gig from a friend, and my next one (this coming Fri) from an ad on craigslist smile

I've been volunteering for 2 years at senior venues getting, rather literally, my act together laugh and I've found that really helpful, too. Practicing performing is different from just practicing the music.

Are there any open jams or open mics to start? I've also found that knowing other musicians can be a big help - they can give you an idea of what the going rates are and an idea of what gigging is actually like.

At the very least a business card and a demo cd or a youtube channel are necessary (altho I don't have the latter two - but I had references from my volunteer gigs, and a demo cd is my next project.)

And then there's Robin's book - Piano Girl - which really is an insider's look at the business. Every little bit you can pick up so they're fewer surprises is a good thing smile

And in my case, a day job is a necessity laugh

But have fun with it -

Cathy
_________________________

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#1772188 - 10/17/11 12:36 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: jotur]
ChuckJazzRock Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/16/11
Posts: 4
Thanks for the advice. Yes, I also have a day job. Demo CD sounds like an interesting idea, and perhaps I'll also begin volunteering at old folks homes. Seems like a good, low-pressure venue to start off at!

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#1772353 - 10/17/11 04:49 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5561
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
The low-pressure way to start recording is to join the Adult Beginners Forum on-line recitals smile We're actually a wide-range of experiences, it's just that we're all beginners at something. For you that might be recording. If you visit the ABF now you'll find a thread on "one month to recital panic" or similar laugh and begin to get an idea of what "red dot syndrome" is. I've been submitting there for several years, and it's a great place to learn a lot.

There's also 2 jazz threads over there and a couple of folks have significant performing experience, and you can go to school on them smile . And there's the "Join the JOI jazz group" here on the non-classical forum that will also give you lots to do/try/think about.

You've already started your journey, and PW is a great place to get advice and support.

Cathy
_________________________

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#1772624 - 10/18/11 01:29 AM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Piano Girl RMG Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 702
Loc: Germany
Well said, Jotur/Cathy!

Assuming you're a competent player, Chuck, the best way to learn how to play a gig is to play a gig. Go the volunteer route until you're comfortable. You'll learn a lot and have fun at the same time. You'll also discover that five minutes of solo piano can seem like an hour. A friend of mine (a great bassist who is intent on mastering cocktail piano) recently played one of his first gigs and said he swore the clock was going backwards.
_________________________
Robin Meloy Goldsby
www.goldsby.de
Author of PIANO GIRL: A Memoir
RHYTHM: A Novel
RMG is a Steinway Artist

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#1773047 - 10/18/11 05:24 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: ChuckJazzRock]
Elssa Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/15/05
Posts: 1567
Loc: NY
Originally Posted By: ChuckJazzRock

New to the forum. I joined because after a handful of years in jazz piano training I'm itching more than ever to book a gig playing cocktail piano at a restaurant, bar, nightclub, hotel...

There's also a nice, cozy, smoke-free little piano bar in the ABF where anything goes music-wise, not just cocktail piano style music.. Great place to practice performing. Would love to hear your recordings there sometime. smile

ABF OCTOBER PIANO BAR




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#1773081 - 10/18/11 06:26 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Elssa]
ChuckJazzRock Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/16/11
Posts: 4
Awesome! Will definitely check it out, thanks.

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#1774356 - 10/20/11 08:35 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: ChuckJazzRock]
Redhead1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 134
Welcome, Chuck!
I'm no expert, but I started aggressively pursuing "solo gigs" a few years ago. Interestingly, what has gotten me more work than anything has been a listing on Gigmasters.com. I have also volunteered to play at various fundraisers, which has never led to paying gigs, but if nothing else, it's good practice and helped build my confidence a bit.

I will be starting a brand-new job in a couple weeks, playing at a new department store opening at a local mall. The pay is absolutely pitiful, but I'm very excited about it ... so you might want to check that possibility out in your area.

Good luck and keep us posted!
Redhead

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#1774368 - 10/20/11 09:06 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
ChuckJazzRock Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 10/16/11
Posts: 4
Department stores sound like awesome gigs. How'd you get it?

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#1774391 - 10/20/11 10:07 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: ChuckJazzRock]
Redhead1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 134
Originally Posted By: ChuckJazzRock
Department stores sound like awesome gigs. How'd you get it?


It was pretty easy. Being aware of it was the tough part. I'd heard that Von Maur was opening in town (not even sure how) and I remembered talking to someone in another town who was the pianist there. I applied on line, they called me right away for an interview, then hired me.
Redhead

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#1797937 - 11/29/11 06:38 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: jotur]
Redhead1 Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/07/10
Posts: 134
I have enjoyed this thread so very much. Just read it for the third time over the past several months and thought I'd resurrect it.

About a month ago I got a job playing at a mall department store for about 12-16 hours a week. Up til now I've been semi-successful; I've played maybe a total of 25 weddings and parties over the years. But this is the first time I'm playing regularly like this. It is a fun challenge!

So many things from this thread come to my mind while I'm playing there. I'm trying my darndest to stretch out the songs! I keep thinking of Robin saying, "Develop your own style ... play songs that you like ..."

One thing I wanted to share: One of the sales associates has told me repeatedly that I'm his "favorite" pianist at the store. He comes over sometimes during our shift and tells me how much he loved this song or that one.

Now, I'm sure every pianist there is probably a "favorite" of one of the employees. But my point is this: One of the other pianists finishes up his shift when I show up, so I've heard him play several times. He is technically much more proficient than I am: lots of flourishes, runs, arpeggios, "jumps" to low bass chords, etc. It's very very different from my playing, and in the past I would have probably been upset or intimidated by that.

BUT ... isn't it cool that someone sees me as their "favorite" even though this other guy (and maybe ALL the pianists!) are clearly better than me? I guess there is room for everybody and their different styles and tastes.

Just wanted to share. I thought it might be encouraging to somebody.

Redhead

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#1797945 - 11/29/11 06:46 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Redhead1]
Exalted Wombat Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1197
Loc: London UK
Originally Posted By: Redhead1
One thing I wanted to share: One of the sales associates has told me repeatedly that I'm his "favorite" pianist at the store. He comes over sometimes during our shift and tells me how much he loved this song or that one.

Are you sure he doesn't just fancy you? :-)
Quote:
Now, I'm sure every pianist there is probably a "favorite" of one of the employees. But my point is this: One of the other pianists finishes up his shift when I show up, so I've heard him play several times. He is technically much more proficient than I am: lots of flourishes, runs, arpeggios, "jumps" to low bass chords, etc. It's very very different from my playing, and in the past I would have probably been upset or intimidated by that.

Audiences like to hear the melody. Give it to them, go easy on the flourishes! It sounds like this other pianist may be more technically proficient, but you're the better pianist.

(But I bet the "sales associate" (what a lovely title - so much nicer than "shop assistant") asks you on a date soon :-)

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#1806271 - 12/14/11 07:10 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Exalted Wombat]
Prilly49 Offline
Junior Member

Registered: 12/09/11
Posts: 1
I agree that audiences want to hear the melody and too much distraction is not appealing to them. (Although I'm sure there are exceptions to this.) As an example, a year ago I made a CD of my playing (I'm an amateur and there were mistakes here and there). It was an assortment of 16 songs of different genres, but all pretty basic playing. well, there was a Chopin Waltz included. lol Anyway, I had a friend come over to listen before I finalized the project. After she gave me her stamp of approval, I put on a CD of piano playing by a concert classical and jazz pianist, heavy chords, flourishes, runs, etc. which was quite a contrast from my playing. My friend said she preferred MY playing and would gladly listen to me anytime at a restaurant.


So Redhead, keep it up! I'm glad you are developing fans at your gig.

Your piano friend, Priscilla

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#1806530 - 12/15/11 09:20 AM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Dan Pincus Offline
Full Member

Registered: 04/02/09
Posts: 49
Loc: Illinois, USA
Redhead,

You bring up a very important point pertaining to performance involving improvization. I play Jazz and I have found over the years that trying to keep what I play "understandable" (not necessarily simpler) will be more attractive to both the sophisticated and non-sophisticated listener. You might be surprised, those other players might not be "better" than you. Your music might just be more understandable to listeners. I feel that you can do all the flouishes, arpeggios, jumps, etc. that you want as long as it can be understood by your audiance. Good for you! and keep it up! smile

Dan
_________________________

www.DansPianoJazz.com

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#1811968 - 12/24/11 06:33 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Jeani-Martini Offline
Full Member

Registered: 11/20/11
Posts: 42
Loc: Land of Astro Turf, CA
Originally Posted By: Piano Girl RMG

Note: Please don't ever offer to play for free at a venue that is already paying a pianist (union or otherwise). Bad form, bad manners, and bad for business for all of us. But you know this.


I will have to respectfully disagree on this one :-)

If a burger joint gives away free burgers one day a week, the other burger joints aren't going to get together and tell them to quit because it's hurting their business. This is the nature of the beast in the business world, and the music business is no different.

Billy Joel doesn't shed a tear for me when he is hired for a six-digit amount and I only get a paltry three digit amount. :-)

Don't worry about the other guy's money. There will always be a new musician out there playing for less, even a lot less, but the seasoned veteran has the know-how they have yet to discover. ;-)
_________________________
You can tune a piano, but you can't tuna fish.
Q: What's the difference between the second violins and the violas?
A: About three half-steps.
ba-da-BOOM!

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#1812072 - 12/24/11 11:33 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Jeani-Martini]
Hop Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 654
Loc: Hudson, FL
Originally Posted By: Jeani-Martini
Originally Posted By: Piano Girl RMG

Note: Please don't ever offer to play for free at a venue that is already paying a pianist (union or otherwise). Bad form, bad manners, and bad for business for all of us. But you know this.


I will have to respectfully disagree on this one :-)

Don't worry about the other guy's money. There will always be a new musician out there playing for less, even a lot less, but the seasoned veteran has the know-how they have yet to discover. ;-)



I guess I side more with Piano Girl on this one, although Jeani-Martini makes a point. The music business is unlike most other businesses because it suffers more from over-entry than most other businesses. I wouldn't want to be the one who caused a person to "lose their job", especially if it were a full-time job.

I'd prefer to limit for-free performances to restaurants, elderly living establishments, or private clubhouse situations where there are no paid performers with jobs at risk.

I'm suppose that there could be the possibility of a situation arising where I would violate that guideline, but it wouldn't be often and it wouldn't be without careful consideration of consequences, especially for profeswsional musicians.

Hop


Edited by Hop (12/24/11 11:35 PM)
_________________________
HG178, Roland FP-5, Casio PX 130

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#1851579 - 02/25/12 05:04 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
TromboneAl Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/04
Posts: 794
Loc: Northern, Northern California
Just dropping in for some sympathy. Last night I played my regular gig with my trio, but I made mistakes on almost every tune! I think my confidence was broken with the first two songs, and from then on, I started "thinking about what notes to play" which always spells doom for me. Every time I'd think "OK, this tune is going fine at least," I'd then hit a clunker or forget the chords.

Today I'm trying to view it philosophically, with only partial success.

I broke my rule which says "Don't play a newly memorized tune, unless you've had it memorized for at least three weeks." I'd memorized three tunes in the two weeks prior to the gig.



Edited by TromboneAl (02/26/12 05:51 PM)
_________________________
- Al

My Book: Becoming a Great Sight-Reader -- or Not!
My Blog: The Year of Piano Sight-Reading

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#1852159 - 02/26/12 06:00 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
TromboneAl Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/04
Posts: 794
Loc: Northern, Northern California
Well, today I listened to the recording from last night's gig, and although it wasn't our best night, some of the errors weren't as glaring as I remembered them.

I don't generally like to advertise my mistakes, but for fun, I thought I'd post an example of one of the mistakes.

I Could Write a Book

I miss one note in the first A, and have big problems in the first few measures of the second A.

Any tips on avoiding mistakes like this, other than just practicing the tune more???

Also, is it me, or is the tuning pretty bad for the G and the A (the tune is in C)? This piano was just tuned a few weeks ago, but that tuning involved a pitch raise.
_________________________
- Al

My Book: Becoming a Great Sight-Reader -- or Not!
My Blog: The Year of Piano Sight-Reading

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#1852245 - 02/26/12 09:46 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Hidden son of Teddy Wilson Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 01/27/09
Posts: 111
Your "mistakes" don't sound like mistakes at all - to the listener they sound like micro-variations. You view them as mistakes because you intended to play something different, but you covered them up and it comes out ok. Nobody's reading your mind out there!

That said, if you want to always "play what you hear", then the only way (that I know of) is to know the tune inside out, by practicing it a lot, in every key.

Also practice "playing what you hear" , and do some ear training...

And accept that it won't always be perfect.

But again, you sounded fine.

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#1854662 - 03/02/12 01:46 AM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Redhead1]
Mike Mandaville Offline
Full Member

Registered: 02/28/12
Posts: 93
Originally Posted By: Redhead1


I have enjoyed this thread so very much. Just read it for the third time over the past several months and thought I'd resurrect it.

Redhead



Hello, Redhead. I have been on board here now for less than a week so far, I have read every post in this discussion once already, and now I am going back again to read every one for a second time. I expect to be caught up with you in a short while.

It's a wonderful day in the neighborhood!


Edited by Mike Mandaville (03/02/12 02:02 AM)

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#1855642 - 03/03/12 05:00 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
JerryG Offline
Full Member

Registered: 01/25/06
Posts: 170
Loc: Long Island, NY
Important questions on how I should proceed.

I have been playing for a number of years. I know my theory, chord construction circle of 5ths and much more. I know how to add chord tones below the melody note. I play mostly using open chords or shell voicing. I use mostly 7ths and 9ths in my playing. At this point I can play directly from a fake book, but I can't seem to do much improvisation to the piece.

At this stage in my life at the young age of 72 (last time I checked my age it was 23 so i don't know how I got here) I want to be able to entertain others. However I am in quite a quandry on how to proceed. Each day I seem to embrace one method one day and the next day another.

I have tried to memorize pieces, and maybe I have not been approaching it properly but I can't seem to retain the music. When I was growing up I had a fantastic memory for music. I can still memorize tunes in my head.

I want to develop a repetoire so I can play in public, even if it is just in a nursing home.

Recently I was given a fake book in C. I have had a lot of fun playing the tunes since I can easily sight read and improvise on the fly when the music allows for it. A few years ago I went out to eat and there was a young lady playing the piano. When she took a break I spoke with her. She told me she only plays in the key of C. She said that originally she took a few piano lessons, didn't like them and learned on her own. Quite an interesting story. But I am getting sidetracked here.

My question for all is how to proceed at this stage.

1. Should I go back to playing pieces in the keys they were written in as found in the fake books or would I be losing something by only playing tunes in C.

2. What is the best approach to memorizing. Do you just play a piece until you get it. Do you memorize chord sequences first.

3. Should I be able to add improvisation into the piece and how do you go about it. As I said I can do some improv on the fly but not very well. Do you practice improv that you work out.

4. Keeping up the rhythem is a problem for me since many times I get lost in the piece. I read that you are supposed to just ignore the mistakes when playing so as not to lose the beat. Should I practice all pieces with a metronome.

These are my most perplexing questions. My one goal in life, at this stage besides family, is to be able to perform for others. If I could accomplish this I could depart this earth (which I hope won't be for a number of years still) as a very happy person. Time is passing by too fast. Sorry if I sound a little morbid I don't mean to.

Thanks for your anticipated advise.
_________________________
IJGpiano

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#1855655 - 03/03/12 05:24 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
jotur Offline
5000 Post Club Member

Registered: 09/16/06
Posts: 5561
Loc: Santa Fe, NM
Originally Posted By: JerryG
My one goal in life, at this stage besides family, is to be able to perform for others.


You already have everything you need to do this, except the schedule smile So just call up a retirement home or a nursing home and offer to volunteer.

If what you can do is play fun tunes in the key of C from a lead sheet, well, that's what you do. When I first started I was playing Oh, Susannah and Scottish folk tunes that nobody knew. But that's what I knew how to play, so that's what they got. They loved it.

A half-hour set will take maybe a dozen tunes. So get a dozen ready to go, and I wouldn't worry about whether they were memorized, and just do it. There's no time like right now smile

I'm 66 myself. There are several piano players out there in my circle who are much better pianists than I am. A couple of them have certificates and degrees and stuff. But I'm the one that gigs, because I'm the one that just does it.

You can work in other stuff besides your initial set as you learn it - even if it's still in C, or you have one tune you can do in Bb, or whatever. It doesn't make any difference. The difference is who - just does it, and who just doesn't smile

So just schedule a gig in the next 2 weeks and go for it!

Cathy


Edited by jotur (03/03/12 05:31 PM)
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#1855746 - 03/03/12 08:39 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: JerryG]
Exalted Wombat Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1197
Loc: London UK
Originally Posted By: JerryG
Important questions on how I should proceed.
....


May I contradict you? :-)

What you gave us was a page of completely irrelevent questions regarding your piano technique.

You want to entertain. Good. Go where there's a piano and some people, sit down and play. Just one tune if you like. No need to announce a concert or to get people sitting in rows. WHen you finish the first tune, I'll be very surprised if at least a few people don't applaud! From then on, it's easy.

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#1855839 - 03/03/12 10:57 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: JerryG]
Hidden son of Teddy Wilson Online   content
Full Member

Registered: 01/27/09
Posts: 111
Originally Posted By: JerryG

1. Should I go back to playing pieces in the keys they were written in as found in the fake books or would I be losing something by only playing tunes in C.


It's important to play in all keys. Even if a tune is in C most of the time the bridge might go to a totally different key. For example, Smoke Gets In Your Eyes : if you're in C, the bridge is in the key of Ab. Etc, etc....

Originally Posted By: JerryG

2. What is the best approach to memorizing. Do you just play a piece until you get it. Do you memorize chord sequences first.


First of all you memorize the sound. You have to be able to at least sing the melody. Then you look at the chord sequence, analyze it, recognize structures that are very common (ii-V-I, iii-VI-ii-I, etc) and recognize structures that are strange and make the tune unique.

Originally Posted By: JerryG

3. Should I be able to add improvisation into the piece and how do you go about it. As I said I can do some improv on the fly but not very well. Do you practice improv that you work out.


Improv will come only after you master playing the basic chords and melody.

Originally Posted By: JerryG

4. Keeping up the rhythem is a problem for me since many times I get lost in the piece. I read that you are supposed to just ignore the mistakes when playing so as not to lose the beat. Should I practice all pieces with a metronome.


I'm not sure what you're playing, but if it's the usual jazz standards the most important thing is to establish a beat and then keep it going no matter what. So yes, practice with a metronome, and ignore mistakes, and favor the beat!

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#1856715 - 03/05/12 05:41 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Jazz+ Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/07/04
Posts: 838
Loc: Banned
1. Should I go back to playing pieces in the keys they were written in as found in the fake books or would I be losing something by only playing tunes in C.

Answer: Either way. If C works better for you do them all in C. I like playing in F and Eb the best. I also like G, Ab, C and Bb (the 5 common keys). I rarely play in the other keys

2. What is the best approach to memorizing. Do you just play a piece until you get it. Do you memorize chord sequences first.

Answer: I memorize chord changes first. Then melody BUT ONLY ONE PHRASE at a time. I find the slowest way to learn a tune is to play it all the way through until I get it.

3. Should I be able to add improvisation into the piece and how do you go about it. As I said I can do some improv on the fly but not very well. Do you practice improv that you work out.

Answer: You don't need to add improv, a good melody will carry a tune. You may want to add bits of filler such as chord arpeggios in the gaps (where there is a pause in the melody.) You can also paraphrase the melody. I suggest you go back and forth, keep your eyes on the melody, fill for a bar or two, back to the melody, fill some more, back to the melody. In other words don't stray from the melody for more than 4 bars (8 max).

4. Keeping up the rhythm is a problem for me since many times I get lost in the piece. I read that you are supposed to just ignore the mistakes when playing so as not to lose the beat. Should I practice all pieces with a metronome.

Answer: A metronome is a good idea. You are playing solo piano so you can be quite free with the tempos.
On ballads I often start a tune freely, and go into tempo rather soon thereafter , and then go out of tempo on the B section and then back in tempo for the final A section. Then I repeat back to the B section (skipping the top) and then end with in tempo the final A section.
_________________________
Roland FP-4 digital piano, Mason & Hamlin acoustic piano.

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#1861700 - 03/14/12 12:22 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
TromboneAl Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/04
Posts: 794
Loc: Northern, Northern California
1. Should I go back to playing pieces in the keys they were written in as found in the fake books or would I be losing something by only playing tunes in C.

Take the time to learn them in different keys. 1. It will be easier to play with others. 2. Listeners will enjoy listening more if the keys alternate. Also, if you always play in C, then when a song modulates to another key, you will not be as fluent.

2. What is the best approach to memorizing. Do you just play a piece until you get it. Do you memorize chord sequences first.

Grandmasters can memorize a position from a chess match in seconds. They can do it because they recognize the patterns. So, try to understand the pattern. For example, "ii-V-I in C followed by ii-V-I in Eb." But also just play the piece many times -- at least a few times each day.

3. Should I be able to add improvisation into the piece and how do you go about it. As I said I can do some improv on the fly but not very well. Do you practice improv that you work out.

Usually, you'll play the tune ("head") then improvise for a few choruses (cycles of the song), then the head again. I'd practice this by improvising over a tune for hours.

I have a number of "licks" that I've worked out, and practice them so that they come out of my fingers without conscious thought.


4. Keeping up the rhythm is a problem for me since many times I get lost in the piece. I read that you are supposed to just ignore the mistakes when playing so as not to lose the beat. Should I practice all pieces with a metronome.

Yes. I'm listening to the recordings from a gig I played yesterday. I made some horrendous mistakes, but I always kept the beat going.
_________________________
- Al

My Book: Becoming a Great Sight-Reader -- or Not!
My Blog: The Year of Piano Sight-Reading

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#1861715 - 03/14/12 12:43 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
daviel Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 11/14/07
Posts: 933
Loc: Waxahachie, Texas
Try the metronome clicks on 2 and 4.
_________________________
"She loves to limbo, that much is clear. She's got the right dynamic for the New Frontier"
http://roadhouseallstars.com/

David Loving, Waxahachie, Texas

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#1861754 - 03/14/12 01:42 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
TromboneAl Offline
500 Post Club Member

Registered: 08/12/04
Posts: 794
Loc: Northern, Northern California
Show and tell time...

I had one of my very rare solo gigs yesterday, at a mixer for a local chamber of commerce. I was very lucky to be able to play on this wonderful 1930's vintage Steinway, which was recently tuned:



If you look just over the music stand, you can see my Zoom H2 which I used to record the performance. It worked very well.

I enjoyed the gig. It was very loud with all the talking in the echo-y room, and I realized as I was playing, that almost no one would notice the mistakes I made. I was just a nice background sound to most of the people.

Which was a good thing, because I made a lot of mistakes. I really want to reduce the frequency of these clunkers -- does anyone have any advice on this? I felt very well-prepared for this gig, and played many of the tunes until I was sick of them.

Also, this two-hour gig was more tiring than one of my trio gigs. I only waited a few seconds between pieces (didn't have to wait for the bass player to find the music for the next song), and there was no relaxing during bass solos.

I'm sure that when I am more used to solo playing, I can play with less effort.

Here's an excerpt of my playing of Misty. The mistakes I make here are typical.

Misty Excerpt

Any suggestions concerning my playing would be appreciated.

And here are the tunes I played. The time estimates from my SetMaker application were very accurate.

***** SET 1 *****
Til There Was You
Don't Get Around Much Anymore
Blue Skies
Someday My Prince Will Come
St. Thomas
Summertime
Fly Me to the Moon
Cast Your Fate to the Wind
Misty
Easter Parade
On Green Dolphin Street
Tenderly
Take the A Train
Sweet Lorraine
Take Five
Bewitched
1 Hr. 4 Min. 28 Sec.

***** SET 2 *****
If I Only Had a Brain
Polka Dots and Moonbeams
Lady Madonna
My One and Only Love
Linus and Lucy
Pennies From Heaven
Girl from Ipanema
St. James Infirmary
Afternoon in Paris
Blue Monk
Moon River
Satin Doll
Ain't She Sweet
Have you Met Miss Jones
All of Me
55 Min. 10 Sec.


Edited by TromboneAl (03/14/12 01:45 PM)
_________________________
- Al

My Book: Becoming a Great Sight-Reader -- or Not!
My Blog: The Year of Piano Sight-Reading

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#1861767 - 03/14/12 01:54 PM Re: Let's Talk Cocktail Piano [Re: Piano Girl RMG]
Exalted Wombat Offline
1000 Post Club Member

Registered: 02/28/09
Posts: 1197
Loc: London UK
Well done!

You faded out just before we could hear if anyone applauded! There's usually a few who are listening and enjoying.

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