Adapting your favorite songs to piano

Break down and simplify your favorite songs to piano

Think about the songs you love. No matter what the genre, and how complex the piece seems, you can adapt them into simple piano tunes. This may seem hard to believe, but it is completely doable. This article will walk you through the method. Please note that this article was written for the intermediate and advanced piano student, although beginners can also learn from it.

What you need to know

If a favorite song seems too complex to reduce to a simple piano melody, remember that most songs begin as simple piano or guitar melodies, or even just a series of basic chord progressions. Lyrics are usually added next, although some pieces start with the lyrics first, with the basic melody surrounding the poetry. The complexities, such as harmonies, extra instrumentation, a change in tempo, and other production values, came later. So, picturing a basic skeleton of a song in your mind is a very good way to start.

One of the beauties of simplifying is that, as your skill improves, you will be able to add back in some of the elements you took out, even adding some flourishes of your own to personalize your favorite songs.

Getting Started

If you have been playing piano for any length of time, you should be able to recognize most of the chords in many songs. They will usually follow in a logical progression. Start by writing them down and then practice playing only the chords while listening to the song. Singing along may help. Depending on your skill level, this may take a lot of time. But with time, effort, and patience, you will get the hang of it. You may want to consider doing this step alone for a while.

It’s good to take note of the tempo of the song, but don’t get hung up on getting it exactly the same. As mentioned before, songs in their original, basic form tend to be different from the finished product. So play it as fast or as slow as you want to and are able to. No need to pressure yourself!

Noting the notes

Now we come to taking down the actual melody. How quickly and how well you can do this will depend on how much you have learned already and what you have memorized in terms of notation. Your music instructor can help you if you get stuck with this. With practice, you won’t be stuck for long.

It’s Okay!

This process takes a while to master. Be patient with yourself. You may find it to be a worthwhile venture for more than one reason. Yes, you will find the joy of being able to play multiple songs you love even if you’re not at a professional level. You may also find that it helps you understand composition, which will help you if you decide to write your own songs.