Oh, hey! How’s it going? Nice to see you, you look great. My name is Brenner, and I like to duel… with pianos.
My tale begins in a land far-away, in a little country called Brazil. I came to America when I was around eight years old with as much English in my arsenal as there are Amish people living in Manhattan. Through school, however, I quickly learned not only the American language but also its distinctive culture. I was immediately intrigued by American music, and when I was ten, my parents bought me my first keyboard after they noticed that every time we went into a Sears or Walmart I’d run straight to the instrument section and would want to stay and play the display keyboards for hours on end, not knowing what the heck I was doing, but somehow intrinsically drawn to the primal language of music.
From then on, I would tinker around on my shiny new keyboard, still not knowing what I was doing. It’s funny, because I remember I’d get so frustrated at the fact that I just couldn’t get both my right and left hand to work together for the longest time. But yet, somehow I always found my way back to that keyboard, swallowed my little kid pride, and kept trying. Then, I distinctly remember that suddenly one-day things just seemed to have *clicked*, and shortly after I officially learned my first song with both hands: “The Entertainer” by Scott Joplin. Now, it was not good by ANY standards, but I could do it, and it felt so good it sparked a huge burst of motivational energy that carried me to learn a lot more about not only piano but music in its entirety. I learned most songs by ear at the time, but I had realized it would be immensely helpful to also learn how to read music, especially since I LOVED ragtime so much right from the beginning. And ragtime is no joke, so I taught myself a little bit of music theory and how to read sheet music through some beginner books I had paid for with my limited allowance at the time, which lead me to expand my musical theory as well. By fourth grade, I had completely learned “Maple Leaf Rag” by memory, note for note, which remains one of my favorite pieces to play on the piano. I remember one of the absolute highlights of my childhood years was being able to perform the piece as a solo during a school-wide music recital in a packed auditorium and receiving a standing ovation when I finished. It felt surreal, especially for a little kid.
Fast forward many awkward teenage years, and about a year after I graduated college at Bridgewater State University, I was invited to my first Dueling Pianos experience for a friend’s birthday party. That bar was Point Street Dueling Pianos, then located in Providence, Rhode Island. I had no idea what I was in for, and initially, I thought the show would be boring, picturing two Beethoven-esque performers in funny wigs attempting to outdo one another throughout the whole night. When I actually saw the show, however, my life changed. It was pure music magic. I had no idea how these performers pulled off what they did, taking requests for ANY song on the spot, new and old, and executing it in such a high caliber manner. I was blown away, and now extremely curious about this unique show that’s always bursting with fun, contagious energy.
And honestly, the rest is history. I was given the immense opportunity to work for Point Street shortly after that fateful day and enjoyed over four years of learning from true masters of the craft. Nowadays, I’ve branched out into playing a variety of different types of Dueling Piano shows – not only Dueling Piano bars (which will always hold a special place in my heart), but also parties, corporate events, and another one of my favorites – weddings! I’ve realized, though, that it really doesn’t matter what type of event it may be. At the end of the day, my job is to have fun wherever I go and through music, help others do the same. Hope to rock with you soon!!
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