How to Teach Video Game Music on the Piano

A fun task for your next piano lesson!

How to Teach Video Game Music on the Piano

Teach Video Game Music

If you’ve got young piano students, there’s a fair chance they might play video games.

I know what you’re thinking…why would we encourage our students to engage with video games when they could be playing piano!?

Well, let’s harness the enjoyment they get from playing video games, and teach video game music to our students.

Soundtracks to video games are just as popular as film soundtracks these days.

They’re recognisable and students will get a kick from learning the video game music.

Let’s get into it – here’s how I teach video game music with my students.

It can be hard…

There’s a few reasons why it can be hard to teach video game music…

  • We aren’t familiar with the music
  • It can be written poorly/too complex
  • Students might have learnt some of it (and not done a very good job!)
teach video game music piano

Yep, this is one example of how someone has arranged a piece of music from a video game!

How do I go about it?

I’ll start off by sharing one of the biggest mistakes I see teachers make when it comes to teaching video game music on piano.

Sometimes, teachers will simplify the music themselves. They will take the music home and spend time  rearranging the music and bringing it back to a lesson.

This is a big mistake, and not only because often we don’t have time to do this!

More importantly, you’re losing a big learning opportunity for your students.

Let’s actually break it down into the simple elements with our students in their lessons.

My 3 Tips

There’s a lot more to teaching video game music, but here’s my three tips to help you start off on the right foot.

  1. Listen to it first on YouTube. Whether you’re teaching pop music or video game music, always start off by listening to the original version on YouTube.
  2. Find out which bit they want to learn. It’s a big mistake to forget to ask this question. Find out the bit they really want to learn first. Remember, it doesn’t need to be perfect, or performed at a recital, this is about having fun.
  3. Simplify it down to chords and melody. Often it’s the melody our students want to learn, and if we can add some chords to that too, it can be a really effective and rewarding experience for students.
teach video game music

Simplifying video game music by finding the chords is a must.

Watch the video

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Would you teach video game music to your students? Have you done it before?

Leave your thoughts below!

Tim Topham

Tim Topham is the founder and director of TopMusic. Tim hosts the popular Integrated Music Teaching Podcast, blogs regularly at and speaks at local and international conferences on topics such as integrated teaching, creativity, business, marketing and entrepreneurship. Tim has been featured in American Music Teacher, The Piano Teacher Magazine, California Music Teacher and EPTA Piano Professional. Tim holds an MBA in Educational Leadership, BMus, DipEd and AMusA.

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  1. I have found scores to the one game that my student wanted to play. We use it as a lesson book and focus on bits and pieces at lessons. He however has listened to some and has learned to play it nearly perfectly by ear. Another lesson that he’s learned is that when the music is computer generated and he sees how it looks on paper, he realizes that a human being may not have composed it because it’s nearly impossible to do.

    Thanks for addressing this.

    I appreciate your insight and willingness to go into the realm of creative music with students. It makes more connections for them.

    A book you may appreciate that I am reading right now is Make It Stick (The Science of Successful Learning) by Peter C. Brown, Henry L. Roediger III and Mark A. McDaniel.

    It is changing the way I teach piano and what I expect from my students in terms of practice and long term learning and retention. And songs kids already have in their heads will connect more dots for them. Thank you!

  2. Yess!!! Thank you Tim this is a part of my life as a piano teacher and I have had to address all these issues. I reckon your approach is spot on.

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