Each time we sit down at the piano to play a song, there are “2 sides to the coin,” so to speak.
On one side, there’s the song itself. The melody, the chord progression, the lyric, and the general style and musical feel of the song.
On the other side, there’s the approach we take with it. Are we going to play it the same way the original artist did, or bring a new interpretation to it? Are we going to play it with a gentle folksy feeling, or are we going to “rock out?” Are we planning the whole arrangement in advance, or will we allow ourselves to “go with the flow” and discover the arrangement as it unfolds?
These are big questions, and while we don’t want to get bogged down by taking them in too “heavy” a way, we can learn a lot by seeing what our usual method is and also by trying new ways of interpreting songs while we play.
I’ve started publishing a new, free resource to explore these ideas with you. I’m calling it The Improvising Pianist’s Ultimate Guide To The Beatles, and I’ll eventually cover every single Beatles song, giving you some history, cultural context, recommended recordings, links for further study, and above all, piano improv practice tips.
Since every journey begins with a single step, I’ve begun by posting the first page in this huge undertaking: Across The Universe.
Across The Universe is one of my favorite Beatles songs, and John Lennon considered it to be a perfect lyric. The music, of course, is wonderful too, and it really lends itself to a variety of interpretations when we play it on piano.
Here’s the link where you can check out the full page, and begin diving deep with me into the Beatles universe:
Have fun, and “let the music flow!”