Become the Piano Man: Billy Joel Songs on Piano for Beginners

Article title: Become the Piano Man: Billy Joel Songs on Piano for Beginners

When you explore learning to play the piano, you are bound to come across some Billy Joel songs to practice. It only makes sense given that the legendary artist has earned the nickname "The Piano Man." So what makes his music so special and how can you learn to play Billy Joel songs on piano? Check out some key features of his style and some great songs to practice as a beginner.

Billy Joel's Style as a Pianist

With a career that spans decades and which has touched on many different genres, Billy Joel is one of the most well-known modern piano players. He's used his extensive technical piano skills to complement his singing and songwriting skills to create unique music and performances for his audiences.

There are a wide variety of styles to appreciate when you listen to Billy Joel songs on piano. You'll hear elements of rock, jazz and blues combined into art that is completely original and stands out in the American music landscape.

The music also comes in different formats. You can find fast, upbeat songs to enjoy as well as emotive ballads. It means as you learn how to play Billy Joel songs for beginning piano, or more complex, fully-scored pieces, you can find music to learn that fits into many different performance needs.

In addition to his technical ability, Joel is known for his innovative and creative approach to the piano. He is not content to simply play the same chords and melodies as everyone else, but instead, he constantly explores new harmonies, rhythms, and textures. This gives his music a unique and notable sound that sets him apart from other pianists.

Distinct Characteristics

There are several aspects of Joel's playing style that novice pianists should keep in mind as they learn to master this style of playing. They come down to the things that make Joel's music stand out from his contemporaries:

  • Rhythmic complexity: Joel's piano playing often features complex rhythms that drive the song forward. He often uses syncopation, which involves emphasizing off-beat notes or playing notes in unexpected places.
  • Melodic lines: The melodies in Joel's songs are often memorable and singable, with a strong sense of phrasing and contour. He frequently uses arpeggios and broken chords to create melodic interest.
  • Chord progressions: Strong chord progressions that provide a solid harmonic foundation. Joel often uses jazz-influenced chords, such as seventh chords and extended chords, to create a rich and complex harmonic texture.
  • Blues and rock influences: Joel's piano playing is heavily influenced by blues and rock music, which can be heard in his use of pentatonic scales and bluesy licks.
  • Use of dynamics: Dynamics, or variations in volume, create tension and release in his music. He often uses sudden shifts in volume to emphasize certain parts of the song, an important skill to master when you learn more Billy Joel songs on piano.

Easy Billy Joel Songs on Piano

If you're ready to try to learn this style of play, there are many great songs for you to try out. Many of Joel's works are suitable for beginners or have alternative arrangements that can work well for a less-experienced piano player. To learn how to play Billy Joel on piano, consider adding something from this list to your practice rotation.

  • "Piano Man" - This is one of Billy Joel's most iconic songs and features a simple chord progression that is easy to learn. The song is in the key of C major, and the chords used are C, G, Am and F.
  • "Turn the Lights Back On" - Billy Joel's newest song, and an instant classic! This slower ballad has simple rhythms in the left hand paired with a beautiful melody in the right hand.
  • "Just The Way You Are" - Another classic Billy Joel song, "Just The Way You Are" is a slow ballad that features a simple melody and chord progression. It has a good tempo that makes it a solid choice for learning how to play Billy Joel songs on piano.
  • "She's Always A Woman" - This is a beautiful love song that also moves you into the very fun pop-rock genre.
  • "New York State of Mind" - You can take on a bluesy ballad with this classic Billy Joel composition. It still has a simple chord progression but brings in a slow, soulful melody that makes it fun to perform.
  • "The Entertainer" - This upbeat, jazzy song can help new players practice more upbeat melodies and master their timing as they play piano.

These are just a few easy and intermediate Billy Joel songs on piano to start with. You can find so many more on Musicnotes, including harder pieces that will challenge you as you improve your skills.

Best Habits to Master as You Practice

With your song list in place, you need good habits to take you to the next level of your playing.

  • Practice regularly: Consistent practice is key when it comes to learning to play the piano. Aim to practice for at least 30 minutes each day, and gradually increase the amount of time as you improve.
  • Warm up before you play: Before you start practicing, spend a few minutes warming up your fingers by doing some simple exercises or playing scales.
  • Focus on technique: Pay attention to your posture, hand position, and finger placement as you play.
  • Break down songs into manageable sections: Instead of trying to learn an entire song at once, break it down into smaller sections and focus on mastering each section before moving on to the next.
  • Practice slowly: When you're learning a new song or a difficult section, start by playing it at a slow tempo. This will help you get the notes and rhythm correct, and you can gradually increase the speed as you become more comfortable with the notes. This can especially help with those Billy Joel songs that contain more syncopation and complex rhythms.

Learn to Play Billy Joel Songs on Piano

With these characteristics of Billy Joel's music in mind along with a list of songs to start with, you can start bringing these compositions to life on your own. Find these songs and all of the best piano sheet music on Musicnotes.