How to Compose Piano Music

The piano instrument has always been the choice of legends. Although it’s not easy to play or compose piano music, it’s the most sought-after instrument because it allows you to play two sounds with your two hands. Besides, renowned musicians like Beethoven and Mozart gave piano music hype that’s meant to last for ages.
Granted, composing piano music isn’t a walk in the park. You need to be fully aware of your notes, and some piano skills will come in handy.
Let’s see how to compose piano music without making things hard on yourself.

Step 1: Listen to Different Styles of Piano Music

There are thousands, and maybe millions, of music pieces written explicitly for the piano. When attempting to compose your piece, listening to finished pieces comes incredibly in handy. You may also get inspired by a specific style or note.
To listen to different styles, you may opt for jazz and classical pieces. They’re both piano music, but they couldn’t be more different, which could help you decide which style you want to go with.
While listening to complete pieces, keep an ear out for the chords used in each style. You can begin with Chopin’s works for a start. And you can start listening to Satie later on; he composed a considerable variety of piano music styles. Finally, if you want something more jazz, you can listen to Dave Brubeck’s pieces.

Step 2: Practice Some Piano Scales

When you start with the actual composing, it’d be good if you’ve already practiced your scales. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a professional or a beginner; everyone needs a mind refreshment at some point. It wouldn’t hurt to practice some scales to warm up your fingers.
It’d be better to practice scales you’re not familiar with at first. It’ll give you a chance to practice, and it may spark up new inspiration.
Besides, scales can make a world of difference when it’s time to write your melody. Deciding which scale you’ll use will draw out a map in your mind of the notes you should use and the ones you should avoid.

Step 3: Start With the Melody

No one composes a piece at one try. Every musician should start first with the melody, and then the rest will follow. So, don’t put too much pressure on yourself to have the entire piece ready in your head.
If you have a melodic phrase in your mind, start with it as the centerpiece of your composition. Then, when you begin composing, the melody will be the focal point, and it’ll naturally take you to an entire composition.
Just make sure to keep improvising on it to reach the results you desire. It’ll eventually get you to your chorus, which is the main focus of your piece.

Step 4: Choose Your Tonality

The tonality of your musical piece dictates whether it’s Minor or Major, and it decides the key you’ll use. You may think the key choice is merely an arbitrary decision you have to make along the way. What you don’t know is, your choice of the key has the most significant effect on your music and sounds.
On top of that, if you get inspired later and want to change the key you chose before, it’ll take a huge amount of time to do so. You’ll basically have to convert a whole composition into another key—note by note. So, it’s easier to just choose your tonality from the start and stand by your decision.

Step 5: Try Different Chord Progressions

Luckily for you, piano music has been around since the 1700s. So naturally, all possible combinations you can think of have been experimented with and studied by different musicians. As a result of that, there are some famous chords you can use without having to try your luck in new ones.
For example, the I-IV-V-vi progression is among the most commonly used ones in piano music composing. If you’re not familiar with it, the lower case indicates a minor chord, while the numerals denote the number of keys above the root chord. Nearly all piano musicians are familiar with it, and the keys go perfectly well together.
If you want to try different progressions, it’s recommended to use a chord map first. Then, once you get the basics down, the rest will follow without thinking much of it.

Step 6: Use Scales to Develop Your Melodies

In piano music, a scale is a group of notes moving in harmony to produce sound, and they move in a stepwise sequence that resembles a ladder. If you don’t already know this, each scale starts on its tonic, otherwise called keynote. So, if you’re playing your A Major scale, it’ll start on note A, and so on.
When developing your melodies, it’s advised to use scales because they’ll keep your selection of notes limited. So you won’t be lost among all the different notes you can use.
Just make sure before you play the scale that it’s matching your key and chords.

Step 7: Use Notation to Record Everything

As you probably already know, notation is the musical language. If you’re attempting to compose piano music, you need to have at least basic knowledge of notations. It’s vital to write down your ideas correctly in notations, so you can play your notes in the correct order until you memorize them.
Granted, it may take some time to learn notation and get the hang of it, but it’s an essential skill.
If you’re still a beginner, you may try sight-reading some easy songs at first until you get the hang of it.


Composing piano music isn’t a piece of cake, but it shouldn’t be too hard if you’ve got what it takes. After a couple of tries, you’ll have gotten used to the drill. As long as you practice your scales, know your key, and know how to write notations, the process should go smoothly enough.