Life Is Grand Baby (boomers)!
Method acting for musicians
new edition 2022
Having set about to and published the book I started to notice more that should be added so I gathered a bit more and have injected in the right places.
Hope you get something from it all.
My 1st ever book
Life is Grand, Baby!
Notes on Perfroming
by Paul Toshner
Memoirs and insights on the intimate performance of song from a real-life Piano Man.
This book is for the front man, or soloist, someone who takes responsibility for the flow, pace, structure, material selection, engagement and the many dynamics relating to audience relationship.
Born to a businessman and an aerobics instructor, and very much part of mainstream society, at 27 Paul decided to try a new kind of life. His quest for experience and understanding transformed him, taking him over oceans and across continents, to piano bars and community halls in London, Switzerland, Denmark, China and the USA, as well as Yeshivas in New York and Jerusalem.
Hello, my name is Paul Avrom Toshner. I was born in the Glasgow Victoria Infirmary, Scotland. I perform lyric-based song with a bit of chat. In Glasgow I took classical voice lessons for three years with Lidea De Rosa, and piano with Jim McDowall. My influences include: Bob Dylan, Miles Davis, Billy Joel, Mahler, Frank Sinatra, Pavarotti, Keith Jarrett, Elton John, and of course The Beatles.
For the first time I’m sharing my secrets and stories from the years of performance as a concert act, a lounge act, piano-bar act, a shopping-center act, a restaurant act. Modes of understanding, both technically and spiritually gathered in a journal where I sought to increase my ability and learn from mistakes and successes. Added to these are my stories and a “lessons learned” section. Together, these are my humble offering to the world from my experiences, that I’m very happy to share.
I started off life as a musician playing piano in Princess Square, a classy Glasgow shopping center. I moved on to local hotel lobbies (The Grosvenor and the Albany). But it all started when I got to cover for a job in Denmark for a friend who played in “The Baby Grand” called Danny Thompson. He couldn’t do the gig and offered it to me. There I met another piano player and he introduced me to his agent. It went from there to piano bars in Denmark, ski resorts in Klosters and St. Moritz Switzerland. Followed by concert work in community halls and assisted-living homes in London and the USA, as well as residencies in various hotels in London’s West End.
I am a “returnee” to Orthodox Jewish life, finding deep meaning in its practices more and more as time goes on. I believe it is no coincidence that my playing has improved as a result.
“An invaluable tool for anyone and everyone in the entertainment industry. Paul’s warmth and engaging personality shine forth as he takes us from the pre-gig preparation through the unforgettable performances. You will gain insight and inspiration from this important work.”
Yechiel Spero, Author
"An instruction manual about how to do a good performance, it speaks to me. Very well written thoughtful stuff, fascinating.”
Avraham Rosenblum, The Diaspora Yeshiva band
“What he has basically done is written a lab book of his experiences for people to use and share. It makes me wish I was a performer."
Nathan Sobel, Accountant (Amazon review)
It’s so deep, informative, poetic, and entertaining! It’s a masterpiece. After reading the book, I would definitely feel more confident to get on that stage!
Shani, Pianist (Amazon review)
"To me its real value lies in the understanding that a great live performer - whether of music or dramatic reading or giving a speech - finds ways large and small to connect with the audience. And this book is full of goodies and tidbits that help make that possible. I am a frequent public speaker and I found this book a reminder of some things I thought I knew, as well as a source of new ideas and inspiration in how I can do an even better job. Highly recommended!”
I Cox, President/CEO Wheeltug PLC (Amazon review)
Everything you need to know. Tying in life experiences, tried and true nerve calmers, and methods to keep your audience hooked and happy, this book is a must for anyone looking to start a career in music/performing.
Maddie Papesh, (Amazon review)
“He is Beatles, U2, he’s Bob Dylan, he’s jazz, this style and that style, he has obviously been influenced by all the songs he has been playing through the years. The world would welcome something like this now with open arms”
Orna Wellman, drama and English teacher Canada
"Paul sets the standard when it comes to camaraderie, and healthy artistic sharing."
Mesoud Benasuly, Guitarist and bassist N.Y.
“He sports a white fedora, speaks in a distinctive Scottish accent. With a friendly, bubbly personality that lights up the room and makes everyone feel welcome.”
Baltimore Jewish Times
“Bar sales are way up whenever Paul plays.
A real presence with a quality style.”
Andrew Hollett, GM Corus Hotel Hyde Park
“I wish I’d have met Paul Toshner 30 years ago, he has taught me many things about the world… about work, gals, money, investment, how to deal with people under any circumstance, fairness, kindness, hard work, consistency, the value of perseverance, the importance and the guts to destroy your own work, if necessary, in order to start up again from zero, just to upgrade that ‘little’ notch, the absolute always essential tool of not taking things too seriously, specially, and more particularly oneself!”
-Mesoud Benasuly. Guitarist N.Y.
“The very embodiment of the term Crooner. Knows his way round the ivories better than most, with an unbeatable repertoire of originals Classics to keep you entertained."
-Alex Clare. Island Records artist.
"Bar sales are way up on the previous years when Paul was not here. Please do not hesitate to contact me for a reference ”
-Andrew Hollett. GM Corus Hotel Hyde Park.
"Paul has been performing for a number of years in various hotels in London I have been running. He is an all round entertainer, has shown great engagement and is willing to go that extra mile for customers and you as a client."
-Simon Mclaughlin. Operations Manager, Danubious Regents Park
66 East Concord Dr