Joining a Band as a Piano Player

Kid Playing Band PianoAfter you’ve learned the basics of playing the piano well enough to understand the theory of note structure, how to make chords, and how to improvise music, you may decide to go to the next level and play for a larger number of people instead of just your friends and family. This is very possible. Many famous musicians who started out alone ended playing piano along with accompanying band. Most blues and jazz artists do this. You need to know a few things before starting to play piano with a band. 

The first thing you need to know is what your strongest style of music is. You might be best with blues, rock, jazz, gospel or new age music. Each of these styles has set chord progressions and scale patterns that are varied between the genres as well as a different amount of use of the piano itself. Long improvised solos work best in jazz and blues, so this is your area if you’re good at improvising. Next, you have to find a band that's searching for someone to be a pianist, or start your own. Most bands that advertise do so online on sites like Craigslist or classified ad sites. Generally, they’ll state in the ad what they’re looking for by specifying what style of play, how much experience you have and other factors. Oftentimes they’ll be blues or jazz bands, maybe some gospel and new age groups need pianists also. You’re not likely to find many rock bands looking for a pianist – the other instruments would drown out its sound unless it’s acoustic rock or something. 

After you’ve formed the band you have to set up reliable practice schedules that you all can attend. You’ll have to meet someplace where there’s a piano available for use, because it’s not exactly an instrument you can carry with you. A club, a willing church, or your own house will do, if you have a piano. This also applies to your performance locations. Bands with piano players will most often play gigs in bars and clubs where there’s a piano for use. Also they can serve as guest performers at churches for religious services. 

Another thing is that you don’t have to solely be in one band; you can act as a pianist-for-hire, offering your services to whatever group may happen to need someone to play piano. Advertise yourself by posting an ad online and offer to show your skills in an audition.

You also don’t have to worry about your instrument getting damaged from travel if you join a band as a pianist. Other band members have to worry about broken guitars, amplifiers, cracked drumheads and other things. The managers of your venue can be expected to have their piano properly tuned and in working order for when you arrive. Remind them in advance just to be on the safe side, because even when not used pianos can drift out of tune because of the tension on the strings.