10 'Hamilton' Tunes You Can Learn To Play On The Piano In 10 Minutes

10 'Hamilton' Tunes You Can Learn To Play On The Piano In 10 Minutes

And how to use the repetition of musical themes to your advantage.
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After watching just one episode of "Westworld" about a month ago, I knew I wanted to learn the show's theme on piano once I got home for the break. Now that I'm on break, though, the theme song has proved a little more difficult than anticipated, so I sat at my keyboard trying to think of another song I've been meaning to learn. This, to the surprise of no one, led me to the many piano melodies in "Hamilton." There were plenty to choose from, and each was fairly easy. My sister and I have never actually taken lessons or learned to play the piano, but we were able to figure out each of the main melodies not too long after looking them up. A good portion of the songs are also connected, so once you know one song, there's a good chance you can figure out another. So, whether you've been playing since you were little or you've never played piano in your life, you'll probably be able to figure out a least one of these melodies not long after sitting down at the keyboard.

1. Burn

This was the first song I decided I wanted to learn, and is quite possibly one of the easiest there is. The first fifteen seconds or so are the melody you're probably most interested in learning, and it's simple enough that it can be played on one hand. The next fifteen seconds are even simpler and can be played with the left hand, and the majority of the song following that is those two pieces on different parts of the keyboard combined with a few chords, so once you know the first thirty seconds, you know the whole song. It gets a little complicated at the bridge, but it's easy to simplify to your own skill level if you need to.

You can find a tutorial for "Burn" on Youtube here.

2. Alexander Hamilton

Like I said, the majority of the musical themes turn up somewhere again in "Hamilton," and the musical's opening number is a perfect example of this. The piano beneath "Alexander Hamilton" is almost exactly the same as the one beneath Eliza's first lines in "Burn." The rest, like "Burn," is just learning the chords that accompany those notes. As the song starts to pick up after Hamilton makes his first appearance, it becomes a bit harder, but the central melody can be picked up pretty quickly, especially after learning "Burn."

You can learn "Alexander Hamilton" here.

3. Dear Theodosia

This was the second song my sister and I went for, mainly because we both love the piano in this song. We were lucky to find that this song is pretty simple, too. Though the tune isn't really repeated elsewhere, the song itself is very repetitive and becomes long chords about halfway through, so it's easy to pick up once you've gotten the hang of those first moments.

Learn "Dear Theodosia" here.

4. Wait For It/Burr's Theme

Every song Burr is featured in, from "Aaron Burr, Sir" to "Non-Stop" to "The World Was Wide Enough," has some variation of his theme in it, so once you've learned one song with it in it, you can play the backing to plenty of other songs on the soundtrack. His theme is especially easy to learn as a part of "Wait For It," since it is all the left hand plays until the chorus. The song as a whole is a little more complicated than the rest, since both hands are engaged in more than just simple chords or single notes, but it's still simple enough that my sister and I were able to learn it quickly.

Learn "Wait For It" and Burr's theme here.

5. One Last Time/Washington's Theme

Washington's theme is another that appears every time the character is featured, and one of the clearest uses of that tune is in "One Last Time." Hamilton and Washington's entire conversation at the beginning of the song is backed by Washington's theme. The rest of the song gets more complicated as the song builds, but knowing Washington's theme will allow you to figure out Washington's appearances in songs like "Right Hand Man" and "Stay Alive."

You can find a tutorial for "One Last Time" here.

6. It's Quiet Uptown

This song is also one of the simplest to learn, since the song's somber tone means it moves a little slower than the others. It picks up and becomes a little bit harder as Hamilton walks with Eliza, but not so much that it is too hard to learn, even for someone without much experience in piano.

You can learn "It's Quiet Uptown" here.

7. Best Of Wives And Best Of Women

"It's Quiet Uptown" returns in an even simpler form in "Best of Wives and Best of Women." All forty-eight seconds of this song are essentially the opening of "It's Quiet Uptown" drawn out into longer notes. When paired with its counterpart, it's probably the easiest to learn out of all of these songs.

Learn "Best Of Wives And Best Of Women" here.

8. Satisfied/Angelica's Theme

Angelica's theme follows her all the way through "The Reynolds Pamphlet," so it's another that can be learned and reused while learning the music of "Hamilton." Her theme is most prominently featured in "Satisfied," where it's repeated over and over throughout the song, broken up mainly by moments of silence and simple chords while Angelica raps.

You can learn "Satisfied" here.

9. Cabinet Battle #1

One of the first piano melodies that I noticed while listening to "Hamilton" for the first time was in the first cabinet meeting, when a rewritten version of "Ten Duel Commandments" is played throughout Jefferson and Hamilton's rap battle. The tune repeats throughout their section until Hamilton is pulled aside by Washington, where Washington's theme takes over. Once the two bars of piano at the start of the song are learned, the rest follows quickly.

Here is the sheet music for "Cabinet Battle #1," arranged by Ali Taylor.

10. Take A Break/Philip's Theme/Ten Duel Commandments

The last song I learned when I got home was "Take A Break," not just because I wanted to learn the piano melody that appears again with Philip in "Blow Us All Away," but because I had already learned a good portion of the music. The beginning of the song is essentially Philip's version of "Ten Duel Commandments," which was easy enough to learn after learning "Cabinet Battle #1," followed by Angelica's theme.

Here is Philip and Eliza's rendition of "Ten Duel Commandments," transcribed by Louisa Tambunan.


The rest of the sheet music for "Take A Break" can be found here.

Selections from "Hamilton" have been released, so if you're better at reading sheet music than you are at trying to keep up with videos, you can find the official sheet music for sale, something I've been meaning to do myself. I'm still going through the music, trying to learn songs like "My Shot" and "Hurricane," so I'm sure there are plenty of other melodies that can be learned just as quickly that I haven't gotten to yet, so if there's a song you want to learn, there's bound to be a tutorial on the internet somewhere. If you happen to find a simple version of the "Westworld" theme for piano while you're searching, please, feel free to let me know.

Cover Image Credit: Hamilton: A Revolution

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The Key To Ending Your First Draft Blues

Or at least getting through the next chapter with your hair intact
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Ah, the first draft. We’ve all been there as writers. The day we decide to turn a blank word document into a 70,000 word (or more) masterpiece. Or, at least, that’s always the aim. Often as first-time writers, we go into the experience blind, learning as we go, and never really knowing whether what we’re doing is right or wrong.

It can be frustrating at times, as most first drafts are a test of sanity. As somebody who had written ten first draft books (nearing eleven) in six years, I have had my fair share of ups and downs when it comes to first drafts.

My first book ever took me four years just to write it, I started at the age of sixteen and finished by the time I was twenty. A year later I had written another. I then wrote one in thirty days, and nowadays I write about three to four books a year.

My point is, there is no science to writing. It is all about learning how to do it, and finding the methods that suit you best. I just wish I could have had someone to tell me all of that when I started.

With that in mind, here are my five pieces of advice on how to write your first draft:

#5 Embrace the Terribleness

The first draft is always the worst version of any story. The sooner you accept it, the easier it is to move forward with your work. So you misspell a few words so bad that even Word can't help you. That shouldn't stop you from going with the flow. Your dialogue will feel hammier than a "Star Wars" film, but you'll clean it up the second time around. You're not expected to create a masterpiece on the first go, so just enjoy the ride.

#4 Suffer for your Art

Writing can be hard. I've said it enough times already, but it's true. You have to be prepared to suffer for it. The reason my first book took four years to write was because I didn't commit to it. The reason I wrote 80,000 words in thirty days was because I committed myself to write at least 1,000 words a day. Now I average 3,000 daily. Is it painful to force 3,000 words to the page every day? Yes, but that's what you have to do to get the draft finished.

#3 Take your Time

Now I know this goes against what I just said, but it's important that you go at the pace you want to. I was happier writing 1,000 words a day, but I was eighteen then. At twenty-three, I'll never get everything done going at 1,000 words a day. Commit yourself to writing every day, even if its only 200 words. Writing is a marathon, not a sprint. You'll get to the finishing line quicker if you jog a steady pace rather than adopting a sprint and rest mentality.

#2 Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff

Yes, it's important to remember what colour your character's hair is, which one is taller, and what weapon they are carrying. Although with that said, it is important to keep going forward. In my editing, I go over everything with a fine comb, often with a character profile at my side. Don't get bogged down giving every little detail the first time around, you'll have time for that later. The hardest thing is getting it down the first time.

#1 Keep the Story Going at All Costs

This kind of goes without saying, but it is by far the most important step for me. You have to keep moving forward. It doesn't matter if you have to use the biggest Deus ex machina to get your plot going again, you can always edit it away in the re-draft. I use a technique called automatic writing, which means that I don't plan every detail of a chapter. I simply write it as I go. This allows me to give my characters natural reactions as events often come as a surprise to me too.

Obviously it is good to have a rough idea of what is meant to happen, but as long as you can get your characters from A to B, then you are half way there. The other half will be polishing it to the point you can see your reflection.

Good luck, and happy writing.

Cover Image Credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Writer%27s_Block_I.jpg

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4 Steps To Writing a Haiku

It's Fun I Promise
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You've probably had to write a haiku for English sometime in your school career. You most likely found it boring, or difficult, or just plain stupid. I am going to try and show you a more fun way to write a haiku.

1. The Basics: What You Should Know

In case you don't know, a haiku is a Japanese poem that is only three lines long. It is usually taught that the syllables in each line should go 5-7-5. But really, as long as there are 17 syllables or less in the three lines, it's a haiku.

2. Write to Get a Reaction

When you write a haiku, you are aiming to get one of three reactions: Aaaahhh, aha!, or ha ha! For example...

Aaahhh: Laying in bed/dog next to me under blanket/my furry heater

Aha!: Life is too short to love people/who do not deserve/your whole heart

Ha ha!: I'm on the toilet/and my stomach drops/the roll is empty

3. Create an Image

In your writing, you want to create a new image in your readers mind with each line. Take my first haiku for example. I first talk about laying in bed. Then, I say there is a dog next to me under the blanket, so you picture a lump under the covers. In my last line, I call him a furry heater so you imagine a heater covered in fur. The image you create is more important than the syllables.

4. Performing

Lastly, you need to think about performing your haiku. As always, when you're speaking in front of a room of people, you need to project so the whole room can hear you and you need to make eye contact. Another thing to remember is the tone of your voice while you are saying your poem. Dramatic pauses can keep people on the edge of their seat, waiting for what you're going to say next. You also have to remember to be confident! And if you're not confident, fake it till you make it!

Cover Image Credit: Imgur

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