Elton John’s piano style

by Bill on March 4, 2011

This video tutorial focuses on Elton John’s piano style. Elton John is really important in history of pop piano and modern piano comping because, in effect, he pioneered many of the techniques that are so widespread today.

The tutorial takes the song Amoreena as its starting point, but touches on quite a few other aspects of the way Elton John plays the piano.

A point that’s really worth repeating is that Elton John started off with a strong classical training. He had lots of piano lessons as a kid, and you can see that reflected in the way he plays to this day. He’s very confident with scale runs and arpeggios, and he has a very good touch on the piano keyboard: everything is very elegant and controlled, with perfectly executed phrasing and dynamics. That’s something you very rarely hear in self-taught pianists.

Another major influence from his childhood is church music. You can hear many hymnal influences in his songwriting, particularly the way he uses suspended fourths – a really characteristic Elton John sound.

He is also clearly a very big fan of the blues, and uses blues licks extensively in his piano playing. If you’re not quite up to speed with the blues, you can pick up the basics from my other website, www.bluespiano.tv, where I have quite a few of my blues piano tutorials indexed. You can also find them all – along with all the videos from Jamcast – in the timeline on my YouTube piano tutorial channel.

So, with all of the above, you should be able to make a good start on playing Elton John’s piano music. Nearly all of the chords and lyrics of his songs are available online – a quick Google should help you find as many as you want. If you have any questions, either on Elton John or any other aspect of piano playing, just leave a comment and I’ll get right back to you.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Joe April 25, 2011 at 3:25 am

Hello, Bill..
You are quite a wonderful teacher, very patient in your explanations and articulate; I’ve gotten more out of a few of your vids than I have from TONS of other ones. I’ve been studying piano for a couple of years, slow-going at first, but I’m at the Jazz Blues improv stage and it’s a bit difficult. As you said, it’s a combination of rhythm as well as melody, and taken together, that’s where I get all flubbed… I think it’s just a matter of time and patience, but.. anyway… I am wondering if your book has much on the subject of improv? I haven’t finished watching your stuff, (haven’t checked out bluespiano.tv yet, it’s late and time for bed) but I will most definitely.
Thank you so much for your contribution to all of us piano lovers. I’m very grateful!

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