Corden & McCartney sing Beatles songs in Liverpool

What a great idea to travel down memory lane singing songs you wrote in the different locations of your home town! That’s exactly what Paul McCartney did in Liverpool recently. The 24-minute Youtube video moved me to tears as “Let It Be” did for James Corden, host of “The Late, Late Show” in London.

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Flowers for your heart: Subete no Hito no Kokoro ni Hana O (すべての人の心に花を)

From BEGIN’s Hana to Kina’s Hana, Anne Ku is on a quest for nostalgic songs of Okinawa.

No sooner than finding sheet music to BEGIN’s Hana, my retired Japanese language professor friend in California introduced an even more nostalgic song from Okinawa. It’s also called Hana. The composer is Kina Shoukichi (喜納昌吉).

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Viva la Vida for Easy Piano

Coldplay’s “Viva La Vida”begins with a compelling and energetic violin and cello introduction. Like other pop songs, once you’ve figured out the repeating pattern, it becomes predictable and easy to play.

The string introduction to Coldplay’s “Viva la Vida” is addictive.

If “La Vida Breve” means “The Short Life” then “Viva la Vida” means “Live the Life.” Not so fast, according to Lenny, there’s more to this.

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Lean on Me for easy piano

Anne Ku arranges Bill Withers’ “Lean On Me” for easy piano, playable to the official video on Youtube.

Bill Withers’ “Lean On Me” is another request from a student — an artist. There are many Youtube Tutorials on how to play the parallel chords that follow a partial C major pentascale. I checked several versions online before rewriting it for easy piano.

Again, this is another piece you can easily play with the official video on Youtube, as long as your piano is tuned. Presumably, all electric pianos are well-tuned for this exercise.

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Colour My World for piano

Chicago’s Colour My World has a hypnotizing effect with a distinct bass line and slow changing broken chords. Anne Ku rewrites it for easier reading.

“What is the song that goes like this?” asked one of my piano students out of the blue, playing a distinct major 7th chord followed by minor chords on his right hand.

After some thought, I said, “Chicago’s Colour My World. That’s Colour with a U in it.”

It’s one of those songs that you never forget.

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Imagine by John Lennon for easy piano

Anne Ku arranged four different versions of John Lennon’s Imagine solo piano accompaniment for different levels of playing.

John Lennon’s Imagine is a song with piano accompaniment in the key of C major. These days, you can play a well-tuned piano to his official video on youtube, as we did in class to any number of versions I arranged for the different levels of my adult piano students. In all versions, both hands are to play one octave lower than what’s written.

Click on the excerpt to download the full PDF version. It’s Christmas come early.

Easy piano arrangement of Imagine by John Lennon
Easy piano arrangement of Imagine by John Lennon

Slightly more difficult is the following version because I left out the fingerings and the right hand has to do a little more work than before.

Slightly more difficult version of Imagine by John Lennon
Slightly more difficult version of Imagine by John Lennon

To imitate the authentic piano arrangement, we need repetitive broken chords in eighth notes, on the right hand.

Authentic piano accompaniment for John Lennon's Imagine on the right hand
Authentic piano accompaniment for John Lennon’s Imagine on the right hand

Finally, for those whose left hands are powerful enough to play octaves, here’s another version.

Left hand octaves accompaniment for Imagine by John Lennon
Left hand octaves accompaniment for Imagine by John Lennon

UPDATE @ 8th April 2018
Imagine is one of 23 songs we will be playing and singing on Wednesday 11th April 2018 in our thematic ukulele jam session in Historic Lower Mills — the theme is “Easy Beatles.”

Sticky piano music of Yiruma

South Korean composer and pianist Yiruma wrote and performed “River Flows in You” often confused with piano music from the “Twilight” saga. It’s not but it’s very sticky nevertheless.

The first time I heard it on the piano, I thought it was a variation of Einaudi’s music.

When I heard it again, I realized it was something else.

After my piano class, a student from the next class started playing it on the piano just as I was leaving.

“What is it?”

“River flows in you,” she said.

She added, “It’s from Twilight.”

I don’t remember this piece. Who is it by?

The sticky melody caught my attention. It’s been a long time  since I’ve been caught off-guard like this. How could I not know the composer or the title of the work? I have watched all 5 movies of the Twilight Saga and don’t recall this piece at all. The closest one was Carter Burwell’s Bella’s Lullaby, which does not sound like this.

Rather, the piece I heard on the piano was “River Flows in You” by Yiruma, the Korean pianist who has lived in the UK. The sheet music of his works are freely downloadable from his website. Compare the difference, below.

My next step? Check out Yiruma’s music and sightread them all. What is his music so sticky? Maybe that could be project for my students.