How to Make a Medley of Songs on the Piano

Have you ever heard someone playing a song on the piano and before you know it, you hear another song and then another-with no break in between? What you heard is called a Medley of Songs. Learning to play song medleys will keep your repertoire in shape and make you a more versatile pianist.

In this article, I'll show you:

  • What makes a medley of songs

  • How to choose and organize songs for an effective medley

  • Tips for transitioning from one song to another in a medley

  • Why playing medleys can help you become a better pianis

Watch the video below


What Is a Medley of Songs?

A Medley is a group of two or more songs (sometimes sections of songs) that move seamlessly from one to the other. The songs are usually related to each other by some unifying factor. With digital music nowadays, there is a popular trend to create song mashups.

What's the Difference Between a Song Medley and a Song Mashup?

Mashups relate to recorded music, while medleys relate to playing the music yourself. That said, song medleys have been around for many years. After all, people have been playing the piano for more than 200 years while recorded music - and certainly, mashups are a more recent phenomenon.

How I Learned to Create Medleys of Songs

When I first began playing professionally at age 15, our quartet had to play music (mostly songs from the Great American Songbook) for adults who loved ballroom dancing. Our job was to play sets of music without stopping so that they could dance for 10-15 minutes to a particular style of music. Unfortunately, I had no idea how to connect the songs for each set into a medley. Despite being embarrassed, I was determined to learn how to create medleys of songs for dance sets hoping I'd have a chance to play another gig for this group of dancers.

Why Having an Versatile Piano Teacher Is So Important

At my next piano lesson, I told my teacher what happened. He promptly showed me the basics of connecting songs together into a medley. This was probably the first time that I realized the importance of what I call Hands-on-Music-Theory which is part of my TAP System (Transformational Approach to Piano). Although only one lesson was enough for me to understand how to create medleys of songs, I have spent more than 40 years of developing and performing many types of medleys as well helping my piano students to create their own.

How To Choose and Organize Songs for an Effective Medley

The goal of a medley is to group songs together with one or more common elements.