After performing with the likes of Paloma Faith, Kate Ceberano and Sheridan Harbridge, musician Steven Kramer will have the stage all to himself in 'Don't Make Me Play Piano Man’.
The show, playing as part of Midsumma Festival in its Melbourne premiere, will celebrate the world's great piano stars as he performs the eternal piano hits of the greats. . . Well. . . Most of them. You see, Steve's happy to play Elton John, Carole King and Peter Allen. Just not THAT Billy Joel song.
The Sydney Conservatorium Of Music graduate aims to showcase his cheeky, irreverent humour in his rocky relationship with the piano.
Before you check out the show, Steven lists five reasons you should learn the piano.
To bring people together. One of my favourite gigs to play for is a Showtunes Singalong Night. A whole bunch of people (usually a few drinks in), belting out tunes from 'Les Miserables', 'Wicked' or 'Aladdin'. It’s hot, it’s loud and it’s messy and I love it because there’s something really special about sharing music with a room of people. Whether you want to be in a band, play for a local choir or just invite some friends around to sing your favourite songs (sorry neighbours), it’s one of the best ways to connect with other people.
To keep the mind active. My grandma played the piano well into her 90s. I’ve also probably watched too many clips of old people who seem barely conscious suddenly spring to life and play the piano with more vigour than I could have imagined them having. I’m convinced that music has some special power that transcends age or time and somehow lives with us forever. Just need to make sure they have a piano when I get to that retirement village. . .
To process your emotions. After the end of a long-term relationship I was in, I sat down at the piano and played through every sad song I could think of. I felt like Bridget Jones – a bottle of wine next the piano belting out 'All By Myself'. This helped me work through all my emotions far quicker than any therapist ever could have. It’s also the place where I celebrate, where I feel happy and where I feel comforted. Who needs a partner or a therapist when you have a piano?* *Not actual medical advice
To unlock your creativity. I think that writing music is the best part of playing an instrument. If, like me, drawing is not your thing, or knitting that scarf results in an amorphous blob that can never be worn in public, try the piano! Even with some very basic chords under your fingers you can write a great song. Writing songs is also another wonderful outlet for all the things swirling around in your head (see point three).
To show off. Let’s face it. Being able to play someone’s favourite song is a great way to impress them. If you’ve got a special someone you’re interested in, or just a disapproving relative who thinks you won’t ever achieve anything, you only have to learn one song and you’ll show them! There’s a smug, self-satisfaction in playing the piano in front of other people and unlike that guy playing ‘Wonderwall’ at a uni party, the piano feels a bit more classy and sophisticated. Give it a try, what have you got to lose?
’Don't Make Me Play Piano Man' plays Fortyfivedownstairs (Melbourne) 30 April-2 May.