Billy Joel returned to high school on Thursday (30May13) when he surprised students at a school in Queens, New York with a surprise mini-concert.

The Piano Man, who is still contemplating his future as a performer after festival shows in New Orleans, Louisiana and Australia, showed up unannounced at the Frank Sinatra School of the Arts to join pal Tony Bennett, who opened the school in 2001 through his Explore the Arts programme.

Joel performed his hits New York State of Mind and She's Got a Way and answered questions from students, telling them that he used to love cutting class at high school to play the piano instead.

Asked about his biggest mistake as a musician, Joel said, "My biggest mistake was signing a lot of contracts that I didn't know what they were about. I signed away a lot of my rights - record royalties, publishing rights, copyrights and it took me years to get that stuff back."

And quizzed about his favourite collaborator, he joked, "Elle MCPherson. That was a good collaboration." Joel dated the Australian supermodel in the 1980s.