Are you a pianist as well as a vocalist? Are you looking for good songs that’ll enhance your performance on the piano or keyboard at an audition or gig?
It’s a beautiful instrument that hundreds of artists use as their main instrument. The best keyboard songs for singers will show off your voice and expertise, which is why it’s worth spending some time identifying top songs to sing with piano accompaniment.
Read on for our selection of 18 favourite tunes by famous artists, that sound super when tinkled on the ivories.
Songs to sing with piano
The most obvious benefits of singing with a piano are that it ensures that you are singing in the correct key and provides on the spot backing. Having the piano to sing along to can help you to improve because it can help you to develop your voice. With practice, it can even encourage you to reach more notes. It’s a fantastic way to help you to progress and become a better vocalist as you go on in your musical career.
What are the best pop songs to play on the piano?
Self-accompaniment enables you to become more creative. This is because you have the freedom to incorporate artistic licence and elements of improvisation. Broadly speaking there are three categories of pop songs that are best to play:
- Easy ones!
- Recent, well-known numbers
In this article, we’ll be covering many from each category.
The best keyboard songs for singers
Many of the world’s greatest singers began their career at the piano and so there are a wealth of superb songs to sing and play on keys. Whether it’s an Elton John classic or a Lady Gaga ballad, there is a multitude of choices that will suit your voice to a tee. Learning to play the piano means that you become a true musician in every sense of the word.
You have an understanding of musical theory and how music works and why certain notes work together. This means that your overall understanding of music will be better and you will be able to adapt and improve your singing voice as a result.
Choosing good songs to sing and play on the piano or keyboard
Some songs are especially suited to accompaniment on the piano. So if you play, it’s good to know which these are. It’s an instrument which can help your voice stand out, provides the perfect melody backing and is ideal if you need background music.
Playing any kind of instrument can make you a better singer, but keys and guitar are the top choices for singers. One of the things it enables you to improve on is your ability to sing harmonies and understand how to build them from scratch.
The best piano pop songs
So let’s delve into some of the best popular music for keys.
#1 Million Reasons by Lady Gaga
Lady Gaga has a fantastic back-catalogue with so many songs to choose from. She plays the piano in a dramatic style that adds a huge amount of panache to her performances, proving it’s not just what you pay and sing, but how you do it. Check out this epic Oscar rendition of Shallow, which caused plenty of waves in the industry.
#2 Ghost by Ella Henderson
This is a beautifully haunting song to sing and play live, and one that hasn’t been covered too many times.
#3 Sweet Child of Mine
This is a great one for aspiring rock stars, you’ll find yourself wanting to jump around the room to this one. Really give it some welly on those keys.
#4 Halo by Beyonce
Halo is up there with Beyonce’s greatest songs. This is one that is dominated by the piano and such a soulful ballad to vocalise. The strong melody makes it an enjoyable song to sing with the piano.
#5 Rolling in the Deep by Adele
She has one of the strongest collections in contemporary music. But this one is especially good when it comes to piano accompaniment. Try rolling in the Deep is you’re an aspiring singer dreaming of Adele-like stardom.
#6 When I Was Your Man by Bruno Mars
An easy slow tempo song that’s packed full of emotion. Add some flamboyance into your playing to give it some extra pizzazz.
#7 All of Me by John Legend
A good track for male jazz style and easy listening vocalists, this is a stunning song and a good ballad to practise. The piano part is pronounced and passionate and enables you to get truly involved in the joy of performing it.
#8 Fallin’ by Alicia Keys
As her name suggests, she’s the queen of the keyboards. Alicia’s beautiful voice coincides so well with the piano and this song is one of her best. It’s a great track to practice singing alongside a piano accompaniment and is really fun to sing too.
Best piano songs of all time
#9 The Scientist by Coldplay
As a solo piano piece, this is another great opportunity to make a cover in your own style and show off your range.
#10 A Thousand Miles by Vanessa Carlton
This is one of those songs that was always going to make this list because the piano introduction is so well-known. It’s a great pop song and a fantastic one to choose if you do also play the piano. There’s an easy piano tutorial here:
#11 Skinny Love by Bon Iver
Birdy – winner of our sister competition, Open Mic UK – made a fantastic cover of this song, which sold over a million copies. She’s a great artist to emulate as a pianist-vocalist.
#12 Piano Man by Billy Joel
Add in a harmonica and you have a full accompaniment here. The lyrics of piano man are ideal for a singer-pianist.
Easy popular songs to play on the piano
#13 Castles by Freya Ridings
Freya Riding’s simple and stripped back piano makes you truly appreciate the vocals, which should be the focus of any performance. With moving and haunting lyrics, this would be a good cover song to get creative with. Check out this version of Castles sung and played live.
#14 Let Her Go by Passenger
A lovely, slow ballad which would suit a male or female performer. Here’s another live recording, proving how powerful itis to accompany yourself during a performance on stage in front of an audience.
#15 Clocks by Coldplay
Another Coldplay classic, think of this song and it’s likely you will instantly think of the first few seconds which are dominated by the sound of the piano. The attractive and compelling melody makes this a great song to sing along to and a lot of fun to sing too. Plus, who doesn’t want to spend a few minutes pretending they’re Chris Martin?
#16 Imagine by John Lennon
Not one we’d recommend for auditions as it’s overdone. But as a lovely simple tune to start practising your singing and playing, this is a winner.
#17 It’s Too Late by Carole King
Go retro with this Carole King number. Much of her back catalogue offers rich picking for auditions, as they’re not overused by contemporary singers.
#18 Closing Time by Semisonic
To close off this list, this is a really fun song to sing. It’s a good choice for auditions as it’s not covered so much these days. Here’s a tutorial to learn how to play it.
How to sing and play the piano
You’re probably thinking:
- How on earth am I supposed to concentrate on my singing voice when I’m trying to remember what chord I need to play next?
- How will my brain cope with so much going on at the same time?
- Which bit am I supposed to focus on first and how will I manage to ensure both parts are equally as good?
Yes, it is a skill. But it’s a skill you can perfect like so many other people all over the world have. With anything, it requires a lot of time and a lot of practice to get it right.
The reason it’s so difficult is that you’re multitasking by essentially playing two instruments at the same time – the piano and your voice. Here are some top tips for mastering this synchronised act.
Tips for playing while singing
- Posture: You probably already know that having a good posture is really important when you’re singing. But when you’re playing the piano too, it’s often easier to sit down, so your posture becomes even more important. Try to avoid leaning forward over the piano and maintain a straight back. It will give you better sound and help you with your breathing.
- Sing and play separately: When you’re first mastering the art of singing and playing the piano together, it’s good to practice each skill separately. Take your time over it and don’t rush it. Practice makes perfect and eventually, you will learn to synchronise and to do both at the same time.
- Position your mic: Where your mic sits will affect your breathing and your posture so make sure it is positioned correctly so you’re not having to stretch to reach it. It should be at the right height to encourage you to straighten your spine.
- Play with light fingers: It’s an easy tip, but simply playing the piano lightly means you are less likely to make mistakes and it will allow your body to be more free and open.
- Practice often: This sounds obvious but the best way to ensure you can master this skill is to dedicate plenty of time to it. You need to be consistent so aim for at least half an hour of practice every day and soon enough you’ll be reaping the rewards.
One of the biggest benefits to learning to play the piano is that you no longer need to rely on another musician or a backing track to accompany you because you’ve got the piano to do that for you. You become your own accompaniment and it opens so many more doors for you and gives you lots of options. And it’ll assist greatly with original songwriting. Learning to play will get your creative juices flowing and you will get lots more ideas for brand new tunes.
- Is the ability to read music important for singers?
Many singers don’t know how to read music, and that’s ok. But it is a very useful skill to have and if you’re keen to write and compose your own music as your career progresses, it’s essential that you learn how to do it.
- What are the most popular sing-along songs?
This is always changing, and it’s different for each age group. So if you want to keep up to date on what people are listening to, follow some of Spotify’s playlists, like this one: Singalong Classics.
- Which is the easiest song to sing?
This will be different for everyone. Finding an easy song for you is about choosing something within your range, by an artist who makes music in a genre that suits your natural voice. Simple melodies are the best, with no big intervals. Take a look at these easy songs to sing that sound impressive.