Today, we wanted to celebrate the Rockschool Piano syllabus, and what better way to do that than to talk about our top 10 tunes, chosen by you!
Yes, that’s right. Of all the songs available within our piano syllabus books, these are the 10 that are most popular with our Rockschool pianists – and you guys have good taste.
And now, with the release of the RSL Learning Platform, you can access ALL this glorious material far easier than ever before. More of that here!
But without further ado, let’s get on with the countdown!
Number 10 – Skyfall (Grade 3)
What a way to kick it off, with this incredibly powerful song written for the James Bond film, Skyfall. Sung by English singer-songwriter Adele (who has picked up more awards over the years than we could shake a stick at!), it was released on the 5th October 2012 for the 50th anniversary of the first James Bond film ever released.
Number 9 – He’s A Pirate (Grade 6)
An undoubtedly iconic tune - we are so glad that this has made it into our top 10. Originally written by Hans Zimmer and Klaus Badelt for the 2003 film Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, the song has since been an incredibly popular piano hit. “He’s A Pirate” very much deserves a spot in the Grade 6 syllabus, since it features some pretty intense, fast-moving chords, alongside a very rhythmic left- hand part. Good luck with this one!
Number 8 – A Thousand Miles (Grade 5)
Of course! It wouldn’t be a piano collection (and certainly not a top ten!) without this one. Ever since its release in 2002, this has remained Vanessa Carlton’s most popular song, and it’s clear as to why. It’s got almost 400 million Spotify plays to its name, and comfortably reached the top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. This one is a LOT of fun to play with the backing track - all that’s missing is Vanessa Carlton herself (we could get her in though, right?!).
Number 7 – Let It Be (Grade 1)
We’re so pleased to be able to bring these iconic tunes into the Grade 1 realm, and it’s no wonder that it has proven to be so popular. The Beatles will always be legendary, and this song is no exception. Our arrangement is a solo one, allowing the player to enjoy the chords as well as the glorious, singing melody. One for the next home-concert, we think!
Number 6 – This Is Me (Grade 2)
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!
Number 5 – Can You Feel The Love Tonight (Grade 1)
It’s right that this timeless classic appears somewhere in our top 10 tunes. 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.
Number 4 – Hallelujah (Grade 1)
Originally written by Leonard Cohen, this song has since become a highly regarded tune for piano. The quaver arpeggio in the left hand is so instantly recognisable to everyone. The song has been arranged and performed so many times, and has been used in a variety of films and television productions! It’s safe to say that this song is as popular with the rest of the world as it is with the RSL pianists.
Number 3 – You’ve Got A Friend in Me (Grade 5)
It’s a joy that this well-known theme song has found itself in the top three! The Rockschool arrangement (and of course the original song!) is full of positivity, jazzy inflections and quirky rhythms. We adore this one, and are so glad that you do too!
Number 2 – All of Me (Grade 4)
“All of Me” has truly become a piano anthem. Who can mistake those syncopated chords in the introduction, and the rhythm that pushes the song along throughout. Not to mention that it’s a beautiful song to sing too! It’s a love song (John Legend dedicated it to his wife!), and the Rockschool arrangement authentically delivers the same feeling as the original. With fast but flowing quavers underneath a soaring melody, it is entirely possible to lose yourself in this one. No wonder it is such a popular choice!
Number 1 – Bohemian Rhapsody (Grade 8)
Are you shocked? We’re not. It comes as no surprise that this nothing-short- of-legendary tune is your Rockschool number 1! This piece requires an incredible amount of skill to ensure that you can do justice to the original song. As you will know with “Bohemian Rhapsody”, there is lots going on. Different melody lines, fast-paced rhythms, dashing through a vast array of keys and time signatures. This one definitely requires some perseverance, but imagine the home-concert once you’ve cracked it!
If you don’t see your favourite on this list, we want to hear from you! Head over to our socials and let us know your top tune.