piano practice - repertoire

Keeping songs in your fingers (brain)
Once you learn a song, you still need to practice it. If you don't, it slips from your fingers (brain). So put your "repertoire" songs on a weekly rotation with your daily rotation of songs you're currently learning.

Below are the main piles of songs to keep track of...
Songs you already know and want to keep fresh. Practice these weekly.
Songs you're actively working on every day. Usually a couple of them.
It all starts with that song is awesome - i neeed to learn it! Stick them in queue. Consider the other songs and keep your queue prioritized.
You've got a good recording of it and don't need it in your brain anymore. But you've got nice fingering, loops, and cues saved so you can pick it up again no problem.


If the song turned out just too hard, throw it back at the end of the queue. But if it turned out be something that just doesn't speak to you... No mercy! Kill it!

Where do I find songs?

Ok, you probably want to play pop and find free songs to play, right? Well, you need to pay the composer of the songs you learn.

Now, you're a big boy and I'm not going to lecture you. But without a composer you'ld have no song to practice. Pay them. They deserve it.

Song Arrangement

Which version of the song should you buy?

Sheet music is almost never written by the pop artist. It's written by a transcriptionist / arranger. They can get things a little bit wrong / make mistakes. Artists can also change the way they play a piece.

Music for "piano/guitar/voice" often does not have the complete piano part. If the music is labeled EASY, then it is unlikely to be anywhere near authentic.

A song needs to be arranged for the instruments that'll play it.


Real music often lets the singer carry the melody. This means the melody isn't in the piano part. Are you going to sing it?
Some sheet music will leave out the melody. What if you don't sing? A missing melody is a bad thing.
Some sheet music mixes it into the piano part. This makes the song sound very different from the original. It often sounds terrible as a voice can do things the piano can't.

Will you sing? If so, you'll want an arrangement with no melody in the piano notation. If there are melody notes in there, you'll have to take them out - messy.

If you don't sing, you'll want the melody "jammed in there". This will make the song sound very different from the original.


Unfortunately, the majority of legal song distributors will not let you preview a song's arrangement.

One alternative is stealing... :(
install uTorrent
hit ThePirateBay (google it)
put "midi" in the search bar and you'll see collections of 5000 midis
download them and search for your favorite song
check every arrangement for superiority

So Steve, how do you relieve the guilt?

Well, when I find myself practicing a new song, I buy the song from whoever looks the most reputable and is selling SOME arrangement of it.

If the police come knocking, don't blame me, man.