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

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Piano Music
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
When is live solo piano music perfect for a dinner event?
February 21, 2016

When planning a dinner, what role do you want the music to have?

If your intent is to allow the guests to easily converse at their tables, live solo piano music could be the perfect solution! 

Beautiful background music will provide an elegant musical atmosphere. Make sure you hire a pianist that knows how to keep the volume at the appropriate level to allow conversation. The acoustics of a room can change throughout an event depending upon the guest activity. Your pianist should be mindful of this when controlling the music volume.

Dinner pianist Sharon Planer Calhoun Beach Club

Also important is the musical quality of the piano.  Some venues have a grand piano on site. Make sure the venue has their piano on a regular tuning schedule. For best results the piano should be tuned just prior to your event. The expense of the tuning will likely be passed on to you. 

If your pianist brings their own portable piano, you will want them to provide a good quality instrument. Equally important are the speakers they use. A beautiful piano can sound awful when amplified through cheap quality speakers.

For best results, hire an experienced pianist with a good reputation! 

This weekend I performed after dinner music for an annual corporate event. The client that hired me explained that the last several years he has hired a band or DJ to provide after dinner music. The guests complained that the music was too loud and invasive. Since the guests only see each other once a year, they wanted the opportunity to visit with each other. I was delighted to be hired as their pianist. Many of the guests stopped by my piano and told me my music was the perfect touch!

I do not intend any offense to my band and DJ friends in the entertainment business. When you want to get your guests moving and on their feet there is nothing like a great band or DJ!  

If you are planning an event and would like to learn how my solo piano music can enhance the experience of you and your guests with a beautiful musical ambiance, I would love to hear from you!


Corporate Events, Event Planning, Music Planning, Musicians, Piano Music, Party Planning
corporate event planning, corporate event music, event music, live music, dinner party music, piano music, portable piano, party tips
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