Let’s play this iconic pop ballad! One interesting element of this song is the lyrics – as many have noted (including the songwriters and artists themselves), they’re quite ambiguous and seem to convey a feeling rather than telling a literal story. This is very common in music, so it’s often difficult to pinpoint exactly what a song is “about” or what a particular line “means”. This is one of the great things about music: in the end, it’s all about how it makes you feel.
I Want It That Way for Guitar
by: James Neilson, Music Education Designer for Guitar
In the main melody exercise (level 4) you’ll play along with the main vocal and instrumental parts, slightly simplified for playability on the guitar. Look out for the quick position shifts, and start by practicing slowly to let your fretting hand get used to it.
In the cowboy chords exercise (level 5) you’ll play along with the main chords of the song: Em C G D. You can either use a capo on fret 2 or hit ‘transpose’ to play along without one. This song has been shortened to avoid the more difficult chords in the second half, but you’ll still get to play the verse and chorus, and sing along in your best boy-band tones!
In the full rhythm exercise (level 7) you’ll play the original acoustic guitar part, using arpeggios and strummed chords. In the arpeggio section, you can try normal picking, hybrid picking (pick + fingers), or fingerpicking (in which case you’ll need to quickly grab the pick again for the strumming parts, or strum with your fingers).
I Want It That Way for Bass
by: Vellu Halkosalmi, Music Education Designer for Bass and Ukulele
Basic bassline exercise (level 2): This simplified version of the original bassline is focusing on practicing a simple syncopated rhythm. Syncopation means playing notes in between the beats. In this exercise, you will play a note between the 2nd and 3rd beat, on the “two-and”, in every second bar. Listen closely to the bass drum, that’ll help you to find the perfect timing.
The main bassline exercise (level 4) has all the main elements of the full recorded bass part. This groove is essentially an 8th note groove, so Hi-Hat of the drum part is your best friend when locking in with the drums. Even when you have a rest, keep hearing those 8th notes (and feeling them, too). That will help you to really nail all the notes without looking at the ball for timing.
The full bassline exercise (level 8) includes the full recorded bassline. It has some nice things for you to master. First of all, focus on articulation – to achieve a clear distinction between connected, and short (often called ‘staccato’) notes. They have a big impact on the feel of the bassline. Second, there are a few cool slides for you to master. Third, shifting position while fretting several consecutive notes with your index finger. This is a great smooth way to change position while keeping notes connected. And last, whatever you play, be sure to settle deep into the groove and lock in perfectly with the drummer.
I Want It That Way for Piano
by: Sunny Choi, Music Education Designer for Piano
Chords exercise (level 5): Learn to play the chords to accompany your singing or just play along with the backing track. The song starts in G minor, which means there are mainly two black keys used in the chords, the B flat and E flat. In the end, the song modulates to A minor, with no black keys at all!
Solo Piano exercise (level 6): Play a simple two-hand arrangement of the melody and harmony. There are some tricky places and bigger jumps – practice them slowly first.