Wednesday, December 28, 2005

The Anatomy of Playing in the Mall...

It's been a little while since I've posted anything. The holidays are a REALLY busy time for us piano players! December is my busiest month of the year, bar none.

I thought it might be fun to tell you a thing or two about playing at the mall. I just spent about two weeks straight playing here in Eugene, Oregon at Valley River Center.

First, here's the set up:

I've got a Yamaha 5'6" baby grand to play (this one belongs to the mall and is one of the nicest pianos in town). Right beside me at a table, my wife sits, dressed very nicely and selling my CDs. All nine 0f the CDs are set out, and along with them are my business cards and fact sheets that people can read and take with them. Around the piano I have three easels set up with information for people to read about the music.

The idea is that people hear the music, read the information, browse the CDs and hopefully buy. I sell them at the following prices:

1 for $15
2 for $25
3 for $35
4 for $40

We do our best to encourage people to buy as many CDs as possible. It saves them money, plus helps support my family! And, as far as I'm concerned, the more of my music that gets "out there" the better.

The trick to being successful playing piano in the mall is do everything you can to gather a crowd. To do this, I play with as much movement and emotion as I can to draw the attention of passers by. If you can gather a crowd around the piano, MORE people notice and join the crowd. The crowd itself draws attention because people want to see what's going on. So, if I have a crowd, I sell more CDs. If I LOSE the crowd, then I have to work very hard to get them back.

It's VERY tiring work. Just imagine taking every bit of emotion you have and putting it into your performance - sometimes for several hours straight. On Christmas Eve, I put in about six hours of playing with very few breaks. It can wear you down emotionally and physically.

The most frustrating thing is when you give everything you have and people don't even notice. This happens on slower nights at the mall, especially. There are less people, so it's harder to get the crowd going, which makes it harder to get people's attention as they walk by.

Playing at the mall is a two-way street, emotionally. If you have a slow night, you walk away feeling a bit down because you just put all of yourself out there and few people noticed - you feel a bit like pretty wallpaper. On the other hand, if it's BUSY, you have a constant flow of people at the CD table and you walk away on an emotional high because not only do you sell a lot of CDs, you feel noticed and appreciated. I very much prefer when the latter happens!

I used to play the mall a lot more than I do now. These days, I limit myself to just the holidays. During normal weekends, it's just not quite busy enough - harder to get that crowd going. But, at Thanksgiving, Christmas time, Valentine's Day weekend and Mother's Day weekend - those have been our most successful weekends.

The greatest thing about playing the malls is all the people you get to meet and talk to. As an artist, there's nothing like getting that INSTANT feedback to your music. If people love it, they tell you, and it gives you a little boost. Quite often, people who have purchased your music before will come back and tell you stories about how the music has impacted their lives.

During this last week, I met a couple who had used one of my songs as their Wedding march. They were so jazzed to meet me in person - and I played the song for them (Wonderland from my Postcards from Germany CD) and they heard it "live" for the first time.

I also ran into the mother of a girl who used to sing and share the stage with my friend, the late Dax Johnson. The mother had just read my blog tribute that morning about Dax, went down to the mall and I happened to be there.

In another cool meeting, I met a teenage girl who had just purchased the sheet music for my song "While the Trees Sleep" from my web site. What made this meeting special was that she had just flown in from the U.K.. She just happened to be visiting Eugene and at the mall with some friends and then heard me playing that same song at the piano. She couldn't believe it. What were the odds of this girl from the U.K running into the composer of the song she had just downloaded from the Internet a few days previous? It was one of those weird coincidence things.

Another woman told me the story of how she had purchased my Overcome CD last year, and was listening to it the week after her brother passed away recently. She opened the liner notes to read my words of encouragement there and was touched and lifted up by them.

It goes on and on. Lots of great life stories.

And then there are the BAD things about playing the mall... Every once in awhile I meet someone who has a really odd vibe about them - something isn't quite right. For example, one girl I met during this last stint brought out this black "orb" and started telling the children sitting near the piano that it was the "eye of Goliath the giant" and scared them to death with her stories about it! And then she began chanting while I was playing and making some very odd noises. I have to tell you, she seemed quite possessed and possibly was.

Another guy went CRAZY for my music, and I mean crazy. He started yelling to everyone around - THIS GUY IS INCREDIBLE! GENIUS! AMAZING! and he was talking excitedly, frantic, manic, walking around to people nearby and going on and on about my piano playing - it was too much, and very embarassing. I was glad when, after about fifteen minutes, he finally went away.

And there are the kids that can't resist slamming the piano keys as they walk by. That REALLY gets to me. It's very disrespectful. So along with the good stuff a little frustrating stuff.

However, when you put it ALL together, it's a wonderful experience. I love doing it. It's good for my business, and the mall staff has been so incredibly supportive of me. They are fantastic people that work there!

So there you have it. A little insight on playing a mall gig from the pianist's perspective.


Thursday, December 08, 2005

Notes from the Piano - Dec. 2005

Notes from the Piano of David Nevue
December 2005
E-News for friends and fans of pianist David Nevue

- BOOKING NOW for 2006
- A 99 Cent FAVOR?

Hi Everyone!

I hope you are looking forward to Christmas as much as I am this year! Our youngest, Noelle, is two years old now so between her and her five year old brother Nathan, the holidays are getting to be so much fun! Shopping for the kids was a BLAST this year, plus it gave my wife and I a very good reason to have a night out alone together - always a plus!

And to help put you in the mood for Christmas, I have a little surprise for you...


It's finally available! I'm very sorry it took so long, but at this point I'm just glad to have it out before Christmas came and went! Five more of my arrangements from my CD "O Come Emmanuel" are now available as sheet music to purchase and download from my web site.

These include:

O Come, O Come Emmanuel
Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus
We Three Kings
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
Away in a Manger

You can buy them individually for $3.95, or all five together in a package for $14.95. Just go to

Happy playing!


On Friday, December 16th, at 7:00 pm I will be leading a time of worship and celebration of the birth of Jesus at Calvary Chapel Tri-County in Harrisburg, Oregon. I'll be playing piano along with Nicole Coppi on vocals and guitar, and Josh Lilly on the bass. The church is located at 231 Smith Street in Harrisburg. Here's a map:

I hope those of you who are local can come. I think this is going to be a very special evening. It's going to be a mellow, worshipful, time to remember and celebrate the reason for the season. The service is, of course, free to everyone. Childcare will be provided.



Here are my upcoming performance dates and times. These are all at Valley River Center mall in Eugene, Oregon.

I'll be playing at Valley River Center on...
Friday, December 9th, 6pm-8pm, Free
Saturday, December 10th, 12pm-2pm, Free
Sunday, December 11th, 1pm-3pm, Free
Wednesday, December 14th, 5pm-7pm, Free
Saturday, December 17th, 12pm-2pm, Free
Monday, December 19th, 5pm-7pm, Free
Wednesday, December 21st, 5pm-7pm, Free
Thursday, December 22nd, 6pm-8pm, Free
Friday, December 23rd, 7pm-9pm, Free
Saturday, December 24th, 9am-11am and 1pm-4pm. Free

See for more details. Dates and times ARE subject to change so be sure to check the web site before coming down.


BOOKING NOW for 2006....

I'm ACTIVELY BOOKING concerts for 2006! States where I have firm plans of traveling to (or through) include California, Georgia, Missouri, Alabama, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Ohio, Indiana and Illinois. If you live in any of these states (or nearby), and would like to help put together a concert, please get in touch with me. I would LOVE the chance to come and play a concert for your church, event, benefit, or even a HOUSE CONCERT if you have a decent piano.
Imagine how great it would be to invite all your family and friends for an intimate piano concert at your home!

For details on what's involved, read the info at and then email me at

If you live ELSEWHERE, but you'd really like to have me put on a concert for you, please still feel free to contact me. We'll see what we can fit into the calendar. I still have some free spots here and there for 2006.



With the holidays coming up, please consider purchasing some of my CDs for friends and family as gifts. It's not too late to order and still receive your CDs before Christmas. I would very much appreciate your support.


A 99 Cent FAVOR?

I have a 99 cent favor to ask of all of you who have accounts with iTunes, Rhapsody, or any of the other music download services. Would you be so kind as to purchase and download one of my Christmas tunes this month from one of these services? In particular, if you could purchase "O Come Emmanuel" or "Silent Night" that would be great. You see, the more copies of each download I sell, the higher my rankings are on those services. That means that people searching for "Silent Night" on iTunes, etc., are more likely to find my arrangement. It just helps me get my music in front of new people. If you have iTunes installed, here is a link to bring up my page in the iTunes application:

Thank you in advance to all of you who are able to help out with the promotion!


My blog has been back up and running and regularly updated. See

I'm now on See

I wrote a tribute to Dax Johnson, a pianist friend of mine who passed away the day before Thanksgiving. See . Please take the time to read that as Dax was a true friend of mine and a great inspiration on my music, particularly my most recent album, "Overcome."

Speaking of which, "Overcome" got a terrific review by reviewer RJ Lannen. See . The album was also the #2 CD on the New Age Reporter charts for the months of September and October. NAR is basically the "Billboard Magazine" for any music in my particular genre (instrumental, ambient, environmental, acoustic, world, etc.)

Finally, BOTH "Overcome" and "Sweet Dreams & Starlight" will be available from iTunes soon!



As you spend your eight to ten hours at "work" during the day, tune into Whisperings: Solo Piano Radio. The broadcast is a huge hit! We have over 120,000 people a month tuning in now, making it one of the most popular broadcasts on the Internet. At Live365, which is the Internet's largest hosted radio network, we are in the top five most popular stations for ALL music genre's! If you have a fast Internet connection, you can tune in anytime. The broadcast is commercial and ad-free! Just point your browser to and click on "Listen Now."


That's it for this time.

David Nevue

Friday, December 02, 2005

New Review of Overcome....

I just received this review of my latest album, Overcome, today. I thought I'd share it with you all. It's very nice.

CD Review: by RJ Lannen, New Age Reporter

Passion Unfolds Sixteen Ways
I remember watching David Nevue perform once. An attentive group of people witnessed a great transformation as he sat at the big piano with a small spotlight on his face. We would soon know how much he was illuminated from within. His concentration was visibly intense, his mood serious and his gestures betrayed his passion. That was the word that came to mind that summer evening and still does today as I listened to his latest album Overcome. Passion. The new album incorporates not only David’s fervor for life and family, but his unquestionable reliance on his faith. The new piano works are a mix of traditional hymns, faith inspired solos, and new pieces that reflect David’s obsession with life and all of its aspects. The music is moody and moving, happy and pensive. And above all impassioned.

The title tune Overcome has David’s familiar tinkling-twinkling intro. Then the melody matures into a powerful song of emotion and celebration. That’s what great music does to your heart. Like a religion, it seeps into your being and your soul and gives you purpose and a zest for living. Music is a grace.

One of my favorites on Overcome is a delightful light tune called Winter Walk. Where I live the snow falls in big puffy flakes. For some strange reason it falls mostly at night. You wake to a white, fluffy gift the next morning. And for some other strange reason it disappears the next day. You have to appreciate what the day brings you. This song is the soundtrack for the snowfall.

Take My Life and Let it Be is a remarkable piece. The melody was familiar to me from a long time ago. Written as a prayer in the middle 1800s, its power and strength are just as potent today. Words and prayers last forever. This is an instrumental piece of course, but this stanza from the lyrics seems to suit David quite well.

Take my silver and my gold;
Not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect, and use
Every power as Thou shalt choose,
Every power as Thou shalt choose.

Another notable tune is called Broken. It seems to me to be a bit moody and yet I was drawn to it several times. It is the sound of surrender. Not the act of giving in, but giving over to something. A belief, a hope, perhaps a new path.

The Vigil is the best cut on the album. Lots of strong melody here with complexities surrounding a passionate theme. It is a holdover from one of David’s previously released albums of the same name. It seems as though every waking moment of our lives is spent in vigil. We watch and we wait for something extraordinary to happen.

Sometimes it does, but it just takes a squint of the eyes or heart to see it happening.The final cut, It Is Well with My Soul is a hymn by Philip Bliss with words by Horatio Spafford. The hymn was written after great tragedy struck Spafford’s life in 1875. He was stirred to write these poignant words despite his encounter with catastrophe.

And Lord, haste the day when my faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll;
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend,
Even so, it is well with my soul.

David’s heartrending interpretation is inspiring for its uplifting approach to a melancholy score. Surely we can not assume that his talent just comes out of the blue, can we?

David Nevue is the mastermind behind Whisperings: Solo Piano Radio and the traveling Whisperings Solo Piano Concert series. He is one of the strongest promoters of independent music on the internet. He has more than nine album attributed to him and his talent seems to have no end. Not only is he inspired, but his music is truly inspiring to others.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

In Memory of Dax Johnson, Part 2...

If you haven't read my first post about Dax yet, you might want to take a look at that before reading what follows. That first post is really more my tribute to Dax. This is more of a follow up.

It's been a week and a day now since my good friend, pianist Dax Johnson died. I am still numb from it. Today I flew up to Spokane, Washington for the memorial service and I am so glad I did. This seems odd to say, but I felt close to him there. I think it was, in great part, because I was surrounded by people whom he loved and who loved him. I wasn't alone with my grief - I could share it. It was just a wonderful time to celebrate who Dax was and the many lives he touched.

I wanted to use this forum to share a couple things from that memorial service with you. First, here is a music video of Dax which features his unreleased vocal song Bright Eyes. This tribute was shown at the memorial service. In addition, here is a twelve minute video montage, also shown at the service, of Dax's life in pictures. The first song used in that is "Deliver Me" by the David Crowder Band, and the second is "Blessed to be a Witness" by Ben Harper. The remainder of the songs are unreleased vocal tracks by Dax, which I presume are from the album he was working on in LA when he died.

The videos are both very touching, especially Bright Eyes, which I can't watch without becoming very emotional. You know, every person has gestures, facial expressions, quirks, that make them uniquely who they are. And when I watch this video, and see Dax looking right into the camera, it's just so.... REAL. I mean, this was Dax, and this is who I remember talking to and sitting and chatting with. The same facial expressions, the same impish grin, the same laughter, the same gestures, the same gentle giant (Dax was really tall) - so many of them captured here on film forever and for the last time.

I want to express my most sincere condolences to Dax's family - his wife and children, sisters and brother, and parents and grandparents who survive him. I know that my grief is nothing next to yours. Although I knew Dax for nearly ten years, when you add up all the time we spent together, both on the telephone and in person, it probably adds up to less than two days. Two short days... spread out over ten years. Really, that isn't much time - is it? Then why I do feel like I've lost one of my closest friends?

It's hard to say. To be honest, I don't understand it. I keep thinking that I shouldn't be grieving as much as I am. All I know is that Dax and I really "got" each other, and we just had a "connection." But even in making that statement, I feel a bit selfish, because I think just about everyone who met Dax and spent any amount of time with him felt that connection, too. Dax just connected with people - it was part of the magic of who he was. He made others feel special and amazing and good about themselves. It is so ironic, because Dax really didn't like himself very much. He was always ready to put himself down, to dismiss himself and his abilities, and yet when you were with him he made you feel like you were someone very special.

It was good to meet Dax's mother, Dee Johnson, at the memorial service. She has a very gentle, knowing way about her. It was obvious that she is a very wise woman. I could see it in her eyes. She surprised me by saying that she was honored I came to the service. I didn't know what to say to that, because really, I was just so thankful to be there. I mean, I HAD to be there.

And Dax's father - Tom - I simply shook his hand without saying too much, but it was I who was honored to meet him. He spoke on the topic of Understanding Dax at the service and the words he spoke were the exact words I needed to hear. Thank you, Tom, for sharing what you did about your son. For speaking the truth, even painfully, about Dax's life of wandering.

And Maka, my friend, I am so glad Dax introduced us all those years ago. Stangely, I expect that our lives are inexorably tied together now - even more so now that your brother Dax is gone. In a way, I feel Dax would be very happy if we filled some part of that empty space he left in our lives with each other.

What I was most pleased about at the memorial service, was how much time was spent focusing on Dax's faith and belief in Jesus. I knew that Dax was a believer, and a Christian, but I never really knew, until yesterday, the depth of his faith. I take much solace in knowing that Dax is experiencing a greater joy at this very moment than he ever did while walking the pathways of this shattered world.

This was a day I needed - a day to just spend remembering, appreciating, and even getting to better know Dax. His was the only music I listened to on this day. And I spent the Day reflecting on Psalm 91 - a Psalm that I shared with Dax - a Psalm about taking refuge under the shadow of God's protection. It was a day for Dax, a day of remembrance, a day of prayer and a day of tears. I will remember this day for the rest of my days.

This will be my last blog about Dax. I don't want to dwell on this grief any more - at least not publicly. But if there is any additional news of interest to post about Dax, I will certainly do that. I will do my part to keep his memory and his music alive for others to experience.

David Nevue