Hey guys! My name is Bernie Katzman and I'm a professional pianist, singer, and composer. I've been playing for over 65 years and it's my life! If you have any questions about the art of improvisation or just music in general, don't hesitate to ask! I'll make a short improvisation of any song you can think of, in any style, whether it be rock, classical, jazz, country, or anything, I can do it!

Check out my Fiverr if you'd like a more personalized request! http://fiverr.com/berniekatzman

Proof - my YouTube - http://www.youtube.com/channel/UCji7LwguiHvuBP3UwJymn4A

More proof - http://i.imgur.com/cImDKXX.jpg :)

Edit - Hey guys! Went to lunch, but I'll be getting to every single request eventually! :)

Edit 2 - Sorry for the delay for all your requests! I'll be recording more tomorrow! :) Thank you all SO MUCH for nearly 80,000 plays! <3

Comments: 854 • Responses: 42  • Date: 

glowsticksuit233 karma

Can you play a ragtime version of The Beatles "Yesterday"?

Jar50972171 karma

Fuckin problems by A$AP Rocky. I don't know how you'll do it, but you should

BernieKatzman114 karma

Enjoy! I hope you don't have a problem with it ;) This is about as much melody as I could get out of it! :p


icywinner118 karma

Do you have perfect pitch? And could you also do eight measures of Scott Joplin's "Maple Leaf Rag" in all twelve major keys flowing one after the other?

bacon_please116 karma

Play any Led Zeppelin song in any other style you want, I don't care which. I just love Zeppelin and wanna see what you can do with one of their songs.

BernieKatzman330 karma

Enjoy! Sorry for the puppy bark at the end! :)


geekmuseNU104 karma

Can you do a swing version of Edvard Grieg's "In the Hall of the Mountain King"?

BernieKatzman181 karma

Enjoy! Please let me know what you think :)


leggin-15 karma

you're just ridiculously talanted!

BernieKatzman16 karma

you're too kind! :)

beach4k95 karma

Can you do a jazz cover of the pokemon theme song?

herpderpherpderp64 karma

Hi Bernie - we'll need some kind of proof in your description showing that you're you (if you know that I mean) if you wouldn't wind - either a selfie saying hi to reddit or a "hi reddit" video on your youtube channel would be great. Cheers!

BernieKatzman92 karma

proof added :)

GentlemansVapes63 karma

Can you do a lounge rendition of Windowlicker, by Aphex Twin please?

BernieKatzman46 karma

Hey! Enjoy this and let me know what you think! :)


btcprox60 karma

How did you get into improvisation?

Which musical styles are you particularly fond of?

And any tips for those who want to improvise in music?

BernieKatzman130 karma

I started improvising at the age of 3, before I took piano lessons! Whenever I had trouble learning something, I finished the piece by making it up, which satisfied me to no end!

I look at music as a giant meal where one needs fun desserts, luscious appetizers, and mains. All music is part of my life, but I love classical, rock, way out sounds, and all new surprises!

For tips, never think of a wrong note as a wrong note. There isn't such a thing as one! It's the next note that makes your "wrong" one perfect!

DaDundies58 karma

Can you play a ragtime improv of "Master of Puppets" by Metallica?

P4TY46 karma

Claire de Lune in jazz style? :) this is so cool thanks for doing this

rolypolyman45 karma


BernieKatzman38 karma

Here's a regular version now! :) Ragtime coming soon! Let me know what you think! :)


mattblau42 karma

Aspiring improv pianist here. Thought I'd ask a few too many questions.

  1. What key do you most often play in? Whenever I'm playing a medly, i.e., of Christmas songs, I like to keep it all in something very simple like C.

  2. Are you self taught or did you take lessons?

  3. Do you prefer reading sheet music or playing by ear? I despise having to read sheet music personally.

  4. Did you ever improvise something so good that you play it often as its own song?

  5. Do you ever play for bars, cafes, restaurants, etc.?

  6. How common are improv pianists?

BernieKatzman34 karma

  1. I don't really prefer any key. I play in all of them :)

  2. I took lessons from age 4 to 21. Improvisation came from my self-teaching.

  3. I enjoy reading sheet music, but my real talent lies in playing by ear.

  4. Yes! My piano sonata comes to mind!

  5. Yes, I played for many years in the NYC metropolitan area.

  6. Honestly, I don't know anyone like myself! :p

s_for_scott39 karma

Would you do the theme song from The Office (us) in a smooth jazz style please? :)

BernieKatzman66 karma

I just noticed you wanted it in a smooth jazz style, sorry! Will upload another one later. Enjoy this one for now! :)


browndoggie35 karma

could you do a smooth jazzy cover of king crimsons 21st century schizoid man?

Oxala6 karma

YES! Please do this one Bernie!

BernieKatzman19 karma

check it out and let me know what you think :)

The_Evil_Within35 karma


BernieKatzman69 karma

I love Doctor Who! Enjoy and let me know what you think! :)


spunkski33 karma

This is really nice of you. Thank you!

If you could do Times Like These by the Foo Fighters in any style you like, (Maybe jazz?) That would be neat. (My wedding song.) Thanks.

BernieKatzman26 karma

lookinginward33 karma


siouxsie_sioux28 karma

You do not look over 65.

BernieKatzman19 karma

Wow, thanks! :)

jsh5h724 karma

Hello and welcome! I have to know do you use sheet music for songs or do you always just listen and know how to play it?

Also if you can play a really really dark version of "I Just Can't Wait To Be King," that would be neat

BernieKatzman28 karma

I do both! I'm both a professional classical pianist and improvisational one! :) And sure I can! I'll make sure I get to it!

OstrichMadeOfClay3 karma

Has it been uploaded yet?

BernieKatzman5 karma

Yup! Check it out and tell me if you like it :)

BernieKatzman17 karma

Hey jsh5h7! I had a lot of fun doing this one! Let me know what you think! :)


thebitman22 karma

Hi Bernie, I'm a young composer (20) studying with the intentions of one day getting my doctorate in composition and I have an extreme appreciation for what you do. I've dabbled a lot with doing cross-genre interpretations myself.

What parts of your academic training, self-teaching, and gigging experience were most influential in getting you where you are today? I'm also very curious about your music theory knowledge, as you seem to be a master of it.

BernieKatzman28 karma

That's wonderful! In the Juilliard prep division, I studied composition with Jacob Druckman and would expand my improvisation skills. I then attended Juilliard where I got my Bachelors and Masters. I use my own technique of piano exercises improvising straight from my head, and not just pedagogical methods. The improvisations can go on for hours, and the emotional release relaxes me in a way that I can't describe! I was a band leader for many years, an elementary music school teacher, and professional composer. I have a pretty good music theory knowledge, which is mostly attributed to my ear.

Kreegrr19 karma

Could you play a version of Take 5 in 4/4?

BernieKatzman24 karma

I actually have a YouTube version of it! :)


th18129 karma


BernieKatzman13 karma

Don't give up! I'm sure you'll become a fantastic pianist! If you ever feel down or need advice, don't hesitate to PM me! :)

Cptn_Hook19 karma

I'd love a ragtime version of the Power Rangers theme song.

BernieKatzman15 karma

Enjoy! Let me know what you think Cptn! :)


Axellent16 karma

Hmm, let's see. Can you do A Horse With No Name by America? The style is up to you.

Contr1gra15 karma

Greetings from Russia :) I don't have any experience in music at all, I am almost 20, is it possible to learn playing the piano alone, without teachers? I always wanted to play the piano. :(

BernieKatzman82 karma

It definitely is! YouTube is a great resource, but if you are really serious about wanting to learn to play, you can PM me and maybe we can have a Skype lesson! :)

SkyBlind12 karma

You are incredible! As someone who's only been playing for two years with lessons, what songs can you recommend to learn? My current skill set is around Etude Op 02 No 25 in Fm (Chopin) at half speed, mind you. I plan on doing some solo gigs soon, so are there any other general tips you could give?

BernieKatzman30 karma

Do you mean songs to improvise on, or actual classical pieces?

For some general tips, if you'd like, you can PM me and we can go from there! :)

attentiveness10 karma

I thought I'd give you a break from the requests. How did you go about in acqquiring your talent? Or are you a born natural?

BernieKatzman8 karma

It's a combination of both! I started playing when I was 3, and haven't stopped.

MaxSkalenius8 karma

Hi Bernie! I'm a sixteen years old swedish pianist. I've listened to almost all of your improvs here and they are fantastic.

My question to you is how to practice without getting bored? I really want to play more piano but after playing for maybe an hour I go to the computer and play a game. I love playing the piano and I want playing piano( on a restaurant for example) to be my job atleast once in my life. Here is video of me performing in Gothenburg two years ago

I would be so grateful if you could play People are strange - The doors or Sign of the Gypsy Queen - April Wine

BernieKatzman14 karma

That's awesome! Thanks so much! I can play for hours and hours and not get bored! That's what happens when you play every day for more than half a century I guess :p Here's a cool video I did of The Doors, I'll get to your request soon! :)


Oxala6 karma

When did you started playing the piano, were you just a kid?

I've always been interested in this instrument and would like to know how's the rise of a great pianist.

BernieKatzman22 karma

I started when I was three years old, improvising on my aunt's upright, barely able to reach the keys! I took formal lessons at 4, and and was taught by the famous Cuban pianist Santos Ojeda.

Use improvisation to develop your physical and musical technique, and you will definitely get closer to any life goal you have! :)

CrossCrescendo6 karma

How did you start becoming professional?

BernieKatzman24 karma

I became a band leader and show pianist in a Catskill mountain gig in the 1960s as prior to that, I was a classical pianist studying at Juilliard (my alma mater). My friends couldn't use their pianist because he wasn't accepted by the agency. Prior to this though, I gave classical concerts/recitals all throughout Manhattan.

iRtheCreeper6 karma

Hello. Could you possibly do Saria's Song from Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time in any other style?

BernieKatzman3 karma

Wonderful request! I love The Legend of Zelda! Enjoy! :)


Twitstein3 karma

Hello Bernie, thanks for sharing your remarkable talent. If you have time, can you play the Irish traditional ' Whisky In The Jar' in a progressive jazz style, please?

BernieKatzman5 karma

Hey Twitstein! I hope you enjoy this! :)


fap-on-fap-off2 karma

Shalom Aleichem in disco?

BernieKatzman2 karma

Here you go! Let me know what you think :)


stefanpie2 karma

Piano or keyboard

BernieKatzman11 karma

Definitely piano!

Sabawab1 karma

Anything about fiver you wish could be improved especially with regards to pricing?

BernieKatzman7 karma

Fiverr has been a wonderful venue for me! They do a great job, and I can't think of anything they need to improve upon.