If you’re currently taking piano lessons and on our particularly frustrating days, you wonder how you’re ever going to use the piano in your music, many before you have asked the same question. The answer is easily found by looking at other artists. Below are seven artists who use or used the piano extensively in their work. If they can do it, so can you!
Billy Joel may be the poster child for all of the people in the world who want to be musicians but don’t want to take piano lessons. Billy Joel was forced by his mother to take lesson because of that, he took a liking and went on to become a giant in the music world. Songs like “The Piano Man” may be his best known song but many don’t know that he also recorded and composed classical music as well.
Stevie Wonder may be best known for his songs “Superstition” and “I Just Called to Say I Love You”. He can often be seen playing the piano but what is most spectacular is that he has been blind since shortly after birth. With his 22 Grammy awards and 30 top 10 hits, he’s living proof that music is accessible to everybody regardless of disability.
Sir Elton John
Known by some as the father of piano rock, Sir Elton John showed musical talent at an early age. As early as four years old he would listen to music and figure out how to play it on the piano. He entered the Royal Academy of Music on a full scholarship but like most musicians, he got his start playing in bars and pubs. He was eventually noticed and wrote songs like “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me” as well as his tribute to Marylyn Monroe, “Candle in the Wind”
Jerry Lee Lewis
Jerry Lee Lewis may not be widely known to the Generation X and Y generation but he is regarded as one of the pioneers of rock and roll. Elvis Presley once said that if he could play piano like Jerry Lee Lewis, he would quit singing. Lewis started playing piano as a child and mixed some of his favorite musical styles together to form what would later be called Rock and Roll. Although his parents thought his music was terrible, others didn’t. Today, he holds a spot in the rock and roll hall of fame.
Sarah Bareilles is best known for her hit single “Love Song” and is one of this generation’s top recording artists. She has been compared to such greats as Billy Joel, Alicia Keys, Christina Agulara, and Sarah Mclaughlin for the way she integrates piano in to her music. She will appear as a celebrity judge on the third season of NBC’s The Sing Off.
Little Richard is often credited as the person that took the rock and roll style and put funk and soul style music in to it. He is best known for songs like “Good Golly Miss Molly” and “Tutti Frutti”. Little Richard is almost always seen behind a piano pounding and using glissandos to add flare and personality to his music. Also a member of the rock and roll hall of fame, Little Richard was a mainstay in the fifties but still well known in the 21st century.
Randy Newman, now primarily a film music writer is best known for songs like “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” and his body of work in six Disney movies including the Toy Story trilogy, Cars, Monsters Inc., and A Bug’s Life. He’s also written many other film scores as well as songs outside of the film genre. It is a rarity to see Newman performing his music without a piano as much of his music is piano centered. He wrote and sang “Short People” and the theme to the TV show “Monk”.
There could be many more musicians included on this list, but these are a few.
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