It’s Oscar season! And we’re rolling out the red carpet for our favourite film soundtracks in this blog. Hopefully we’ll return to the cinema soon, but in the meantime check out the tunes in this list and you’ll be able to practically smell the popcorn. Enjoy!
You’ve Got A Friend In Me – Randy Newman
Randy Newman boasts perhaps the largest CV of any of these composers. His work is instantly recognisable thanks to its jazz-inspired harmony, catchy melodies, and heartfelt lyrics. And it is this warmth that positions him as the perfect composer for family adventures like ‘Cars 3’, ‘Meet the Parents’, and, of course, the ‘Toy Story’ saga.
If Andy growing up and moving on from his toys isn’t enough to get the waterworks going, then “You’ve Got A Friend In Me” will certainly tug at the heartstrings. Its breezy feel and jaunty melody combine Newman’s signature sense of emotion with a melody that’ll make itself at home in your head for the foreseeable!
You can find this tune on our Grade 5 Piano syllabus. Here’s a clip of Nicholas Patrick Wiranata performing it as part of our Online Festival last year!
I Feel Good (I Got You) – James Brown
James Brown’s feelgood classic “I Feel Good (I Got You)” sits on our Drums Grade 6 syllabus. Whether you know it from ‘Garfield’, ‘The Big Chill’, or the second greatest cinematic achievement of all time*, ‘Paddington’, this number from the Godfather of Soul is arguably one of the best known songs of all time.
An infectiously upbeat message in a gorgeously simple twelve bar blues format, “I Feel Good (I Got You)” is one for your party playlists but, at Grade 6, this Drums piece is not for the faint-hearted. Good luck mastering this anthem – it’ll be worth it!
*Second only to its sequel, ‘Paddington 2’.
Theme from Schindler’s List - John Williams
Another titan of the film soundtrack game, John Williams’ score for Schindler’s List is a majestic example of how can music can make what’s on screen really come alive. Steven Spielberg’s 1993 epic is widely regarded as one of the best films ever made, and you can continue its legacy by learning it for your RSL Classical Piano Grade 7.
Can You Feel The Love Tonight – Elton John
This song really drew in the awards on its release. Elton John collected the 1995 Grammy Award for the Best Male Vocal Performance, and the song as a whole won the Academy Award for Best Original song in the same year. Written for Disney’s animated film The Lion King, the song was designed to express the love between the two lions, and the writers felt that this song was far more capable of expressing this than any dialogue could have been.
This Is Me – The Greatest Showman
We adore this jaw-dropping ballad just as much as you do. Though it sits within the Grade 2 syllabus, our arrangement doesn’t lose an ounce of its power, and is truly as direct and emotive as the original, sang by Keala Settle for The Greatest Showman (if you didn’t know that already!). The song has a perfect build throughout which really captures the positivity and strength that it represents. If you haven’t already, check out our walkthrough and performance of this wonderful ballad!
He’s A Pirate – Hans Zimmer
This piece is everything a film soundtrack should be: epic, evocative, and an absolute banger. Get this tune up to scratch and you’ll be able to feel the sea breeze on your face as you swashbuckler your way through one of the most iconic film soundtracks of the twenty-first century.
Composed as a backdrop to the adventures of Captain Jack Sparrow et al, “He’s A Pirate” is one of the many masterpieces in Hans Zimmer’s repertoire. It’s benchmarked at Grade 6 level on both our contemporary and Classical Piano syllabuses, so it’s no walk in the park. It’s especially important to maintain an even feel in those opening bars as the player is advised to use multiple fingers to play the same repeated notes.
If you've enjoyed this blog, why not check out our Artists in Focus series to learn about some of the musicians who've brought these scores to life, including Stevie Wonder, Herbie Hancock and Chick Corea.