Potomac dad’s piano skills make him a TikTok star

WTOP reporter Mike Murillo speaks with local TikTok star

A Potomac, Maryland, father has found stardom on the social media app TikTok. Dan Binstock has played piano his entire life, but he can also play a song immediately after listening to it.

During the pandemic, he began a TikTok channel that began with his daughter quizzing him on songs but has since grown into taking countless requests from the thousands of people watching his videos, one of which has more than 23 million views.

“It’s so weird that so many people are responding to it like this,” Binstock told WTOP.

Initially, when Binstock presented the TikTok idea to a focus group, made up of his two young daughters, it wasn’t well received.

“They both were completely embarrassed of me. They said, ‘This is ridiculous, you’re 48 years old, you shouldn’t be on TikTok,’” Binstock joked.

But both girls eventually had a change of heart, and his daughter Alexa became a producer of sorts, helping dad shoot, edit and post videos. She would even push her dad to make more videos when viewership levels dropped.

“She would text me from school and she still does, and she goes, ‘Dad, you’ve got to post something, people aren’t watching anymore,” Binstock said.

How can he listen to songs and play them back by ear so quickly? Binstock said part of it is because of a condition he has known as synesthesia. It is a perceptual phenomenon in which he doesn’t only hear music, he sees the sound.

“So my whole life, whenever I’ve heard something, I just hear it in colors and notes,” Binstock said.

Binstock said it began at the age of 5, when his parents took him to see the musical “Oklahoma!” Afterward, he started playing it on the piano at home.

His daughter Alexa recalled that before he reached TikTok celebrity status, her father would start playing music that she’d play from her phone.

“I’ll just be scrolling on TikTok and I’ll be like sitting on the couch and like all of a sudden I’ll hear him playing the sound on the piano,” Binstock’s daughter said.

Alexa, 15, said it isn’t bad having a TikTok star for a dad.

“I was in the bathroom at school one day and someone was like, ‘I found your dad’s TikTok.’”

The teen said it is cool to share in her father’s online success and see the numbers go up as more and more people watch his videos.

Binstock said he has received inquiries from record labels and organizations wanting to sponsor his content, but as the recruiter for law firms at Garrison & Sisson, he said he won’t be taking the show on the road.

“I can’t quit my day job any time soon,” Binstock said.

He did say he plans to keep the TikTok videos coming.

“As much as people enjoy hearing the music, I will keep doing this because it’s my favorite thing in the world to do,” he said.

Mike Murillo

Mike Murillo is a reporter and anchor at WTOP. Before joining WTOP in 2013, he worked in radio in Orlando, New York City and Philadelphia.

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