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7 Best Soundtrack Pieces to Play on the Piano

Want to learn how to play songs on the piano from your favorite movies? In this week’s guest post, our friends at Tomplay share the seven best soundtrack pieces to play on the piano...

Whether you’re a total beginner or a seasoned professional, it’s important to have a diversified repertoire to be able to choose music that fits a certain mood or appeals to a particular audience.

It seems obvious that an audience at a jazz club might prefer to hear jazz over classical, teenagers at a coffee shop might want to hear arrangements of pop tunes, and your family at a holiday party might want to hear Christmas carols (or music related to whatever holiday you may celebrate).

Soundtrack music from movies is a genre that fits a variety of playing situations, and the pieces can often be changed and arranged to sound different than the original score.

Below are seven famous soundtrack pieces that are great to learn on the piano, and some tips on what’s behind the music:

1. “My Heart Will Go On” Titanic

Starting off this list of film soundtracks is James Horner’s memorable theme from the movie Titanic.

The infectious melody and romantic lyrics, originally recorded for the film by Celine Dion, are very popular among audiences comprised of people who were teenagers growing up in the 90s, and anyone who may have enjoyed the 1997 blockbuster love story.

Musically, the song creates a lot of interest as it begins in the key of E major, modulates to F minor in the last chorus, and finally ends in the key of Ab major.

It is a fantastic piece to play with an accompaniment, vocal or other instrument, and can be tweaked in some ways to suit your playing ability, such as removing embellishments like the quick scalar descending lines in the opening theme.

2. Hans Zimmer’s Pirates of the Caribbean Theme

The main theme from Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean, titled as “He’s a Pirate,” is a progressive piece that is instantly recognizable for its catchy melodies and dynamic contrast.

The original score in the film features a full orchestra, but playing this piece on the piano alone is a surefire way to get an audience excited about your playing, especially if there are kids in the audience (who doesn’t love a good pirate adventure?).

Due to its quick pace, a good practice method to help tackle this piece is to start slow and gradually raise the tempo as your right and left hands can work independently.

3. Yann Tiersen’s “Comptine d’un autre été”

Comptine d’un autre été : L’après midi is Yann Tiersen’s piano piece written for the French film Amelie.  It is a somber sounding piece in the key of E minor.

The first section begins with a beautiful motif in the right hand, and changes to a quicker syncopated right hand part in the second section, while the left hand continues the ostinato of the chord progression (i, III, v, VII or Em, G, Bm, D).

The piece is in binary form, which means that it is comprised of a A and B section. The B section occurs when the whole piece is repeated, with the right hand being played one octave higher.

4. The Godfather Theme

Perfect for fans of the classic gangster movie The Godfather, “Speak Softly, Love,” was composed by Nino Rota, with lyrics written by Larry Kusik.

Layered with intricate harmonies due to the use of accidentals, triplets in the left hand, and octave movement with syncopation in the right hand, a piano arrangement of this beautiful song is best attempted slowly, like the Pirates of the Caribbean theme, due to its complex nature.

The song has been translated into many languages including English, Italian, Sicilian, French, Spanish, and Ukrainian, so you can really get creative by arranging a variation featuring verses in multiple languages.

5. The Pink Panther Theme

Arguably the most widely recognized theme on this list, The Pink Panther theme was written by Henry Mancini for the 1963 comedy The Pink Panther.

While notated in the key of E minor, Mancini uses chromaticism to create the interesting harmonies in the theme, which evokes a sound like the blues scale.

The theme can be easily recognized at first by its signature perfect 5th chromatic slide to the E minor harmony (though omitting the third to keep the perfect 5th) in the left hand.

While you practice this piece, try breaking it into four measure sections as you bring the right and left hands together, so you do not overwhelm yourself reading the accidentals and syncopated rhythms.

6. “Concerning Hobbits”

“Concerning Hobbits,” sometimes referred to as The Shire theme, is Howard Shore’s acclaimed piece from the trilogy The Lord of the Rings, which is a film adaptation of J.R.R Tolkien’s fantasy novel of the same name.

“Concerning Hobbits” is a recognizable theme used throughout the films (especially the first film in the trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring). Set in the key of D major, this piece is great for pianists of all skill levels, as it can be reduced as necessary to accommodate.

A beginner player could, for instance, simply play the main theme in the right hand and hold whole note chords in the left hand. On the other hand, a player who is more comfortable with left and right hand independence could arpeggiate the harmony in the left hand, as written and as heard in the opening of the piece.

7. John Williams: “The Imperial March”

This simply would not be a popular soundtrack list if we did not include an example from Star Wars.

“The Imperial March (Darth Vader’s Theme)” is sure to please audiences spanning many generations – which makes total sense as the original Star Wars trilogy was released in the 1970s and 80s, the prequel trilogy in the 90s and 2000s, and Disney’s recent release of Star Wars: The Force Awakens in December 2015.

Williams composed the piece around a recurring theme (leitmotif) associated with Galactic Empire, Darth Vader, or the dark side of the Force. It is heard, in full or in part, throughout the original trilogy, prequels, and as a very brief adaptation in The Force Awakens.

The March is set in the key of G minor, and beginner pianists can get started by just learning the leitmotif, which can be broken into five shorter ideas.

Hopefully this list gets you started learning a few famous soundtrack themes that you can dig into regardless of your proficiency on the piano.

If you have any favorites that we missed, let us know in the comments!

Guest Post Author: Jack McCarthy
Jack McCarthy is a featured writer for Tomplay interactive sheet music app; pop and classical scores for piano, violin, and more, accompanied with real recordings by professional musicians. Jack is also a singer and songwriter, based in Philadelphia.

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piano lessons

10 Things That’ll Happen When Your Child Begins Piano Lessons

piano lessons

Are you considering enrolling your child in piano lessons? In this week’s guest post, our friend Doreen Hall from Piano Parents lists 10 reasons why your child should start piano lessons…

I have taught hundreds of piano students over the course of my 30-year teaching career. It never ceases to amaze me when I see the positive impact that piano lessons have on kids.

If you’re considering piano lessons for your child, here are 10 great things that you can expect to see as your child moves forward on his or her musical journey.

Research shows that children who study music do better on standardized testing and in school overall. After all, music and math are very much intertwined.

2

Practicing every day teaches kids discipline as well as patience. Oftentimes, the disciple it takes to learn the piano spills over into other areas like school and other extracurricular activities.

3

Learning to accept constructive criticism will help your child build self-confidence. What’s more, being able to do something special, like playing the piano, helps kids feel good about themselves.

4

Of course, participating in piano recitals and concerts helps kids feel less self-conscious. However, talking one-on-one with a teacher also helps children feel better about speaking with others.

5

A great deal of my students make friends with one another. Your child will also make friends with other music students by playing in groups, accompanying other music students, or just having fun singing with friends.

6

Studying music makes kids into musicians. This applies to all areas of music, not just the piano. Almost all of my piano students participate in band, orchestra, chorus, or musical theater.

7

Reading music is a skill most people don’t have. People who can read the treble and bass clefs required for piano playing can read music for almost any instrument.

8

TV and video games are fun for kids, but playing the piano is much better for young minds.

9

Concentration is something one must build. At first, your child may only be able to concentrate for 10 minutes, but as he or she advances and the music becomes more difficult he or she will learn to concentrate for an hour or more at a time.

10

It is a well-known fact that playing music reduces stress. What a great positive way to deal with life’s difficult moments.

Piano lessons are great for children. There are so many benefits to learning the piano from developing life skills to creating a lifetime of memories. If you’re a piano parent congratulations, you are giving your child a wonderful gift!

Photo by Miki Yoshihito

Guest Post Author: Doreen Hall
Doreen Hall is the creator of Piano Parents, a website that provides support and encouragement to the parents of piano students. Doreen lives in West Palm Beach, Florida where she is a piano teacher, composer, and freelance musician. She is also the creator of Paloma Piano, a website featuring reproducible piano music for students. 

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Family Affair-5 Creative Waysto Enjoy Music as a Family

Family Affair: 3 Creative Ways to Enjoy Music as a Family

Do you want to be more involved in your child’s music lessons? In this week’s guest post, our friend Lara L. at Piano Power shares five creative ways you can enjoy music as a family… 

In a world of earbuds and custom playlists, sharing music as a family “IRL” (or “in real life,” for those not hip to Internet slang) is more important than ever. Car sing-alongs and kitchen dance parties are par for the course.

To help you get more involved in your child’s music lessons or simply have some fun, we’ve outlined five unique music-sharing traditions. Read on for some fun musical inspiration!

1. Have a Family Karaoke Night

Love it or hate it, karaoke can be a true learning experience for kids. Reading lyrics, performing for an audience, waiting their turn, learning to respect others’ performances– there are major lessons to be learned beyond karaoke’s goofy fun.

If you’re not too shy to get onstage, kids can witness your own love for music, and see that mom or dad makes mistakes, laughs, and carries on.

(Also, you can introduce them to the amazing, karaoke-friendly world of Bonnie Tyler.)

2. Make it a Musical Game Night

Rather than “Name That Tune,” play a game called “Name That Artist.” The rule: When a new song starts, the first to identify the artist wins. This game presupposes that a.) Music is on at home, and b.) It is actively listened to.

Rather than background noise, music becomes an integrated part of life, requiring attention, memory, and close listening.  

3. Life is a Musical

Rather than speak in conversation, why not sing? This requires a bit of musical spontaneity on the parent’s part, but you can borrow the melody of a tune you both know, or make up something random.

Next thing you know, everyone will be singing instead of speaking in your home.

To discover the last two ways you can enjoy music as a family, head on over to Piano Power.

Guest Post Author: Lara L.
Lara L. is the communications manager at Piano Power, a Chicago-based music teaching group. Learn more about Piano Power here. 

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famous piano players

10 Wacky Facts About the World’s Most Famous Piano Players [Infographic]

If you’re learning how to play piano, chances are you’ve come across the works of famous piano players, such as Rachmaninov, Beethoven, and Chopin.

But do you know anything about these famous pianists?

Sure these famous piano players wrote and performed some of the most well-known classical music pieces, but their personal lives are equally just as colorful.

For example, did you know that Rachmaninov had enormous hands? Or that Beethoven went deaf at the age of 25?

Check out the infographic below to learn some more interesting facts about the world’s most famous pianists from different eras.

famous piano players

 

10 Wacky Facts About the World’s Most Famous Piano Players

1. Sergei Rachmaninov

Rachmaninov is described by many as a brilliant pianist, conductor, and composer.

It’s no wonder Rachmaninov was such a talented piano player, as it’s rumored that he had enormous hands that could span 12 piano keys.

2. Ludwig van Beethoven

Virtuoso pianist and talented composer, Beethoven composed dozens of famous concertos that have withstood the test of time.

He was known for improvising, but at the early age of 25 he lost his hearing, which caused him to hear constant buzzing.

3. Franz Liszt

19th century Hungarian composer and virtuoso pianist, Liszt was known for his intense performances.

Much like the Beatles, Liszt had thousands of devoted fans who would turn hysterical during his performances.

4. Frédéric Chopin

One of the most celebrated pianists, Chopin has contributed many significant works.

Those who saw Chopin perform were extraordinary lucky, as the legendary pianist only gave 30 public performances during his entire lifetime.

5. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart

Who doesn’t think of classical music when they hear the name “Mozart”? While he might have been known for his musicality, Mozart was also famous for his toilet humor.

6. Franz Schubert

While Schubert had a short career, he made an astounding contribution to classical music, having written more than 20,000 bars of music.

Standing at a mere five foot one, Schubert was given the nickname “Schwammerl,” which means little mushroom.

7. Arthur Rubinstein

With remarkable technique and musical logic, Rubinstein was beloved all over the world.

He had the reputation of being a grand storyteller, and was also fluent in eight languages, including English, Polish, Russian, French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Portuguese.

8. Glenn Gould

Known for his interpretations of Bach, Gould lived a very eccentric life. He was a hypochondriac with obsessive personality traits.

For example, he wore gloves and an overcoat no matter the temperature. He also insisted on performing on the same chair throughout his entire career.

9. Vladimir Horowitz

Considered one of the greatest pianists of the 20th century, Horowitz was best known for his performance of works during the Romantic era.

Horowitz’s father believed in his talent so much that he changed his age on his certificate so that he wouldn’t be enlisted in military service.

10. Claudio Arrau

Known for his interpretations of Beethoven, Arrau was a child prodigy. In fact, he could read music before he could read words.

These are just a few interesting facts about the world’s most famous piano players. Now that you know some piano trivia, share your new knowledge with your friends or piano teacher.

Did we miss any fun facts about your favorite famous piano players? Tell us in the comment sections below!

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10 Classical Piano Songs Boys Will Love to Play

classical piano songs for boys

Are you having difficulty getting your male piano students to practice classical piano? Our friend Doreen Hall from Paloma Piano shares 10 classical piano songs that boys will love to play…

Have you ever gone into a department store to buy an outfit for a boy and noticed how little there is to choose from compared to what is available for girls?

There are always racks and racks of cute dresses, but you have to go to the rear of the store to find anything at all for boys.

Sometimes I feel the same way when trying to choose classical piano songs for my boy students, as I want them to get excited about learning classical piano.

Over the years, however, I have found some awesome classical piano pieces that my boy students love learning. Below are my top 10 favorite “boy friendly” pieces. Please note that these classical piano songs are listed in order of difficulty.

1. Ludwig van Beethoven, Russian Folk Song in G major. Level 1

This is one of the most fun and easiest classical piano song to learn. Boys will like it because it is fast paced.

 2. Johann Sebastian Bach, March in D major from the Anna Magdalena Notebook. Level 2

This cheerful classical piano song is a great choice for introducing classical repertoire to students. Boys love it because it is a March and there’s no pedaling required.

3. Daniel Gottlob Turk, Song of a Knight in the Darkening Wood #28 from “60 Pieces for Aspiring  Players” Book 1. Level 2

The title alone makes boys want to try this very serious piece. In particular, it is great for students who like shorter piano pieces.

4. Friedrich Burgmuller, Arabesque Op. 100 No.2 Level 2

This classical piano song is hands down a favorite for boys and girls alike! Boys really love this exciting piece because it reminds them of music you would hear during an exciting chase scene at the movies. This super easy to play piece sounds much harder than it is.

5. Steven Heller, Avalanche Op.45. No.2 Level 2

With arpeggios that sound like tumbling snow, “Avalanche” is not only a blast to play, but students are building technical skills without even realizing they’re working on technique.

6. Robert Schumann, The Wild Horseman Op.68 No.8 from the Album for the Young. Level 3

This piece takes the player on a wild ride, while bouncing the melody between the right and left hands. It is a bit tricky, but the ABA form makes it fairly easy to learn.

7. Robert Schumann, The Happy Farmer Op.68 No.10 from the Album for the Young. Level 3

The left hand carries the melody in this “go to” happy song that every boy loves.

8. Peter Ilyitch Tchaikovsky, March of the Wooden Soldiers Op.39 No.2 Level 4

This piece is a little bit challenging to play. However, boys will be motivated by the regal nature of the music. This piece truly paints a picture of marching soldiers.

9. Friedrich Burgmuller, Ballade Op.100 No.15 Level 4

This piece starts out misterioso and ends with a loud surprise. It is another piece that sounds a lot harder to play than it really is. Whats not to like?

10. Robert Schumann, Knight Rupert Op. 68 No.12 Level 5

Last but certainly not least on the list is this awesome classical piano piece. While it’s the hardest on the list, it’s not impossible for the intermediate player to learn. This piece will make your student feel like he is the king of the keys! It’s also a great recital or audition piece.

These are my 10 all-time favorite classical piano songs to have my boy students learn. I feel that it is my responsibility as a teacher to inspire my students. These pieces feature themes that interest boys and they are all so much fun to play. In my opinion fun is what music is all about!

Where Can You Find Classical Piano Sheet Music?

Most of these pieces can be found for free download at: www.free-scores.comwww.imslp.org or you can download the pieces at www.palomapiano.com.

Guest Post Author: Doreen Hall
Doreen Hall is the creator of Paloma Piano, an online resource for piano teachers featuring a printable piano method as well as hundreds of pages of supplemental materials that teachers can use with their students. For free trial music and to learn more you can visit the Paloma Piano community today at Paloma Piano.

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piano recital

10 Piano Recital Songs for Beginners

piano recital

Are you looking for the perfect piano recital song to show off your hard-earned skills? Below, piano teacher Liz T. shares 10 great piano recital songs for beginners…

Preparing for your very first piano recital is exciting. Although it’s fun to show off what you’ve been working on during piano practice, piano recitals require lots of preparation.

When choosing the type of piano style you’ll be performing, it’s important that you pick a song that will best showcase your skills. After all, you want to choose a piano recital song you feel comfortable with.

That being said, below are 10 great piano recital songs for beginners. Also included are a few preparation tips and tricks to ensure that you’re ready for your shining moment on stage!

How to Prepare for Your Upcoming Piano Recital

1. Give yourself plenty of time

Pick your piece or pieces at least 4-6 months in advance of your piano recital. This will give you plenty of time to work those rhythm, melodic, and harmonic kinks out. Students will often struggle when they have only been working on their piece for two weeks. So be sure to plan ahead of time with your piano teacher.

2. Practice 1-2 hours a week

Practice at least 1-2 hours a week, working with a metronome and practicing both hands separately. Be sure to use your practice sessions wisely, and make the most of them. Discipline yourself and keep a practice journal to record specifically what you worked on; for example, fingering, pedal, trills, chords etc.

3. Rehearse staging

Start incorporating elements into your performance that will be used in your piano recital, such as using a microphone, practicing on an upright or grand piano, entering and exiting the stage. Plan a couple of dress rehearsals. If you aren’t able to get into the recital hall ahead of time, try practicing in front of a mirror or video record yourself to see what you can improve.

10 Piano Recital Songs for Beginners

1.The Entertainer- Scott Joplin (Genre: Ragtime)

2. Cannon in D- Pachelbel (Genre: Classical)

3. Hound Dog- Elvis (Genre: Blues)

4. Somewhere Over the Rainbow- Harold Arlen (Genre: Pop)

5. I Dreamed a Dream- Les Miserables (Genre: Broadway)

6. Misty- Erroll Garner (Genre: Jazz)

7. Piano Man- Billy Joel (Genre: Pop)

8. Great Balls of Fire- Jerry Lee Lewis (Genre: Rock)

9. Amazing Grace (Genre: Patriotic)

10. You Light Up My Life- Joe Brooks (Genre: Country)

Good Luck!

All of these songs can be played at the beginner or advanced level. I suggest finding “easy piano versions” that are published in many piano books today. Or you can sit down with your piano teacher to come up with an arrangement that works for you and the level you are currently at.

Photo by Ray Dehler

LizTPost Author: Liz T.
Liz T. teaches singing, acting, and music lessons online. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M in Vocal performance and currently performs/teaches all styles of music including Musical Theater, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country. Learn more about Liz here!

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christmas piano songs

15+ Easy Christmas Piano Songs [Video Tutorials]

christmas piano songs

Are you looking for some Christmas piano songs to play during the holidays? Below, piano teacher Liz T. shares 15+ Christmas piano songs for beginners…

The holidays are just around the corner. Whether you have a holiday piano recital coming up or you simply want to entertain guests, now is a great time to start learning  how to play Christmas songs on the piano.

Below are 15+ popular Christmas piano songs that you can add to your repertoire. The majority of these Christmas piano songs are fairly easy to learn. However, if you get stuck, check out the video tutorials provided below.

15+ Easy Christmas Songs for Piano

1. Jingle Bells


“Jingle Bells” is one of the most well-known Christmas songs. When playing this popular Christmas piano song, think of actual jingle bells to keep your rhythm in time or try practicing the song with a metronome.

2. Jolly Old St. Nicholas

“Jolly Old St. Nicholas” is a very easy piano Christmas song to learn, as it only consists of a few notes. To make the song sound more interesting, try playing around with dynamics. For example, go from piano to forte, or mezzo forte to mezzo piano, and so on.

3. Let it Snow


In the mood for some jazz? The popular Christmas tune, “Let it Snow” is an easy jazz song that’s great for practicing held half notes in the bass as well as eighth notes in the treble clef.

4. Frosty the Snowman


“Frosty the Snowman” is the perfect holiday song for kids. Practice each phrase one at a time to really nail down the melody. Once you have mastered the melody, have a little fun singing along while you play.

5. Silent Night


“Silent Night” is a classic ballad that uses only the white keys on the piano. Since this is a legato song, it’s great for practicing using your foot and the pedal. For example, practice picking up your foot on long phrases.

6. The First Noel


“The First Noel” is a great holiday song for practicing holding notes in the bass, while the melody is in the right hand. Try practicing balancing these two out together.

7. Away in a Manger


“Away in a Manger” is an easy song to play on the piano or keyboard, as it uses eight notes, quarter notes, and half notes. While the song is simple enough to be played with just the right hand, try challenging yourself by playing the notes with just your left hand.

8. Hark the Herald, Angels Sing


This beautiful Mendelssohn Christmas carol is excellent for practicing phrasing and technique. Once you’ve mastered the simple melody, try singing along with it or add a simple instrument to the mix, such as a recorder, flute, clarinet, or trumpet.

9. We Wish You a Merry Christmas


“We Wish You a Merry Christmas” is one of the easiest Christmas piano songs to learn. That’s because it only consists of verse-chorus-verse-chorus. It’s also a great song to encourage your guests or family members to sing along.

10. Walking in a Winter Wonderland


Don’t let this jazzy piano Christmas song intimidate you. To memorize the song, learn the melody first and then add in chords with the left hand. With great syncopation practice you can nail this song down in no time.

11. Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas


Frank Sinatra truly captured this gorgeous melody in the 1940’s. This easy piano Christmas song will get you familiar with playing octaves, 7ths, and other intervals that require jumping and stretching of the fingers.

12. O Holy Night


In this beginner tutorial, you’ll first start out learning the chord structure of the song. This step is very important in this piece, as you want to make sure you have the fingering, inversions, and harmonics down before you add the melody on top!

13. Deck the Halls


Another easy piano song to memorize quickly, “Deck the Halls” starts off with a very catchy hook, and repeats it three times. This is another great song to sing along to with a group of guests or family members.

14. Do You Hear What I Hear?


“Do You Hear What I Hear?” is a fantastic song for practicing call and response. In this song, the left hand echoes the right hand during the melody and rhythmic patterns.

15. It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas


Really take your time learning this song, as it’s very open and rubato. Try playing it a number of ways at various tempos. You might want to even try a completely different uptempo/swing version.

16. 12 Days of Christmas


“12 Days of Christmas” might sound like a complicated song, due to it’s many verses. However, with a little practice you should be able to nail it, as there are just three main chords.

If you’re interested in learning how to play Christmas songs on the piano this holiday season, I hope this list will help you get started.

If you’re looking for some more expertise and guidance on how to play Christmas songs on the piano, you might want to consider scheduling a lesson or two with a qualified piano teacher.

Happy Holidays!

LizTPost Author: Liz T.
Liz T. teaches singing, acting, and music lessons online. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M in Vocal performance and currently performs/teaches all styles of music including Musical Theater, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country. Learn more about Liz here!

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thanksgiving songs for kids

10 Thanksgiving Piano Songs Kids Will Gobble Up

thanksgiving songs for kids

Are you looking for some Thanksgiving songs for kids? Below, piano teacher Alicia B. shares 10 yummy turkey tunes kids will love playing…

Whether it’s playing for friends and family around the table or at a school holiday party, Thanksgiving is an excellent time for beginner piano players to demonstrate their skills to a welcoming crowd.

Below are 10 Thanksgiving songs for kids. These piano songs vary by level and style, so there’s something for everyone.

1. Five Fat Turkeys Are We: Primer level

Veteran piano teacher and university professor, Gilbert De Benedetti compiles several arranged and original holiday-themed songs, including this primer-level piece, “Five Fat Turkeys Are We.”

It’s a great Thanksgiving song for kids, as it has kid-humor lyrics. For example, “Five fat turkeys are we, we slept all night in a tree, when the cook came round, we couldn’t be found, so that’s why we’re here you see!”

Find this and other free music at gmajormusictheory.org.

2. Hurray, Thanksgiving Day!: Pre-reading level

Educator, Susan Paradis wrote this Thanksgiving song for kids as part of her teaching resources blog, which focuses on the pre-reading level.

It’s a great easy piano piece your beginners can learn in a day. The song even has lyrics for the cousin choir. Find this free piano piece on susanparadis.com.

3. Simple Gifts: Beginner, Intermediate, Advanced

Originally a Shaker hymn (other interpretations include it as a dance song), “Simple Gifts,” is an American folk tune written by Joseph Brackett.

The piano song’s tone of wistful Americana makes it ideal for this time of year.

Many classical fans have heard the song as part of Aaron Copland’s “Appalachian Spring,” and today it’s used for several movies and television holiday specials.

4. Turkey in the Straw: Beginner, Intermediate

The American folk song, “Turkey in the Straw” dates back to the early 1800s and is comprised of themes from other countries, such as Ireland.

Given its steady eighth-note feel, it was originally popularized as a fiddle tune, but is now enjoyed by all instrumentations.

Find a version of “Turkey in the Straw” for piano players on Makingmusicfun.net

5. We Gather Together: Intermediate, Beginner

This hymn was originally taken from a Dutch folk tune. Composer, Adrianus Valerius added lyrics to commemorate the victory over the Spanish in the Battle of Turnhout.

In current day, the piano song is often heard around the Thanksgiving holiday, as its title and lyrics suggest a time to join and reflect on the year’s blessings.

The 3/4 time signature and dotted quarter note pattern is a great warm up for “Silent Night,” which shares a similar structure.

You can find Andrew Fling’s arrangement of this tune on makingmusicfun.net

6. Thanksgiving Theme (A Charlie Brown Christmas): Advanced, Intermediate

Pianist and composer, Vince Guaraldi made an indelible mark on American culture when he composed a series of jazz-inspired pieces to accompany Charlie Brown, Snoopy, and the gang for the 1965 television special, “A Charlie Brown Christmas.”

Since that time, the laid-back jazzy tunes have become a staple of the holiday season, and “Thanksgiving Theme” is a wonderful example.

Its driving 3/4 time signature and cascading triplets beautifully juxtapose the busyness of the season and the beauty of falling snow.

This piece is available for purchase in many Charlie Brown songbook collections.

7. Teacher’s Pet  (School of Rock, The Musical): Intermediate

Now coming to Broadway, School of Rock (originally a 2005 movie starring Jack Black) inspired a generation of kids to get involved in music education through high-energy classic rock and soul music.

The upcoming Broadway cast is performing at the 2015 Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, which should inspire and invigorate your young pianists, as the cast is comprised of actual child musicians – and even features a rockin’ keyboard solo!

8. Autumn Leaves: Intermediate, Advanced

Well-known jazz standard, “Autumn Leaves” began as the 1945 French song, “Les feuilles mortes” (The Dead Leaves) by Joseph Kosma.

It was only after American songwriter Johnny Mercer added English lyrics in 1947, did it gain popularity as a pop and jazz standard.

It’s now often used as a teaching tool for beginner jazz pianists, as it illustrates a ii-V-i (2-5-1) chord progression pattern, a pivotal concept in many jazz standards and improvisation.

9. Largo and Scherzo from Dvorak’s New World Symphony: Intermediate, Beginner

Highly celebrated Bohemian (now Czech Republic) composer, Antonin Dvorak had always been influenced by his geographic surroundings.

It is of no surprise, therefore, that when he moved to the U.S. in 1892 he wrote his impressions in his 9th symphony, commonly known as the “New World” Symphony.

The Largo movement is a solemn march that takes direct influence from African American spirituals and Native American intervals and rhythms in the Scherzo.

Find a version of the Largo movement on makingmusicfun.net.

10. Mashed Potatoes U.S.A.: Beginner, Intermediate

This early James Brown classic is basically a rhythm and blues jam in which Brown lists every one of his favorite cities.

The song’s driving groove is perfect for the cooking mood and it’s a great way to practice some blues improvisation. Encourage your guests to chime in with the city in which they’re visiting, while giving shout-outs to their favorite side dish.

You can find a recording of this song, and many blues backing tracks to practice with on YouTube.

These Thanksgiving piano songs for kids will keep your pumpkin pi(e)anists practicing until Black Friday! Happy Thanksgiving and have a musically merry holiday season!

Untitled design 66Post Author: Alicia B.
Alicia B. teaches piano, violin, music performance, and more. She is a graduate of Miami’s Public Arts Programs, including Coral Reef Senior High and the Greater Miami Youth Symphony. Alicia has over 15+ years of musical experience. Learn more about Alicia here!

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piano pop songs

100 Piano Pop Songs Everyone Will Love

piano pop songs

Do you need a break from classical music? Below, piano teacher Liz T. shares 100 piano pop songs you can add to your repertoire…

Are you sick of playing the same classical tunes over and over again? It may be time to spice up your piano playing by adding a few piano pop songs to the mix.

Whether you’re into pop rock or R&B, there are tons of popular pop songs you can learn on the piano.

Not only will learning piano pop songs help keep you interested, but it will also improve your performances.

Its common for piano players to get requests for pop songs. Learning a few piano pop songs will ensure that you’re ready to go at a moment’s notice.

Below is a list of 100 piano pop songs that everyone will enjoy. The following songs are broken down into various categories for easy browsing.

Choose a few of your favorite songs to add to your repertoire. Please note that some of these piano pop songs are more difficult than others.

If you can’t play one, just move onto an easier one until you’ve sharped your skills.

Easy Piano Pop Songs for Kids

  • Don’t Worry, Be Happy: Bob Marley
  • Go the Distance: Hercules
  • Mmm Bop: Hanson
  • Let it Go:Frozen
  • Happy: Pharrell Williams
  • You’ll be in My Heart: Tarzan
  • Accidentally in Love: Shrek
  • Ain’t No Mountain High Enough: Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell
  • A Whole New World: Aladdin
  • Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen
  • I See the Light: Tangled
  • Somewhere Over the Rainbow: Judy Garland
  • The Rainbow Connection: Kermit the Frog
  • My Girl: Temptations
  • Circle of Life: The Lion King
  • I Got You Babe: Sonny and Cher
  • Kiss The Girl: The Little Mermaid
  • Do You Want to Build A Snowman?: Frozen
  • Wouldn’t It Be Nice: The Beach Boys
  • Reflection: Mulan
  • That’s How You Know: Enchanted
  • YMCA: Village People
  • Part of Your World: The Little Mermaid
  • The Medallion Calls: Pirates of the Caribbean

Best Piano Pop Songs for Teens

  • Get Lucky: Daft Punk
  • Sexy and I Know It: LMFAO
  • Thrift Shop: Macklemore and Ryan Lewis
  • Clarity: Zedd
  • Born This Way:Lady Gaga
  • Thinking Out Loud: Ed Sheeran
  • Before He Cheats:Carrie Underwood
  • Boyfriend: Justin Beiber
  • Single Ladies: Beyonce
  • Party in the U.S.A: Miley Cyrus
  • California Girls: Katie Perry
  • Trouble: Taylor Swift
  • I Want It That Way:Backstreet Boys
  • Bye, Bye, Bye: NSYNC
  • Waterfalls: TLC
  • Wannabe: Spice Girls
  • Hit Me Baby One More Time: Britney Spears
  • Ain’t No Other Man: Christina Aguilera
  • Lady Marmalade: Moulin Rouge
  • I Believe I Can Fly: R. Kelly
  • Rehab: Amy Winehouse
  • Uptown Funk: Bruno Mars
  • Rolling in the Deep: Adele
  • Hey Ya: Outkast
  • Torn: Natalie Imbruglia
  • Wonderwall: Oasis
  • Hero: Mariah Carey
  • Respect: Aretha Franklin
  • Shake It Off: Taylor Swift

Piano Pop Songs for Adults

  • The Piano Man: Billy Joel
  • Bennie and the Jets: Elton John
  • Dancing Queen: Abba
  • Hey Jude:The Beatles
  • California Dreaming: The Mamma’s and The Papa’s
  • Roxanne: Sting
  • Superstitious: Stevie Wonder
  • River Deep, Mountain High: Tina Turner
  • Natural Woman: Carole King
  • Can’t Help Falling in Love: Elvis
  • American Pie: Don McLean
  • I Can’t Make You Love Me: Bonnie Raitt
  • What a Wonderful World: Ray Charles
  • Do You Think I’m Sexy: Rod Stewart
  • Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For: U2
  • Hotel California: The Eagles
  • Crazy:Willie Nelson and Patsy Cline
  • I Will Always Love You: Dolly Parton
  • Moondance: Van Morrison
  • Knockin on Heaven’s Door: Bob Dylan
  • Bridge Over Troubled Water: Simon and Garfunkel
  • Last Dance: Donna Summers
  • Stairway to Heaven: Jimmy Page and Robert Plant
  • Big Yellow Taxi: Joni Mitchell
  • Born in the U.S.A: Bruce Springsteen
  • My Heart will Go On: Celine Dion
  • Material Girl: Madonna
  • Time After Time: Cyndi Lauper
  • Stop! In the Name of Love: Diana Ross
  • Lanslide: Fleetwood Mac
  • Wind Beneath My Wings: Bette Midler
  • Don’t rain on my Parade: Barbra Streisand
  • Don’t Stop Believing: Journey
  • Sweet Caroline: Neil Diamond
  • Smooth Criminal: Michael Jackson
  • I’ve Had the Time of My Life: Dirty Dancing
  • I’ll Make Love to You: Boyz II men
  • Un-Break My Heart:Toni Braxton
  • Killing Me Softly: Roberta Flack
  • Ironic: Alanis Morrisette
  • Kiss From a Rose: Seal
  • Hit Me With Your Best Shot: Pat Benetar
  • I Can’t Get No Satisfaction: The Rolling Stones
  • At Last: Etta James
  • Sweet Child of Mine: Guns and Roses
  • Sweet Home Alabama: Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • Livin on a Prayer: Bon Jovi

Where to Find Piano Pop Sheet Music

Now that you’ve browsed through the 100 piano pop songs, chances are you’re going to need some piano sheet music. Below are some great websites where you can find sheet music for all of the piano pop songs above.

  • Piano Play It: From pop to Disney, this website has great piano sheet music for kids and beginners. The best part is it’s free! Check out the website here.
  • 8notes.com: This website has a ton of piano sheet music. You can browse through categories, such as “playalong jam tracks,” “most popular piano,” and more. Check out the website here.
  • OnlinePianist: This website also has a wide variety of piano pop sheet music. What’s great about this website is that it indicates whether a song is beginner, intermediate, and advanced. Check out the website here.

Expand your repertoire with these fun piano pop songs. If you need help learning new techniques and styles, ask your piano teacher for some help!

Photos by woodleywonderworks and Jeff Dun

LizTPost Author: Liz T.
Liz T. teaches singing, acting, and music lessons online. She is a graduate of the Berklee College of Music with a B.M in Vocal performance and currently performs/teaches all styles of music including Musical Theater, Classical, Jazz, Rock, Pop, R&B, and Country. Learn more about Liz here!

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piano practice

50 Best Pinterest Accounts for Inspiring Piano Practice Ideas

 

piano practice

Are you in a piano practice rut lately? There’s nothing worse than having to practice or teach the same piano songs and techniques over and over again. It’s enough to drive someone mad!

Luckily, there are many resources available online that can help spark inspiration. Pinterest, for example, is a great resource for both students and  piano teachers. There are hundreds of pages dedicated solely to piano playing.

Since we know you don’t have time to sift through all of these pages, we’ve rounded up the 50 best Pinterest accounts for piano practice ideas, games, sheet music, and more.

Whether you’re a student or a teacher, these Pinterest pages are great for finding ideas to spice up your piano practice routine. So without further ado, let’s get started.

Piano Practice Tips

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1. Hannah-Lee Ableson: “Teaching Piano” has a ton of piano practice tips both parents and teachers can easily implement. We particular love all the tips for parents, such as how to end piano practice wars and how to deal with never-ending excuses. Check it out here.

2. Chrissy Krahn: “Piano-Tips for Teachers” has a variety of how-to’s that are primarily geared toward teachers. However, there are some tips and exercises that parents can use to encourage their children to practice. Check it out here.

3. Laura Lowe: “Piano Studio” is another great board that boasts an array of piano practice tips students can use to improve. Everything from hand positioning to common music mistakes is featured on the board. Check it out here.

4. Beverly Cox: If you’re looking for a wide variety of piano practice tips, look no further than “Piano Stuff.” This board has kid-friendly tips about how to read notes, play scales, sight read, and more. Check it out here. 

5. Christy Young: From sight reading to proper posture, “Piano Practice Techniques” covers everything beginner piano players need to get started. It also has some great tips for teachers who are might be struggling to think of practice exercises. Check it out here.

6. Leila Viss: “Keys to Piano” features a ton of quality information for piano players, teachers, and parents. We particularly like all of the ideas for keeping kids motivated to practice. Check it out here.

7. Melody Payne: “Piano Teacher Articles” isn’t just great for teachers, but it’s also helpful for students and parents. The board has an array of information on how to make the most of one’s practice time. Check it out here.

8. Ashley Caldwell Brown: “Piano” features a variety of practical piano tips that will help kids stay motivated. We particularly like all of the advice for parents who want to help their child practice. Check it out here.

9. Gail Fischler: With four boards related to piano, Fischler has a wide scope of information related to piano. Browse through her “Piano Addict Tips & Resources” board to discover helpful tips you can apply to your next practice. Check it out here.

10. Emily Zook: Looking for some actionable practice tips? “Piano” has a bunch of helpful tips and activities that will help students improve their piano skills. Check it out here.

11. Carri Corbitt: From practice tips to sheet music, “Tickle Those Ivories Piano Studio” has over 200 useful pins for both piano students and teachers. We especially like all of the fun, free printables. Check it out here.

12. Rhonda Hunter: If you’re looking for piano sheet music, “Education/Piano Music” is the right board for you. This board has fun practice tips and sheet music every student will love. Check it out here.

13. Nichole Lookabaugh: Warming up is an important part of piano practice. “Piano Lessons” has some fun warm-up exercises as well as some technique tips to help assist students. Check it out here.

Piano Practice Games

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14. Susan Paradis: From rhythm bingo to memory match, “Music Games and Worksheets” has everything parents and teachers need to keep their budding musician entertained. Check it out here.

15. The Plucky Pianista: “The Plucky Pianista” has over 100 useful pins for students and teachers, including a ton of fun and educational games. We especially like the warm up games for building strength and dexterity. Check it out here.

16. Claire Westlake: “Music Education” is a wonderful board that features an array of engaging games and activities for students, many of which are easy and cost effective to replicate. Check it out here.

17. Andrea Dow: “Teach Piano Today” has over 27 boards full of inspiration geared toward piano teachers. We particularly love her piano teaching games board, which features dozens of fun and education piano practice games for students. Check it out here.

18. Wendy Stevens: With 17 boards dedicated to piano, Wendy Stevens has everything a piano teacher or parent is looking for. Browse through her “Piano Teaching Games” board for piano games to inspire your next practice session. Check it out here.

19. Joy Morin: “Color in My Piano” features a great roundup of piano practice games for students. Even better, the board has a number of printable PDFs that you can download and use during your next piano practice. Check it out here.

20. Carla Lowery: With over 6,000 pins, “Music Stuff” has an abundance of tips, activities, and resources for both students and teachers. We love all of the different games that come with printables. Check it out here.

21. Chantelle Thaler: With over 467 pins related to piano, “Piano Studio-Inspiration, Games, Printables,” has everything a budding piano player needs, including a number of unique and education piano practice games. Check it out here.

22. Kathy Williamson: If you’re looking to engage your child or student, “Teaching Piano” is a great resource. The board has a number of piano practice games that are simple for parents and teachers to play with their budding musician. Check it out here.

23. Micheline Roch: Learning the piano doesn’t have to be boring. “Piano Studio” has an abundance of fun piano games that students can play, many of which use simple household items. Check it out here.

24. Julie Williams: “Piano Lessons Teaching Aids” is another board that features tons of fun, and engaging piano games for beginner piano players. We particular like all of the free printouts she provides. Check it out here.

25. Alicia Dunlap: “My Keys” is a great resource filled with piano games geared toward young, beginner students. From sound match games to finger patterns, this board has a variety of fun games. Check it out here.

26. Lana Hughes: Learning complex musical concepts can be difficult for beginners.”Piano Teaching” features a number of fun games that make these concepts easy for students to understand. Check it out here.

27. Katrina Grabham: “Piano Teaching” has a ton of kid-friendly piano games for students who have a hard time sitting still on the bench. Check it out here.

Piano Practice Sheets

piano practice

28. Kacie Zajic: “Teaching Piano” is a great resource for young musicians, as the board features several themed piano practice sheets. For example, she has some fun holiday-themed piano practice sheets for kids. Check it out here.

29. Patti Kolk: “Piano Teaching Ideas” has a wide variety of piano practice sheets for beginners as well as general music exercises to help little ones understand how to read scales and rhythms. Check it out here.

30. Debbie Lumpkin:“Music Board” is a great general music board for youngsters. The board features an array of practice sheets to help students learn rhythms, notes, and more. Check it out here.

31. Music Teacher Resources: With over 69 boards, “Music Teacher Resources” has everything from free, printable piano practice sheets to music theory assignments. We especially love how the boards are organized by age-group. Check it out here.

32. Shirley Cadle: “Love Teaching the Piano” is a wonderful board with everything from helpful time signature worksheets to metronome tips. Check it out here.

33. Bethany Parnell: Running out of ideas for practice time? “Piano Studio” has a number of helpful piano practice sheets as well as tips for keeping kids engaged during practice. Check it out here.

34. Marilyn Herrett: Whether you’re looking to work on sight reading or rhythm, “For My Piano Studio” has everything you need. We particularly love all of the holiday-themed worksheets. Check it out here.

35. Anjuli Crocker: If you’re looking for piano sheet music and practice sheets then look no further than “Kids Piano.” This board is filled with helpful tips and exercises. Check it out here.

36. Jenny Boster: “Piano Teaching” is filled with sample exercises and practice sheets students can use  to practice various piano skills, such as chord inversions and note naming. Check it out here.

37. Mary Miller: With over 1,000 pins, “School Stuff” has everything you need to keep your child engaged and learning during their piano practice sessions. Check it out here.

38. Inge Borg: While this board is primarily geared toward teachers, it has a ton of great practice sheets and tips for students. We especially love the wide variety. Check it out here.

Piano Practice Charts

39. Diane Hidy: With over 10 boards dedicated to piano, Diana Hidy has an array of practice charts, inspiration, tools, and ideas for students, teachers, and parents. We especially love all the helpful tips for teachers. Check it out here.

40. Barnes Piano LLC: Are you looking for some piano practice charts? “Piano Teaching Games” has an array of sample sheets and tips for how to structure your child’s piano practice. The board also includes some fun, educational games. Check it out here.

41. Sara @ Let’s Play Music:“First Piano Lessons for Kids” is great for beginner piano players, as the site has a wide variety of exercises, games, and charts. We particular like how many of the piano practice charts can be download for convenience. Check it out here.

42. Heather Nanney: “Piano Lesson: Practicing” has a ton of free piano practice charts and worksheets both teachers and parents can use to keep track of their child’s progress. The board also features several resources on how to make practice fun. Check it out here.

43. Tim Topham: “Piano Practice” has an abundance of resources and tips for practicing piano. We suggest taking a look at the practice charts for kids. Tim also has a number of other helpful piano boards you can browse. Check it out here.

44. Tracy King: The self-proclaimed “Bulletin Board Lady,” Tracy King has ton of music practice charts that can be applied to several instruments, including the piano. Check it out here.

 45. Kelly Nelson: Besides having an abundance of tips for teachers, “Piano Students” has a wide variety useful piano practice charts that are super helpful for students. Check it out here.

46. Shana Elliot: “Music Class Printables” has an array of practice charts and worksheets that are great for kids. We especially love all of the holiday-themed charts for Halloween, Christmas, and more. Check it out here.

47. Larissa Coleman: If you’re looking for piano practice charts and beginner piano sheet music, than look no further “Piano Lessons.” The board has a ton of great resources for beginner students. Check it out here.

48. Patty Johnson: “Piano Lesson Ideas” is filled with a ton of piano practice charts. Whether you want to work on rhythm or melody, this board has everything you’re looking for. Check it out here.

49. Kim Smith: With over 1,000 pins, “Music Classroom/Piano Lessons” has an abundance of entertaining practice sheets and tips. We particularly like the fun worksheets! Check it out here.

50. Tiffiny Almond Allen: Head over to “Piano Teaching” and browse through all of the fun worksheets and practice charts. You’re sure to find something that will keep your little one engaged while practicing. Check it out here.

51. LadyD Piano: LadyD Piano has a variety of boards for those learning how to play piano. For example, she has a board dedicated to music apps, books, and practice printables. Check it out here.

52. Ashely Danyew: “Piano Teaching” has an abundance of wonderful tips and tricks for both piano players and students. We especially love all the resources that help teachers motivate students. Check it out here.

If you’re bored with your piano practice routine or you simply want to mix things up, browse through these Pinterest accounts to get some inspiration. Remember, practice makes perfect!

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