There are many tips and tricks out there on how to write your own song. You can come up with creative melodies, catchy lyrics, and song arrangements. However, sometimes being creative with someone else’s song can be just as fun! Let’s take a look at 5 tips on covering a song on piano:
1. Listen To Other Covers
It’s essential to listen to other covers of the song you choose to get inspiration. Listen to your favorite artists singing and playing outside of their category, or check out other people’s covers on YouTube.
Identify and pick the covers that resonate the most with your style and why. What about this artist’s cover of the song capture you or stand out? What qualities of the song keep you listening?
2. Get To The Essence Of The Song
Ask yourself these questions: What themes does the song express? What emotions or messages is the songwriter trying to explain? How did the artist want to make the listener feel? What is the tone of the song? Once you answer these questions and find what feeling you want your cover to communicate, you can focus on how you want the song to sound.
Since we’re focusing on arranging a cover song for the piano, the cover you make may not sound as instrumentally full as some of the covers you might have listened to, and that’s okay!
3. Bend The Genre
If you’re planning on making a cover of a popular song on the piano, the chances are that the song was not written specifically for the piano. Whatever instruments and sounds the song includes, your piano cover will most likely be working overtime to express the song to its full potential. Since this is the case, don’t be afraid to deviate from the original genre of the song you choose.
You can change a song just by changing the tempo. For example, changing an upbeat song to a more slowed-down song or changing the bassline can completely change the song’s feel. Also, don’t assume that a piano arrangement should sound sweepingly or mediative. Be more creative, and change it up outside of your comfort zone.
Styles such as honky-tonk, music hall, or even country can look good when worn by songs outside their genres. YouTube brims with songs covered in unconventional techniques, and there’s a reason they get so many views.
4. Change The Arrangement
It’s important to remember that when arranging a song, that nothing is off-limits.
Not only can you change the chord patterns, but you can change a few lyrics here and there. You can change the song up to your mood and vision for the music. For example, many artists will alter the theme according to their gender.
To change a song’s arrangement, you can ass intros, outros, or interludes. A great way to change the structure is by changing up the end of the song. You can involve camping, riffing for several measures, applying a short cutoff, or adding an abrupt ending for a dramatic effect. Get as creative as you can get, and make it sound like you. Whatever you decide to add or take-away, make sure you keep the “mood” of the song you established.
5. Give It Your Spin
Another essential thing to remember is to put your spin to the song. It may not be your song, but it is your arrangement. Any listers will love when your personality shines through the song.
Fall back to the techniques that your favorite artists and tracks feature. Let these techniques be your guide and influence. Make sure to avoid imitation of any other artist, especially if you are new to arranging.
It’s important to remember to avoid significantly copying or imitating another famous creator. You will always be better off being yourself than being a second-rate version of someone else. Unless impressions are your “thing,” the best part of a cover is the chance to hear a personal cover of a pre-existing song.