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September 26, 2017 3 min read 0 Comments

As a piano practitioner for more than 25 years, playing a piano cover of your favourite song has become second nature. Most of us started off with scores which were available and as we get used to playing the styles of our favourite genre, it becomes evident that the ease of playing a new song cover gets better through experience.

If you love to play a cover of your favourite song in your own style, we'll be sharing some tips that could help you!

Ever felt that you're not familiar with certain chord progressions? Chances are you've not gained enough experience in playing a range of songs. In the modern era, many musicians try to fuse genres and this has made some songs harder to master. It means that you have to understand the styles of different genres in order to get it right!

I always suggest to my students to play a range of songs from available scores. From jazzy tunes to love songs, the more you play, the more knowledge you gain and you'll have an easier time digesting your favourite songs into playable notes.

When learning new songs from music sheets, you'll want pay attention to the following traits:

  • The chord progressions
  • The different variations of the chords
  • The pattern of which the chords are played


Chord progressions

As you pick up more and more types of progressions, you'll have the ability to easily identify the chords for a song of a similar genre. 

For example, the ever popular Canon in C:

In case you're wondering which song is that, here you go:

Canon in C 

C G A E F C F G - This is the simple breakdown of the progression in this beautiful piece of music.


Now take a look at the next example. Behold, your graduation song by Vitamin C

Graduation - Vitamin C

C G A E F C F G - The breakdown of chords for this song.


By the way, there are tons of songs with this same progression, which means by learning just one song, you'll actually be able to play many of the songs with the same progressions and my thoughts are very accurately presented by this rant here:

Pachelbel rant


Variations of chords

To put it simply, I'm referring to the Gsus4, or C7 chords which you see on music sheets. These variations add flavor to your songs. The more you play, the more exposure you get to different variations. Some genres, such as blues and jazz, frequently use 7th chords in their composition. With more experience, you'll soon find yourself using some of these variations even in songs of different genres. From here, developing your personal style in playing piano covers wouldn't be far off.


Style of Chord

There are different ways to play a C major chord:

C E G C - running notes

This is one of the most common ways piano chords are played and would be the first pattern to be picked up by most pianists.





The triad style is considered one of the simplest, pressing down 3 notes at the same time for every beat. Not very common nowadays but you still hear it once in a while. If you watched guardians of the galaxy, this song might be familiar to you:

Mr Blue Sky


As you learn more styles, it becomes second nature to simply mash up the styles according to your interpretation. From smooth and lovely running notes to bold and rich triads, your music will be filled with colors using different expressions portrayed by your playing styles. It is common for musicians to adopt different styles for different sections of their songs.  


As your arsenal of songs grow, so will your skills. Once you've learnt a few of these chord playing tips, you'll find that playing songs by ear isn't actually that hard at all!