Most of us who take to learning the piano might do so after listening to the sweet, soothing lull of a piece like Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven, the funky and energetic synthesized licks of Stevie Wonder on living for the city—or maybe even the epic and emotional melody from November Rain by Guns N’ Roses!
This isn’t to discount the hundreds of other skilled musicians and their use of the piano but it gets the point across. With so much variety to choose from and so many musical ages and genres to cover, where does one even start?!
We singled out five very special songs belonging to different times and genres, selected keeping in mind playability, cultural relevance and of course overall sonic brilliance! Take a look!
1) Frédéric Chopin–Nocturne op.9 No 2
Chopin (1810 – 1849) was a Polish composer who mostly wrote his pieces for solo piano performance. This particular piece was written when he was in his twenties and the gorgeous seeming simplicity is matched only by the compositional complexity of the piece. It makes sense to go as far back as you can when learning an instrument hence this is our number one song to learn! Check it out.
2) Frank Sinatra – Fly me to the Moon
Who doesn’t know and love Frank Sinatra and how could you not? Sinatra was a legend in his own time and continues to make waves long after his death. His music is appreciated by old and young alike and this one particular song is a great one to flex those piano fingers with! Give it a listen.
3) James Booker – Hound Dog
Yes. You’re probably thinking, wasn’t that Elvis?! No and no again. It really wasn’t as with many of the tunes that Elvis made famous (or shall we say the tunes that made him famous). This song was written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller and first sung by Big Momma Thorton. The song went on to be performed by various artists, Elvis being just one of them. The James Booker version however is the one that caught our ears! Here it is!
4) Alicia Keys – If I Aint Got You
Who remembers Alicia Keys the mixed race soul and R & B musician born in hell’s kitchen? She played piano from age seven and was signed and began recording in 1998. This particular song is extremely playable and a lot of fun if you’re into singing. Don’t take our word, hear it for yourself.
5) Meat Loaf – I would do anything for love
Meat Loaf is not the name of the lead singer (Michael Lee Aday). Seasoned enthusiasts will pick up on the joke just made! On a more serious note, your piano education is nowhere near complete without a little meatloaf. Besides a great in to rock n roll piano, this track rises and drops like the tide on a full moon. The question is, can you handle it? Click if you can!
Some of you might be thinking, those aren’t the best piano tunes ever! Well, we never said they were. Ultimately what is ‘best’ when it comes to music really boils down to personal preference. We know there is some really sweet stuff out there; Gymnopédie No.1 by Erik Saties, Let It Be by the Beatles or Piano Man by Billy Joel. There are contemporary artists worth trying out too like Philip Glass or maybe even Coldplay! The songs listed are just meant to get you started and looking in the right places, and we’re pretty sure that is exactly what they’ll do! The music you expose yourself to is what informs your musical composition in the future and if you listen to the right music, it’ll show when you play!
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