As a beginner on the piano, you might feel frustrated sometimes that you can’t get stuck into the songs you love and desperately want to be able to play. But keep in mind that you can start to play virtually any song if you start with an easy version of it, take it step by step, be patient, and gradually build on the complexity of the song over time.
Using Yousician to learn your favorite beginner piano songs is a great way to do this because you can select the difficulty level, learn each hand independently, and then finally practice the hands together to a higher level.
To help you to select some easy songs to play on the piano that are just the right level for you, here are some tips and factors to consider when looking for easy piano songs.
Judge the Difficulty Level by Looking at the Notes
You can quite easily judge the difficulty of beginner piano songs by looking at the music notes. If you’ve been making headway with your note reading, look at the first few measures and see if you can make sense of the notes. If it looks like a foreign language to you, it’s probably too difficult right now, so go down a level. If you can make out the first few notes and get into the next measure without too much of a problem, then this is probably a good song for you to start with.
Look at the Range of Notes
When you’re starting out on the piano, it’s difficult to move from one set of notes to another. Easy piano songs keep your hands within a five-note range. Once you’ve moved beyond a five-note range, either by going under with the thumb, or picking your hand up and moving it over five different notes, then you can manage a more complex tune.
Can you identify an octave and measure the distance easily with your hand? (“Somewhere Over the Rainbow” starts with an octave jump, as an example). If so, and you can read a broader range of notes, then beginner piano songs might be too easy and you may be able to handle the next level of difficulty.
Assess the Complexity of the Rhythm
Look at the rhythm in the first four measures of the song you want to play. Easy piano songs mostly use quarter notes, half notes, and whole notes. Does it make sense to you? Try clapping the rhythm a few times. If you know the song, use your memory of the song to help you. If you can get the rhythm after one or two tries, you should be good to go. The next step is to try playing the notes of the tune and incorporate the rhythm.
Key Signatures and Accidentals
Always check the beginning of the song for any sharps or flats next to the treble and bass clefs. If there are any sharps or flats sitting at the beginning of the staff, this is a key signature. Any sharps or flats apply throughout the whole song and push the note UP to the nearest black note (sharps) or DOWN to the nearest black note (flats). If you need help with this, there are videos on Yousician that clearly explain and put you through some exercises.
Beginner piano songs tend not to use sharps and flats, but you might see a few.
Apart from the key signature, keep an eye out in case there are any sharps, flats or naturals in front of any notes. These “accidentals” only apply to the measure they’re in. A natural sign cancels any sharp or flat on the note it’s in front of.
Difficulty Level of Putting the Hands Together
Learning any piece of piano music should start with learning each hand separately. Easy piano songs sometimes have three-note chords in the left hand. This is worth practicing as it’s a great skill to have.
You can begin learning your favorite song by using three-note chords in the left hand and then when you’ve got it flowing, you can break the left-hand chords into individual notes. Keep in mind that whatever you learn to start with, you can develop from a beginner arrangement to an intermediate level later.
Speed and Length of the Piece
Remember that, whatever the true speed and length of the song, you can always make it slower and shorter to begin with. (You can adjust the speed within Yousician). Once it’s flowing you can start to gradually increase the speed. Don’t be pressured to go too fast too soon or you won’t play with accuracy. There is a setting within Yousician that will adjust to your speed automatically so you don’t have to think about it.
So in general, as a beginner, try to choose a version of a song that has no key signature, very few sharps, flats or naturals, goes slowly, and doesn’t have big leaps between notes in the tune. Picking a slower song when you’re starting out is a good move as it will sound recognizable from the start.
Easy Songs to Play on Piano
For some guidance choosing the right songs for your beginner level, check out these 20 easy songs to play on piano:
1. Twinkle TwinkleTwinkle Twinkle (Traditional)
This is always a favorite song to play if you’re an absolute beginner because of its simplicity.Play On Yousician
2. CanonCanon in C (Made famous by Johann Pachelbel)
Start with the right hand only as a beginner exercise. Rhythm is simple and there are no sharps or flats.Play On Yousician
3. Skipping StoneSkipping Stone (Made famous by The Yousicians)
Start with the left hand on this one. It’s in three-time, so it moves along a little bit faster. It’s nice and moody sounding so quite satisfying to play even though it’s simple.Play On Yousician
4. CalifornicationCalifornication (Made famous by Red Hot Chilli Peppers)
Do the right hand alone on this. There’s no hand position change and no sharps or flats, but the rhythm gives you a good work out – especially up to speed! You might need to start with the speed on around 60% to begin with.Play On Yousician
5. Ain’t No SunshineAin’t No Sunshine (Made famous by Bill Withers)
This is a great one to focus first on your left hand, then on the right.Play On Yousician
6. YellowYellow in C (Made famous by Coldplay)
This is a fun one. It has some 8th notes in it, but only a few, no hand position change and no sharps or flats. The right-hand does most of the work but there are a few left-hand notes, so a good one to get the feel of playing hands together.Play On Yousician
7. Yankee DoodleYankee Doodle (Traditional)
Hands alternate so this is a great exercise in switching hands. There are no hand position changes and no sharps or flats.Play On Yousician
8. Hold Back the RiverHold Back the River (Made famous by James Bay)
If you want to advance your rhythm reading, this is a really good one. In the chorus, there are some faster notes with some tied notes to work out.Play On Yousician
9. Midnight Train to GeorgiaMidnight Train to Georgia (Made famous by Gladys Knight and the Pips)
This much loved old standard is lovely to play at the easy level. It uses five notes in each hand all the way through, has simple to follow rhythm and no sharps or flats.Play On Yousician
10. Blue DanubeBlue Danube (Made Famous by Johann Strauss II)
This is really good for two exercises – jumping notes, and counting rests – beats with no notes played on them.Play On Yousician
11. Molly MaloneMolly Malone (Traditional)
This is another one that uses both hands, but more right hand than left. There are a few small challenges in the rhythm in this song, which makes it a good stepping stone to the next level.Play On Yousician
12. I’m YoursI’m Yours (Made Famous by Jason Mraz)
Getting a bit more rhythmic now so there are more challenges in this song. Some 8th notes and independence of hands are needed by the time you reach level 4.Play On Yousician
13. La Valse d’AmalieLa Valse d’Amalie (Made famous by Yann Tiersen)
With this beautiful song, you start to play broken up chords in the left hand while putting a simple tune in the right hand.Play On Yousician
14. Black is the Color of my True Love’s HairBlack is the Color of my True Love’s Hair (Traditional)
This haunting melody is a delight to play. It has a simple left hand, but the right hand gets quite a good workout, especially learning to jump over notes.Play On Yousician
15. Take Me Out to the Ball GameTake Me Out to the Ball Game (Traditional)
This is especially fun if you’re a baseball fan! It has fairly equal work in each hand, no hand position changes and no sharps or flats. You might need to go a bit slow to begin with.Play On Yousician
16. Good VibrationsGood Vibrations (Made famous by The Beach Boys)
Always a popular song, this has a key signature of one flat (Bb) but it also has some sharps and natural signs to cope with. The right hand plays two notes at once some of the time, which is another good skill to work on.Play On Yousician
17. DesireDesire (Made famous by Years & Years)
This is a really good song to practice hands together. At first, there is just one note in each hand, but then the right hands place two notes, and finally three note chords.Play On Yousician
18. AndanteAndante (Made famous by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart)
Building on the last song, if you’ve got your three note chords going well, have a go at Mozart’s Andante.Play On Yousician
19. When the Party’s OverWhen the Party’s Over (Made famous by Billie Ellish)
A step up in difficulty. This one has a hand change position in each hand and one flat in the key signature (so all the B’s are flat).Play On Yousician
20. Someone Like YouSomeone Like You (Made Famous by Adele)
If you’ve mastered the easier pieces, try this one which has 3 sharps in the key signature and the hands change positions. (The sharps are F, C and G).Play On Yousician
To your success!!