Louie Louie sheet music for piano - your piano students will think these chord exercises are cool!
Almost all of them will have a faint recognition of the chord pattern, though they may not quite remember from where.
Scroll down the page for the free downloadable PDF links:
I tell them, "Yes! You have heard this at basketball games!" And they think they have.
I call these exercises "Louie Louie WANNABE"...
If you really KNOW Louie Louie as performed by The Kingsmen, you'll recognize that the V chord (5 chord) in this series of chord progressions should actually be G MINOR.
I've substituted a G major chord, which is the V chord in the key of C.
This is the greatest exercise!
I've been giving it to my students for a few years now, recycling it every couple of years, so they continue to refine their technique and understanding of "The Three Main Chords."
Here is an easy-to-read version for first-year students, with letters in the first chord of each group:
First, they start in this key as shown, the key of C.
The rhythm is crucial; if they don't get the rests in there correctly, the song just won't be the same!
So for some kids who don't catch on right away to the rhythm, I have them CLAP each rest.
We'll start without the chords, with the piano lid down. Using our hands to tap on the lid for each chord, we'll say,
"C-C-C" (clap! clap!) "F-F" (clap!) "G-G-G" (clap! clap!) "F-F" (clap!)
Then we do it in slow motion on the piano keys, still clapping, if necessary.
In actuality, I didn't use to give my students any sheet music to go with this exercise.
I don't want them to read it; I want them to HEAR it and THINK it.
I want them to think through the chord relationships. So when I assigned it on their lesson sheets, it looked like this:
I I I IV IV V V V IV IV Repeat.
That was it! Except I also labeled below the Roman numerals the first set of chords (the key of C chords):
C C C F F G G G F F
And I would leave a bit of room in between the chords so that I can write little squiggles in between for the quarter rests.
Now, I tend to give them the easy-to-read version, because it also helps them with remembering it, when they get home.
The first week, they might do Louie Louie with just one hand, in triads.
If they are very new to chords, they might use open chords instead, or even just a bass note ("like a bass guitar", I tell them), but I find that they do mostly want to master the triads for this exercise.
It's that cool!
(Oh, and I don't CALL it an exercise. This is always just "Louie Louie.")
So the first step is just triads, 3-note chords.
When those seem easy enough, I ask them to turn the left hand part into a single bass note, like a bass guitar.
Fun! The octaves in the left hand will wait until they have big enough hands.
But then the work starts. As soon as they understand that the I, IV, and V chords in the key of C are C, F, and G, then it's time to move on to the key of D!
Then, usually, G, and A, then F, and E, and lastly, B. That is generally the order in which I assign the keys to first-timers, while the students continue to play in all the previous keys.
Last of all come the keys of Db, Eb, Gb, Ab, and Bb.
Yes, these are hard, and many students won't make it all the way through the first time (because this exercise will finally run its course after a few months).
However, they will have begun work on a foundation to which they can return later.
When they (inevitably) struggle to figure out where the IV and V chords start, I remind them to start on the tonic note (the same note as the key they are in, or the "HOME key") and count up "Tonic, whole, whole, half, whole," or "One, two, three, four, five."
After their first journey through Louie Louie, when they can come back and perform all 12 major keys in root position, it's time for students to try the chord inversions!
Here's what that looks like:
This is WAY HARDER than playing in root position - but it is still a fun way to reinforce the chord inversions piano students need to know in order to play classical music and even pop music easily.
Now here are the Kingsmen, with their incredibly popular music (but mystifying lyrics...)
Part of the experience of learning Louie Louie for my students is hearing (from me) the story about how the FBI investigated the Kingsmen recording for 2 years.
Allegedly, this was because of accusations that the lyrics were subversive, or broke obscenity laws.
Eventually, they concluded that NOBODY could understand what the words were. I have to agree!
The link for Louie Louie sheet music:
The simplified version for newer readers:
The chord inversions arrangement of this rock music:
And here is the real copyrighted music, available from Sheetmusicplus. This arrangement is student-friendly!
Do you have a funny story about this music, or does it remind you of something you'd like to share with other readers? Do you have a question? I'd love to hear it!
Please note that all comments are moderated, and will not appear until I have approved them. Also, IF YOU ARE ASKING FOR MUSIC THAT IS NOT IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN, YOUR REQUEST WILL BE IGNORED. That's pretty much any music written in the last 75 years...