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How To Pick The Perfect Pianist For Your Party

How To Pick The Perfect Pianist For Your Party

Looking for some iconic party lounge music, or stripped back versions of pop party songs for your event? The Alive Network pianists are here to tell you all about choosing the perfect pianist for your wedding, corporate event or other private party.
Also see our pianist singers page.

What To Look For In A Party Pianist

It's perhaps the iconic background music for a party, a pianist tinkling the ivories for an elegant and relaxed atmosphere. In reality, a pianist can add so much more to your party, from upbeat tunes to get everyone in the party mood, to replacing the DJ!

So, what should you look for in a great party pianist, and how do you choose the right pianist for you? We asked the people most qualified to answer - our talented pianists on the books here at Alive Network!

Being a party pianist is all about entertaining a diverse audience (your guests), so previous experience playing for all sorts of people is a definite plus, as piano player Lee Mathews explains:

An experienced pianist will have played for all kinds of parties in all kinds of places. I’ve played in The Globe and Harrods, and for celebrities from Dawn French to Madonna. I then use that experience to delight at your private or family parties!

Another key factor is having a wide repertoire, like Brighton-based Joe Johnson.

A good party pianist will always have a wide repertoire of music. I have literally hundreds of tunes at my fingertips, from jazz favourites to vintage pop from the 50s and 60s, to modern hits by the likes of Coldplay, Norah Jones and Take That.

An expert party pianist will ensure the music they play is what you will enjoy too. Pianist Hannah Daisy says:

I usually talk to clients to get a sense of the perfect music for them and their guests and they often pick out specific requests from my list. I prefer to play things by ear on the night in terms of order and judge the right songs to play to suit the mood of the room.

If your venue has a piano already, most pianists will play it, so long as it is well looked after and has been tuned in advance. If no suitable piano is available, look for a pianist with their own digital piano and suitable sound system, like jazz pianist Gary Davies.

I travel with my own Roland digital piano, which sounds superb, and a 400watt PA system so guests can hear me even in the largest marquee or party venue.

Even the most talented pianist will need to take a break at some point in the party, but if you don't want the music to stop, classy cocktail pianist Gary Llewelyn has the answer!

To keep the party going in between my sets, I provide a iPod packed with music that complements what I play live. So, guests can enjoy music even while I’m having a quick rest!

How Do You Choose The Right Pianist For You?

With so many excellent pianists available, choosing the right one for your party is often a case of the 'best fit' for your party atmosphere.

• Elegant and sophisticated
• Relaxed, laid back, chilled - or jumpin'!
• Ditch the DJ!
• Variety is the spice
• Local pianists for less cash

For an elegant look, Edmond Oakley suggest a little bit of theatre-style illusion…

If the venue doesn’t have a piano, but you want the classy look of a real piano, no problem! My white baby grand piano shell looks like the real thing, and with my digital piano inside, sounds like it too.

There's practical and cost-effective reasons for using one too, as Lee Mathews explains:

For a sophisticated touch for a party drinks reception, a collapsible baby grand piano shell is perfect. It looks good; it can fit into spaces and through doors where grand pianos cannot, and with none of the considerable costs of moving and tuning a ‘real’ grand piano.

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Piano music can be just the music to kick back and relax to, or to get the party started, as London pianist Jon Andrews explains:

I create a sultry, soulful atmosphere with my playing, perfect for ‘chillaxing’ or sipping some cocktails to. I can also liven it up and many guests love to have a little boogie.

Joe Johnson likes to change the mood with a little help from his friends;

If clients want a more lively sound, I can play one part of the evening solo before being joined by a singer or other musicians - two acts in one!

Not everyone loves a full-on disco, but most party guests do love to dance. So, surprise them with superb dance music played live by a pianist like Hannah Daisy.

A pianist can be an unusual alternative to a DJ. I play upbeat music that fills dance floors all night, or for a more ‘interactive‘ party experience, I love playing for party sing-alongs, so much more personal than karaoke!

Pianists are a talented bunch, and some of them are superb singers too, which can be really to your advantage, as singer-pianist Lily Davies suggests.

Having a pianist who also sings is an easy way to bring a broader range of atmosphere to your event, and without the extra expense of organising another performer.

If your budget is tight, but you still want the best, pianist Mark Wesley has an excellent suggestion.

Booking a locally-based pianist can save you £££s on travel costs. I’m based in Lincolnshire, so I can travel to East Anglian venues more easily and more reliably, as I know what the traffic and the weather might be like…

And there's more…

Take a little time to browse through the Profiles of pianists here at Alive Network, and you'll soon discover those little details that mark out an Alive Network pianist from the rest. Some will happily take requests, some will learn your favourite song (or two), and others will even dress appropriately to your party's theme or colour scheme!

Remember, you can always add pianists to your Wish List, compare your favourites, and use the online quote and availability checkers to select the best pianist who is available and within your budget. If you're still stuck, call the team here at Alive Network, who will be happy to help you choose the perfect pianist for your party.