The piano is a wonderful and time-honored instrument that millions have found enjoyment in. Dueling pianos is a type of piano show in which two or more people play pianos on stage. They take turns playing songs and singing, and there are sometimes comedy bits and other routines thrown in as well. Audience requests are usually taken and performed. Shows like this are pretty challenging, so it can be helpful to take some dueling piano lessons before you will be able to really shine.
Taking lessons as a normal pianist is the first step. You can find a local piano tutor in your area through the classifieds section of newspapers, local ad agencies, and classifieds web sites. Getting a teacher recommended to you by someone you trust for dueling piano lessons is preferable, but this won't always be possible.
If you have trouble finding a teacher, there are plenty of online resources available to help you out. Find PianoLessons.com and PianoTeachers.com can both help you find local dueling piano lessons. These sites contain large databases of piano tutors from all around the United States. You will be able to see what they look like, read some information about the teacher, and contact them if necessary before you make your choice.
Once you know how to play the piano, you will need to learn how to duel. You should know that dueling piano lessons will be more complicated and very different than ordinary lessons. For one thing, you will need to learn how to sing and play simultaneously. In dueling piano shows, the players come with pieces prepared but many of the songs come from audience suggestions and requests. The audience members will sometimes include cash in their requests, meaning that you should definitely know how to play as many requests as possible. Suggestions that don't include a tip don't often get played: thus the difference between a "request" and a "suggestion".
Since people will be requesting songs for you to play, you will need to learn how to be spontaneous and play anything you need to. You won't be able to rehearse all of your pieces beforehand and then play them one by one. If you don't have a large song repertoire, you won't last long as a dueling pianist. Dueling piano lessons will teach you how to keep a crowd engaged and lively throughout your show. You will need to be entertaining, good humored, and funny.
Most of the songs you will need to learn will be rock and roll, country, R&B, and classic rock. Your dueling piano lessons should include songs like 'Great Balls of Fire', 'Piano Man', 'Brown Eyed Girl', and 'Sweet Caroline.' The more songs you know, the better.
It will be a good idea to know your audience and do some preparation beforehand. For example, if you know that there will be college students at the show, you will need to learn some university anthems. Students will often compete to get their anthems played by giving bigger and bigger tips, so keep that in mind.
Sure you might be able to learn by yourself, but getting dueling piano lessons will help you in many ways. An experienced teacher can save you a lot of time and frustration by pointing out the biggest things you are doing wrong, and giving you tips on how to engage the audience. Remember that learning an instrument takes a lot of time and dedication, but there is nothing stopping you.
Photo Credit: Gordon Tarpley