My short bio: I've been doing this for about a year now and in the time have had to learn over 150+ songs ready to play on command. This includes playing on piano, knowing all the lyrics, and playing on multiple instruments (bass, drums, guitar, violin, etc)

My Proof:

Here's of a performance of me fronting Chop Suey. (I'm not playing piano on this one, because we also do full band songs, but I'm fronting)

If anyone is interested in learning more about my music, you can check out my website.

You can also check out my band at

Comments: 380 • Responses: 76  • Date: 

PeanutRaisenMan190 karma

How often do songs get picked that you dont know how to play?

hehyih337 karma

It really depends on the crowd. Sometimes we nail every single song requested of the night, other times we'll get people who do nothing but request songs from a B side disk from a 1980s synth band that sold 13 copies. But I'd say 90% of the time SOMEONE in the band knows the song. And if we dont and we get money for it, we just go in the back and learn it.

fahmboy129 karma

And if we dont and we get money for it, we just go in the back and learn it.

What is the process for learning a song so quickly? How long / how many run-throughs does it take?

hehyih205 karma

Take your phone, grab the keyboard in the back, listen to it 5 or 6 times, get the chord structure and learn the melody. In this case it will be one of the only times in the night we use lyrics to help us.

casualsax78 karma

This is what always impressed me! There was one night a group of girls kept requesting Dashboard Confessional songs, it was a slow night so one of the performers spent his break learning one. When he came back the girls were super stoked for those three minutes in between buckets of Budweiser.

I made some requests like "Anything by Butch Walker, or Buddy Holy." A chance at glory, and if not glory then something I'm still delighted to hear. A few times our group was turned down, but not because the artist didn't know the song. Once was "Devil Went Down to Georgia," because they refused to attempt it without their violinist, and the other was "Who the Fuck is Alice?" Because the eight of us left in the AM weren't enough for proper crowd interaction.

hehyih92 karma

You will only ever hear Who the Fuck is Alice in a piano bar. It will literally never come up in any other part of your life.

UsingYourWifi33 karma

Have you had this superpower since birth, or did some sort of traumatic experience awaken it? Was a solar eclipse or exposure to nuclear waste involved?

hehyih123 karma

Music teachers arent lying when they say the only way to get better is to practice.

waltjrimmer8 karma

If I go into a dueling pianos bar, tell the band and I know they probably don't know a song bu askt would they be willing to learn it (for a fee from your other comments) and play it, would they likely be annoyed or just not care? I know that's rather subjective, so I understand if you can't give a definite answer.

hehyih28 karma

We're never annoyed if we're compensated enough ;)

rororourboat178 karma

Any genre of music that's more difficult to learn on the piano?

hehyih329 karma

Actual piano songs! Pop songs are more or less all the same chord structure wise, so those arent bad. But if you get a request for something like Angry Young Man, it really forces you to keep your chops in shape.

blabla160870 karma

Yeah Angry Young Man is no joke.

hehyih69 karma

It's fun as shit though when you nail it

unorthodoxfox42 karma

Ever had someone request flight of the bumble bee?

hehyih102 karma

Yes, then I smash the piano and walk away

MegIsAwesome0620 karma

Has anyone ever requested the third movement of Moonlight Sonata?

hehyih35 karma

Actually yes! I've spent so much time just trying to get the first 16 bars and it's just absolutely ridiculous

rororourboat13 karma

That's really interesting to know. What about rap and heavy metal?

hehyih41 karma

Actually thats some of my favorite stuff to play. I love fronting Without Me (aside from not being able to breathe for 3 minutes) and doing stuff like System, Korn, Linkin Park is always a blast and lets me get out my inner teenage angst

Badluckgraduate126 karma

What's the most ridiculous thing you've had happen during a performance?

hehyih264 karma

It's hard to keep track. We've had people fingering their S/O's in the seats, we've had people get naked, we've had people fight, essentially use your imagination for drunk people in a dance club and pretty much they've all happened.

TheCocksmith66 karma

What could possibly cause nudity at a piano bar?

hehyih259 karma

86 oz buckets of booze

TheLittleSpook111 karma

Hey bro—See you at work tonight 😘 glad people think our job is at least semi-interesting. My question: how scared are you that we know your username now?

hehyih102 karma

Just dont look at my rejected r/gonewild submissions, Carol Anne.

ThadPol36 karma

The real question is how jealous are yall of all the karma that hes getting right now?

hehyih61 karma

I was about to eat lunch, but this is giving me the sustenance I need.

Perrymason57105 karma

What's the most popular request and are there any obscure songs that surprisingly get requested a lot?

hehyih240 karma

Top 5 most requested:

Dont Stop Believing

Sweet Caroline

Living on a Prayer

Piano Man

Remix to Ignition

I wouldnt say theres any specific obscure ones. Whats weirder is an obscure song will never come up, and then for some reason we'll have a month where a specific song gets requested every weekend for like a month. That's always bizarre to see.

obeyyourbrain82 karma

What was your favorite request?

hehyih215 karma

Anything by System of a Down. 12 year old me would die if he saw I can scream SOAD songs on a stage and get paid for it.

Wh1teCr0w44 karma

Just want to say man, you guys nailed the hell out of that in the posted video. The energy was there, vocals, everything was beautiful.

Top notch!

hehyih24 karma


Blad51411 karma

Little late to this but...what’s the deal with the guy walking up and talking to the piano player mid-song? Was he just some drunk rando?

Edit: Yep, I hate people.

hehyih24 karma

Probably asking for a request. People come up to us all the time and ask questions, and it doesnt bother us...AS LONG AS WE'RE NOT SINGING. But any other time, come talk!

Mr_ZombieFetish3 karma

Nice! Play Bounce. That song always hypes me the fuck up.

hehyih4 karma

That would be a blast

UNN_Rickenbacker1 karma

Any videos of you doing it?

hehyih1 karma

Check the details of the AMA above ;)

greg1973565 karma

I'm a bit confused.

Is it dueling piano if there's a full band? Isn't that just a cover band?

hehyih97 karma

We alternate depending on the time of the night. So maybe earlier in the night, its 2 pianists facing each other going back and forth on songs, doing banter, doing audience bits, etc. But then once 11:00 PM hits on a Saturday people just want to dance, and thats when we do the "band" stuff, although even when we have guitar and what not, it is still heavily all reliant on the piano. Guitar is never played without both pianos at least doubling it and harmonizing.

robsc_1661 karma

So maybe earlier in the night, its 2 pianists facing each other going back and forth on songs, doing banter, doing audience bits, etc.

This is the only way I imagine it going down.

hehyih35 karma

This is literally what we do in our dueling bits

robsc_1616 karma

Awesome! Does anyone request Hungarian Rhapsody No. 2?

hehyih28 karma

actually, yes, it does come up. We do classical bits, maybe 15-20 seconds worth, so just knowing the themes is all you need to have.

PMme_awesome_music47 karma

  • How did you find yourself in this job?
  • How long do you expect to stay there?
  • What does your work schedule look like?
  • Do you feel you get paid well considering the time you put in and unique skills it requires?
  • How expensive is the place you work at?

hehyih67 karma

  1. I found an ad that my company was looking for players. I was just out of grad school and looking for something besides teaching. They called me up and I auditioned and I was in there the following week.

  2. It's actually a great job with lots of growth potential. Right now I have no idea how long I'll do it. I could see me doing it for years. Some of the guys I know have been doing it 20+ years. Either way its nice to know I have the skill set that it can be done anywhere

  3. I play Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, averaging 7PM-1:30 AM

  4. We are definitely compensated enough to live off of. Some clubs are open more days a week than others, but as I stated above theres room for growth so it is very much looked upon as an actual job salary wise.

  5. The drinks are actually manageable! There's no cover early in the night so lots of people come before then so they're already in when the cover charge starts. But its no worse than any other bar.

blabla160841 karma

Billy Joel or Elton John?

hehyih99 karma

Billy for playing, Elton for singing

Bartlebyknowsit33 karma

How do you feel about the song "Piano Man" by Billy Joel? Also, how many times a week do drunks come up to you and ask "MAN, WHAT ARE YOU DOING HERE??" Like its the funniest, most clever, god damn thing anyone has ever thought up before?

hehyih71 karma

People go fucking nuts for the harmonica in piano man. Like you would think we were a sports team who just won a championship. I actually dont mind playing it, because its always a hit.

Loopah1330 karma

Did you begin your career planning to be versed in so many instruments? Or did it just happen organically over time?

hehyih44 karma

I've always been attracted to learning as many instruments as possible. I started with guitar and piano when I was 4, singing as well. Over time I started migrating from guitar to cello, and slowly integrated the other acoustic strings (violin, viola, bass). I've always liked playing all the instruments on my own songs since I know the exact parts I want, and often it was just easier for me to learn them myself. So its always been my intention to keep learning. Brass and winds are my next project.

HeySporto30 karma

Dueling piano bars are chockablock with drunken females.

Piano players must be the most powerful people within a few blocks. How often do you get hit on? Aren't you glad mom made you take piano lessons?

hehyih61 karma

I cant even count the amount of times I could have pushed charges for sexual assault. Cant count the amount of times I've had my ass or crotch grabbed (even as a guy, its way worse for the women players). It's always nice to get some numbers as an ego boost (although I'm in a loving relationship, so its more for bragging rights). But for me I'm there to do my job and have fun, not pick up people.

And yes, very glad I took lessons as a kid. I take pride in knowing I'm one of not many musicians who can make a living through music by not relying on teaching.

greenthing25 karma

Is there something against playing Africa by Toto?

My friends and I had been several times and they won’t play it even with tips. We went once a year for 3 years and it was the case each time.

hehyih33 karma

Not particularly, we tend to do it as a full band as a show stopper and not just a passing song. So we like to only do it when the timing is right to get the crowd into that mode.

the-eyehole-man25 karma

What’s the most insane thing any crowd participant has done during one of your performances?

hehyih61 karma

There was the woman who was masturbating in her seat right in front of us. That was.....weird.

bobbymickpants2 karma

It was weird. But was it hot?

hehyih34 karma

She had to be at least 300 pounds and was in a

survivalsnake24 karma

  1. I saw a dueling pianos show once on a cruise ship: would you ever do the cruise ship circuit?

  2. Is it hard working during everyone else's social night?

  3. How did you learn to play piano?

  4. If you had kids, would you enroll them in music lessons?

hehyih41 karma

  1. The few people I know who have done the cruise gig have always said it was worth the experience, but something you really do once. Long hours, incredibly lonely, etc. I would probably only do it if my life turned to shit and I had to run away

  2. It's definitely an adjustment, most of my friends work weekends anyway. The hardest is my girlfriend works a 9-5 during the week, then I work weekends, so that's the hardest part. But makes the time together that much more special

  3. Started lessons when I was 4, havent stopped learning since

  4. No interest in kids, but absolutely they would get lessons. Piano would be a must, but I would let them pick any other instrument they wanted to play.

realSatanAMA21 karma

What song should I request to troll piano players?

hehyih44 karma

Bodak Yellow

Matthme20 karma

What's your favourite toast?

hehyih54 karma

Golden brown. Though for bagels, which I prefer over toast, I like it semi double toasted. Enough so I get a golden edge around the crust, but hot enough that the garlic and onion pieces get burned so I can eat them as a crispy treat at the end of the bagel.

coluch20 karma

I’m in my 30’s and I just started piano lessons recently.

1) Do you have any advice for a young (in piano years) learner?

2) Something that would have helped you if you knew it sooner?

3) Advice or guidance that you will always remember from a mentor?

hehyih38 karma

Track. Your. Progress. I cant emphasize this enough. It's so easy when playing on a daily basis to think you haven't improved at all, because you'll always be advancing to the next harder thing. Seriously, record yourself once a week. Go back a month from now and play the same piece, force yourself to see your improvement.

Set your expectations. 30's is a hard time to start piano (well really anything past being a teenager is). So know how much more work it will take you to get to a level of proficiency and go in with that mindset.

ItsTheVibeOfTheThing3 karma

Do you think it’s as hard to learn if I have already been playing guitar for 10+ years and have a decent understanding of music theory?

What type of music would you begin with? Classical, scales, pop songs, etc?

hehyih3 karma

Piano is not guitar by any means. That being said, you would have the advantage of knowing whats supposed to happen MUSICALLY in a song. For this type of gig I would push to learn scales and the basic I vi IV V combinations in every possible key.

true_spokes19 karma

What popular song is deceptively challenging to play?

hehyih87 karma

It's realllllllly hard to remember all the inversions and chord progressions to Bohemian Rhapsody. No matter how many times I play it, I always miss at least 1 chord. Freddie Mercury was absolutely ridiculous.

GrowingViolet8 karma

Having seen the video of your Chop Suey performance (which was awesome!), do you have any recordings of you all doing Bohemian Rhapsody? Would love to see your rendition.

hehyih10 karma

I've been meaning to record it! I love doing it with a big crowd, its super fun, but I gotta have a friend or someone there to film it, subscribe to my youtube channel and I promise you I'll get one up soon!

thxxx133716 karma

What's the most annoying song people ask to hear?

hehyih71 karma

Cotton. Eyed. Fucking. Joe. Because apparently its a 13 year olds bar mitzvah

ShamefulWatching15 karma

I've only been to a piano bar once, and it was so much more fun than I expected, yet I'm still confused as to why. I've seen live bands do covers before, and I feel like this format is a grade above. What is it about dueling performers that is more entertaining? Is there a subconscious impromptu I don't recognize but appreciate? Does this format attract performers who enjoy the crowd as much as the music more than other entertainers? Do you and the other dueler always play together?

I'm not even sure of the questions I had to ask, but I know I want to know more.

hehyih18 karma

The show is really 50 talent, 50% how you present yourself. Commanding the show and the crowd is a learned skill. People love to sing and participate. So rather than watching a cover band perform songs, we try to make the audience feel like they are an equal part of the show. We try to make it an all immersive experience. We also spend a lot of time putting as much fine detail into a song as we can. Whether its 1 wrong word, a wrong chord inversion, we strive to make it as organic as possible.

My bar is 4 full time players, so I alternate each night with who I play with. We usually do an hour on, hour off throughout the night so its not too overwhelming.

something80013 karma

Is hard to learn to do piano?

hehyih41 karma

I mean its like any other instrument or skill, takes years to master. I've been doing it for 20 years and still feel like a beginner

_Generic12 karma

Do you not tell people you can play so you can randomly hop on instruments and be surprisingly impressive?

Rihsatra11 karma

My friend wanted to go to a dueling piano bar so I met up with him there. I thought it would be kind of funny to request Gangnam Style just to see if either of the guys could do it. What are the odds they pull it off or at least try?

hehyih11 karma

20 bucks and you got yourself a deal

Lobo_Marino10 karma

Has there ever been a song that you flat out REFUSED to play for whatever reason? Why?

hehyih29 karma

Never. Request. Freebird. Just dont be that person. Its not funny, its not original, and you just make yourself look like "that guy"



hehyih13 karma

I'd say solid 50/50. I grew up classical, then my undergrad was at Berklee so I really got into chord charts and contemporary playing. I have perfect pitch so listening to songs is usually faster for me than looking up charts. Especially since 90% of the songs we use are all the same progression and the only difference is what key its in. The aural skills are way more useful especially in a moment of improvisation.

name-buster8 karma

How often do you practice?

hehyih9 karma

At least once a day. Some songs need to be reviewed more than others. Some weeks I'll learn 1 or maybe 4 songs so it depends how much I want to learn and accomplish that week.

name-buster2 karma

Any practicing advice for someone about a year into learning piano? Appreciate the responses man

hehyih3 karma

I said in another reply, track your progress. Set reasonable expectations for yourself. Record yourself playing so you can go back and look at the improvements you've made.

Matthme8 karma

My friend, who is also a duelling piano player wanted me to ask you "how do you feel about watering down quality on a nightly basis?".

hehyih30 karma

I try and give my all to the crowd. The only songs I say would be "watered down" are ones that are just terrible songs that no one gives a shit about but the person paid 20 dollars to hear so damnit okay I guess we'll get through it. But our place, we really try to get every part exactly the same as the recording.

IggyAzaleasVagina6 karma

What are your shortcuts for playing a requested song you've barely heard?

hehyih15 karma

Either cut a verse, or say "okay I've never played this but we're gonna give it a shot" and just see what happens. People are usually pretty cool if they know you dont know it but are trying.

twoscoop6 karma

If you had to fight Satan/Jesus for the world's soul what song would you play?

MarvinThe_Martian5 karma

the on the fly re-tune... Thank you.

As someone that has perfect pitch that must drive you nuts.

hehyih12 karma

It's gotta be done. Audience doesnt notice, but I sure as shit do with my in ears. With the temperature changes all the time with different amounts of people in the bar I gotta do it constantly. Sometimes I'll have to walk over to the guitarist and tune the tuner for him while hes playing so he can keep playing and get it back in tune. That's always fun.

twoscoop1 karma

If you had to fight a bear, which style would you use?

hehyih5 karma

Battle Star Galactica. Dont care if the odds arent in my favor

josecarlson5 karma

Has anyone requested the Guardian battle theme from Zelda: Breath of the Wind yet?

hehyih11 karma

No but I would be so down

BobIn7275 karma

Do you people smoke dope before your performances?

hehyih23 karma

Never, only after. Smoking completely ruins my voice. It's my reward later for a night well done.

randompopcorn5 karma

My friend’s dad was a professional pianist who worked at a dueling piano bar in Austin. I asked him to help me with something sheet music related and he told me he didn’t read sheet music and only played by ear (phenomenally well)... is that common?

hehyih9 karma

At my club, all of us at least have a bachelors of some type of music degree. But there are lots of players who are self taught who dont really read music. It's mostly looked at if you can play songs and command a crowd, the rest comes later. But yes its not unusual for some people to not have the strongest reading ability. Thankfully all my coworkers are amazing musicians who all do.

0800-Meme-Dealer4 karma

What instrument would you love to learn, that you can’t already play?

hehyih12 karma

My dream instrument is a Hang. A true PanArt Hang. They're not even made anymore so they easily go for 10k on ebay. There's some great ones being made like them, but none of them match the hang.

Sjsjjdkdjsjdkskssj2 karma

The steel drum looking thing? How could it be 10K?

hehyih4 karma

Panart is 2 people on Switzerland who make them and they make them by order only by people who write them letters explaining why they deserve one, then you fly to Switzerland to help build the scale you want. They've since stopped making them for other projects so there are a limited amount so those who want them know the demand is high. And owners who sell know people will pay anything for them because of the quality

paranoidandrewoid4 karma

Could you play "Big Shot" by Billy Joel right now if you had to?

hehyih6 karma

That one is actually on my list to learn this week haha.

masterofvin4 karma

Do you duel with classical music? Or is that out of style?

hehyih6 karma

In our actual dueling bits, we do do classical. We do dueling banjos, and then take turns playing more and more complicated things which include classical.

drdrea234 karma

I've requested Fuckin' Problems by A$AP Rocky at every piano bar I've ever been to (like 5) but never have any luck. I would love to see a pianist's take on this song. Have you ever played it? Would you ever consider learning it and whipping it (your newly learnt song) out on request?

hehyih11 karma

With niche songs like that that never come up, you have to pick your battles on which songs will be worth your time. So I've never personally seen that song come up. If I saw it pop up a couple times I would consider it, but we only want to do songs people know. So I'm open to it, but only if I start seeing people want it.

drdrea238 karma

Interesting, thanks! I see you're located in Baltimore but if you ever make your way up to NYC I will seek you out and bring a crowd demanding Fuckin' Problems.

hehyih12 karma

I love bad bitches

travelingisdumb3 karma

Do you ever play in Michigan/midwest?

My uncle is one of the OG dueling piano players from when it really took off in the mid 90s, he still plays gigs all the time and makes a very, very good living. It's actually crazy how much money he makes in a given night, usually over $1k and sometimes a lot more depending on if it's a private party or corporate event. He plays overseas and on cruise ships a lot too.

He's always looking to hire new talent for his company as well, as long as you got chops and can hear a song once and hack away at it.

hehyih3 karma

Very cool, I'm on the east coast so I'm never up that way, but I definitely see this gig taking me different places in the years to come.

realworldeditor2 karma

How detailed do you get into learning the songs?

For example: just the chords > chords and rhythm > melodies > fills > solos > vocal melody?

hehyih2 karma

Depends on the song. We try to get as close to possible. We also have some songs that we stick to a certain set of rhythmic pulse to help drive the song. Mostly we follow the songs exact form unless its super long, then we might cut a bit, but for the most part we go for as close to 100% as we can.

Probably-_-Pooping2 karma

Just a rough estimate, how many songs do you know how to play? Also, if you heard a song once, could you for the most part play it all by ear?

hehyih6 karma

Right now I know about 150 songs off the top of my head. I'd say maybe 30 more I could do with lyrics. It would depend on the song really. I'd say maybe 2 or 3 listens in the back ought to be enough to at least fake my way through it. But that's nothing compared to some of the guys who've been doing this for 10 or 20 years who easily know 4 or 500 songs

goofyphucker2 karma

Can you play any Tool songs?

hehyih6 karma

I love the once a year when Sober gets requested

Snoopy_Hates_Germans2 karma

What's your vocal range?
Did you study music in higher education?
Do you have perfect pitch?

hehyih8 karma

I'm a baritenor, its hard for me to say tenor because I have the lower range. I'd say my average day is F2-C5 in full voice. Yes I have perfect pitch, its a gift and a curse.

themaster10062 karma

Can you play genres that use electronically produced sounds like hip hop? How well does hip hop translate to piano?

hehyih3 karma

Actually yes, we have a sampler, and a bunch of different synth sounds, and a small synth above our pianos. So we definitely integrate it.

kob4242 karma

Want to come and play in patriot place?

hehyih3 karma

Howl would have to send me there :P

shortAAPL1 karma

Do you work in New Orleans?

hehyih6 karma


Ecpie2 karma

I’m in easy “evening out” distance...without revealing too much, what piano bar would you recommend to see such high-quality musicianship?

hehyih3 karma

What state do you live in?

Nealium4201 karma

Where you based out of and how's the jazz scene out there?

hehyih2 karma

I'm in Maryland. Baltimore's jazz scene is actually growing. Peabody's Jazz program has some absolutely insane musicians.