Remember back when the first Frozen movie came out and everyone had its musical numbers stuck in their head? If we’re being honest, some of us are still humming those tunes. My daughters may or may not still be huge Frozen fans. I might fit into that category too. 😉 It’s inescapable: I had to make a tutorial for how to play “Let it Go” on piano.
Let’s go over how to play “Let it Go” on piano the easiest way possible: using my 5-step song-learning process.
What You Need to Know
To play “Let it Go” on piano with my approach, there are a few prerequisites you need:
- Internet access to look up chord notation for the song
- A keyboard or piano (you didn’t think you could skip that, did you?)
- A basic understanding of common chords
- General competency with some improv techniques (such as the ones I teach here)
Step 1: Find the Chords
Pull up your search engine of choice and type in “Let it Go” chords. The top few results should be good examples of the chord notation for this song. The top result is usually best, and it’s usually from Ultimate Guitar. That’s the one I typically use.
(Don’t be tricked into thinking you have to pay to view most song chords on Ultimate Guitar: almost everything there is free and you do not need to download the app to view the chords on your browser.)
What About Transposing?
It’s important to note whether the song is meant to be transposed or not. That info is usually listed at the top. In this case we need to transpose “Let it Go” on piano by one half-step.
Transposing is simple on most keyboards and digital pianos, but different models may do that a little differently. So make sure you check your user manual if you’re not familiar with how to transpose on your own instrument.
Now, if you’re playing an acoustic piano, there is no transpose button. So how will you play “Let it Go” on piano in the right key? You have a few options:
- Do not transpose the song (resulting in a higher or lower sound)
- Transpose as you play, by moving the chords the same number of steps as indicated
- Transpose the chord notation and play from that
I highly recommend using that last option most of the time. Sites like Ultimate Guitar have handy-dandy transpose features which make transposing a breeze.
Reviewing the Chords
Now it’s time to run through “Let it Go” on piano, just playing each chord once to make sure you remember them. Most of the chords listed will be simple ones such as majors and minors. But going through and reviewing each chord is always a good idea. It will prepare you actually play the song, and it will make sure you are aware of any tricky or less common chords ahead of time.
Step 2: Listen to the Song
After reviewing the “Let it Go” chords, take a few minutes to listen to the original song. As you’re listening, look over the chord notation. Note where each chord change is located: that’s where you’ll be changing to each new chords as you play.
What About Intros?
Some songs are listed with intro chord progressions, but what about songs that have no apparent intro? Sometimes they’re just not listed, but it’s a safe bet that the same chords repeated in the verses will work as an intro. Try it next time you’re playing a song with no intro listed. 😉
Step 3: Play Along With the Song
Are you ready to start playing? It’s time to play as you continue listening to the original song. Just play the basic chord at each chord change. No need to be fancy at this point: the goal is to get used to the chord changes and make sure you can play them with the chords listed.
Practicing the most basic version of the song first is an important step to playing with confidence. Do not skip this step, you’ll be glad you didn’t. 😉
Step 4: Spice it Up
Let me ask you a question: are you trying to play “Let it Go” on piano so that it sounds exactly the same as the original? If so, you’re going to have to focus on note-for-note accuracy. The good news is that this is not necessary. There are plenty of ways to interpret this song that still sound like the original.
If you can already play the basic chords, this next step is about playing along while adding in improv techniques to make it more interesting. It’s up to you which ones you choose, but don’t be shy: try a few different improv tools and combinations to see what sounds best to you.
Once you find a tool or combination of tools that you like for the given song, practice playing along with the song in the background. This will help keep you mindful of tempo and help you practice chord changes while adding in those extra improv elements.
Step 5: Break Free
If you’ve completed all previous steps and are feeling reasonably comfortable, it’s time to break free. That means you will play without the song in the background.
Continuing to use the chord notation for reference is fine (I actually recommend you always have it pulled up no matter what step you’re working on). The point is to be playing “Let it Go” on piano with smooth chord transitions, confident improv, and without needing to hear the original song every time you play.
That’s really all there is to it! As you play “Let it Go” on piano or keyboard, your practice with the 5-day song-learning process will guide you as simply and quickly as possible. That’s kind of a theme around here, so if simple and quick appeals to you I hope you stick around! 😉