Accompanying Blog Post For Video: “How to play ‘STYLE’ by Taylor Swift on the piano”
This tune is very pretty… plain and simple. It’s got a fun 80’s beat and a classic chord progression. I first became aware of this song through a cover version performed by a group called Thirdstory, and that blew me away! Taylor Swift always performs well on YouTube, but of her songs this might be my favorite. So I was pumped to teach it to you guys!
Here are a few other musical reasons I loved this song and this arrangement:
1. A Great Intro To Dotted-8th Notes & 16th Notes
The majority of this section’s melody is just straight up 8th notes and quarter notes, which makes it easier to learn and play. That’s a good thing. But the very hook of the chorus (when she says “out of style”) introduces a new rhythm: dotted 8th note + 16th note.
I love when the hook of a song — the part everyone knows even if they don’t know a thing about music theory or rhythm — contains a complex musical element. It’s so much easier to internalize a new concept if you already are familiar with it. In other words, if you can sing this song along with TS on the radio, you already understand this rhythmic concept! So when it comes time to actual sit down to learn this arrangement on the piano, you will have this rhythm down much faster than you would if you weren’t familiar with the actual song.
2. Left Hand Chords: Easy But With A Surprise
We really just have 2 chords for the majority of this section: D and G. The G chord is voiced in 2nd inversion (G/D), which means it’s spelled from bottom to top as D, G, B. The D chord is in root position, so it’s spelled D, F#, A. This means you barely have to move your hand when changing from one chord to the next. Pretty easy! But don’t get too comfy… The 4th phrase of the chorus contains a surprise! Just when you got comfortable repeating those two chords, a new one pops up in place of the D: B minor. So make sure you don’t get too “auto-pilot” when playing this song. Stay sharp and look ahead! This is a great lesson on staying focused.
So dive in! Make sure to watch the video while you’re at your piano or keyboard so you can play along with me as I guide you through the lesson. And don’t forget to hit subscribe so you don’t miss any other YouTube videos lessons… I’m now doing 2 new videos a week, EVERY WEEK!
If you love using your favorite songs to learn the piano, check out STYLE 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