Accompanying Blog Post For Video:“How to play ‘BLANK SPACE’ by Taylor Swift on the piano”
Of course we want to have today’s hottest pop artists represented in our song library and on YouTube channel, that’s a given. But that doesn’t mean that Taylor Swift isn’t worthy of a spot based on musical merits alone. In fact, we believe her music is some of the most melodic and catchy of today’s hits, so we’re thrilled to arrange and teach her stuff. Here are a few reasons I specifically chose to teach “Blank Space:”
1. Rhythmic Toggling Between Hands
Although the right hand rhythms are fairly syncopated in the chorus of this arrangement, there is one thing we can count on consistently throughout the majority of this section: resting on beat 1. And, coincidentally, the left hand only plays on beat 1 each measure. This is a rhythmic gift! We can split our attention evenly between the hands because they take turns rhythmically. In other words, just before the beginning of each measure, we can look to the left hand and make sure we’re ready to play the next chord. Then, we can look back to the right hand because the left hand is holding each chord for the duration of each measure.
There is an exception to this, and that is the final measure of the chorus, where the right hand does actually play on the downbeat. But otherwise, this tip rings true throughout each chorus of this song, so use that while learning to get it down faster.
2. Slowly Widening Hand Positions
Another great thing about this song as a learning tool is that there are no huge jumps in either hands’ positions, but there are subtle changes and stretches that challenge the hands as you go.
Let’s look at the right hand first: we start our first half in an E position, with our thumb on E and pinky on B — a normal 5-note position. But at the start of the 2nd half of the chorus, we reach our pinky up to a C, and in the final measure we stretch our thumb down to a D. as the section progresses, we slowly stretch wider and wider, gradually.
Similarly, the left hand chord progressions spans a range of a major 7th (low Bb to high A), but does so by gradually widening its position with each new measure. For these reasons, this song section is the perfect learning tool for getting comfortable stretching your hand to wider positions!
If you love using your favorite songs to learn the piano, check out ‘BLANK SPACE’ at the Playground Sessions YouTube channel. If you like what you see you can download the app to learn the rest with our interactive sheet music.
For more blog posts by Playground Teacher Phil Anderson, click here.
Subscribe to Playground’s YouTube channel for more song lesson video.
Download the Playground Sessions APP for full interactive learning.