When you first start learning any instrument, the drive comes from the music itself. Ultimately, you want to be able to play a song from start to finish.
Unfortunately, as with anything, progress is slow in the early days whilst you get to grips with the basics.
If you follow a curriculum, the piano songs you learn as a beginner tend to be things like “Happy Birthday” (key of C) or “Frére Jaques,” which just aren’t going to cut the mustard.
As an adult learner, it can feel beneath you to learn a nursery rhyme like “Three Blind Mice,” but it is a step every starter pianist needs to get through.
Once you have the fundamentals and can hold simple songs to play with your left hand playing independently from your right, there are plenty of easy piano songs for beginners you can give a whirl before the boredom well and truly sets in.
This is especially true for those looking to master popular chord progression and play contemporary songs rather than classical songs, which tend to be more demanding of a player and require discipline and proficiency in playing the piano well.
So we have done our best to brief you on what your journey entails, provide some insight into easy piano songs to play, and list our recommended piano songs for beginners to try.
There is a lot of ground to cover, but we have arranged our suggestions into suitable categories and tried to select songs from a few different genres.
So with luck, you’ll come out the other side with something a little more impressive than “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star” to perform to friends and family.
20 Easy Songs To Play On The Piano For Beginners
Without further ado, here are some of our thoughts on easy piano songs for beginners to learn and why they are a good choice.
“Chopsticks” is probably a song that won’t impress anymore than the nursery rhymes we dug into, but it is pretty much a staple piece, and everybody has to start somewhere.
We would be amiss not to suggest you get it out of the way. It is played with both hands close together and is undemanding.
2. “Little Brown Jug”
A two-hand piece to master, again with nursery-style elements, the easy piano tune will give you something easy to achieve when you start with small, realistic goals in mind.
3. “Oh When the Saints (Go Marching In)”
As with the song above, this one has an easy progression while having a glance at sheet music; the right hand’s tune is nice, and the bass-line has an easy-to-master walk.
4. “Heart and Soul – Hoagy Carmichael”
With an easy-to-play left-hand rhythm that repeats throughout, “Heart and Soul” is a great place to start and practice.
It has a standard I-VI-IV-V progression, and the music line is very straightforward and leaves good room for improvisation as you get better at playing the piano with sheet music.
5. “Yesterday – The Beatles”
This great classic song may sound a bit harder to master, but it is actually a pretty easy piano song to play that some people might glance over the sheet music.
There are a few other Beatles popular songs worth trying. “Hey Jude,” “Let it Be” and “Imagine” by John Lennon are all fairly good piano songs for first-timers.
6. “Sympathy for the Devil – The Rolling Stones”
The main verses of this are centered around 3 chords, and the piano plays a strong but uncomplicated line. The groove is great.
It is very upbeat and manages to sound much more interesting than it genuinely is. The riff is repetitive but tons of fun to play.
7. “Unchained Melody – The Righteous Brothers”
This beautiful slow-ballad popular song has a wonderful lilting melody and pretty climbs.
The chord changes are a bit more substantial than some 4 chord pop music, but it definitely one to try if you are looking for more of a challenge for beginners.
Best Classical Songs
8. “Ode to Joy – Beethoven”
“Ode to Joy” is a piece of classical music that has an easy piano 3 chord structure, and the right-hand melody only spans five notes at a time, so your hand is always in the right place for the next one, and each note is a quarter note; the rhythm is straightforward too.
9. “Fur Elise – Beethoven”
2 Beethoven pieces might be contrary to our ‘mixing things up’ ethos, but “Fur Elise” is an iconic starter piano piece. The music is effortless and memorable.
10. “Clair du Lune – Debussy”
“Clair Du Lune” is actually considered an advanced piece as far as piano grades go, but some simplified versions are hovering online.
“Clair Du Lune’s” first movement can be easily simplified to learn to play as a beginner and give you something to show off to your friends.
11. “The Entertainer – Scott Joplin”
Although this one has a faster tempo, there are hundreds of piano arrangements to be found written in digital sheet music online.
If you search for a beginner’s arrangement, you can learn to play it slowly and build up the required skills.
12. “Pachabels Canon (simplified version)”
Pachabels Canon’s basis has just two bars and eight notes that are expressed in eight repeated chords. This makes it an easy staple way to learn the core of.
The intricacies of the movements can come later once you are an intermediate piano player.
Easy Pop / Contemporary Songs for Piano
13. “Beautiful – Christina Aguilera”
“Beautiful” has an easy-to-follow progression tutorial but has lots of interest points and little changes to the motif established once you get into it.
It is a song that really allows you to learn to play and glance at sheet music while playing piano with emotional expression.
14. “When I Was Your Man – Bruno Mars”
This one has a left-hand part that doesn’t take your attention away from the whole song with the right-hand requirements.
There are a few places where the chord rhythms are a little more exciting, but you can find simplified versions or simplify the rhythm of the chord pattern yourself.
Try just sticking to each bar’s first beat if you are out of your depth to begin with.
15. “Dark Horse – Katy Perry”
A very repetitive melody line that isn’t boring but can be played with mostly one finger, one note at a time, is a great example of a pop song to master.
The left hand is effortless to get to grips with, there aren’t any huge leaps to make, and the rhythm is strong and driving throughout.
16. “All of Me – John Legend”
Okay, so there are a few flourishes in this one that may need to be forgotten altogether by a beginner.
Still, for the most part, the progression is easy, the two hands aren’t playing anything radically different, and the tempo is comfortable if you are learning to sight-read.
17. “Someone Like You – Adele”
Again as with most pop piano ballads, this one is centered around a typical pop-chord progression, but the flourishes and runs set it apart from every other song that uses identical chords.
Some of those parts will need to be ignored. But any beginner with their head around the basics should be able to get themself through this uncomplicated, staple chord progression.
Easy Beginner Piano Theme/Movie Songs
18. “The Addams Family”
With such a classic well-known tune, this fun song is easy to get into early on in your piano learning progress. The bass line is great to play, a minor more work than holding a root note for four-counts of a bar but a good push.
There are no huge leaps to make, and it is great fun. It has good appeal for younger learners too. Sheet music is a click away when you search on the internet.
19. “A Whole New World – From Aladdin”
If you want something to show off with more than 4 repetitive chords. This great song, “A Whole New World,” has great dynamics, the tune is interesting, and the chord changes are non-predictable.
It even has a modulation taking the whole thing into a new key. It is definitely one to learn slowly at your own pace. But you will leave you feeling very accomplished.
20. “My Heart Will Go On – Celine Dion (The theme from the movie Titanic)”
With a repetitive melody recognizable by ear, this is a theme tune that has been simplified for learning on most instruments such as the piano.
It is easier than the impression it gives off as most hard work is left to Celine herself. This popular song includes the notes E and F.
How to Learn a Song on the Piano
The sensible way to study and practice to play easy piano songs is guided, as we stress in our Best way to Learn Piano article.
This could be with a private tutor, sheet music, within an educational center, online, or via books, apps, and software. But at the end of the day, you need some assistance, feedback, and correction along the way.
As we mentioned in our intro, most curriculums start with a song that isn’t going to keep your interest, especially those in the sheet music paper. With progress, you can start looking at finding your own resources to bolster your once-a-week lessons.
What do I need to know before I learn songs?
Before you look at the song suggestions we have here, you should at the very least be able to;
● Identify the notes on your piano or keyboard.
● Play the piano at least a root note independently to your right hand in various simple rhythms.
● Be able to hold a 3-note chord instead and play the notes independently in an arpeggio style.
Your options will be far greater if you can also;
● Identify the notes on a musical staff for both hands.
● Read and study rhythms.
● Have a few basic chords memorized for contemporary pieces
The truth is that a bit of musical theory is required to study a song on any instrument. You could try to work the notes out by ear, but it is a long process and requires perfect ears.
It may work for easy piano songs, but to be able to work out all notes held at one time doesn’t come quickly without already having substantial knowledge of chords, at least.
Actually, as far as pop songs are concerned, you only really need to take in 8-10 popular chords to play the majority of go-to progressions. Pop is a genre with pretty easy musical accompaniment. It relies on catchy lyrics and interesting vocal melodies. The piano is there to back the superstar, so to speak.
In fact, there are loads of tutorials available online easy piano songs that will show you that with just 3 or 4 chords under your belt, you can already jam your way through renditions of hundreds of popular songs.
Where to Find Easy Songs to Play on the Piano
If you go ahead and accept you need to study to read music, then the world is your oyster. You could purchase songbooks of your own from stores or online or google for sites with a good sheet music library.
On the other hand, you can look for YouTube tutorials and study how to play piano, many of which teach with the visual aid of lit-up keys in real-time. This means you don’t necessarily need to master sheet music to read music. Most slow the action down, to begin with, and then speed it up.
Some are even better at taking piano lessons with an instructor talking and playing the piano to demonstrate for you with a good video angle over the top of their hands on their piano while playing the melody.
The good news is that most free internet learning resources for instruments are geared towards beginners that will teach you to familiarize yourself with using sheet music and how to learn how to play the piano.
This means there is no shortage of easy piano versions of some of your favorite music of all time.
So aside from the list that we have collated here as a point in the right direction, you will no doubt master piano too.
In fact, there are several great online piano lesson platforms and apps that teach both classical and contemporary music as part of their course content.
The piano songs chosen for beginners are generally not taught from the official sheet music but are an exclusive arrangement made specifically for the app or platform. The song will be a bare-bones rendition suitable for the level being taught as the learner progresses.
We have reviewed most of the top-sites dominating the market for you. One commendable for quick song progress is Simply Piano which, once you have covered their fundamental courses, finishes every lesson with a song.
Other sites such as Playground Sessions teach over 500 songs as part of their course progression and then give you unlimited access to one of the largest online interactive song libraries around.
What Makes a Piano Song Easy to Learn for Beginners?
● Repetitive parts
You want to pick a song where the melody is unchanging for the most part. Repetition means you only really have a verse and a chorus study, and although the song is 3-4 minutes, you only have to grasp a minute’s worth of play to get through it.
● Simple chord progressions
Look for a song with 3 or 4 chords. It is okay if they add in a 5th or 6th for a bridge later but keep things easy, to begin with.
● Held chords/Vocal heavy pieces
Chords that get held the entire length of a bar are easier to play than chords with a rhythm to repeat. If you are a first-timer, holding a chord gives you time to read the next without pressure and think about the hand transition and finger placement properly.
A song with arpeggios or broken chords is a really easy option, instead of grand melody lines and big musical sweeps. Rhythmically playing a broken chord is a good step up from a held chord.
● Driving rhythms
If the rhythm is ‘driving,’ it tends to be on the bar’s beat, which is pretty easy to keep stable throughout with your left hand whilst your right-hand bears the brunt of the more difficult part.
● No jumping the octaves
Easy tunes to practice on the piano for a first-timer should have a fairly small range of notes, you don’t want to be scaling along from lower to higher octaves straight off the bat, and neither do you want to be jumping as that requires looking between the keys and your music until you have developed muscle memory.
● Effortless left-hand parts
Arguably one of the hardest things to master in the beginning is getting your left hand and right hands to function separately while playing piano of different rhythms.
So look for a song with easy bass parts. If the notes are root notes that only play on the first beat or first and 3rd, then you are good to go. A root and fifth is also fairly easy to get into the swing of things.
● Single line right-hand parts
If you are not going down the strictly-chord-progression route, then look for single-line melodies. That way, you only have one finger at a time playing with your right hand rather than 2 or more to manage.
Of course, if something you want to learn doesn’t fit the criteria above, it can be simplified.
With just a dash of music theory, you can pretty quickly leap to play full songs – albeit a simplified version.
The resources available online are immense. There are plenty of songs that are easy to learn as a beginner. Maybe some of our suggestions will have inspired you.
Hopefully, at the very least, with the criteria that we have laid out for you and the guidance that we have given – you will have the tools you need to start finding songs you are interested in learning to play yourself.
Fancy learning to play the piano online? Check out our list of the 10 best online piano lessons!