Music Box Dancer is one of those classic songs you know as soon as you hear it. It’s an instrumental earworm that you’ll be humming for days, and we’ve got a short and sweet arrangement to teach you, step-by-step.
This is a more intermediate song to learn, but if you take your time and practice with proper technique– you will be amazed at what you can accomplish.
In only a few weeks it was the #1 song on the station and its popularity spread rapidly from there, ultimately reaching #3 on the Billboard Hot 100 charts. It was Frank Mill’s only top 40 pop hit.
[read more at wikipedia]
🤔🤔 That’s Interesting: A few notes are missing in the repeated introduction of the main melody. This could not be corrected, as Mills did not have the money to record another take!
Today we’re playing in the key of C (All the white keys!), but don’t let that fool you- there is a lot going on here. It may seem intimidating, but don’t hesitate to give it a try if you are a beginner who understands the basics of reading music!
Let’s check it out.
🎹📝 Take note: If you see a symbol like this, know that you are supposed to one octave higher than what is written on the page. This just keeps the two sides of the Grand Staff from getting tangled up in each other and makes things much easier to read on the page.
Extra tip! Your piano can’t adjust to your playing position, but your bench can! It may sound like simple advice, but sliding your bench to center yourself on what your playing will make performing a lot easier.
Music is built on patterns! As you play through songs you’ll notice repeating melodies and chord progressions. Songs can be broken down into these repeating sections and will be more manageable to learn. Watch for these patterns in your sheet music to simplify your sight-reading:
🎹📝 Take note: Once you reach the end of the first 12 bars, loop back to the beginning and play through a second time, but be ready to skip to the second ending, making a jump from measure 11 to measure 13.
Because of the higher-placed bass notes in the song, you will have to share the space between your left and right hands. I’ll show you where each finger fits along the way, but keep in mind the treble clef instructs your right hand and the bass clef handles your right.
Work through this song in small sections and you’ll find it eventually all comes together. Take time with each part. Go slowly. Go slower! If you start at a pace you can manage and work up your speed it is going to set up your muscle memory for success and you’ll be playing like a pro in no time!
The rolling chords in Music Box Dancer are the signature hooks of the song and they are so fun to play. Feel free to skip this part of the song if you think it’s above your skill level, but don’t be afraid to give it a try, because it is very rewarding and easy enough to wrap your head around once you see it’s just playing through a chord quickly instead of playing it in a block.
For those signature rolls in Music Box Dancer, the first one is the F Major chord in its second inversion:
Now that you’ve got all the skills you need to learn, play, and perform Music Box Dancer, it’s just a matter of taking the time to apply that knowledge with your best practicing technique. Be patient, practice with purpose, and don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone!
Enjoy your time and the piano, and happy practicing
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Learning chords is a great way to improve your piano skills without any music theory. And Lisa Witt’s “Chord Hacks” series will show you how to play the most popular chords, so you can play many of your favorite songs on the piano!
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