Piano tutorial for Billy Joel’s JUST THE WAY YOU ARE

What you will learn

Why this song?

Just The Way You Are is a famous pop ballad by Billy Joel that features a beautiful chord progression that is definitely worth exploring. The quality and function of the chords are very jazzy and somewhat unusually sophisticated for a pop song. This means that there is a lot we can learn from, especially those keyboardists that want to learn how to play more colorful and harmonically sophisticated pop styles.

I created the first video in this post for my secondary piano students at Columbia College Chicago years ago. It show how to play a relatively simple accompaniment over those chord changes. The beauty of it is,  that  you can apply the same technique to many other pop ballads. This is really great news for singers who want to accompaniment themselves playing this kind of music, but are not real pianists, if you know what I mean.

Below is my video tutorial that demonstrates how to play the intro and an easy accompaniment that get’s you through the changes.  I suggest you watch it first before you read on.

Coming soon

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.

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How to use sus4 chords in jazz and pop music

I just finished the introductory video tutorial above about sus4 chords. It shows me jamming on the keyboard over a Csus4 chord, and afterwards explaining how you can do the same by following a few simple musical ideas.

I am in the process of adding a lot of great information to this post soon. So be sure to check back soon.

Sus4 chords are amazing tools for pop musicians. Especially, because you can play 9 different pitches in the bass with any given bass note, creating really interesting sounding harmony.  To demonstrate this I created a chord table that shows all possible chords we get when we use different bass notes for Csus4. 

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