Why this song?
Just The Way You Are is a famous pop ballad by Billy Joel that features a beautiful chord progression that is worth exploring. The quality and function of the chords are very jazzy and unusually sophisticated for a pop song.
Bottom line – there is a lot we can learn from, especially those keyboard players that like to play more colorful and harmonically sophisticated pop styles.
About the first video
I created the first video below a long time ago for my secondary piano students at Columbia College Chicago. It shows how to play a relatively simple accompaniment over those beautiful chord changes.
I only gave them the chord symbols, because I didn’t want them to just brainlessly memorize a written out transcribtion .
Although the quality of the video is laughable (as I said, it was one of my first attempts), I believe it is still worth your while watching it.
It is especially useful for singers who want to accompany themselves playing this kind of music, but are not “real” pianists, if you know what I mean.
By the way, you can use the same techniques to accompany other pop ballads too.
Here now the video. I suggest you watch it first before you read on.
Let’s start with discussing some guidelines that will help you create a smooth and professionally sounding accompaniment
I am in the process of creating the second video to explain in detail how you can learn to play this kind of piano accompaniment. So please check back soon.