5 Ways Dueling Pianos Successfully Engage Audiences
Pianists have been entertaining guests at restaurants and lounges for decades. But in recent years, dueling piano bars have grown in popularity. America is now home to more than 200 dueling piano bars, including Pat O’Brien’s in New Orleans. Pat O’Brien’s was the home of the first dueling piano bar in 1933. Today, dueling pianos are popular not only at bars and lounges, but also at weddings, parties, and corporate events.
Incorporating two talented pianists in one location, dueling pianos have become a great alternative to a traditional evening out. Audiences tend to get involved in the experience, requesting songs and cheering for their favorites. For a dueling piano experience to be a success, however, several factors must first be in place.
Whether dueling pianists will be performing in a venue or at an event like a party, piano placement is crucial. Guests must be able to see the pianists and a system must be set up to facilitate song requests. In smaller settings, guests should be able to approach the piano to make requests directly to the pianists, usually in the form of a slip of paper in a glass.
Because audience participation is such a large part of the dueling piano experience, it’s important that both pianists have a large musical repertoire. Songs like Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing and Billy Joel’s Piano Man can almost be expected as requests, but there are songs that are specific to parties and weddings. This list of the most popular songs can help dueling pianists prepare for a dueling piano performance.
The audience expects to be entertained, so sound quality is important. This starts with choosing a venue that is conducive to piano music and is enhanced by the use of a sound technician who can bring the music alive within that venue. In some cases, performers have no control over the sound in a location, but it can make a big difference when pianists have a say in where they perform.
Absence of Distractions
If an audience is surrounded by wall-mounted TVs, that audience may be more interested in watching the big game than enjoying the show. For best results, dueling pianists should ensure there are no distractions to keep the audience as engaged as possible in the performance.
Incorporate the Audience
A successful dueling piano experience includes the audience as much as the pianists. The experience is a very interactive one, from playing the songs guests want to hear to voting on the best performer. For special events, dueling pianists should allow the guests to serve as hosts of sorts, introducing songs and singing if they choose. Bringing audience members on stage is a great way to make the experience memorable for everyone in attendance.
Whether heading out for a night on the town or planning a party or wedding reception, dueling pianos are a unique, fun type of entertainment. Dueling pianists bring audiences into the show and make the experience a participatory one, rather than simply playing music.