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Many students in the studio are practicing popular music this semester. The format of the popular music we're learning looks completely different from traditional sheet music.

Here's a bit of sheet music...

sheet music on a desk

No, not all sheet music looks this ancient, but you get the idea.

Now, here's a bit of popular music, written with chords or in "lead sheet" style...

pop music for piano

Note: I do not own the rights to this song. Not sure I even want to admit I'm teaching it--to my own child--but I digress.

Learning chords can be challenging for small hands. A chord by nature consists of three or more notes, so imagine a tiny hand stretching to play three piano keys--at the same time! Tricky. Chords can be split between hands, making them more manageable. Older students, after learning the chord structure--that is, what notes to play--are adding the melody, or singing line in the right hand. That makes playing with chords a bit more manageable since the left hand usually holds down the chord fort, but it also requires a new level of dexterity and coordination.

And that's one reason why we do it.

Chords are fun to teach and learn because they're new (if you've primarily been teaching or learning music on the staff), and because playing chords is an easy way to make popular or familiar music accessible. (Adults, this goes for you too. Think you can't play piano? Try learning chords. BOOM. That's all you need to get started.)


I hear my father: "GET TO THE POINT."


Popular music playlists for piano

Here's what you meant to find when you clicked:

a playlist of some of the songs that my students are playing right now.


Existential crisis commences.

Happy jams.

I love a good lyrical cover.


When words fail, some music speaks to drive you further into the abyss.


Did you know JAWS was the second collaboration between John Williams and Steven Spielberg?

Hope you can find some inspiration from this list for yourself and/or your children!

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