Every beginner who starts out playing piano doesn’t want to show their friends that they can play a major scale or even a minor scale (despite how cool minor scales sound!). They want to play real songs…songs that their friends and themselves can recognize and sometimes even sing along to! That is why I am going to give you a list of the top 7 songs for a beginner to learn on the piano.
Let’s start at number 7…
Ode to joy (aka Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony)
Ode to Joy is a wonderfully beautiful song and is quite easy to learn. Despite the complex instrumentation and arranging that must be done to have a full orchestra perform this piece, there are several simplified versions available for the beginner piano player and if played correctly, will sound just as majestic!
This is a very simple song but comes alongside some powerful lyrics. All you really need to know to play this song well is 5 chords and be able to play them in a row. This is great for teaching musicians about inverting chords and structuring chords with both hands to create unique sounding music. This is one of my all time favorites, as is Ain’t No Sunshine also by Bill Withers, but that one didn’t quite make the list. Make sure you check out how to play the “Lean on Me” chord progression!
He must have been doing something right! This is probably one of the most recognized songs on the piano and it is also quite simple to learn. It sounds difficult at first, but once you start practicing it at a slow enough pace, it will fall into place and will be a staple in your piano playing repertoire. Read more about the Fur Elise Sheet Music and some tips to playing it well.
Pachelbel’s Canon in D
A wedding classic! If you can master this song, it can get you a large number of gigs playing at weddings. It is probably what most brides walk down the aisle to. It can be played with a string quartet or duo, but also can be played (quite beautifully) solo on the piano. It is very easy to learn and once you master the chord progression of it, it is very easy to improvise and create your own unique version of this masterpiece.
Let it be by John Lennon
Another instant classic, this one will turn heads when you sit down at a piano because everyone knows this song! It is also extremely easy to play and helps you learn to sing while you play piano. It is just a simple matter of chords, like Lean on Me was. Make sure you add this one to your portfolio and you will have people loving your music!
Moonlight Sonata by Beethoven
This song is one of my all time favorites. It blends a dark, mysterious melody with amazing dynamics and emotion. It is easy to learn and helps you master left and right hand independence. I recommend mastering the first movement before moving on the second (and especially the third!). The first movement is the easiest and most recognized. The third is very fun to play if you can get it right…but that takes a long time to master!
The Scientist by Coldplay
This one lies a little more in modern times, but is still a great song to learn to play, especiialy if you want to impress your friends with your piano skills. It is a simple chord melody and allows you to try and sing a long if you want to learn to do that too. It helps to listen to the song to help you match up the tempo and emotion in the music.