Looking for a piano player

Tokyo, Japan, February 10, 2018 –  For immediate consideration, please email Mike Staffa at staffa@japancomedy.com     

Note: Applicants must be at least 20 years old to apply.  

The Pirates of Tokyo Bay is Tokyo’s only bilingual comedy group specializing in improvisational comedy.  Our mission is to get everyone, regardless of their native language, to laugh.  We are looking for our next piano player to join us on stage to create improvised scenes. 

If you are a piano player based in Tokyo, we want to talk to you!  You probably have a few initial questions so hopefully the following information will answer your questions.

Q) Is it a paid gig?
A) There is a small stipend provided for your services. It isn't much though as we are just a hobby group. 

Q) What is the time commitment like?
A) Practice: The group practices every Sunday night (in Shinjuku).  But the piano player only needs to come practice with us just once a month. But if you want to come every week to our regular practices, awesome.
Shows: We have one show a month on a Sunday (in Ebisu).  
So the minimum time commitment would be two Sunday evenings a month.

Q) Is a piano provided/available?  
A) Shows: Yes (at the venues) there is a piano.  Our main venue has a full size electronic keyboard. 
Practice: No, there is no piano available. If you had a mini/small keyboard (not full size) it would be great to bring. If needed we can discuss purchasing one for you.

Q) What kind of music style is needed?
A) All kinds.  We have jazz songs, rock songs, etc we'd like you to lead us in.  We'd also like you to provide backing music and SFX to add to our scenes.  The piano player needs to both push us in our scenes (to change direction, emotion, etc) but also to react to what happens in the scene and adapt the musical style on the fly.

Q) Do we have videos of our show/style and piano needs?
a) YouTube channel: https://www.youtube.com/tokyoimprov
b) One of our shows from Manila that has an MP3 backing piano track that our current musician made for us.  In our Tokyo shows where he performs, he'd simply play the piano live.  I don't have a video of that but hopefully this mp3 version of the scene will help. https://youtu.be/7nV_IvMX5Yw?t=6m55s
c) Background music example provided by our current piano player: https://youtu.be/M9xjl_AbLXY?t=2m52s
d) Other song examples (one and two and three) of mp3s our current player made for some games.  He plays it live if he is there and we'd want you to do the same.

Q) How can I join and be your next piano player?
A) We'd like to share some videos with you and ask you to record yourself playing piano to the video.  That way we can best hear your style and skills on the keys.

We created some videos for you to watch and we'd like you to improvise some music to them and send it back to us.
This allows us to hear your style and gives you an idea of what we'd need from a piano player.

1) Do NOT watch the videos linked below ahead of time. We are an improv group and our piano player needs to improvise music alongside us in shows. So watch the video early or multiple times before playing the song defeats the purpose of improv and doesn't allow us to see your piano-improv skills fully.
2) Record yourself at your piano, opening the video (ideally on a laptop/desktop so you have a large screen) and playing it for the first time.
3) As you are watching the video, play backing music. 
4) Send us the video.

There are two videos.  To best prepare you, read below outlining what the video is about and what we need from you.  Again, the piano player will be improvising alongside us so please don't watch this video and prep your playing.  Just watch and play and record at the same time so we get the best understanding of your improv-piano skills.

Video 1: (watch it and play background music while watching for the first time. Send us the video of you watching/playing) https://youtu.be/4WlAkvnd8dI 
- We will do a short (1min) scene. Please create background sounds/music/ambiance. 
- THEN, we will replay that initial scene but in different genres styles. (example, replay the scene as a "Western", as a "Sitcom", etc). The genre styles will be announced in the video so simply watch, hear the genre and switch styles.  
- Please follow the scene and add to it by switching your genre styles each time we replay it.
- Send us the one video of you watching our video and playing background music throughout the 5 min scene/game.

Video 2(watch and send us two MP3s) https://youtu.be/VLBkLIBBRWg
- It is an acapela song we created. Please create a piano song to go with it. 
- No additional inputs/sounds besides what you could create on your piano in a live show. 
- The goal is that you can play along side the singers adding a live song on the keyboard. Be careful, we are not pro singers so we sometimes slowdown/speed up during the song so you'd have to adjust mid-song to stay with us OR you push us to stay on beat with your piano skills.
- There are three versus to the song.
- Please record this song you create and send us the MP3 #1 you create.
(you can re-watch this and create a better/second MP3 #2 if you'd like since after watching it once, you will have a better idea of this song.  This is a set song we regularly do so the song/beat/tone isn't improvised like with the scenario in Video 1. So your MP3 #2 would be a more though-out song by you to fit this song-game we play.
- Send us the two MP3s.  (One is the initial version you improvised while watching.  Second is the more detailed/advanced version that you create). Send them to Mike Staffa: staffa@japancomedy.com   


The Pirates are an improvisational group performing in English and Japanese.  Our shows are different every time we perform as we create and personalize each show based on audience suggestions.  Improvisational comedy is a popular comedy style in North America and Europe and is starting to become well-known in Japan.  The Pirates are helping lead this movement through our extensive work with clients like the US Embassy, ConnectUSA, and the Australian Society of Tokyo.

The Pirates have many friends across Asia and love meeting up with them on tour.  Since 2011, the Pirates have been spotted at festivals and shows in Beijing, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Singapore, Manila, Kuala Lumpur, Honolulu, Tübingen (Germany) and New York City.

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If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Mike Staffa via email at staffa@japancomedy.com.