Subscribe to Blog
88 Keys on the Road - Blog
used with mobile nav - no delete

Twin Cities wedding and event pianist, Sharon Planer, loves the adventure of bringing events to life with her live piano music!

~ search results for ~
Minneapolis Central Library to the Rescue
October 18, 2016

The Birthday Lady's favorite music was from the Threepenny Opera. 

The family member that hired me to play piano music for this special 90th Birthday Party asked me to be sure and include the music from the Threepenny Opera as well as more opera music and also songs of George Gershwin and Hoagy Carmichael.


Well, the Gershwin and Carmichael music was easy enough to put together and I was able to add some other opera music into the mix, but I needed help finding piano music from the Threepenny Opera. "Mack the Knife' was the only song I had in my piano repertoire.

So I headed to my favorite resource, the Minneapolis Central Library-3rd floor Music Department!


When I visit the library looking for something in particular, I often come away with a lot more than I anticipated! I found a lovely publication of the music of Kurt Weill which included a number of his songs from the Threepenny Opera. I knew the Birthday Lady was going to love this! Then I found a fantastic book with songs of Hoagy Carmichael including quite a few new songs that I could add to my repertoire. I went home that afternoon very happy with my 'finds'!

The Birthday Lady loved my music and so did the guests! I went home from the party happy knowing that I had helped make the party special with my piano music.

Parties, Musicians, Piano Music
birthday party, celebrations, event music, live music
How to get the most of out Wedding and Event Fairs
January 03, 2015

by Sharon Planer, Pianist for Parties

Are you planning a Wedding? Are you planning a special event such as a birthday party or anniversary?

Chances are you will want to attend a Wedding or Event Fair to get ideas for your event. 

Here are some suggestions to help you get the most out of your Wedding and Event Fair experience.

Before you attend the event, think about your top priorities for your event. Ask yourself, 'What are the two or three most important aspects of my wedding day or special occasion?'

Floral arrangements / your wedding dress / live music / price / writing the perfect wedding vows / having someone else be responsible for the pressure of your planning and day-of festivities / photography / videography / venue location / decor / food .. . . the list goes on.  

I have worked with hundreds of couples planning their weddings and people planning parties.  Their priorities vary immensely. When planning your event, it is helpful to determine what items you think are most important.  From there you can direct your focus. Use a mobile device or notebook to draft some questions surrounding your priorities. List the categories where you need help planning. Educate yourself in those areas that are most important to you. By doing this, you will develop more questions.

On the day of the Event Fair here are some items to bring.

  • Your list of questions.
  • Your list of categories where you need help planning.
  • Camera or mobile device to take photos.
  • Your appointment calendar.

On the day of the Wedding or Event Fair approach the event professionals that are top on your list. Be direct and tell them that their area of expertise is especially important to you.

  • Take photos of items of interest. After you have photographed the items you like, snap a photo of their poster or business card to remember their name.
  • Ask your questions. Don't shy away from asking hard questions. 
  • If you feel good rapport with the professional, set up a private meeting to further discuss your questions in detail.
  • For the remaining Categories where you need event planning help, gather what information you can from those event professionals and record which companies you might like to do business with.
  • For the professionals that you are interested in, find your Categories list and record their business name. Take notes that will help you remember what made them stand apart from the others. This will be very helpful when you return home with a pile of brochures because you will be able to identify the companies that you want to follow up with.
  • Sign up for the giveaways and prizes.

After the Wedding or Event Fair is over. Contact the professionals that you liked and go from there!

There are many great Wedding and Event Fairs in the Twin Cities as well as greater Minnesota. I personally think the smaller shows give you have a better opportunity of connecting on a personal level with the event professionals. But the larger shows are great for gathering a lot of information from many different sources.

For a list of shows where I will be performing, check out my web site at

I would love to meet and play samples of music just for you!

Perfect Wedding Show
Music Planning, Corporate Events, Parties
Wedding Fair, Event Fair, Bridal Show, Event planning
Tips for a FUN Christmas and Holiday Party
October 31, 2014

by Sharon Planer, Pianist for Parties

Here is a tip to put your guests in a festive mood...Hire 'live' music!


I love arriving at a venue before the party begins so that I can greet the guests with my piano music when they arrive.

Live piano music adds a sparkle to Holiday and Christmas parties! 

Live piano music adds a sparkle to Holiday and Christmas parties! 

At the start of a party live music is a great ice breaker and brings smiles to the faces of the guests.

As guests arrive, get their beverage, and settle into conversation, I keep my piano music light and easy going. The music creates a pleasant atmosphere without being distracting. Guests sometimes stop by the piano to request a favorite song or even want to sing along. Children seem especially attracted to songs with a lively beat...for their dancing feet! If the event is a cocktail reception, upbeat jazzy holiday tunes create the perfect musical setting. If a sit down dinner is part of the event, I play quiet elegant holiday piano music while the guests are dining.

Guests often love to gather around the piano to sing their favorite Christmas carols. I have my songbooks ready to hand out for just that occasion!

Holiday sing along at the piano. 

Holiday sing along at the piano. 

Activities that involve music are a great form of entertainment.

The Twelve Days of Christmas

The Twelve Days of Christmas

'The Twelve Days of Christmas'. If some of the guests have a dramatic flair, selecting 12 people to act out 'The Twelve Days of Christmas' while the rest of the guests sing the song can really get the action going. Providing appropriate props can add to the fun or you can encourage your 12 participants to use their imagination in acting out their part of the song. You might be surprised by the crazy and creative ideas they come up with!

'Frosty the Snowman' .  This activity involves TP (yes, toilet paper...clean, please!). This can be done as several teams or as one activity. Each team selects one participant that will be their 'Frosty'.  When the song begins, each team will 'decorate' their Frosty with toilet paper and whatever items they can find to make their 'Frosty' look the most clever or original. The 'decorating' ends when the music stops. Guests vote on the winner. Have a prize for the team that wins....a bag of candy is an easy prize.

Musical Dice Game. Ask each guest to bring an inexpensive wrapped gift. Everyone sits in a circle, with all the wrapped presents on the floor in the middle. Players take turns rolling two dice on a pie plate. If your group is large you can use several pie plates each with a pair of dice. Start the plates going different directions. Have your musician play some lively holiday music.


Holiday dice game.

Holiday dice game.

If a player rolls a double, that person gets to pick a gift from the middle. The dice continue around the circle until all the gifts have been taken. At this time everyone that has a gift opens it. Going around the circle, those with gifts hold up the gift and explain what it is. They set their gift on the floor in front of them so everyone can see what they have. Set the timer to the length of time you want (10-15 minutes is decent). Ask your musician play some lively holiday music until the timer goes off. Send the dice around the circle as long as the music is playing. If a player rolls a double, he gets to steal a gift. Keep the dice going until timer goes off and the music stops. Anyone with more than one gift keeps only one gift and puts the rest in the middle. Those without a gift move their chairs in to make a smaller circle and continue the dice rolling (with music!) until each of them has won a gift.


Christmas caroling around the piano.

Christmas caroling around the piano.

Planning a 'Winter Party' is a good alternative if you wish to avoid religious connotations of a Christmas Party. 

Some clients, especially corporate clients, are sensitive about hosting a holiday party that reflects religious views. In order to make all guests feel included and comfortable, the client may want to keep the music and party plans secular in nature.  Hosting a party with a 'Winter' theme is a good approach. I always ask the event planner to let me know what music I am allowed to play. Some clients ask me to only play secular holiday music and avoid Christmas carols. A few clients have even asked me to avoid songs that reference St. Nick. Even though this limits my repertoire, I am respectful of such requests. If the event is longer than an hour, I will ask if I can include some non holiday music.


The enthusiasm and joyous spirit of the guests makes Christmas parties great fun to play for!  You can listen to several samples of my holiday piano music on my 'Listen' page.



'Tis the Season to Make Music!

Have you enjoyed some fun holiday party activities that involve music? Share your ideas in the comment box below.  

Parties, Holiday and Christmas, Piano Music, Sing alongs, Corporate Events, Music Planning, Party Planning
live music, holiday parties, Christmas parties, party tips