dueling piano Players...
by Adam Blue
National Dueling Pianos
Kansas City Dueling Pianos
Florida Dueling Pianos
Omaha Dueling Pianos
Nebraska Dueling Pianos
Iowa Dueling Pianos
are less than 200 noteworthy
dueling piano players in the
United States. That number is rapidly growing,
however, as the popularity of the
dueling piano concept
dueling piano players so rare? Because a
dueling piano player has to have some serious qualifications:
you must have NATURAL musical ability. Natural
musical ability is something that you have to be born
with. You cannot learn it, you either have it or you
don't. There are two types of musicians out there,
those who have natural ability and usually learn by
"playing by ear" and then there's the more geeky musicians
who have little or no natural ability but insist on being
musicians. The latter type of musicians usually go
to "music school" and get their degrees and so forth and
rely mostly on music theory to compensate for their lack
of natural talent.
Dueling piano players are ALL
natural born musicians. There is no sheet music in
the world of
dueling pianos. So, first and foremost
dueling piano player must be a natural.
and this is where most piano players fall off, you must be
FUNNY. Humor is essential in the
dueling piano world
as most of the show is based around shtick and spur of the
moment jokes. So, as you can see, finding someone
who is both musically talented AND humorous is a far
dueling piano player must know EVERY song ever written.
Well, maybe not all of them - but you'd better know most
of them. Dueling
pianos is based upon random
requests from the audience and you have no script to get
you through your performance. This is where the
"playing by ear" concept comes in handy BIG TIME.
Sometimes a dueling pianist will play a song that he has
never even played before - but if he has HEARD it before -
he can usually pick it out quickly and at least make an
attempt at playing it for you. You cannot learn this
ability, you have to be born with it. This is also
why you will sometimes see
dueling piano players using big
songbooks - these songbooks do not have sheet music in
them - but lyrics. Even though a
dueling piano player may have the talent to pick out the melody to a
strange song, he may not know the correct lyrics - thus
the lyrics book comes in handy.
dueling piano player must be able to READ an audience.
It's true what they say, no
dueling piano show is alike,
you never know what you're going to get. A good
dueling piano player can look out at his audience and
decide what genre and era of songs to play, as well as
what comedy rating they will use.
Dueling piano players usually rate their comedy just like movies, G, PG,
PG13, R, and unfortunately sometimes rated X.
Personally I don't like the rated X pianists as I think
it's tacky and I think that you should find ways of
"suggesting" something dirty creatively without being just
plain gross - but that's just me.
and finally, a
dueling piano player must be able to
generate tips. For more tricks of the tip trade see
"Tipping" in my article
"How to set up a Dueling Pianos
So, as you
can see - a
dueling piano player is almost super human,
and this is why there are so few of them.