As a beginner on the piano, you might sometimes feel frustrated that you have trouble playing the songs you love and desperately want to learn your favorite tunes. Keep in mind that you can start to play virtually any song if you begin with an easy version of it that is more suitable for beginners. 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. You can choose the song’s difficulty level and start with easy versions of the songs you love. To make learning simpler and easier, practice each hand independently and then try playing together with both hands.
To better help you learn to play piano, we have selected some easy piano songs that are simple to learn, and most importantly, fun to play. Here are some tips for you to consider when looking for that perfect piano song for playing along to.
Judge the difficulty level by looking at the notes
When trying to find simple songs for beginners, don’t jump head first into playing before checking the notes first. You can easily judge the difficulty of beginner piano songs by looking at the notes and sheet music. 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 and is not easy to follow, it’s probably too difficult right now. It’s okay to go down a level and try a song that is easier to start learning. 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 an easy 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 piano songs for beginners might be too easy for you. If the song seems too easy, 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. 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 and can learn how to play it yourself. 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 it and guide you through exercises. These resources are a great help when learning to play.
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 for the left hand. These chords are worth practicing as knowing how to play them is a great skill to have as you learn to play the piano.
You can begin learning your favorite song by using three-note chords with the left hand. Once 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 of songs within Yousician. Once the song feels easy to play, you can start to gradually increase the speed. Don’t feel 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.
As a beginner, try to choose a simpler 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. Picking a slower song when you’re starting out is a great 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 simple piano songs to play and learn:
1. TWINKLE TWINKLE
Twinkle Twinkle (Traditional)
Out of all the easy piano songs, this is always a favorite song to play if you’re an absolute beginner. Because of its simplicity, this piece is one of the best ones for all beginners.Play On Yousician
Canon in C (Made famous by Johann Pachelbel)
Start with the right hand only as a beginner exercise. The rhythm is simple and there are no sharps or flats.Play On Yousician
3. SKIPPING STONE
Skipping Stone (Made famous by The Yousicians)
Start with the left hand on this one. The song is in three-time, so it moves along a little bit faster. It’s nice and moody sounding, making it satisfying and fun to play even though it’s simple.Play On Yousician
Californication (Made famous by Red Hot Chilli Peppers)
Do the right hand alone on this 90s rock classic. There’s no hand position change and no sharps or flats. Still, the rhythm gives you a good workout—especially when played at full speed. At first, you might need to start with about 60% speed before practicing this piece a little faster.Play On Yousician
5. AIN’T NO SUNSHINE
Ain’t No Sunshine (Made famous by Bill Withers)
This classic pop song is a great one to focus first on your left hand, then on the right.Play On Yousician
Yellow 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 it’s a good one to get the feel of playing hands together.Play On Yousician
7. YANKEE DOODLE
Yankee Doodle (Traditional)
Hands alternate when playing this song, making it a great exercise in switching hands. There are no hand position changes and no sharps or flats.Play On Yousician
8. HOLD BACK THE RIVER
Hold Back the River (Made famous by James Bay)
If you want to advance your rhythm reading, this piece is a great one. In the chorus, there are some faster notes with some tied notes to practice.Play On Yousician
9. MIDNIGHT TRAIN TO GEORGIA
Midnight Train to Georgia (Made famous by Gladys Knight and the Pips)
This much loved old standard is lovely to play (and sing along to) at the easy level. It uses five notes in each hand all the way through, has a simple rhythm and no sharps or flats.Play On Yousician
10. BLUE DANUBE
Blue Danube (Made Famous by Johann Strauss II)
This piano piece is a great one for two exercises: jumping notes and counting rests (beats with no notes played on them).Play On Yousician
11. MOLLY MALONE
Molly Malone (Traditional)
This song is another 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 YOURS
I’m Yours (Made Famous by Jason Mraz)
Getting a bit more rhythmic now so there are more challenges in this song to practice. Some 8th notes and independence of hands are needed by the time you reach level 4.Play On Yousician
13. LA VALSE D’AMALIE
La 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 HAIR
Black 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 workout, especially learning to jump over notes. An excellent and fun piano piece to practice playing a melody.Play On Yousician
15. TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALL GAME
Take Me Out to the Ball Game (Traditional)
This song 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 at first to make it easy to learn.Play On Yousician
16. GOOD VIBRATIONS
Good Vibrations (Made famous by The Beach Boys)
This 60s rock and pop classic has a key signature of one flat (Bb) but 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 useful skill to practice.Play On Yousician
Desire (Made famous by Years & Years)
This is a great song to practice hands together. At first, there is just one note in each hand, but then the right hand plays two notes, and finally three-note chords.Play On Yousician
Andante (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” and get started with some classical music.Play On Yousician
19. WHEN THE PARTY’S OVER
When the Party’s Over (Made famous by Billie Ellish)
A step up in difficulty. This modern pop song 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 YOU
Someone Like You (Made Famous by Adele)
If you’ve mastered the easier piano 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