Time for a fun Thriller Piano Tutorial! In this video, I will show you an easy and effective to learn Michael’s Jackson’s iconic Thriller.
Thriller by Michael Jackson
Thriller is the iconic title track from Michael Jackson’s iconic 1982 album. I’ll never forget hearing it when it first came out (I was 6!) and being chilled to the bone hearing Vincent Price speak about the “Hounds of Hell.” We listened to that record over and over.
When I first saw the video for Thriller I was so freaked out by it that I didn’t sleep that night. I think it was the first “horror” movie I ever saw.
Thriller was produced by Quincy Jones, who also produced Jackson’s early album Off the Wall. Quincy Jones started out as a jazz trumpet player and composer/arranger and started expanding out towards producing and writing film scores for movies like The Color Purple.
My Standard Pop Piano Protocol for learning songs
In this piano tutorial, I use my standard protocol for creating great pop piano arrangements. If you want to learn more about this protocol, check out this post.
I find a copy of the lyrics or I just type them up from the recording. I then figure out the chords on a chord website or I just learn them by ear. If you want to learn to play by ear click here for a video I made where I outline how to learn to play by ear
3 Steps to Authentic Pop Piano Arrangements
I detail this entire process in this video. I have used this process to learn hundreds and hundreds of songs and my students absolutely love the simplicity of learning pop songs on piano this way.
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Learn the Chords on Piano
Step #1 Learn the chords on piano. This can be as simple as playing them in root position, or if you are a more experienced pianist, you can find the inversions that sound the best to you and voice lead your way through. Thriller is primarily made up of two chords total, so it’s super easy to play!
Play the Groove
Step #2 is to figure out how to play the groove. You can use a simple pattern or more complicated, depending on your level. Remember that you’ll have to sing over this, so don’t make it too hard!
Identify the hook
Step #3 is to identify the hook, bass line or any other aspects that help to bring it to life. Again, you can make this as simple or complicated as your piano chops will allow you. For Thriller, the iconic bass line is definitely something you’ll want to learn!
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