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10 Classical Piano Songs Boys Will Love to Play

classical piano songs for boys

Are you having difficulty getting male piano students to practice classical piano? Our friend Doreen Hall from Paloma Piano shares some helpful suggestions below…

Sometimes it can be tricky to find classical piano songs that don’t bore young male students. Over the years however, I have found several awesome classical piano pieces that my boy students enjoy learning.

Here are my top 10 pieces to keep boys engaged and interested in their classical piano lessons. Songs are listed in order of difficulty. Please note that although these songs work well for boys, we highly encourage girls to try them, too!

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

This is one of the most fun classical piano songs to learn because it is fast paced and not too difficult.

 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. Students will 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 typically love this piece because it reminds them of the exciting music from an action or adventure movie. 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 many male students love.

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 are often 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. What’s 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 typically 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 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 styles

Ultimate Guide to the 5 Most Popular Piano Styles

piano styles

Don’t know what piano style you want to learn? Below, piano teacher Liz T. shares the five most popular piano styles to give you a better idea of what suits you…

Having the ability to play a number of different piano styles will help you become a better overall piano player.

What’s more, knowing the important composers, performers, and pieces of each piano style will assist you in your musical studies.

Below, I’ve listed the five most important piano styles, which include classical, jazz, musical theater, pop/rock, and liturgical.

Read through the various piano styles to see which one jumps out at you most.

After browsing, if you’re still not sure what piano style fits you, take the quiz at the end of the article to help you determine.

1. Classical Piano

Throughout 1750-1820, classical piano was performed for royalty and the upper class in Europe. There were three main composers who paved the way for classical piano composition: Bach, Mozart, and Beethoven.

As the years progressed and classical music transformed from renaissance to baroque and romantic, other great pianists emerged, including Haydn, Chopin, Handel, Wagner, Debussy, and Tchaikovsky.

Classical piano is often what students study first because it forces them to have a very strong technique and knowledge of music theory.

Without having an understanding of the classical piano technique, it’s very hard to learn and pick up other piano styles. That’s because most music has stemmed from the classical style.

Famous Classical Piano Composers

Just because classical music was popular many years ago, doesn’t mean it’s not thriving today.

There are many classical piano composers who are still performing music from the greats as well as creating their own classical compositions, such as the following:

Van Cliburn: Cliburn was one of the greatest American piano players of our century. Each year, thousands of piano players audition to compete in the “Annual Van Cliburn Piano Competition.”

Phillip Glass: Glass had an extensive career in writing, recording, and orchestrating classical music ranging from symphonic orchestras to the big screen.

Eric Whitacare: A regular chart-topper, Whitacare often writes for choirs, and has released several classical music albums that have won Grammys.

Classical Piano Books

Bach, Mozart and Beethoven are crucial composers to know as a classical pianist. I recommend having these books around when you to start learning this piano style:

      • Schirmer’s Library of Musical Classics “First Lessons in Bach, Complete Books I and II for Piano”
      • Alfred Series “Mozart: 21 of His Most Popular Pieces for Piano”
      • Dover Music “A First Book of Beethoven: 24 Arrangements for the Beginning Pianist with Downloadable Mp3’s”

2. Jazz Piano

1918 marked the big start of American jazz. Pianists such as Scott Joplin, Jelly Roll Morton, and Fats Waller are piano players influential in building the jazz scene around New York, Chicago, and New Orleans.

At the time, jazz piano was a rebellious type of music, as it deviated from the classic rhythms, harmony, and technique.

Jazz music incorporates swing, improvisation, ragtime, boogie woogie, and bee bop to create captivating melodies and rhythmic patterns.

People turned to jazz music during “The Great Depression” as well as in times of celebration.

It also became an important mark in history where African-Americans, Asians, Latinos, and Europeans were able to come together to create music in America.

Famous Jazz Piano Players

While Joplin, Morton, and Waller paved the way for jazz piano, today’s contemporary jazz players are keeping it alive.

I suggest listening to some of today’s most well-known contemporary jazz players, including the following:

Herbie Hancock: Hancock is an innovative American pianist and keyboardist. Popular albums include “Head Hunters,” “Maiden Voyages,” and “Possibilities.”

Michel Camilo: Camilo is a Grammy Award-winning pianist and composer from the Dominican Republic who specializes in jazz, Latin, and classical work.

Kenny Barron: An American jazz piano player, Barron is one of the most influential mainstream jazz pianists of the bebop area, currently on faculty at Juilliard School.

Essential Jazz Piano Books:

If you want to learn more about jazz piano style, then I suggest you check out these helpful books:

      • “The Jazz Theory Book,” by Mark Levine (Comprehensive guide to jazz music theory)
      • “Aebersold Play-a-longs” (Volumes with popular jazz standards with lead sheet notation, and CD play alongs to practice with.)
      • “The Real Books,” Hal Leonard (Volumes with 100+ jazz lead sheets, perfect for any gig or jam)

3. Musical Theater Piano

Piano plays a big role in musical theater. In fact, piano players are crucial for the development and success of musical theater.

Musical theater accompanists must be very good sight readers and versatile, as every musical theater production is different.

Musical theater pianists can find work performing in the pit bands of shows, and can serve as accompanist alongside singers at auditions.

Listen to some of the old Broadway composers and lyricists for inspiration, such as Rodgers & Hammerstein, Rodgers & Hart, and Gershwin.

There are also many popular Broadway composers today–such as Andrew Lloyd Webber, Steven Sondheim, and Steven Schwartz–who have used piano primarily in their writing for musical theater.

Well-known Musical Theater Piano Players

Below are some of my favorite pianists  who’ve made a strong impact writing and performing musical theater:

Jason Robert Brown: Known for his works “Songs for a New World” and “The Last 5 Years,”  Brown uses incredible chords and harmonies. He has a knack for knowing how to capture both piano and voice together.

Marvin Hamlish: This legendary pianist served as the composer of one of Broadway’s longest running musicals, “A Chorus Line.” Hamlish was very skilled at capturing dancers and the sound of the piano together.

Seth Rudetsky: An accompanist and radio talk show host, Rudetsky really knows how to work with singers whether it be for a cabaret performance, audition, or cruise ship!

Best Musical Theater Piano Books:

If you wish to be a part of the Broadway scene, take a look at these essential books:

      • “The Big Book of Broadway-4th Edition,” Hal Leonard
      • “The Singers Musical Theater Anthology Series,” Hal Leonard
      • “Kids Musical Theater Collection (Volumes 1, 2),” Hal Leonard

4. Pop/Rock Piano

Starting in the ’50s, the piano was incorporated in many popular pop and rock songs. In the ’70s, the keyboard was heavily introduced because of it’s cool electric sounds.

Being a contemporary rock/pop piano player and composer is no easy task, but is one of the most rewarding piano gigs around.

As a pop/rock piano player you will probably find the most paid work, ranging from cover bands, wedding gigs, session recordings, and touring performances.

With this piano style, you’re free to explore new sounds, as the charts are always changing. What’s more, having the ability to both sing and play the piano looks and sounds great in performance.

Famous Pop/Rock Piano Players

Here’s a sample of some of piano pop and rock players who’ve made a huge impact on the genre. Listen to these folks to get inspired and maybe pick up a few performance tricks.

Elton John and Billy Joel: Both of these music veterans hit the top of their careers in the ’70s and ’80s. However, they still continue to perform to sold out stadiums today.

Alicia Keys: At the tender age of 16, Keys was already signed and recording her own original music. Her piano chords and melodies are in sync with her original vocals and lyrics.

Carole King: One of the most powerful women in songwriting, King is a singer/pianist from New York who’s written and recorded some of the most influential pop music of our time.

Essential Pop/Rock Piano Books:

There are tons of really great piano pop/rock books available. Below are just a few helpful piano books that will guide you:

      • “Let it Go, Happy, and More Hot Pop Singles 2014,” by Hal Leonard
      • “Piano Styles of 23 Pop Masters,” by Mark Harrison
      • “The Piano Songbook: Contemporary Songs Book 2,” by Faber Music

5. Liturgical Piano

Liturgical music originated as a part of religious ceremonies ranging from Catholic to Protestant to Jewish.

Almost every religion has their own unique sounding liturgical music that plays an important and meaningful role in its culture.

Liturgical music has been passed on from generation to generation, and today musicians are still performing and composing new music for religious services, performances, and recordings.

The piano is able to serve in all the various types of religious music. Many pianists start out by playing religious services professionally to make their living as a musician.

Notable Liturgical Piano Players

The composers and pianists below are influential in the liturgical music genre.

David Haas: An influential pianist and composer of the modern day liturgies in the Christian community.

Hector Olivera: An internationally acclaimed organist, watch his technique and how he brings the organ to life.

Jason White: White is a leading musical director and performer. He plays primarily gospel music on the piano, keyboards, and organ.

Liturgical Piano Books for Beginners

If you want to learn how to play this piano style, then check out these helpful books for beginners:

      • “Big Book of Hymns,” Hal Leonard
      • “Gospel Keyboard Styles: A Complete Guide to Harmony, Rhythm and Melody,” Mark Harrison
      • “The Practical Organist: 50 Short Works for Church Services,” Dover Music

I hope this guide to the five most popular piano styles will help determine what style you want to learn. Talk with your piano teacher on ways you can practice whatever piano style you choose.

If you’re still unsure which piano style to choose, take this fun quiz to find out!

Photo by André P. Meyer-Vitali

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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50 Best Blues Piano Songs (+ Steps to Play the Blues!)

50 Best Blues Piano Songs

Curious about blues piano artists and songs? This genre is a ton of fun to play, and a great way to diverge from the classical piano you might be used to playing. Read on for our favorite famous blues piano songs for beginners to check out, as well as some tips to help you play the blues!

50 Best Blues Piano Songs

1) Boogie Woogie Stomp — Albert Ammons

2) Rock Little Baby — Cecil Gant
3) Steppin’ Out — Memphis Slim
4) The Snow Is Falling — Ray Charles
5) Heavy Heart Blues — Champion Jack Dupree
6) Jambalaya — Fats Domino
7) Travelin’ Blues — Charles Brown
8) Hey Bartender — Floyd Dixon
9) Mardi Gras in New Orleans — Professor Longhair

10) Tanqueray — Johnnie Johnson

11) Blueberry Hill — Fats Domino
12) CC Boogie — Katie Webster
13) T’Aint Nobody’s Business If I Do — Otis Spann
14) Boxcar Boogie — Dr. John
15) Got My Mojo Working — Pinetop Perkins
16) 1-2-3-4…Fire! — Jimmy Yancey
17) Yancey Special — Tuts Washington
18) Two Fisted Mama — Katie Webster
19) Kindhearted Woman Blues – Robert Lockwood Jr.

20) Early in the Morning — Booker T. Laury

21) Fess Up — Dr. John
22) Snaps Drinking Woman — Champion Jack Dupree
23) Skeet’s California Sunshine — Floyd Dixon
24) Bald Head — Professor Longhair
25) I’ve Got My Fingers Crossed — Piano Red
26) Cow Cow Blues — Cow Cow Davenport
27) Forty Four Blues Theme — Eurreal ‘Little Brother’ Montgomery
28) Honey Dripper Blues — Roosevelt Sykes
29) Soon This Morning — Charlie Spand

30) Pine Top’s Boogie Woogie — Clarence “Pine Top” Smith

31) Must Have Been the Devil — Otis Spann
32) Almost Lost My Mind/Empty Arms — Ivory Joe Hunter
33) 44 Blues — Roosevelt Sykes
34) Walking the Blues — Champion Jack Dupree
35) Pigalle Love — Memphis Slim
36) Call My Job — Detroit Junior
37) Leavin’ Your Town — Sunnyland Slim
38) Ain’t It a Shame — Leroy Carr
39) In The Beginning — Willie Tee

40) Hound Dog — James Booker

41) Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen — Charles Brown
42) Early In The Morning — Booker T. Laury
43) Dollar Bill Boogie — Big Joe Duskin
44) Cruel Hearted Woman — Thunder Smith
45) San Francisco Can Be Such A Lonely Town — Omar Sharriff
46) Cold Chills — Herny Gray
47) On The Spot Boogie — Charlie Musselwhite
48) Hesitation Blues — James P. Johnson
49) You’re My Man — Victoria Spivey

50) Harlem Parlor Blues — Sammy Price

How to Play the Blues

Ready to play the blues? PianoPlayingAdvice.com offers some great tips in their article on learning blues piano. Here are some of the steps they recommend:

The easiest way to learn blues piano is to learn the LEFT HAND rhythms LONG before you learn all the fancy licks in the RIGHT HAND.

Become familiar with the piano keyboard, musical alphabet, notes, scales, and finger warm-ups.

Become familiar with the pentatonic and blues scales. Gain knowledge of repeating blues phrases.

Buy a blues licks book to learn about blues sounds while playing the piano.

Listen to famous recordings of blues music and blues styles, like rock and jazz music. Listen to Ray Charles, Dave Brubeck, and Roosevelt Sykes. This will help you to internalize blues music and rhythms.

After becoming familiar with the basics of piano blues seek out other musicians to play blues, jazz, and boogie-woogie. It is all about playing with feeling and soul. Learn to jam with others playing blues to help you become more proficient at playing the piano.

Continue reading the article here.

So there you have it — a blues piano songs list to get you started on your musical exploration, and then the steps you need to get started with playing the style!

Readers, what are your favorite blues songs to play? Let us know in the comments! 

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Intro to Classical Piano Music

Intro to Classical Piano Music Styles [Infographic]

Intro to Classical Piano Music

Curious about the history of classical piano music? Take a journey through history and learn about the four distinct musical periods in this lesson from Brooklyn, NY music teacher Julie P...

 

Musical styles are always shifting and developing. Throughout history, as musicians and famous piano composers experimented with sounds and instrument design, the music world expanded and more possibilities became evident.

Early musicians started with simple melodies, sung in unison. But slowly, composers started adding other parts, the instruments we know today were developed, and people around the world shared their ideas with each other.

Within the classical piano music genre, there are four main time periods we refer to in order to categorize musical development throughout history. Those four time periods are:

  • Baroque
  • Classical
  • Romantic 
  • Modern

The transitions between these eras are not clear-cut, and often composers at the end of one era were already writing music with characteristics of the next era. Likewise, some composers were slow to accept change and wrote pieces at the beginning of one era that sound like music from the previous time period.

While it can be difficult to classify some composers and pieces into a single time period, the four time periods are very helpful to know. They show the trends in music over time and help us understand the thought process of musicians as they were developing new ideas.

In this article (and infographic!), you’ll get an introduction to piano music in the four musical time periods. There is, of course, much more to be said about classical piano music than can fit below, but the key information will give you an idea of each time period. Take a listen to the pieces highlighted to hear how piano music changed throughout history.

Baroque — 1600-1750

Baroque Composers to Know

  • Johann Sebastian Bach
  • Georg Philipp Telemann
  • George Frideric Handel
  • Domenico Scarlatti
  • Francois Couperin

Popular Baroque Pieces to Check Out

  • J.S. Bach – The Well Tempered Clavier

  • G.F. Handel – Fugue No. 1 in G Minor

Editor’s Note: Did you know Bach was the father to 20 children? Learn more interesting facts about Bach in this post from the Take Note Blog!

Classical — 1750-1825

Classical Composers to Know

  • Joseph Haydn
  • Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
  • Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Franz Schubert
  • Muzio Clementi

Popular Classical Piano Songs to Check Out

  • Clementi – Sonata in C Major, Op. 36 No. 1

  • Beethoven – Appasionata Sonata

Romantic — 1825-1900

Romantic Composers to Know

  • Johannes Brahms
  • Peter Illyich Tchaikovsky
  • Frederic Chopin
  • Robert Schumann
  • Claude Debussy

Romantic Piano Pieces to Check Out

  • Chopin – Nocturn Op. 9 No. 2

  • Brahms – Rhapsody Op. 79 No. 2

Modern — 1900-present

Modern Composers to Know

  • Arnold Schoenberg
  • Igor Stravinsky
  • Charles Ives
  • Aaron Copland
  • Sergei Prokofiev

Modern Piano Music to Know

  • Copland – The Young Pioneers

  • Stravinsky Piano Sonata

Got it? Here’s a helpful infographic, if you’re more of a visual learner!

Intro to Classical Piano Music - Baroque, Romantic

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Source: http://www.ipl.org/div/mushist/#baro

JuliePPost Author: Julie P.
Julie P. teaches flute, clarinet, music theory, and saxophone lessons in Brooklyn, NY. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Ithaca College and her Masters in Music Performance from New Jersey City University. Learn more about Julie here!

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10 of the Best Piano Duet Books All Pianists Need

10 of the Best Piano Duet Books

We’ve already shown you some fun piano duets to try, but what if you want to broaden your repertoire? Here, music teacher Julie P. shares some great piano duet books that are just as fun as they are educational…

 

Piano duets are fun for players of all ages and abilities. You can play with your friends, siblings, parents, or teachers. This opens up so many different possibilities for music! Not only are duets a fun way to make music with someone else, but they are also very beneficial for each player’s skill development.

Students can learn a lot about how to play piano with others by having to line up their part with their partner’s part. Below, I’ve chosen 10 of the best duet books that I know will help you with your playing, along with examples of fun piano duets that can be found in each.

The 10 Best Piano Duet Books

1) PreTime Classics (Early Elementary)

This is a great piano book for beginners, especially for introducing young players to classical music. PreTime Classics has nine familiar pieces from the classical repertoire. The duet parts are meant to be played by a teacher or early-intermediate player. One song that many children will recognize from this book is “Ode to Joy.”

 

2) Duet Favorites ((Early Elementary – Late Elementary)

This series of three books has duets for beginners. This is a great way to introduce young players to playing duets. A fun song many children will enjoy is “Bulldog Blues” from Level 1:

 

3) Easy Jazz Christmas Duets (Late Elementary-Early Intermediate)

This book has 5 jazzy version of popular Christmas tunes such as “Jingle Bells,” “We Three Kings,” and “Silent Night” played in the video below. These are great for students who have been playing for a few years.

 

4) Celebrated Piano Duets, Books 1-5 (Late Elementary — Intermediate)

This series of five books has new compositions for a wide variety of playing abilities. Pianists with a few years of experience will enjoy songs like “Village Dance” from Book 1. More experienced students will enjoy impressing audiences with songs like “Viva Vivaldi!” from Book 5.

 

5) Essential Keyboard Duets, Volume 1-7 (Late Elementary — Early Advanced)

This seven-volume series has a wealth of classical literature for players of almost all abilities. Players with a few years of experience can play pieces like “Norwegian Dance” from Volume 1. Volume 3 has pieces such as “Faure’s Dolly Suite” and Volume 6 features works by Beethoven, Brahms, Mozart, and Dvorak.

 

6) The Beatles Piano Duets – 2nd Edition (Early Intermediate)

Beatles fans will love the eight songs in this book. With exciting arrangements and familiar tunes, this book will please both the players and the audience. Songs include “Yesterday,” “Hey Jude,” “Let it Be,” and “Eleanor Rigby.”

 

7) Christmas Fantasy Duets (Early Intermediate – Late Intermediate)

The four songs in this book are inventive arrangements of classic Christmas carols. With interesting variations and new harmonic twists, this book keeps Christmas fun. Songs include “Carol of the Bells,” “Deck the Halls,” “Jingle Bells,” and “Joy To the World.”

 

8) Scott Joplin’s Ragtime Classics (Late Intermediate)

Ragtime music is always exciting and this book includes seven of Joplin’s most popular pieces. Test your syncopation skills with this book on songs like “The Entertainer,” “Maple Leaf Rag,” and “The Easy Winners.”

 

9) Star Wars (Late Intermediate)

Play eight of your favorite Star Wars songs, including “Duel of the Fates,” “Cantina Band,” “Princess Leia’s Theme,” and of course, the “Star Wars Main Theme.” Hear six songs from the book performed here:

 

10) Gershwin Preludes (Advanced)

The three piano preludes in this book are full of character and bluesy harmonies. The preludes were originally written for solo piano, but they are so popular that arrangements have been written for a wide variety of instruments. These piano duet versions aren’t easy to play, but they are very rewarding. Take a listen to the first prelude here:

The books above should keep you busy for a while. Grab a partner and get to learning! Music is meant to be shared, so have fun playing these duets with fellow musicians.

JuliePPost Author: Julie P.
Julie P. teaches flute, clarinet, music theory, and saxophone lessons in Brooklyn, NY. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Ithaca College and her Masters in Music Performance from New Jersey City University. Learn more about Julie here!

Photo by PJ Mixer

 

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5 Fun (& Easy) Piano Duets for Beginners and Beyond

5 Easy Piano Duets

Learning to play piano by yourself is fun, but learning to play with someone else can be twice as enjoyable! Here, music teacher Julie P. shares her picks for the best easy piano duets and books to check out…

 

One of the best parts of being a piano player is that you get to play music with other people. And I don’t just mean when you’re playing in a rock band or accompanying a soloist. You can play duets with your fellow pianists!

There is a wide range of repertoire available, from easy piano duets for beginners to advanced duets requiring serious study from both players. Duets can be in any genre, from classical to jazz, and are sometimes orchestrated for special holidays or occasions. No matter what your skill level or interests, there’s a duet for you.

Plus, playing duets are more than just fun, they’re great for improving your ability to play with a steady beat. They also challenge your ears to listen to both your part and your partner’s. You may find it difficult to play with another pianist at first, but the more duets you play, the easier it will become to synchronize the two parts.

Below are five fun and exciting songs and books to get you started in your duet endeavors!

 

Jazz Prelude, by William Gillock (Intermediate)

This syncopated duet is exciting for both players and sounds very impressive when put together. Players and listeners of all ages will love the snappy rhythms and bluesy harmonies. If you want to liven up a recital or talent show, this is the piece to play.

 

Carol of the Bells Fantasy, by Robert Vandall (Intermediate)

“Carol of the Bells” is a favorite among many pianists for its repetitive melody and minor tonality. This duet version expands on those appealing aspects to create an intense rendition of the song. It’s a great duet for a Christmas recital or even during a church service.

 

Easy Classical Piano Duets For Teacher and Student (Elementary)

For younger pianists, this book is a great opportunity to play duets with their teacher or perhaps an older sibling. All of the 17 classical pieces in this book would work great for a recital or in a church service. Watch two young children do a great job with “Waltz”, by Ernesto Becucci, in the video above.

 

Bouncin’ Boogie, by Martha Mier (Early Intermediate)

Get ready to boogie down with this fun duet. Bouncin’ Boogie is one song from a great book called “Jazz, Rags & Blues” by Martha Mier. The six songs in this book are fun for students and are great for learning and practicing swing rhythms.

 

Chinese Dragons, by Nancy Faber (Advanced)

This three-movement work is impressive, exciting, and full of sounds you don’t hear all the time in traditional classical music. It requires excellent rhythmic feel from both players and communication for changes in tempo and dynamics.

 

If one of these duets has sparked your interest, grab a friend, sibling, parent, or teacher and play some piano duets! There are many more easy piano duets out there than just these, so have fun exploring the wealth of options available.

 

JuliePPost Author: Julie P.
Julie P. teaches flute, clarinet, music theory, and saxophone lessons in Brooklyn, NY. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Music Education from Ithaca College and her Masters in Music Performance from New Jersey City University. Learn more about Julie here!

Photo by christopher.durant

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10 More Easy Piano Songs For Kids

10 MORE Easy Piano Songs for Kids [Video Tutorials]

10 More Easy Piano Songs For Kids

We’ve already shown you easy piano songs for your child to learn, but why stop there? Piano teacher Liz T. adds to the excitement with her recommendations for 10 more of the best piano songs for kids…

 

The keyboard or piano is perhaps the easiest instrument for kids to learn how to play. Within a few weeks of practice, most kids are already playing the melodies to some of their favorite tunes! Between the ages of four through 10 is ideal for students to start learning how to play the piano.

Your child will most likely already be familiar with some of these traditional songs, therefore making it fun and easy for your child to pick them up on the piano. Here are some of the best piano songs for kids to learn.

1. “The Wheels on the Bus”

The wheels on the bus go round and round
C F F F F A C A F
Round and round, round and round
G E C C A F
The wheels on the bus go round and round
C F F F F A C A F
All through the town
G C F

2. “Row, Row, Row Your Boat”

Row, row, row your boat gently down the stream
C C C D E E D E F G
Merrily, merrily, merrily, merrily
C C C G G G E E E C C C
Life is but a dream
G F E D C

3. “Pop Goes the Weasel”

All around the mulberry bush
C C D D E G E C
The monkey chased the weasel
G C C D D E C
The monkey thought twas all in fun
G C C D E G E C
Pop goes the weasel
A D F E D

4. “Ode to Joy”

E E F G G F E D C C D E E D D
E E F G G F E D C C D E D C C
D D E C D F E C D F E D C D G
E E F G G F E D C C D E D C C

5.”You Are My Sunshine”

You are my sunshine, my only sunshine
G C D E E E D# E C C
You make me happy when skies are grey
C D E F A A G F E
You’ll never know, Dear, how much I love you
C D E F A A G F E C
So please don’t take my sunshine away
C D E F D D E C

6. “Yankee Doodle”

Yankee Doodle went to town, riding on a pony
C C D E C E D C C D E C B
Stuck a feather in his hat and called it Macaroni
C C D E F E D C B G A B C C
Yankee Doodle went to town, Yankee Doodle dandy
A B A G A B C G A G F E G
Mind the music and the step and with the girls be handy
A B A G A B C A G C B D C C

7. Barney’s “I Love You” Song

I love you, you love me, we’re a happy family
G E G G E G A G F E D E F
With a great big hug and a kiss from me to you
E F G C C C C C D E F G
Won’t you say you love me too
G D D F E D C

8. “When the Saints Go Marching In”

Oh when the saints
C E F G
Oh when the saints
C E F G
Oh when the saints go marching in
C E F G E C E D
Oh how I want to be in that number
E E D C C E G G G F
When the saints go marching in
E F G E D E C

9. “Amazing Grace”

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
D G B G B, A G E D
That saved a wretch like me
D G B G B A D
I once was lost, but now am found
B D B D B G D E G G E D
Twas blind but now I see
D G B G B A G

10. “Jingle Bells”

Dashing through the snow, in a one-horse open sleigh
G E D C G G G G E D C A
Over the fields we go, laughing all the way
A A F E D B G G F D E
Bells on bobtail ring, making spirits bright
G E D C G G E D C A
What fun it is to ride and sing a sleighing song tonight
A A F E D G G G G A G F D C G
Jingle bells, jingle bells
E E E E E E
Jingle all the way
E G C D E
Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh, hey
F F F F F E E E E D D E D G
Jingle bells, jingle bells
E E E E E E
Jingle all the way
E G C D E
Oh what fun it is to ride in a one-horse open sleigh, hey
F F F F F E E E E G G F D C C

Following along with these video tutorials can be helpful, but I also recommend checking out this guide to piano notes, so your child can learn more about the relationships between the keys.

I also encourage you and your child to sing along while you play these songs! This is a great way for children to become familiar with these classic and traditional songs, while improving their reading and aural skills.

Finally, if you or your child needs some guidance working on these songs, I highly recommend working with a piano instructor! A private piano teacher can show your child the proper fingering placement on the piano, the appropriate speed and pace for the song, and the joy of playing these fun songs. Happy playing!

LizTPost Author: Liz T.
Liz T. teaches singing, acting, and music lessons in Brooklyn, NY, as well as 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!

Photo by C.K. Koay

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Introduction to Ragtime Piano: 5 Iconic Pieces to Know

Introduction to Ragtime Piano - 5 Iconic Pieces to Learn Today

Curious about ragtime piano music? Read on as music teacher James W. shares a quick introduction to the genre, and the 5 iconic pieces you should know! 

Ragtime piano music is characterized by its syncopated rhythm, which simply means that the accent is unexpectedly placed on the off beat, like the 2nd beat and the 4th beat in a 4/4 time rhythm. This “offbeat” style became famous at the turn of the 20th century with songs written by Scott Joplin like “The Entertainer” and “Maple Leaf Rag”, which influenced many ragtime composers with its harmonic patterns and melody lines. Ragtime is considered to be “the American equivalent of the minuets of Mozart, the mazurkas of Chopin, or the waltzes of Brahms.”

For aspiring young piano players interested in ragtime piano music, here are five iconic pieces to learn today that are a wonderful introduction to the genre.

1. “Maple Leaf Rag” by Scott Joplin

We are lucky this even exists. It is from a “pianola” roll played by Scott Joplin himself, found by chance years ago in the wrong box! With this song everyone stopped what they were doing and a craze for the piano style was born. The emotional impact is unstoppable, and was strong enough that leisure time activities after that often included ragtime piano. If you played this style in the 1970s revival, you were the “rock star of the day.” Its melody and rhythm are infectious and timeless.

2. “The Entertainer” – Complete Works of Scott Joplin as played by Richard Zimmerman

A treasure trove of Joplin goodies. If you listen only to the first three bars of this song, I bet you’ll be hooked for life on the style. It is so inviting…

Bonus: Learn how to play “The Entertainer” here!

3. “Top Liner Rag” by Joseph Lamb

This delightful little ditty from 1916 should charm anyone young or old. The 2/4 timing draws the listener in. It makes us want to play it faster and move around the room. A surefire hit.

4. “A Ragtime Song Medley” by Max Morath, a.k.a. “Mr. Ragtime”

Check out the video below to see Max performing his favorite tunes. Here we send ragtime uptown and make the storytelling more important and accessible to the New York society folk.

5. “Charleston Rag”/”Wild About Harry”/”Memories of You” by Eubie Blake

This is a rare treat featuring this piano master playing live in Berlin, Germany in 1972. “Wild about Harry” in particular is notable (forgive the pun) as it became a standard, meaning everyone played it everywhere. Eubie himself reaped the rewards of royalties after joining a performing rights organization. His style adds a “cool” flavor and aims to please.

6. Bonus Track: “The Sting Soundtrack Suite” by Marvin Hamlisch

An accomplished piano virtuoso, Marvin Hamlisch was top of his game back in the 1980s and 1990s, playing all over the world, wearing white gloves to protect his hands. He played the Scott Joplin tunes for the movie The Sting, which helped to create the ragtime revival of the 1970s. Hamlisch’s touch on piano was rivaled only by Billy Joel and Elton John. Worth every bit of your attention, he was a modern master — so listen carefully and you will learn a lot.

How to Play Ragtime Piano

Feeling inspired? If you want to learn how to play ragtime, let your piano teacher know! The syncopated rhythms can be tricky to master, so your teacher can help you with specific exercises to improve your skills.

You can also find additional information about ragtime here:

Readers, what ragtime piano pieces are your favorites? Let us know in the comments! 

Sources:
H. Wiley Hitchcock, “Stereo Review”, 1971, page 84, cited in Scott Joplin: Black-American Classicist, p. xiv.
Scott Joplin: Black-American Classicist
Scott Joplin: Black-American Classicist

james-walsh-150x150Post Author: James W.
James W. teaches guitar, singing, and acting lessons in Jacksonville, FL. He specializes in teaching pop, rock, and modern country styles. James has been teaching for 10 years and joined the TakeLessons in 2010. Learn more about James here!

Photo by Professor Bop

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YouTube piano tutorial

Learn 8 Easy Piano Songs With These YouTube Tutorials

YouTube piano tutorial

Looking for easy piano tutorials? You’ve come to the right place! On this list, we’ll share how to play eight famous piano songs everyone will recognize.

No matter what kind of music you’re interested in — be it rock, pop, jazz, or anything else — there are certain songs and melodies that are sure to wow a crowd.

While not all the songs on this list are for beginners, these tutorials break down the piece into easily-digestible sections, helping you learn even faster. Without further ado, here are eight easy piano tutorials for some classic songs — enjoy!

8 Easy Piano Tutorials

How to Play “Ode to Joy”

This is a fantastic piano tutorial from YouTuber Bruce Siegel at DoctorKeys.com. After playing the piece in entirety, Bruce then demonstrates how to play each hand, slowly, along with a visual representation of which keys are being played.

Watch and follow along a few times, and you’ll be ready to show off this easy piano song in no time!

How to Play “Clair de Lune”

This tune plays in one of the best scenes in the movie Ocean’s Eleven. While “Clair de Lune” isn’t the easiest song to play on the piano, this video tutorial from JJ Bartley Music breaks it down super slowly to make it much less scary.

This three-part tutorial will take some time to get through, but the end result is worth it!

How to Play “March Funèbre”

While you may not recognize the name of this piece, you’ll definitely recognize the tune! This somber song is demonstrated by YouTuber John Nelson on a keyboard with the note names clearly shown, which can help if you haven’t yet learned how to read piano music.

(Tip: John has a TON of other YouTube piano tutorials on his channel, including the top 40 songs from Taylor Swift and Sam Smith!)

How to Play “Moonlight Sonata”

This 8-part video series by YouTuber Claude Aylestock — though not the full version of the piece — is a great introduction to Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata”.

If you already know your way around the piano a bit, but just need some practice reading along with sheet music, this tutorial is a great option. It shows both the sheet music AND the host’s hands!

SEE ALSO: 8 Piano Apps Worth Downloading

How to Play “Ave Maria”

One of the most popular and easy piano tutorials is this video featuring “Ave Maria” from YouCanPlayIt.com.

As you follow along, you’ll be introduced to the left and right hand parts separately and slowly. Put it all together, take the tempo up a notch, and you’ve got it!

How to Play “The Entertainer”

This piece, performed by Dr. Cory Hall at BachScholar, is more for intermediate to advanced piano players — it’s a tough one!

You’ll need to have your sheet music in front of you for this, as the video is less a piano tutorial, but more an interpretation and explanation of the style and feel of the piece.

How to Play “Love Song”

This easy-to-follow YouTube piano tutorial by HDPiano slowly demonstrates the right and left hands, showing you how to play the intro and the verses of the song.

Only the first part of the tutorial is free, but it’s a great way to get started!

(Want more pop tutorials? Check out our extended list of easy pop songs for piano!)

Finally, if you want to be the life of the party, look for lists of the most-requested dueling piano bar songs. These songs are guaranteed to get everyone singing along and having a blast.

How to Play “Don’t Stop Believin'”

Another fantastic YouTube piano tutorial from HDPiano! In this one, you’ll learn the intro and verse for Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'”.

The syncopation is a little tricky — but the more you practice, the easier it’ll get. And trust us… the minute you start playing this one, everyone around you will pay attention!

So there you have it: eight easy piano tutorials for playing some of the most popular songs! Of course, these videos should be considered just a starting point.

So what’s next? Working with a piano teacher to learn how to read sheet music, understand tempo and dynamic markings, and more! Not sure you’re ready for that yet? Don’t worry. Start by taking some free online piano classes.

Do you have another piano tutorial to recommend? Let us know about it in the comments section below!

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Artists like the Piano Guys on YouTUbe

5 YouTube Celebrities Who Remind Me Why I Love the Piano

Artists like the Piano Guys on YouTUbe

Photo from http://thepianoguys.com/

What inspired you to play piano?

Maybe your parents made you take piano lessons as a child, and you quickly discovered how fun and rewarding it was to play your favorite songs. Maybe you can pinpoint that one classical piece that made you first realize how music can affect your emotions and mood.

Or, perhaps you were inspired later in life, after years of listening to artists like Billy Joel and Elton John, or even contemporary artists like John Legend, Alicia Keys, or Norah Jones.

These days, video content has practically taken over the Internet. YouTube stars have become modern-day celebrities, garnering millions of views of their piano covers and original compositions, and building the kind of loyal fan base that every musician dreams of. So it’s no surprise that many musicians have taken to the Internet-stage to share their music and message!

Some artists keep it simple… while others are known for creating elaborate sets and visual effects (The Piano Guys are well-known for this!). What do they all have in common? Artists like The Piano Guys showcase the piano with gorgeous music, and remind us why the piano is such an amazing instrument!

Here are five of the best piano players on YouTube, all worth checking out:

1) The Piano Guys

Yes, their videos are quite a spectacle… and they’re also a TON of fun! Listen through their video playlist, and you’ll hear everything from covers of One Direction and Bruno Mars to original compositions. My personal favorite? Their rendition of “I Want You Bach” — because everyone loves a music pun.

2) VKGoesWild

Remember, playing the piano isn’t just about classical or jazz! And that’s why we love Ukranian pianist Viktoriya Yermolyeva (or VK, for short). Her YouTube channel features piano covers of Nirvana, Iron Maiden, Depeche Mode, and the like — all arranged by her. This System of a Down cover is one of my favorites:

3) Kyle Landry

Who says you have to play piano songs exactly as written on the sheet music? We love the video below by pianist Kyle Landry, who takes a simple theme (Pachelbel’s Canon) and improvises the heck out of it!

4) Jason Lyle Black

When I first watched the video below by Jason Lyle Black, I was impressed with his arrangement skills in this mashup-duet… and then… well, fast-forward to 1:04 and you’ll see what I mean!

5) Lara de Wit

Video game music has come a long way since the days of old-school Nintendo, so it’s no surprise that many artists are covering these songs on all sorts of instruments (including full orchestras!). This is YouTuber Lara de Wit’s niche; her channel is full of nods to video games, anime, and films of all kinds. As a Game of Thrones fan, I especially love her violin/piano arrangement of the theme, below:

 

Feeling inspired yet? We definitely are! Who else should make the list of best piano players on YouTube? Leave a comment below and let us know! 

 

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