The piano is a versatile instrument. Regardless of the style of music, pianos can enhance the sound. Rock, jazz, blues, country and classical have all made use of the piano's range. As a soloist, piano players fill both the lead and rhythm requirements of the songs they play, but a piano player's role in a band has to be adjusted to compliment the ensemble. Playing piano in a band requires a pianist to know what role he's playing and to customize his playing to fill that role.
Choose a band that plays the type of music you're most interested in. Discuss with the band members what role you will fill. A piano can be a rhythm or lead instrument, depending on the style of music and songs being played. In a band setting, it is likely you will be playing as an accompanist, so make sure you're comfortable with this role.
Integrate your playing with the band. Don't think like a piano soloist. In a band setting, you won't be required to cover all of the chord progressions, bass lines and melody lines. It's important you know what to put in and what to leave out when you play. Overplaying your instrument will overshadow the other instruments and make the music sound bloated.
Consider an electronic keyboard as opposed to an acoustic piano. As a piano player in a band setting, you will likely need to play sounds other than classic piano tones. An electronic keyboard will allow you to play piano sounds as well as other keyboard instruments such as the organ. You'll also be able to play other instrument sounds on an electronic keyboard when needed. These sounds could include everything from woodwind and brass instruments to percussion.
Carl Hose is the author of the anthology "Dead Horizon" and the the zombie novella "Dead Rising." His work has appeared in "Cold Storage," "Butcher Knives and Body Counts," "Writer's Journal," and "Lighthouse Digest.". He is editor of the "Dark Light" anthology to benefit Ronald McDonald House Charities.