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Mark Leeds


Play piano at parties

My piano technique has degraded to almost non-existent after decades of not practicing at all. Yet, people still ask me to play something at parties where there happens to be a piano. I can play both parts of Heart and Soul at the same time, and in any key. That's the extent of my piano tricks. What are some ideas and pieces that would make it possible to minimize any practice, yet still impress at parties?

    1. Chopin Prelude in E minor - the impressive dark one that they always use in movies

    2. Original piece. What would be better than to put some time into an original piano piece that sounds classical. Then say, "I wrote that one."

    3. Bach Prelude in C Major - super easy, but some memorizing to do.

    4. Learn the beginning of several piano concertos where the piano comes in. They usually start easy. Then act like I have to do something and trail off when the hard part comes up.

    5. Solfeggio In C Minor by CPE Bach. Easy, but looks to non-pianists like you are really good. Probably requires 5 minutes practice daily. I learned it recently and then forgot most of it at the next party.

    6. The middle section of Chopin's Fantaisie Impromptu. I used to play the whole thing well enough to fool non-pianists. Now, the easier middle section would be impressive enough.

    7. Parts of Claire De Lune - I think it looks hard on paper, but sounds easy.

    8. Pachelbel Canon - I hate it, but people at parties might hum along and like it. An easy version of course.

    9. Hit radio songs. Get a song book. Will take practice. Try to mostly learn the chords and practice faking it through with chords and melody.

    10. Learn a few impressive jazz progressions. I have one that sounds good when it is transposed, but I start messing it up in some keys. I need at least a few more.

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