One of the best ways to learn to play the piano quickly is by learning songs. There are hundreds of easy songs to learn on piano. We will be posting the sheet music of songs that you can use to practice your piano playing skills. The songs we post here offer you a good opportunity to practice reading sheet music.While these music scores may be good candidates to practice on when you are starting out, if your goal is to become a really good piano player as quickly as possible, we recommend you follow a complete course like Pianoforall, which features structured lessons and a more complete learning scheduled, however practicing the FREE sheet music we post here is a great way to supplement such a course.

Today’s easy piano song is none other than YANKEE DOODLE. This song which you have almost certainly heard of before is a well known Anglo American folk song that was first published in the 1780s. The origin of this song is thought to be in the pre-revolutionary war, where the song was sung by British military officers to mock what they saw as disorganized “Yankees”, who they fought with in the French and Indian war. Although written before the war, the song, then known as “Yankee Doodle Dandy” was widely popular with both the American rebels and British soldiers.

The song is about a simpleton “Doodle”, whereas “Dandy” referred to a gentleman of high class. “Macaroni” mentioned in the song does not refer to food as is commonly believed, but a style of Italian dress that was copied in England and popular at the time.

There were many versions of this song and it is believed 190 verses in all were invented. Today the song is often sung by American patriots and is in fact the “state anthem” of Connecticut. The song is featured in the Roud Folk Song Index where it is placed at number 4501.

The full lyrics of the song can be found here.

Yankee_Doodle

Most adults know just enough about playing piano (or any other instrument for that matter) to plink out a simple tune of an old classic folk song, or a simple popular TV theme song. While many adults long to play better, they cannot imagine they can learn how to play piano at their full potential and so this desire goes unfulfilled. You have undoubtedly heard a range from excuses by adults who fit this description: “You can’t learn at my age”, “I’m too old”, “Have no time” and so on. In reality there is simply no reason why virtually anyone at any age can’t improve their piano skills beyond the basics, including you.

One of the most celebrated and versatile instruments is the piano. The piano is probably the best known instrument in the world which may be why it is called the “mother of all instruments”. Almost all of the world’s most widely recognized classical music pieces was written on or adapted to the piano. Learning the piano is also necessary for gaining entry into many higher level music courses. When it comes to teaching (and learning) music theory, knowing the piano is a virtual necessity. There is no better instrument for drilling into the complexities of the theoretical component of music.

Given this, it is easy to see why playing the piano is so popular amongst people who wish to play music, yet as Adults we suffer from distinct problems that younger people don’t suffer from so badly. For as adults we have a tendency to shy away from stepping outside of our comfort zones. Unfortunately, to learn (and get good at) playing the piano requires one to do this, to step outside what they are comfortable playing already. The hard truth is that you will never achieve anything by practicing what you already know. To get better at playing the piano (or anything) you need to practice playing what you do NOT know. While adults typically prefer to have complete and total control over every aspect of their lives, this actually works against you when you’re trying to learn something now. It will lead to feelings of frustration and possibly feelings of patronization when you are required to take direction from another adult. But by dedicating the time to practice and taking heed of instructions, anyone can learn to play piano no matter what age you are.

The obvious first step when you have decided to go down the road of improving your ability on piano is to find a decent piano tutor. There will likely be classes and private tutors available in your area. Alternatively you could look into some of the various online piano lessons that are available. Technology has advanced so much over the least couple of decades, that it is no feasible to teach yourself how to play the piano using lessons downloaded over the internet. The advantages of learning piano from online sources are reduced cost and time. If you choose to go down the road of receiving expert one-on-one tuition from an instructor, you will end up paying a lot more. The average cost of an online study course like Pianoforall is about the cost of a single session with a tutor and you can practice at your own pace and whenever you have time on your hands.

On the other hand, a tutor will be able to help you with specific problem areas that with an online course, but you can overcome this by revisiting your problem areas in the online course or by seeking new online material that might help you with your specific problem.

Regardless of your age and ability, there is no reason whey you cannot learn to improve your piano skills, so long as you commit yourself to the necessary practice of music theory, chords, scales and new songs and of course, stretching yourself by moving outside your current comfort zone. In fact it is entirely possible that you will make remarkably rapid progress within a very short space of time with the right attitude. It can be a highly satisfying experience to impress your friends, family and yourself with your new found ability to play the piano.

 

 

 

This is our second article on piano fingering. If you have not read the first article on this topic, then we suggest you start here: Piano fingering.

Piano fingering is important in becoming a skilled piano player. While there is no wide consensus on the “correct” fingering method, few instructors will deny that bad fingering will lead to playing that is awkward, so learning good fingering techniques is important for those who wish to improve their playing no matter which school of thought they are in.

Some instructors advocate a “strict” and “correct” fingering pattern that follows some general fingering rules, whereas others will recommend a more “free flowing” approach, whereby the piano player moves their fingers in a manner that is natural to them and unhidden by the burden of getting everything absolutely perfect. Neither one of these approaches is better than the other. New players would probably do well to learn some of the generally accepted “rules” (which are not in any way set in stone). As a player increases their skill he or she can then “break the rules” and play in a manner that is less restrictive.

For now we will consider that you are relatively new and still learning and so offer a couple more tips on fingering. This is far from exhaustive and is simply to present some ideas. It should supplement a more structured lesson plan like the Pianoforall course, which takes your through fingering techniques over a series of lessons.

It is important to keep in mind that the “correct” fingering may vary from composition to composition. In many classical pieces, a slight change in fingering can cause a major disruption to the whole phrasing of the piece. On the other hand for pieces that are less strict that have more scope for improvisation, fingering is far less critical. In fact many top piano players use different fingering depending on their mood at the time when they play improvisations within a piece of music. The mood of the song and the pace of rhythm can also have a bearing on the finger combinations used on the piano.

Another thing you may notice in sheet music is that different editors will have different fingering arrangements (where it is included) for similar pieces of music, or for the same song, so “correct” or “proper” fingering can usually be considered arbitrary. While some music editors prefer the second finger more often, others have a tendency toward the third, so in summary, if you are improvising to music, the correct fingering is not so critical. You should still learn the rules, like those mentioned in the other article, which ensure a smooth flow in a piece of music for the most part, but you do not need to be 100% rigid in sticking to these rules. Too much rigidity will cause you to over-think which can lead to bad sounding music. It is the final sound that you produce that is important after all!

Piano playing can become over complicated when you are trying to balance too much, playing with both of your hands, pedal timing, while thinking about rhythm and finger position. While it is good to learn good technique, the end result should be to get to a level where you don’t have to think too hard. Otherwise making music will be no fun at all!

 

If you have ever observed a beginner, you may have noticed how awkward playing the piano can look when a player’s fingering is not right, however instructor’s opinions on the topic of correct fingering can vary. There are some who are of the school of thought that the correct fingering is strictly important at all times, while others advocate a more free-style fingering approach.

While neither school of thought is strictly right or wrong, let me share my own perspective on the topic of piano fingering positions for those seeking the ideal way to learn how to play piano.

The length of a player’s fingers will vary from person to person, but our thumbs are always shorter than our fingers. Our thumb is also a bit stronger than our fingers. The most common fingers used are generally the thumb, second finger or index finger, and the little (pinky) finger or fifth finger, however the first three are generally stronger than the last two.

Some general rules are as follows:

1. Try not to play black keys with your thumb. However, here there are some exceptions: If the piece has all black notes, then obviously playing black keys with your thumb cannot be avoided.

The reason why playing black keys with your thumb is not recommended is due to the shorter length of your thumb. It is generally recommended that black notes be played with your second or third fingers, even when playing scales that start with a black note. In this case you start playing the scale with your second or third finger instead of your thumb.

2. If you are playing a melody and need to play a key that is beyond your reach, you can move your hand to reach the note you need to play. When the key is only a step or two lower than your current thumb position, then you can anchor your thumb and move the second finger left so as to reach the note left of your thumb. The hand does not need to move, but only the second finger. Once the note is played, your thumb can be moved left if needed.

3. This rule also applies to the left hand.

4. Whenever you can, watch experienced pianists and see how they position their fingers. Learning to imitate their finger positions can be a great learning experience, especially musicians who are classically trained as musicians at this level tend to be well trained with many years of experience. They have usually undergone years of training of a structured repertoire as well as virtuoso training beyond that of other musicians.

Keep in mind that the goal in getting the right fingering is to ensure a high level of smoothness in musical passages. This is especially important when playing the work of classical composers, who’s work can be great to learn for practice. Learning the work of Mozart, Bach and Beethoven and playing it well can, for example help to mold a piano player who is aiming for a higher level.

 

One of the easiest way to get started for those who wish to learn how to play piano is to practice playing piano chords to songs. Most sheet music you are likely to have seen will print the chords, usually above the melody line. There are literally hundreds of possible chord combinations that can be played on piano, but most songs are made up of a main group of important chords.

If you’re looking for a quick piano chord reference, then feel free to check out our chord charts that we offer for free:

You can either learn chords as part of a structured piano course like the Pianoforall course which builds up your knowledge of chords over a structured series of exercises, or you can find some sheet music to a song you like and play the chords along with the song. We’ve provided some examples of songs for beginners on our page of easy songs to learn on pian and we will add fresh new piano songs that are easy to play to the category of the same name, found here from time to time, but you can basically play along to any sheet music you like that has the chords printed on it.

Some of the main chords are major, minor, diminished and augmented chords and there are useful chord inversions to wrap your head around too. It is quite possible that you are overwhelmed by all the possible chord combinations to learn, but just because there are so many should not discourage you from getting started on them right away.

Learning the major chords is the easiest place for most beginners to start. Chords are based on scales and so the major chords are all based on major scales. C-Major is arguably the easiest of the majors because all of the C-Scale notes are white keys. The major scale pattern (use Piano Chords and Scales Explained as a reference for scales) is W-W-H-W-W-W-W-H (where W = whole step and H = half step). A major chord can have more than three notes in it, but most of the time only three notes are played in chords. The root position for C-major is then: C (root=thumb), E (middle=third), G (end=fifth). You play the beginning note, which is “C”, skip a step and play the next step, skip a half step and play the next step.

While the “inverted” version of this chord may be a bit advanced if you are a beginner,I will briefly explain it for clarity. It is possible to play the C-major chord differently to this. You could say start with E, play the note G with your 3rd and the note C, the next octave up with your fifth finger. Chord inversions are convenient for chord transitions where it’s desirable for your hand to be close to the previous chord. They will sound slightly different, but will “work” just as well as the chord played in the root position in a song. This is why it is useful to learn and practice chord inversions for all the major chords, but don’t worry about that yet. Just stick to the basics for now.

It is possible to make up chords from any scale. If you know the sequence of the notes in the scale then you can easily make up a corresponding chord. Two other major chords that use all white keys are F and G. They are easy like the C Major chord using the one-three-five sequence.

Chords D, E and A are also fairly straight forward if you remember that your middle (3rd) finger plays a black key on the keyboard. The root (1st) and 5th play white notes like C, F and G. The next three major chords are opposite to the previous group. The Db, Eb and Ab chords require you to put your fingers on black keys for the 1st and 5th positions, while the 3rd is a white note. The chords Gb (or F#) is a chord that is played using only black keys, while the B major and Bb major are a bit trickier. B is white for its root, black for the 3rd and black for it’s 5th. Bb is the exact opposite, it’s root is black, while it’s 3rd and 5th are white.

The next most important group of chords are the minors. These are gloomier sounding chords, which are played the same way as major chords except the middle note played a half-step down. So for C minor you play C-Eb-G instead of C-E-G. If you know the minor scale you can derive this chord pattern from the scale. When counting steps and half steps, you need to remember that for a minor scale, the third step is a half step lower, so the chord is: the beginning note, W, H, W, W, W for the first five notes.

It will likely take you a long time before you have mastered all of the important chords on the piano, but by expanding your chord repetoir you will be able to add additional material to the list of songs you have the ability to play. It becomes much easier the more you learn too, so don’t be put off if it all seems too overwhelming at first.

A common question that comes up is what is the quickest way to learn piano songs when you’re a beginner? There are many answers to this question depending on certain variables. Perhaps the fastest way to get to the stage where you can play something is to find some easy songs to learn on piano, These are songs that are suitable for beginners to play and they should not take you much effort to learn. Once you have a few simple songs down pat, then there are a few general ways you can do to learn songs on the piano a bit faster.

Preparation is King

If your goal is to learn a particular song as quickly as possible, there are a few things you can do before you begin to play notes and chords. First listen to the song a few times, so you are familiar with the tune to start with. It can help to choose a song you are already familiar with. Get acquainted with its dynamics and it’s chords and get a “feel” for the song. From this you will at least know by ear when you are playing it wrong and making mistakes. Next step, break the song into separate parts. This will vary from song to song, but typically you want to address a song’s intro, verse, chorus and bridge separately. Playing a song slowly to begin with will help you memorise it more thoroughly.  Additionally you might also like to track down the sheet music for the song. Even if you wish to learn to play it by ear, you can refer to the sheet music in areas that you have difficulty figuring out.

Practicing The Song

If you have sufficiently prepared to learn the song, then practicing it will go much easier. Try and separate the right hand notes and chords from the left hand and practice each individually before attempting to combine them. It may be tempting to attempt both at the same time, but as you’re just beginning, this can often bring you unstuck! It may well be faster to do this at times, but it can also make it harder, forcing you to take extra time to sort out your issues. Try and practice at a slow, consistent pace. Do not allow yourself to speed up right away. Practice the most challenging sections separately. Do them over and over until they become second nature to you and then try to tie them into the other sections of the song. Do not forget to do this last step as you’ll end up only being able to play part of the song.

Whenever you find yourself getting frustrated, take a break and don’t try and force it, but make sure you practice every day. It will become easier over time!

If you are at the start of your quest to learn how to play piano, then you are probably not ready for sight reading at this stage. It is more appropriate that you learn basic piano chords as sight reading is a more advanced topic that you will learn later. Sight reading written sheet music is playing music as you see it printed on paper for the first time. When you first look at an unfamiliar piece of music it will all be unfamiliar and possibly quite overwhelming. While you may be one of the lucky few that can learn it quickly and easily (usually after years of practice), here are a few tips for the rest of us learning the art of reading sheet music:

  1. Examine the key signature. Get into the habit of always checking the key of any piece of music you are intending to play. Pay close attention to whichever sharps or flats are listed in the signature as you’ll want to commit these to memory in advance if possible.
  2. Examine the time signature. This is another important habit you should get into as measures will note make any sense if you are not sure how many beats are contained within them. You will be lost if you make a mistake here.
  3. Make sure you are aware of any changes in key and time signature. More complicated songs often features changes of either or both of these. You can save a lot of trouble if you’re aware of them ahead of time and before you begin to play the piece.
  4. It is useful to make a mental note of which note or chord the piece begins on and which it ends on. This can often help you to predict changes in the song which will help to guide you through it.
  5. Make note of the rhythm of the left hand staff. The bass line you usually play with your left hand usually defines the rhythm of the song (although not always). Ensure you know which notes are on the left hand before you start playing so you’ll have a better picture of what the song involves.
  6. Before you begin, do a “once-over” of the melody section. The melody usually defines the “vibe” of the song and so getting it into your head will give you the general idea of how the song should be played. Once you “get” the meaning of how the song is intended to be played, you’ll have unlocked it’s “charm” and “character” and how it is unique from other songs. Having the melody stand out in your mind before you start playing can help a great deal.
  7. Finally, go over any other “quirks” and “markings” associated with the piece. Or more of the advanced music symbols that indicate how long or short to play each note and the loudness or softess of notes at various places within the score. Get an idea for the overall speed of the music as well.
  8. At last, take a deep breath, concentrate and then start playing. Try your best to play the song to the end if you can the first time. You will have time later to break it down into sections (measures) and practice any particular part you find difficult, but at first simply trying to make it to the end will help you pick up the piece a lot more completely.

Being able to sight read music is undoubtedly a valuable skill for skilled pianists to know. By sight-reading you are forced to concentrate and focus until you reach the end of the song which can help you overcome bad habits such as spending too much time looking at each note before you attempt to play it. Starting and stopping whenever you get a part wrong is always a bad habbit that will stall your ability to learn new music quickly.

This being said, very few piano players have the ability to play a piece perfectly on first sighting of a song. Perfection is not the goal here, learning to read music as quickly and efficiently is what you’re aiming for.

When you’re starting to learn piano, it can be difficult to know where to start. People will say that the fastest way to improve is to find easy songs to learn on piano. This is certainly a good start, but is there a difference between the fast way and the right way? While there are many different schools of thought on the topic of learning piano, I believe most good instructors would say “yes”. Learning easy piano songs can be great when starting out, but to improve and reach a higher level, you need a more structured approach like the one laid out in the excellent Pianoforall course.

Aside from knowing the “correct” way of learning the other issue that can hold you back is motivation.

Removing Negative Thoughts

Most people learning something that they believe is “hard” will balk at the prospect of spending a lot of their time doing it. Negative thoughts of failure enter the mind, yet it is exactly this that must be cleared from one’s mind before embarking on activity of improving oneself. Learning to play piano well will certainly require you spend a lot of time practicing, but this does not mean that this practice should not also be fun. There are thousands of ways to make otherwise boring practice into a fun endeavor, no matter what level you are at.

Ways of Learning

Almost all piano courses start you off in the same way. Usually you will be taught you need to recognize notes. While there are certainly a lot of different notes on the piano keyboard you will need to know, this does not take nearly as long as you would expect. So long as you commit yourself to learning piano, you’ll most likely have it licked in a few short lessons. Second stage is getting to know the keyboard and the different keys. Knowing your white from black keys, “ebony” from your “ivory” so to speak. Next, when you are taught basic fingering and posture you will likely practice the basic “doe”-“ray”-“me” combination which is the foundation of a basic major scale.

Once the basics are out of the way, you can learn to play a few simple songs. Many new players will skip directly to this step, which is perfectly OK, provided that other fundamentals aren’t neglected. There are hundreds (thousands even) of easy songs to play on the piano to get started with. It is here where you will start to learn how to read basic sheet music. These simple songs can also help you to practice different rhythm patterns.

Above is a very basic way a new player can start to play piano. After you can play simple songs on the piano and play them well, you can then move onto more advanced songs, or advanced scales and chords. Scales will help unlock your ability to improves on the instrument, while you can never have to great a repertoire of piano chords at your disposal. It will take time certainly, but it does not necessarily need to be a chord. If you keep it fun the time will fly!

In a wider society, there are countless myths that we assume are correct simply because everyone believes them. But quite often the commonly held perception is on the wrong track. This is also true in the world of piano teaching. While it may seem silly to counter them, on closer inspection, many assumptions that seem “obvious” are not only wrong, but counterproductive to the individual who is bound by their shackles. We will attempt to address some of these myths over a number of articles. This is an attempt to “liberate” new pianists before they get stuck in these age old quagmires. By getting these straight from the beginning you will be able to reach your goal unhindered by outdated schools of thought. Today we address the myth that a comprehensive study of classical music is required before you can play more modern styles of music like pop, rock or jazz.

Classical music has, for a long time been considered the “proper” way to start learning a musical instrument. There is certainly no denying that classical style music is more formal and requires a higher degree of skill than the average pop tune you hear on the radio, or watch on TV, or YouTube. Our school of thought on this matter however is that if your ultimate goal is to play popular music, then you should simply learn it right off the bat.

That is not to say that we are against classical training. There is no deny thing the great value in studying popular chord and scale techniques and improvisation. However the advantage of learning popular music is in fact that it is simpler making it quicker to learn, making it great for beginners to start learning from the start. The chords of most pop music are typically presented in a simple manner and often the notes are printed on the music, so you do not even need to know how to read sheet music to play the chords to your favorite songs. Sometimes these are printed as “guitar chords”, so you will have to check out a chart to figure out the positioning of your fingers. (Feel free to use our simple and extended chord charts for this by the way).

Theoretical knowledge can make you a better memorizer, interpreter, performer, sight reader and a better musician overall. These attributes are certainly applicable to classical music, though that is certainly not to say that they cannot be learned through the study of popular music and learning pop music is by far the easier route.

That said, one could certainly learn classical music first, which would make the basics of learning popular music a relative breeze, however learning classical music does use a slightly different skill set, which you may then need to spend time “unlearning” what you don’t need. You could learn them both at the same time, but if you have no use for classical music then you are wasting half of your effort learning skills that you won’t ultimately use. On a whole, our feeling on this matter is that avoiding popular music until you learn classical will make learning music theory much harder and may prevent you reaching your ultimate goals as quickly as it would have taken otherwise. So don’t get bogged down by thinking you need to learn classical music if you already know it’s not for you!

There are plenty of easy songs to learn on piano that are popular and contemporary and we see no reason to postpone learning them.

I can’t deny it, the prospect of learning to play the piano from scratch is a daunting one! The amount of practice required to get good at playing the instrument is overwhelming! When you are starting off, you should keep in mind the importance of “small wins”. It is much the same as running a marathon. When trying to run a marathon for the first time, one does not just turn up on the day and do it right? To make it to an end of a marathon race, one must achieve a level of physical fitness that permits them to make it through the race. It takes months of regular extended running to achieve this. One does not simply “have it” to start with!

A similar thing applies to learning the piano. It’s important to slowly gain confidence as you build up your skill set. While the common suggestion is to find easy songs to learn on piano and practice a few of them, you may find you even struggle with simple songs when you first attempt them. This does not matter at all, what matters is your commitment to learning them and playing them competently. This is what a “small win” is about.

Even if the song is “Twinkle twinkly little star”, an easy song by the way, having the skill to play it competently when a few weeks ago you could not even play chopsticks on the piano is a “small win” that you should be immensely proud of! Whether it took you 5 minutes or 5 weeks to get there doesn’t matter when you’re just starting, achieving the goal is where the “win” is at!

You should always be looking for the next big win. When you have learned to play “Chop sticks” you should try and learn another beginner song. If you have just learned how to play “When The Saints Go Marching In” with your right hand, you should aim to go one better and add in the left hand piece of the music, but don’t forget to congratulate yourself on your “small win” in the first place.

Some good goals to set yourself as you get better at the piano are:

  • Expanding your repertoire of songs – as well as learning new songs you should also be learning songs that are harder than what you already know.
  • Learn a new music genre – If you can already play a lot of pop songs, challenge yourself by learning Jazz, or Blues
  • Learn new chords and scales – To get good at playing piano, you should immediately strive to learn the basic chords. Once you know them, you should aim to learn more.
  • Learn a classical music track or two – classical music is generally more complicated than popular music, so it’s a great challenge to learn and will be a boost to your playing ability.
  • Learn how to sigh read – when you get really good, an excellent skill to learn is how to play a music track for the first time from sheet music. Once you’ve got this down, the world’s your oyster!

Learning how to play the piano is a never ending process and this can be daunting if you’re new. If you are always setting small goals and striving for “small wins”, then you’ll always be improving, which will put you well ahead of those who stay in their comfort zone. Like Robin Hall, author of the Pianoforall course once said: practice what you DON’T know, not what you DO know and you’ll be a much better piano player!