How to Cover a Song 150 150 admin

How to Cover a Song

This is a method I use to sing and play piano together fluently when I want to cover a song.

I really break this down into two main parts – the singing and playing of course.

Playing the Piano

I start with playing, and below I’ve listed my go-to’s for learning how to play a song.  Many of these things involve sheet music because I spent years learning to read sheet music from my piano teachers.

  • I go on Youtube to see if there’s a tutorial and/or to get some ideas on how to play things
  • I will go to Musicnotes to see if there’s sheet music for the song I want to play (they usually have beginner music, but the chords I need are still on there)
  • If I really want an in-depth, accurate piece of sheet music I’ll go and see if I can buy a transcription by the artist – basically a note-for-note record on how they played a song
  • Sometimes I might need to fill in gaps, so I’ll just listen to the song repeatedly and try to match the sounds up with the piano.  This is what’s called playing by ear, and some do this way better than others.

When I’m learning, I’ll learn in one hand at a time slowly and then put the hands together and repeat.  And repeat.  And repeat.  The name of the game is repetition.  You know you’ve repeated enough when you can play the song without thinking about it and the normal song speed.


I use my voice memos app on my iPhone and record until I get my sound the way I want it.  If I don’t like it, I don’t post it publicly.  Cardio helps with this also.  It’s a lot easier singing when you can breathe better.  Much of it is just picking up different things here and there from artists I like.  I feel like playing piano has really helped with accurate pitch while singing, but there’s so much more to it than that.  Singing is connecting with the audience, dynamics, vibrato, breathing, cardio and breathe control, warming up vocal chords, etc.

So…that’s what I do so far.  Any questions or anything you’d like to know feel free to leave it in the comments.  Thank you!


Jazz Piano and Improvisation are Badass? 150 150 admin

Jazz Piano and Improvisation are Badass?

Music is definitely badass and piano specifically.  I’ve just signed up with a course on Jazz Piano and Improvisation.

The course is only available through preorder so I can’t tell you how badass it is yet.  I have a strong prediction it will be badass though.  I decided pretty much based off the Jesus Molina’s music instagram account.  Now that’s badass.  If I can learn to do what he does then …hell yeah the whole experience will be badass.

The program is geared towards intermediate and advanced piano players, and I’m excited.  As far as I understand, the lessons will be available on June 6th, 2020.  Let’s goooo!

My Top 5 Musicians 150 150 admin

My Top 5 Musicians

In no particular order

-Michael Jackson
-Stevie Wonder
-John Mayer
-R. Kelly

Honorable Mentions:
John Legend
Brian McKnight

A couple of notes about this.

  • Drake just made this list for me. I was searching my phone for who really was in that 5th place spot, and I noticed I have a lot of Drake.  He just jumped out at me
  • I realize this is a pianist-heavy list. ?  I know.

I can remember being mesmerized watching Michael Jackson’s concerts.  People were consistently being taken away in hospital carriers while at the concerts.  The energy was too much?  I remember  learning Stevie Wonder’s songs and how it made people feel when I played them.  Stevie Wonder made sunglasses cool for me, and he has so many love songs.  I can play his songs and feel that love and it always feels good – especially during times where I felt like I needed love.

John Mayer might be the most recent musician I’ve been into, but…his collection is incredible.  Continuum?  The Search for Everything?

You and I (Cover) Duet – Jacob Collier & Tori Kelly 150 150 admin

You and I (Cover) Duet – Jacob Collier & Tori Kelly

Below is a duet on Instagram Live between Tori Kelly and Jacob Collier.

There has been so much mystery with this song from me.  You can hear the original here by Stevie Wonder.  I first heard this song sang by Michael (played by Ralph Carter) on a show called Good Times during Thelma’s Wedding in that show.

I think it’s an incredible song…so incredible it inspired me to learn how to play it.  It just takes you on a ride from soft and simple to powerful and complex and resolves it at the end…like a musical story.

Normally, between me browsing around the internet and the music skills I already have, I can figure out how to play a song like it’s originally played.  This song is the one song I haven’t been able to do that with.

I can find virtually no piano arrangements…no transcriptions that play this song how it’s originally played.  People can sing it accurately, but the piano accompaniment is what I’m talking about.

Most are way too easy and simplistic, but this is a truly advanced song.  There’s lots of contrasting chords each measure.  The duet below is the closest I’ve ever found to how it’s really supposed to be played.  It is no surprise though.  Jacob Collier actually won a Grammy for his arrangement of this song.  I didn’t even know you could win a Grammy for doing that!

I want to learn how to play this song…as close to the original or at least in a way that honors the true complexity of the song and the work that needs to go behind it to play it accurately.

Learning Music Making Day 2 150 150 admin

Learning Music Making Day 2

Managed to finish the learning from this site.  Again, I love the hands on learning I was able to do, and I really got to understand song structure on a deeper level.  That was the part that always puzzled me – how hooks, chorus’, bridges, and verses interact with each other to form songs.

I had an intention this year to up my song writing game.  I can see that coming together, but not how I planned it.  I’m able to think of lyrics to fit within the song easier because I’ve been blogging for almost three months daily so words come to me when I can tune in and ride the waves of flow.  Mix that in with song structure and inspiration from other great song writers and you can see an intention coming together quite nicely.  Thank you 🙂

Great Site for Learning Music (Free) 150 150 admin

Great Site for Learning Music (Free)

Found this site for music making.  I’m currently on the “melodies” section, so i should be all done by tomorrow.  I’ve learned so much about song construction through there already, and I came in knowing quite a bit about music.

I like that it emphasizes hands-on learning.  The site is structured so you can experiment on the browser itself with the things they are teaching you each lesson and hear it real time looped.  It reminds me of using GarageBand.  Try it out!

The Scooby Doo Guy 150 150 admin

The Scooby Doo Guy

I had been on a string of doing open mics (piano and singing), I decided to book a spot on the House of Blues’ open mic night.  When the day arrives, me and a friend get there early.

It’s set up to where the stage is at the front…the dining area is in the middle and the bar is in the back.  After I let the staff know I was there, I head to the bar in the back and we just chill.

We see some decent acts…and then it’s my turn to go. I perform, and I think I did pretty well…and it was cool.

I get off the stage and head to the back again and after me another guy, maybe in his early 20’s, gets on the stage with a nice guitar strapped around his shoulders.  I’m instantly getting hype in my mind.  I always get hype when I see a fellow musician because I know the hours and hours of practice it takes to be good.  And he requested a mic?!?! So we might get some singing to accompany the guitar playing?  Yo…let’s go!

I quickly realized this wasn’t gonna go like I thought.  When he grabs the mic he then proceeds to sing the Scooby Doo theme song.  That’s right – “Scooby Dooby Doo…Where are you?”.

Now during this…there are some women who give him the pity claps and dancing along (including the bar tender who was back there with us), but…95% of the room was looking at him and each other like “Wtf?  Is he serious?”.  He was indeed serious.  His set ends and he walks off stage.  Keep in mind…he never plays the guitar at all.  It just hangs on his shoulders pretty much untouched.

This was years ago.  It’s crazy that I remember him so vividly to this day.  It’s a testament to how well violating expectations works to stand out.  From that day, I don’t remember the other decent acts.  Hell, I don’t even remember the songs I played.  All I remember from that day is this mother fucker getting up there with a guitar that he didn’t use singing a damn cartoon theme song.

You can go to far with this concept though.  It was like real-life click bait, and if you’ve seen enough Youtube videos, you’ll understand how annoying this can be.

This stood out because it was very bad, but you can also stand out being extraordinarily good.  This approach is way better received and garners much more respect.  Let’s do that.  Let’s work to be unique, but exceptionally great too because…I don’t wanna get Rick Rolled anymore.

Music Exploration – 30 Artists, 90+ new songs 150 150 admin

Music Exploration – 30 Artists, 90+ new songs

I decided that last quarter I wanted to do an exploration of music I’d never heard before. I decided to try at least 30 artists with at least 3 songs from the artist that I’d never heard before. Sometimes I knew of the artist, but I didn’t know any songs they produced. Sometimes I even know of the artist, knew of some songs they’d written. I didn’t want to include those songs I had already heard here, but I felt I still wanted to explore more of their music. However, this exploration was mainly artists that I’d never heard before – especially as I kept going. The main goal was to listen to at least 90 new songs in the quarter. It took me longer than the quarter, but I’m glad I completed it. I also wanted to stay completely away from RnB and rap music because I listen to so much of those genres already. These are in the order that I explored them in.

Before I list the songs, here are some things I’ve learned throughout all this:

  • Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference between Rnb and Pop. I wanted to steer clear of Rnb and rap, but that wasn’t as easy to do as I thought.
  • Some songs are too dark and murky for me. At a point in my life, I might have listened to them, but some were borderline agonizing to listen to.
  • I like what I like. I still like Rnb and Rap. The songs I really liked and wanted to keep in rotation (there were some) had an Rnb feel to them.
  • The extremes stood out and were therefore more memorable…even if I didn’t necessarily like them. I guess this is because we remember what violates our expectations.
  • This exploration showed me how many ways you can actually deliver value through music. It was great to get exposure to the many different ways individuals expressed themselves through this medium.
  • This made me really appreciate Rnb and rap even more and start looking for more songs. I found some new great Rnb artists I like and more music from Rnb artists I already knew. It was like venturing out made me appreciate what I have even more. I heard this from open relationships too? I wonder what people in open relationships think about this.

Cher  – Have heard a lot about her, but never payed attention to her music

  • Song For Lonely
  • Bang Bang
  • Half Breed
  • If I Could Turn Back Time (pretty cool music video here)
  • Woman’s World
  • We All Sleep Alone
  • Gypsy’s, Tramps, & Thieves

Prince  – Wonder what the mystique is all about

  • Let’s Go Crazy
  • U Got The Look
  • Erotic City (my favorite of the prince songs I heard)
  • The Beautiful Ones (interesting screaming at the end)
  • Pop Life

Lenny Kravitz  – Have been curious about his music

  • Are You Gonna Go My Way
  • Believe
  • I Belong To You
  • Rock & Roll is Dead
  • Mr. Cab Driver – interesting song about a racist cab driver

Rema  – Amazon Music recommendation

  • Corny
  • Dumb
  • Iron Man

Robert Schuman

  • Kinderszenen, Op. 15 (played by Martha Argerich)
  • Fantasie, Op. 17 (by Evgeny Kissin)
  • Kreisleriana, OP. 16


  • Crazy For You
  • La Isla Bonita
  • Into the Groove
  • True Blue
  • Borderline

The Beatles

  • Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band
  • You Never Give Me Your Money
  • Penny Lane

Elton John

  • Don’t Let the Sun Go Down On Me
  • I’m Still Standing
  • Don’t go Breaking My Heart
  • Bennie And The Jets
  • Crocodile Rock

Ya know…with Madonna, The Beatles and Elton John I feel like I’ve heard their music in so many places, but many times didn’t connect the music with that particular artist.

Harry Styles – my style of music but more pop style, recommended by Google Play Music

  • Adore you
  • Watermelon Sugar
  • Lights Up
  • Cherry

Thomas Rhett – saw him on Kennedy Center Honors

  • That Old Truck
  • Look What God Gave
  • Center Point Rd (ft. Kelsea Ballerini)

Depeche Mode – couldn’t get into this type of music, at least not these songs I listened to

  • Just Can’t Get Enough
  • Enjoy the Silence
  • Everything Counts

Bonobo – like that there weren’t words in many of his songs (if not all?), but great music

  • Linked
  • Cirrus
  • Kong
  • Kiara

Daft Punk – blend between techno / and RnB

  • Give Life Back to Music
  • The Game of Love
  • Giorgio by Moroder

I am Jen – unique style, really like the intro music

  • Broken in all the right places
  • Neon Zee
  • At the Same Time
  • Blowing My Mind (like this piano intro)

Ben Folds – pretty funny music…might be the most memorable for me so far :joy:

  • Effington
  • Bitch Went Nuts
  • Brainwascht
  • Kylie from Connecticut (I like this one)

Nils Frahm – I could see this music used in slow parts of movies…not really feeling it though

  • Familiar
  • Some
  • Our Own Roof

Infected Mushroom

  • U R So Fucked (probably not the best idea to start with this one…this is scary)
  • Serve My Thirst – sounds like it could be used on a video game…they got skills
  • I Shine
  • Drum n Bassa

Daneil Padim

  • Harmonics Got Crazy
  • Waiting For You
  • Fridays Beauty


  • Hurricanes
  • Take You Home
  • Some Kind of Love

Ionnalee – kinda dark and quirky

  • Open Sea
  • Wipe It Off
  • Some Body


  • Why Do You Hate Me? (interesting screaming sections)
  • Captivate You
  • Play
  • Born Young and Free (very stark and definite contrast between melody park and screaming section)

Led Zeppelin

  • Immigrant Song
  • Stairway to Heaven
  • Rock and Roll
  • Black Doll (like this one because of the off beat unusual rhythm that works)
  • Ramble On (like this one too)

Muse – I like the album art…colorful

  • Uprising
  • Madness
  • Starlight

Franz Ferdinand – every artist below this point was found by Google Play Music

  • No You Girls
  • Take me Out
  • Do you want to

Justice – like this

  • Pleasure
  • Alakazam!
  • Fire

Tori Amos – too dark

  • Broken Arrow
  • Cloud Riders
  • Up the creek

Janis Joplin

  • Down On Me
  • Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)
  • Cry Baby

Patti Smith

  • Free Money
  • Redondo Beach
  • Kimberly

Bee Gees

  • How Deep is Your Love
  • Jive Talkin’
  • Night Fever
  • More than a woman

Billie Eilish

  • bad guy
  • bury a friend
  • when the partys over
  • lovely