Piano Classics Every Student Should Learn
Are you looking for some piano classics to learn or to help a student learn? Check out this list of 20 popular piano pieces that every pianist should have on their bucket list.
This list is divided into early and late intermediate pieces. The level numbers are based on the leveling system used in Jane Magraths book, The Pianists Guide To Standard Teaching And Performance Literature. Because there is no standardized leveling system for piano music, these level numbers are used to give you a general idea of the difficulty of each piece, in addition to helping you understand a logical progression in which to learn these pieces.
- Early intermediate pieces encompass levels 3-6 and are suitable for students or adults with a basic background and understanding of piano technique and notation.
- Late intermediate pieces include levels 7-10 and require more advanced technical skills, and a higher level of proficiency reading and playing piano music.
The list includes pieces from all for eras of classical music: Baroque, Classical, Romantic, and Contemporary.
When I Was Your Man Bruno Mars
This one has a left-hand part that doesnt 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 bars first beat if you are out of your depth to begin with.
Miley Cyrus Party In The Usa
Miley Cyrus has a lot of easy piano songs that are worth learning as a beginner which is why we included this hit in our list. Throughout the piece you will basically be using the same riff which is made up of three chords. Its something that can be learned quickly and easily because of the non-complexity of the rhythm and chord structure.
You will be playing this song in G flat major. Its also a piece where you will be using a lot more black keys than usual which is a great way of building your playing skills.
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Moonlight Sonata Ludwig Van Beethoven
We had to start this list with a classic. Beethovens Moonlight Sonata is not only one of the composers best-known pieces, its famous first movement is also accessible for beginners. Its intended to be played with a slow and steady beat . The melody follows a gentle, repetitive pattern and there are just a few sharps that you need to keep an eye on. All in all, its one of the best classical piano songs for beginners to have in their repertoire.
I Just Cant Wait To Be King
Another Disney tune worth looking into is I Just Cant Wait To Be King form the Lion King movies. While there are a lot of great arrangements of this one available, my favorite is from the Faber piano books.
This version is written in C major, but it holds true to the original tune. The rhythms are a bit simplified as this is an intermediate level book. Everything is reduced to either quarter notes for the most part.
There are some occasional E flats that do appear. In a few areas, there are also eighth notes and tied rhythms. While this version does not feature as much syncopation as the record, it still sounds great and its easy to play.
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Sweet Caroline Neil Diamond
Sweet Caroline wasnt written for Caroline at all. Neils wife at the time was Marcia.
While some speculated that Caroline was another woman, Neil says that the song is a tribute to Marcia, whose name didnt work in the song because it only had 2 syllables.
So like so many artists do, he used some poetic license to create one of the most memorable and best sing along songs for piano.
Easy Songs On Piano: Toccata In D Minor
Youre sure to recognize this dramatic tune by Johann Sebastian Bach. Its one that might make you think of spooky castles and giant pipe organs. It was even played by Captain Nemo in the old Disney movie of 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea. After youve learned to play the melody with this easy video tutorial, you can try learning the full version with the intermediate level tutorial if you dare!
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Stay With Me Sam Smith
The best part about learning Stay with Me is that youll also learn I Wont Back Down by Tom Petty at the same time I kid. But the songs are remarkably similar!
The chords to the verse are: Amin, F, C.
The chords in the chorus are the same, but you can add a G on top of the Amin chord to create an Am7 chord. Just a little color!
Theres also whats called a passing chord. Theres a quick little E major chord that pushes you into the last part of the chorus.
The video does a good job of showing this.
Comptine Dun Autre T By Yann Tiersen
Amelie is one of the more popular French movies in the Western world. Aside from the drama and the storyline, one of the most unforgettable things about the movie is the music. It also has tons of easy piano song that sounds complicated.
There are loads of great pieces in the movie, but that which sticks more, sounds great, but is deceptively simple to play is Comptine dun Autre été. This piece is in E minor and is a 4 chord arpeggiated ostinato played on the left. While that lies on the left, the melody is played in the right hand.
One of the reasons it is pretty easy to play is that the aforementioned 4-chords on the left are played in the same way through the entirety of the piece. So, you should practice that first and master it. Once you have gotten the hang of it, then you should move to improvisation, using short melodies in E minor with the right. Either way, once the left-hand piece is mastered, your aim should be to learn how to play melodies with the right hand.
Once you get that, then you should play the ostinato on the left hand while playing the melody on the right hand. Learn the actual melody and combine to play this wonderful piece.
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Where To Find Easy Piano Pop Song Sheet Music
Now that youve browsed through the top 100 pop songs on piano, chances are, youre going to need some easy pop piano sheet music. Here are a few helpful websites where you can find sheet music for all of the piano pop songs above.
- PianoPlayIt: From pop to Disney, this website has great piano songs for kids and beginners. The best part its free!
- 8notes.com: This website is a great resource for piano sheet music. You can browse through categories such as play along jam tracks and most popular piano.
- OnlinePianist: This website has a wide variety of piano pop songs. OnlinePianist is helpful because it indicates whether a song is beginner, intermediate, or advanced.
When approaching a new song, start slowly and stick to basic chords. Once you can seamlessly change between the chords, kick up the speed. If youve listened to the song ahead of time, it will be easier to pick up, because youll know what it should sound like!
If you need help with mastering these pop tunes or improving your overall piano technique, try asking an expert piano teacher for some guidance. Private lessons with a piano professional are a great way to improve your skills in a short amount of time. While its essential to listen to the original recordings and try to play along, a teacher can show you the secrets of how your favorite artists got their sound.
Stand By Me Ben E King
Stand by Me is another classic beginner song. A simple, repetitive bass line, and a super recognizable melody doesnt get any better than that!
The main chords in this tune are always:
C, Am, F, G.
Over and over again.
What makes the song so recognizable is the bass line. Check out the video itll show you how to play the bass line and the melody together. Feel free to add in chords as you get better!
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Beethoven Symphony For Four Hands
For more experienced pianists, I recommend checking out the Beethoven Symphony For Four Hands book. Its an excellent piano reduction of some of the late composers best works. From the popular 5th and 9th symphonies, the arrangements are expertly written.
The book is printed in landscape format which allows for easy turning of the pages and reading. As with any orchestral work, its important both pianists count at a steady beat, especially in tutti sections and at areas of silence.
Fur Elise By Beethoven
Beethoven might have been a genius, with some of his pieces sounding phenomenal, but the thing is that some of them are rather deceptively simple. The best among these types of songs is Fur Elise. When this song was composed in 1810, Beethoven was almost totally deaf. The song was later gifted to the rest of the world after his death.
Fur Elise is a very common song, especially the introduction which is just a minute long. Although the other section is pretty difficult, the introduction is something that you can play over and over and have audiences impressed.
Thus, if you are looking for a piano piece to play that sounds complicated but is actually simple, then look no further than the first minute of Fur Elise.
What gives this song this initial simplicity? Well, the root and fifth as well as the octave sweeps are all that you need to play. These chords sound really impressive but are very simple to play. The left and right-hand parts are independent so you will not be playing two different things at a go,
On the contrary, the melodic line is separated by the hands. On the left hand, you have just 4 patterns while to concluding four-octave sweep is only the note E! You can see just how simple everything really is.
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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.
Pumped Up Kicks Foster The People
This is another one I used to play in a wedding band.
I think its great for beginners, because it gives your left hand a workout, but remains the same throughout. Never changing.
The video will show you how to play the bass line.
The chords for the whole song are just Dm, F, C and G.
The hard part is getting the left hand to do the bass line while your right hand plays the melody/chords.
Once you get it, its a blast!
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River Flows In You Yiruma
Simply beautiful. Thats probably the best way to describe this song by the South Korean-British composer Yiruma. If youre a fan of sparkly vampires, you might recognize the tune from the Twilight soundtrack
River Flows in You features a delicate melody in the right hand and a four chord ostinato progression in the left hand . To tackle this piece, start by practicing the left hand chords on their own, then work on the right hand melody. When you feel confident playing each hand separately, its time to bring both hands together. Go as slowly as you need to and bring things up to speed as you get more comfortable.
Ed Sheeran Thinking Out Loud
Ed Sheeran mainly uses guitar for his music which transposes well onto the piano. This tune was released in 2014 and plays just as well on the piano as it does on the guitar. You can hear the blues influence throughout the piece in the rhythm and overall styling.
You will be using a D major key here which is probably one of the easiest keys to play pop songs in. What makes it even easier is the harmonic structure that repeats which is a common technique used in pop songs. Starting out you will use D major chords, followed by inversions using F sharp.
Next up you will use G major and A major chord patterns in your left hand. The right begins with the melody starting on the F sharp key and then following a simple one-note pattern. The best way to learn the melody would be to find the sheet music for the piece so you can see exactly what notes are coming next.
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Clair De Lune Claude Debussy
One of Debussys most famous works, Clair de Lune captures the peaceful feeling of simply staring up at the moon at night. The introduction of this piece is probably the part that most people know best and its also the easiest to learn. You play a slow, gentle melody in the right hand and some simple broken chords in the left. There are only a few moments where both hands are working at the same time, leaving you free to focus on the notes and beautiful rhythm.
Mozart The Magic Flute
For more advanced pianists, Mozarts Magic Flute Duet is a real test of partnership. This piece is known for its strong overture movement. The piece starts with big chords played by both pianists in E flat.
After a few chords the mood changes to more of a melodic sequence supported by chords. After about a minute and a half, the familiar sixteenth note passages with the repeated E flats and short turns occur. While thats going on the other pianist is supporting with a countermelody. This is the main melody and will continue returning throughout the piece.
Like most piano duo works, the melody will sometimes swap between the pianists. Overall the character of this duet is what you would expect from Mozart. Theres a lot of focus on the harmonic outline of the E flat major scale, and the form follows closely to that of Sonata form.
My favorite arrangement of this is the Busoni version. It works best on two pianos, but adjustments can be made to play it on just one piano. Its also been arranged for orchestra and organ.
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Easy Songs To Learn On The Piano For Beginners
The following is a list that contains 5 easy songs that beginners can learn to play on the piano, including 3 bonus songs you hear on the radio. You should recognize them as I chose these songs in particular not only because they are easy to learn, but they are also popular as well. It is easier to learn how to play a song that you have heard before.
Just dont be too hasty and dont get discouraged. Contrary to what others may say, nobody, can sit down and play the piano great without first learning and practicing, often easiest with piano lessons. Therefore, dont expect too much when you are just starting out. It takes time even to play decent, but with a little effort, you can do it anyone can, you just have to apply yourself.
Building Your Easy Piano Songs Library
Having a variety of music genres in your toolbelt will help to make you a better pianist in no time. The best source for easy piano songs in any genre is Musicnotes. On this website, you can choose from hundreds of titles that are all expertly edited and ready to play. Purchasing, downloading, and printing your music is fast and easy. You can also download it to a tablet. The world of beautiful piano music is at your fingertips.
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Best Beginner Songs On Piano
Songs for piano beginners are typically written with simple piano sheet music like Piano Man by Billy Joel, and something that does not use complex chord progressions or time signatures like Moonlight Sonata.
The greatest thing about learning simple beginner songs is that you can make arrangements of complex songs into piano songs for beginners. With the right sheet music, even piano pieces for beginners will be interesting and fun to play. These will have simple melodies and for the most part simple rhythms in music.
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 doesnt 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.
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