Do you want to become a piano master? Well, even the biggest masters have started out with easy songs and slowly built up their speed and skill.
To make the transition from a complete beginner to a decent rookie or even an intermediate pianist, we have compiled a list of easy to learn songs on the piano.
No matter if you are using an acoustic or a digital piano, these songs will amaze your friends and make you stand out in the crowd – despite being a piece of cake!
So, stretch those fingers because it’s time to learn some chords and melodies!
Our approach to learning piano:
There are many ways to learn piano, and our method is based on the successful Whole-Part-Whole method. For a quick reference: this is a learning model in which the learner tries to perform the whole skill from time to time after practicing parts of the skill, particularly those parts which are difficult.
When learning songs, we will use the four-step A-B-C-D Method. This method can be applied both to learning songs and to learning specific chords and melodies.
If you want to learn how to play songs, it’s best to learn how to play simple chords and basslines first, moving to melodies last.
If you are a beginner, you must first work on mastering at least a few of these chords, and if you are more advanced, you should try learning all of the shapes. Once you figure out the pattern in which these two types of chords are built, you will be able to play any chord combination or sequence.
You will have to repeat them a couple of times before your muscle memory takes over, but it will be quite simple after that. While there are 12 major chords and 12 minor chords (that is, a major and a minor one for each of the 12 notes), there are only two very simple formulas you need to memorize and then, you can practice all 24 of these chords.
To summarize, an easy piano song is easy because it mostly consists of simple chords that repeat, but even more complicated songs often build upon this principle, which is why it is so important for beginners to go through this first phase and master chord building and playing.
Table of Contents
LEARNING A SONG ON PIANO – The A-B-C-D Method [Analysis, Bass, Chords, Duality]
When learning a song on the piano, you should divide the process into four equally important steps:
1) A stands for Analysis, the exploration of a songs Anatomy. You want to familiarize yourself with the song. This is best done in multiple ways.
First, listen carefully to the song and especially to the piano parts. Not all songs have a piano on the original recording, though.
To hear what keyboard and piano players should play, take a listen to a cover song, a Syhtnesia lesson video or buy a sheet music book for a lot of rock and pop songs – your song is surely somewhere in one of those, but check the exact list of songs online.
2) B stands for the Bass parts, but also for the Basis of a song. Make sure to take a close look at what the left hand is playing in the lower register – that is, the bass notes – but also try to remember the lowest note that your right hand is playing.
The lowest note of your right hand is the Basis of a chord, the root note. This will hugely impact the sound of the whole song.
3) C stands for Chords and Chord Tones. This means that you should learn to play the chords of your song with your right hand, but most basslines will use Chord Tones.
That is why you should make sure to be able to find the notes of a chord with both hands. Usually, the left hand will play single notes and the right one will press all keys down at once, but often this can be inverted. Experiment with both ways.
4) D stands for Duality and for Doubling up everything you’ve learned. It means that it is time to combine the right and left hand and play the parts simultaneously.
As mentioned before, you can sometimes switch which hand is playing single notes and which one is playing full chords, but you can also cross your hands or move octaves. The possibilities are endless, but you have to synchronize both of your hands to play at the same tempo and rhythm.
Let us try to apply our method to 5 easy piano songs!
5 EASY PIANO SONGS FOR BEGINNERS:
1) Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd
Sweet Home Alabama is a great, easy rock song and a testament to the enduring appeal of Lynyrd Skynyrd. Let’s start with our A – the analysis of the song.
For this, we are going to listen to a cover and we are going to try to remember what the pianist plays. Of course, there are quite a lot of fancy fills in this song, like in most piano compositions.
But for now, we will just play the chords. The chords are D, C, and G.
Now that you have heard the song, let’s take a look at the left hand and the right hand individually. In this fairly easy song, the two hands work together to produce a chord in different octaves.
Our step B, that is our Bass notes, are played in two octaves most of the time. In the case that you can already spread your fingers far enough to play two notes an octave apart, that is 12 keys apart, then you can play two bass notes at the same time, but if you can’t, it’s not a big deal.
Moving on to our step C. We need to play the notes from the chords D, C and G. The right hand will play the chord tones arpeggiated, which means that you play each note individually.
This song is also easy because the left and right hand usually play in succession and not at the same time.
If you find it hard to play all of the different octaves at once, try playing only one note at a time in the beginning. With time, you will easily add the missing notes.
The more important thing is to follow through with our step D – the duality. Make sure you can play the notes in a rhythmically-correct manner and to play the notes for both hands.
2) Can’t Stop The Feeling – Justin Timberlake
Can’t Stop the Feeling!” is an uptempo disco-pop song recorded by American singer-songwriter Justin Timberlake. This is a song he recorded for the animated feature film Trolls.
Let’s analyze the song quickly to get a feeling for the main parts:
Obviously, adding all of the singing notes would be too hard for beginners. That’s why we’re sticking only to the bassline and the chords.
The bassline changes throughout the song, while the chords mostly stay the same. All of the chords are fairly easy and you can learn them in a day.
Your left hand is going to play the notes C, A, and F, which are all white keys. The notes F, A and C actually constitute an F major chord, in case that you were wondering.
If you want to make this song a bit more fun, learn to play it different octaves. However, you decide to play it, this is the basic outline. Don’t forget the 4th step of our method – duality.
Practice the song until you can confidently play it with both hands.
3) Time Of Your Life – Green Day
Here we have an easy and emotional song. Fans who knew Green Day as a crazy punk band were shocked when they dropped the nostalgic ballad “Good Riddance (Time of Your Life)” in late 1997. Let’s listen to it.
Similarly to our first song, this one has the chords G, C and D, but it also adds an E Minor chord which gives it that emotional kick in the chorus.
This is a great song for practicing alternation of loud and silent parts as the louder parts can signify rage, stress and strong emotional surges, while the quieter parts can symbolize inner peace, comfort, and acceptance.
This song can be a bit hard for smaller hands because you’re supposed to play bigger stretches, but if you really can’t do it, just substitute a few of the notes with different notes from the chords that are closer to each other or just leave them out.
The right hand is going to play standard chords and is not really hard to do.
If you want to improvise a solo, just switch the right-hand notes to a higher octave and play the notes individually instead of pressing down the whole chord. This is a very basic technique but it can be very effective.
4) Someone Like You – Adele
Someone Like You hit from Adele’s album named 21 and the song hit the top of the charts in multiple countries. You can play the whole song, including the verse and chorus, by playing four repeated chords.
We have a fairly simple bassline going on. The chords, on the other hand, are quite nifty. The pattern is simple – you are just required to play the triad up and down, but the original recording is not that slow. This is a great song to build up speed early on.
In the chorus, one of the triad notes is replaced by the octave of the root – that means that the root note is played again in the higher register.
This is a bit of a stretch and might require you to actually move your hand or whole arm. This might be a good point to start adding the octave to the chords you already know.
All in all, while this song is quite simple in theory, it is surely going to push your physical capabilities.
5) No Woman No Cry – Bob Marley
Here we have another fairly easy song that has some tricks to it that might confuse a beginner. First of all, let us analyze what is being played.
In this song, we are going to play a little bit of the melodies from the vocals to fill in the holes. As you will see, this can be done in multiple ways.
When playing melodies, you can think of it as playing a bassline in the higher register, but usually, you are also going to keep another key pressed.
Playing two notes at the same time is sometimes called a dyad. Basically, it simply means pressing two notes down at the same time, similarly to a chord requiring three notes.
Up until now, you’ve already played dyads, but they only consisted of chord tones, while now, we’re moving to some other intervals.
This song is great for practicing playing different parts with both hands. Take a look at the following example where the left hand plays a bass note with chord tones while the right hand only plays melodies.
Also, be sure to move the notes up and down octaves to explore different voicings.
10 Piano Songs To Move From Beginner To Intermediate:
If you’ve managed to learn all of the songs up until now, then there’s no stopping you now! We will present you with 10 songs that will push you even further and help you develop technique, dexterity, and speed.With our first 5 songs in our pockets, we will go through these 10 songs that you can learn using our A-B-C-D method.
These might take slightly longer, but they are still mostly easy and meant to help you develop as a player. That means that at the end, you will have learned 15 beginner songs for piano.
Make sure to go through all of these and you are sure to excel at playing. This is the way to transition from a complete beginner musician to a real intermediate pianist:
6) Let It Be – The Beatles
Practice Target: Adding melody to chords
2) Love Me Like You Do – Ellie Goulding
Practice Target: Adding grace notes with both hands
8) Shake It Off – Taylor Swift
Practice Target: Building right-hand speed
9) Fix You – Coldplay
Practice Target: Stretching fingers
10) You Can’t Always Get What You Want – The Rolling Stones
Practice Target: Learning Sus2 and Sus4 chords.
11) Love Story – Taylor Swift
Practice Target: Playing right-hand melodies
12) Billy Jean – Michael Jackson
Practice Target: Mastering basslines
13) Apologize – One Republic
Practice Target: Learning different fingerings of the same chords
14) Viva La Gloria? (Little Girl) – Green Day
Practice Target: Learning the tremolo technique
15) Lose Yourself – Eminem
Practice Target: Mastering the difficult intro
BONUS – TWO EASY MOVIE THEMES TO LEARN ON THE PIANO:
If you’ve managed to learn all the songs on our list, then you will enjoy our bonus lesson! Now we will get into a specific genre of music – film music and movie themes.
These themes are recognizable, popular and will amaze your friends. With our two easy music themes, you’re standing at a grand total of 17 piano songs in your musical arsenal!
1) The Force Theme – Star Wars
This amazing piece of music resonates with the ears of millions of fans all over the world. It is emotional, strong and has a bit of tranquility to it.
There are numerous ways to play this song, but here are the basic chords and the basic structure of the peace.
This song will require you to play quite a few notes with your left hand, so it will surely push your technique to the next level.
2) Main Theme – Mission Impossible
This is another classic. A bit of a challenge, but certainly not impossible, this piece will require you to play the intro in a somewhat weird time signature – 5/4 (or 10/8 depending on how you look at it).
Listen closely and try to get a feel for it. The first two notes are always longer than the next 2.
This piece can be played on keyboards and synthesizers, which can give you a lot of tonal flexibility. It is a great piece of music to widen your horizons so practice it until you get it right.
HOW TO PLAY MAJOR & MINOR CHORDS
Playing major chords on a piano:
Major chords are the first type of chords that beginners learn. Along with minor chords, they are not just the most basic and easiest ones to play, but also the most important ones. Major chords create a happy, upbeat and powerful mood, unlike minor chords which are generally sad in nature.
Major chords always consist of three notes (but you can, of course, repeat the in different octaves). The first note is called the root and it is the note that gives the name to the chord. A C Major chord, for example, has the root C. If you want to play a C Major chord, you must first play the C note.
The second note for major chords is called the major third. The name comes from musical scales, but for now, the name doesn’t matter a lot.
What matters is that this note is always four half steps (or keys on the piano) above the root note. If we count notes from a C note as the root, we have the notes C#, the D, then D# and then E. That E note is going to be our second note that we play in a C major chord.
The last note is called the perfect fifth, and again, the name comes from musical scales, but for now, you should only remember that this note is always is three half-steps above the major third, or 7 half steps higher than the root. In the case of a C major chord, this is a G note.
To summarize, the formula is Root + 4 Half Steps from the Root + 7 Half Steps from the Root.
If it is easier to remember, you can remember it by skipping notes as Root > Skip 3 Half Steps > Skip 2 Half Steps.
Make sure to practice these chords by pressing all of the fingers down at the same time, but also by playing the notes individually. Practice them with both hands and in different octaves, as well.
Playing minor chords on the piano:
Some beginners learn the minor chords first instead of major chords, but the method for constructing them is very similar, so it doesn’t really matter with which one you start. The point is, you need both. We will now take a closer look at the sad, moving, emotional chords – the minor chords.
Minor chords always consist of three notes and as before, you can play these three notes in different octaves. The first note is the root note and this note will name our chord.
An A Minor chord starts with the note A. If you want to play an A minor chord, identify the A note on the piano first, preferably somewhere around the middle of the keyboard.
The second note we play in minor chords is called the minor third. The name has to do with scales, but you should remember it as a note that is three semitones higher than the root. For our A minor chord, we will play an A, then count three keys (black and white count as one key each, we are not skipping any of those).
If you count correctly, you should arrive at the note C – our second note of the A minor chord. The last note is called the perfect fifth. You can arrive at a perfect fifth by counting seven semi- tones/keys from the root.
The perfect fifth is also 4 semi-tones away from the minor third, which means that you can also remember the pattern by skipping notes. In the case of an A minor chord, the perfect fifth is an E note.
All in all, the formula is Root + 3 Half Steps from the Root + 7 Half Steps from the Root.
If you want to remember the shape by the notes you are not playing, you can remember it by skipping notes. The formula is then Root > Skip 2 Half Steps > Skip 3 Half Steps.
To become proficient at playing these chords, start by playing A minor in different octaves. Play it with both hands and learn to arpeggiate it, which means that you play the notes in succession and not at the same time. Learning to play a chord with all notes pressed down simultaneously and to play it with each note on its own is the only way to completely master the shapes and to develop finger dexterity.
Now that you know how to build each of the chords, we will explain our four-step method and then apply it while learning our first songs. We will cover 5 songs in detail, then present another 10 songs that you can learn by using the same method.
We hope that you liked our extensive piano lesson and our unique A-B-C-D method. Make sure to bookmark our site as we will be releasing more piano and keyboard related content in the future, including genuine product reviews and piano lessons.
Make sure to tell us in the comments below what your first piano song or lesson was!
We are curious to see how your journey started. And if you are a total beginner, tell us which of these songs you’re going to learn first. Good luck!