Piano party ideas?

Posted by: Playmisty4me

Piano party ideas? - 12/19/07 05:48 PM

I have searched this topic and already found some good ideas, but still have a couple of questions.

I am in the beginning planning stages of hosting my first piano party toward the end of February. It will be a small and informal party, probably less than 10 people, mostly female. All ages, all skill levels, just local friends. Will be in the afternoon with simple refreshments, like cookies and different teas. (Like I said, VERY informal.)

I don't really plan much of a structure, but my questions:
1) Suggestions on an "ice breaker" to get the playing started?
2) Should I have my sheet music "on display" for those who like to sight read? Should I ask people to bring their own? Not everyone memorizes (I don't!). Both?
3) Food will not be in the piano room. Is there a polite way to ask people to wash their hands before playing? (EEK! No cookie crumbs in the Steinway, please........) What is a good and safe way to clean the keys?
4) How about duets (I have 2 artist benches)? I don't have duet music but my teacher has lots and she will be coming. Is this fun or a potential disaster?

Any ideas greatly appreciated!
Posted by: Les Koltvedt

Re: Piano party ideas? - 12/19/07 06:21 PM

First off...RELAX...
just inform everyone that you would prefer them to keep the food and beverages away from your BABY...your prized posession. Also, don't put any tables near the piano...if theres no where to put something, they won't be tempted.

If you don't serve any STICKY stuff, chances are they won't have sticky fingers to muck up the keys. To clean them, just a damp cloth should be fine. I wipe them done with a damp cloth, then I dry them right away, I do about 2 octives at a time.

Other than that...all your ideas are fine, inform them to bring their own music if they need to. maybe even have a solo piano CD playing to set the tone when everyone shows up..

just my $0.02
Posted by: bitWrangler

Re: Piano party ideas? - 12/19/07 06:35 PM

Yes, don't stress out. We have had two "piano" parties (we hosted the first, friends hosted the second) in the last two weeks. Actually they were "music" parties, while the piano was the "centerpiece", other instruments were played.

One thing we did was to have a more "distinct" playing time that followed the "eating" time to minimize the potential for dirty hands making it to the piano. This also kept the focus on the music. In the second party (we did not host) there was more a mingling of eating/socializing vs playing and it created a situation where you had conversations etc going on while people were playing, and this was a bit of a distraction.

Encourage people to bring whatever music they need. You can also keep your books out as someone might stumble upon something they might want to play.

Duets are doable too, depending on the level of those who are playing. This can be improvised if the players are up to it, or if there are decent sight readers, you'd be surprised how quickly folks can pick up on a duet. This brings up a good general rule, the more people you can get involved, the merrier. Pick music that have lyrics (since it's the Xmas season, Christmas music is an obvious and easy choice) and have folks sing, it's a blast and perfect for an informal gathering.

Relax and enjoy yourself, a happy and relaxed host usually makes for a party that is the same.
Posted by: mullyman

Re: Piano party ideas? - 12/19/07 07:33 PM

I liked the "wash your hands first" line. I think there are a few different ways to go about that. First, everyone has a different personality and saying "Wash your hands before you touch the piano" could come off as either a funny little piece of advice or it can come of as being bitchy. That would depend on how people perceive you. If it was me I'd tell everyone straight up "Wash your hands or I'll cut them off" people would giggle and the point would be made. I think the best way to get it across would be to say it as an after thought after you've welcomed everyone and explained why they're all here today. When you finish with your welcome message start to take a step away and then catch yourself and make the comment....with a smile and a lighthearted laugh.

Another approach would be to make a cute little sign to set on the piano that tells everyone to wash their hands first.

Either way I would hope that the people coming to the party would have the common sense and decency to do it without having to be told....but you know how people are these days.
MULLY
Posted by: CC2 and Chopin lover

Re: Piano party ideas? - 12/19/07 07:50 PM

I've had several piano parties, all of which have been terrific fun. I have found, however, that when you invite non-players, the potential for conversation and distractions is much greater. People who don't play are often, (but not always), more used to having piano music be something in the background as they converse. On the other hand, a player wants to be heard and wants to hear how others play. Therefore, they are MUCH more likely to listen and minimize distractions. If you make it clear that you would like everyone to get a chance to play, and listen to, your amazing instrument, that would go a long way toward a truly musical event. Also, I agree that you should eat first, then move off into the piano area. Maybe you could ask everyone to let you know what five pieces they would like to play....then maybe you could make up a little program with the information about each piece. That would allow you to control the time each person gets to play and will also cue them to bring their music along. Later on, if you like, you could invite folks to just mosey over and play at will.
Posted by: loveschopintoomuch

Re: Piano party ideas? - 12/19/07 07:55 PM

Chopin, himself, insisted his students wash their hands before touching the piano, so you can use this bit of trivia, perhaps....to get your point across without sounding overly uptight. And have fun.

Kathleen
Posted by: Playmisty4me

Re: Piano party ideas? - 12/21/07 03:52 PM

Thanks for the ideas. I like the "no sticky food" idea. Kind of a "duh..." that I hadn't thought about :rolleyes: .

On to the potential guest list, I'm already getting excited \:\) .