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Porträt Jonas
by Jonas Gößling

Easy piano songs you actually want to play

When you're just getting started playing the piano, it‘s hard to find easy songs that don‘t sound completely lame. You probably want to play some great pop songs or classical pieces but they just seem too difficult to play. Well, we’ve got some good news for you.

In fact, it is possible to play the cool stuff right from the start. You just have to know how to identify those rare transcriptions of songs that sound great AND are suitable for beginners. This post helps you to do just that, and it also gives you some great examples to start with.

Six factors to consider when identifying easy piano songs

As a beginner, you probably have a hard time it is usually telling whether what you see or listen to is an easy piano song. However, there are certain things you can look for in a song to figure it out.

1. Level of hand independency

The more you have to play with both hands, the harder it is for your brain to actually coordinate the movements of both hands independently. Easy piano songs mostly have a simple accompaniment in the left hand with a few different chords or single notes. The right hand plays the melody. If you look at the sheet music the lower line of staff is always for the left hand. So you should look for songs that have few notes or chords there.

2. Range of hand movement

The more your hand has to jump or stretch throughout a song, the harder it is to play. With a video, it is easy to see if your hands need to jump a lot.

If you have the sheet music you can identify hand jumps by looking at the notes. Don’t worry -- it isn‘t necessary to have great music-reading skills to do that. Just check if the notes lay close together or if they are widely spread apart. As a rule of thumb all notes of each hand should be roughly positioned within one octave, so try to find songs where the notes you have to play aren’t too far apart from each other.

An example of an easy piano song: low range of hand movements and easy chord patterns.

sheet music example for a easy piano song

An example of difficult piano song: broad range of notes in both hands.

Easy sheet music for piano beginners

3. Rhythm

The rhythmic pattern is another factor that distinguishes the easy piano songs from the difficult ones. Tricky rhythms contain lots of off-beat notes or odd note values, such as dotted notes or triplets. You can identify those by glancing through the sheet music.

Sheet music with dotted notes

4. Length

This is more of a motivational factor than a measure of difficulty. If the song is very long, you may need weeks or even months to learn it. As this can be really frustrating you should probably look for an arrangement that doesn‘t have more than 50 bars. Don‘t take this as a rigid rule, though. If you really like the song and it has 80 bars, you should probably still go for it :-) Also, it is totally fine to learn just a part of a song and leave out the rest.

5. Tempo

Easy piano songs usually don‘t require you to play at a fast tempo. As a beginner your fingers still have to get used to quick movements, so it is totally fine to start slow and increase the tempo of songs over time.

So how can you tell if a song contains finger movements that would be too quick for a beginner? As a rule of thumb you should avoid songs with many sixteenth notes or higher. Those are the ones that have two or more flags or that are connected with two or more beams. The easier way, of course is to just look at a video of someone playing the song.

1/16 note

6. Accidentals

Easy piano songs usually contain very few accidentals, or none at all. Accidentals make you play the black keys on the keyboard instead of the white keys (there are exceptions to that, but in the beginning, knowing this is enough).

One accidental looks like a “b”, and the other one looks like a hashtag: #. If the accidentals are placed at the beginning of a song, they are called 'key signature'. Those ones affect ALL the notes in the whole song, and they don‘t appear again to remind you about it. Accidentals can also appear within a song. When they do, they affect all the notes within the bar where they appear. As you can see, accidentals are really complicated, so you should probably avoid them at the beginning :-)

Ok, fine. Now show me some damn songs already!

There‘s only one step left to discover more than 1500 easy piano songs from several genres. Here‘s a quick list of songs that you can start learning today:

Can you feel the love tonight
song cover john
You’re Beautiful
Song cover blunt
I’m Yours
song cover mraz
Forever young
song cover alphaville