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Top 15 best easy piano songs for kids and adult beginners

Learning to play the piano at any age is a truly amazing gift, and it should be a lot of fun. To ensure it’s a lot of fun, I’ve created a list of the best easy piano songs for beginners.

Whether you’ve had some piano lessons or are trying for the first time, these songs will have you sounding great in no time. Remember, it’s never too late or too early to learn to play the piano.

About me

As a pianist of over 20 years, I’ve approached learning to play the piano as a beginner and as a teacher. I know from experience that the early stages can be frustrating, but I also know the importance of enjoying the process and the rewards of sticking with it.

beginner pianist playing easy piano songs

What makes a great song for beginners?

As a beginner, there are two qualities that any song you learn should have: they should be educational and fun.

Learning a song teaches you at least one element of music to a certain degree of difficulty. As you progress, pieces will introduce new elements of music or more complex variations of things you’ve already practiced.

I’ve chosen songs that cover melody, harmony, rhythm, phrasing, and playing in unison at a level appropriate for beginners.

kids playing simple songs on a keyboard

Learning to play piano is hard work, but it should be fun, too, so I’ve picked songs that are a lot of fun to learn and perform. Lastly, some of the songs I picked should stay with you forever as you progress and learn to apply more advanced musical concepts.

1. Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday is one of the most universally loved songs ever written because it only comes on happy occasions. Whatever age you are, you’ll be a hit at any birthday party if you can sit at the piano and perform “Happy Birthday.”

The first thing that makes this song ideal for beginners is that everyone knows it, and a familiar melody makes things easier. The melody is incredibly simple, with no awkward timing, phrasing, or accidentals.

The most physically demanding part of the entire tune is stretching an octave, which is no problem for adults, and even smaller kids shouldn’t struggle with the jump.

You can play the entire song using just single notes in each hand and have the whole family sing along. Advanced players love to reharmonize “Happy Birthday” with complex jazz chords, which sounds amazing.

But, the thing that I love most is that there are so many steps between beginner and advanced. Once you have the basic version down, you can try using octaves in your left hand, changing the bass notes, adding chords, etc.

Here’s a simple video tutorial:

2. Jingle Bells

“Jingle Bells” is another universally popular tune that brings people together. One of the best things about playing the piano is sharing it with friends and family, and there’s no better time for a singalong than Christmas.

I love “Jingle Bells” because it has straightforward melodies for the verse and chorus, but they offer enough variation to keep things interesting. It’s another song that you can play entirely with single notes, but it presents so many opportunities to expand the left hand in simple ways that sound fantastic.

You can start by holding bass notes over one bar, then try repeating the note every two beats. Once you’re really comfortable with the right-hand melody, you can get even more creative with the left. Rather than single notes, you can try playing basic triads (chords) and eventually arpeggiate them to create a bassline. If you get that far, there’s no stopping you.

Here’s a simple video tutorial:

3. Baby Shark

“Baby Shark” is possibly one of the most irritating tunes you’ll ever hear if you’re an adult, but kids love it, so it had to make the list.

Admittedly, it’s a bit of a stretch to come up with musical reasons for learning this tune, but there are a couple. First of all, the entire melody exists around the first, fifth, and sixth degrees of the major scale, with the major seventh thrown in to end each sequence.

The reason that’s of interest is that the first, fifth, and sixth degrees of the major scale also come from the major pentatonic scale and are vital to early improvisation. Kids can play around with those three notes in any order and typically find something that sounds right, which is a lot of fun.

Secondly, while the melody is one of the simplest on this list, it modulates, teaching kids about playing in different keys without becoming too complex.

The main reason I added “Baby Shark” is that kids love it, and it’s easy to play, so it will get them playing and singing along in no time, even if most parents hate it!

Here’s a simple video tutorial:

4. Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

I’m continuing the trend of familiar is best for kids, and they don’t come much more familiar than “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” This early 19th-century nursery rhyme by Jane Taylor is a song that kids grow up with all over the world.

It’s a song that children can’t get away from if they want to; infants hear it as they fall asleep, toddlers hear it from parents while playing, and when they start school, it’ll be the theme of early music lessons. Luckily, younger kids love it, and it’s simple enough for them to learn to play on the piano.

I like this song for kids because the melody is so simple; it’s easy to jazz it up a little almost immediately. When I say jazz it up a little, I don’t mean anything complicated, just playing an extra note in the right hand at times to thicken the harmony.

It’s the perfect song to use lots of major and minor thirds, perfect fifths, and even a few sixths. Before too long, kids are already practicing one of the fundamental elements of music and harmony.

Here’s a simple video tutorial:

5. Old MacDonald Had a Farm

If I had to think of a fun song used by parents and teachers to help children learn, “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” is probably the first one that comes to mind.

“Old MacDonald Had a Farm” is a timeless classic that ticks every box: it’s fun, perfect for a group singalong, and educational. Most importantly, you get to make farmyard animal noises, and what kid doesn’t love that?

The thing I like about this song, musically, is that it’s OK to start just with the right hand. Playing the melody is enough to get started, especially if you’re singing, too. Once you get comfortable singing and playing, you can add some bass notes, and this song is perfect for getting some simple movement in the left hand.

I know that most children are familiar with the animals on Old MacDonald’s Farm, but I love that they have to think about the lyrics and both hands at once; it’s a great song to work on coordination.

If it starts to get too easy, parents can always throw in a new animal to keep the young pianists thinking.

Here’s a simple video tutorial:

6. Ode to Joy

“Ode to Joy” comes from Beethoven’s Symphony No. 9, which he performed for the very first time in 1824. Despite being around 200 years old, “Ode to Joy” is one of those songs you’ll know even if you don’t realize it (even if you’re not a classical music fan).

“Ode to Joy” is a song that symbolizes unity, hope, and peace, and as such, it’s played at many important events worldwide. The melody is super-easy and catchy, so once you play it, it will be in your head for a while.

The melody is easy because your hand position doesn’t change much, so the notes are always right under your fingers. It also utilizes various note lengths, which makes it a helpful exercise in timing and phrasing for beginners.

What I love most about “Ode to Joy” for beginners is that it presents opportunities to explore harmony. I see this as a fantastic song for kids or adult beginners and one that they can continue to develop over time.

Here’s a simple video tutorial:

7. Silent Night

Silent Night is a song that reaches every level of musicians, from beginner to advanced. It’s a song that some of the best professional pianists in the world love to play because it’s excellent for reharmonization and has a beautiful melody.

The first thing I like about this melody for beginners is that it goes beyond an octave. Many beginner songs stay within one octave, some even within four or five notes. It’s far from a difficult tune to learn, but it does get the hand position moving a bit, and that’s a good thing.

Another thing I like about “Silent Night” is that it’s powerfully emotive. Maybe not in its most basic beginner form, but as you progress, you can become more and more expressive in your playing, which makes you think about dynamics and feel.

The song’s expressive quality is what makes it so good for reharmonization, and that’s why it’s a song that lasts a lifetime. As you learn more chords and scales, you can get darker and lighter as your mood dictates. It’s a beautiful song for beginners of any age.

Here’s a simple video tutorial:

8. You Are My Sunshine

“You Are My Sunshine” is another classic children’s song that makes for a perfect recital piece. One of the best parts of learning to play piano at a young age is performing for your family, and it is also a proud moment for adults.

“You Are My Sunshine” is the ideal song for a family recital because it’s quite a busy song, even though it’s easy. So, any aspiring young pianist can dazzle friends and family without doing anything too complicated.

When I say it’s a busy song, I mean it has a relatively high number of notes in the melody, and there are no prolonged breaks; both hands are always working.

The main reason I chose this song is that it’s one of the more physically demanding beginner pieces for kids. Despite not being too complex in any musical sense, keeping both hands going for the entire tune and maintaining focus is still an achievement.

I also see this tune as a kind of reward for younger students; playing perfect fifths (melodically) over and over in the left hand, along with the melody, is a pretty satisfying exercise and a well-deserved pat on the back.

Here’s a simple video tutorial:

9. Drunken Sailor

“Drunken Sailor” is an old sea shanty that most people probably already know, and if you don’t, you won’t forget it in a hurry after hearing it.

A sea shanty is a song fisherman would sing to pass the time and take their minds off the dangers of being at sea. It’s an understatement to say that “Drunken Sailor” has an incredibly catchy melody; it’s a lot of fun.

I picked this song for a few reasons, one of which is the catchy melody I mentioned. Another reason is that it’s more popular than it has been for a long time, thanks to TV and social media trends. But the main reason I chose this song is because it will make you work!

The melody has lots of eighth notes and triplets, making it feel like everything is coming quickly, and it’s a great exercise in rhythm and phrasing. Once you get the melody down, a simple bassline makes it one of the most fun songs to play on this list.

You can switch between single note basslines and chords with your left hand as you get more comfortable. You can even add some broken chords in the right hand for additional harmony. It’s so much fun!

Here’s a simple video tutorial:

10. SpongeBob SquarePants Theme

Kids learn more when they are having fun, the kind of learning that happens without them realizing it, and that’s what we get from this next song. SpongeBob SquarePants is one of the most successful cartoon series ever, so what better way to keep kids interested than learning the theme song?

The melody isn’t the prettiest, but it’s not meant to be, and despite a lack of real musical beauty, it sticks in your mind soon enough.

One of the challenging things about this song is that it has a higher tempo than many other kids’ songs, so reaching every note on time might be a struggle. However, kids’ familiarity with the melody should make it a bit easier.

Another thing I like about the SpongeBob theme song is that it has a few rhythm changes, and that’s a bit of a test for younger learners.

As a beginner, it can be pretty challenging to transition between sections with lots of notes and sections with very few notes. By the time you play the entire tune, you’ll have learned far more than you think.

Here’s a simple video tutorial:

11. Super Mario Bros. Theme

It might seem like I added the Super Mario Bros. theme just for kids, but this one is for everyone. The Super Mario video games have been around for a very long time and are loved by multiple generations of fans. Whether you’re a youngster or an adult looking for some video game nostalgia, this tune is awesome!

Although it’s an iconic melody, being familiar with it won’t help students here as much as it does with other tunes, and that’s why I picked it. The Super Mario melody is technically a little trickier than most beginner melodies and introduces some elements beginners might not have faced yet.

One of the things that makes it a little difficult is that it has a slightly unusual rhythm in the melody; it’s not typical phrasing. Awkward phrasing can sometimes make it harder to fit every note in its right place or even keep tempo. But, when you get it right, it’s so satisfying.

Another thing that makes it slightly trickier is adding more accidentals (sharps and flats) than most beginners will be used to at this stage. It’s a challenge but so much fun to play, and there are many versions to learn, right up to advanced.

Here’s a simple video tutorial:

12. Sesame Street Theme

The Sesame Street theme is another song for little and big kids alike. Sesame Street has been a part of children’s lives for many generations, and it might be the best example of a TV show that teaches kids through music.

The music of Sesame Street is fun, catchy, and surprisingly complex at times. I’ve picked out the main theme tune, which is one of the easier songs from the show.

Although relatively straightforward, it still crams plenty of educational material into a short song. The first challenge is some tricky phrasing, but it shouldn’t be too hard if you’ve tried some other pieces on our list.

The next challenge, and the thing I like most about the song, is that it has the player mirror parts in both hands at times. What I mean by that is that you’ll have to play the same thing in both hands at times, and that’s often harder than it sounds.

One of the coolest things about this song is the funky bassline, which is a step up from previous songs on my list. If you can nail the Sesame Street theme song, you’re doing well! It’s funky and bluesy and one to impress people.

Here’s a simple video tutorial:

13. Chopsticks

“Chopsticks” is almost a right of passage for any keyboard player; it’s one of the most famous tunes ever. Much of that fame comes from being featured in the 1980s hit movie “Big,” starring Tom Hanks.

“Chopsticks” was written in 1877 by Euphemia Allen, who was just 17 years old at the time. Since then, there aren’t many piano students who haven’t had fun playing the song. One of the things that makes “Chopsticks” an excellent piece for beginners to tackle is that it can be physically demanding.

The main reason for it being physically demanding is that people love to play it at increasingly high tempos, which is all part of the fun. But even when you start at a manageable tempo, it provides enough challenges, like maintaining a steady rhythm in 3/4 time.

The 3/4 time signature creates a waltz feel, and that’s likely to be new to most beginners. It also makes a fantastic duet, which is even more fun.

Here’s a simple video tutorial:

14. Heart and Soul

I couldn’t add “Chopsticks” without adding “Heart and Soul,” again, thanks to the movie “Big.”

If you haven’t watched the movie, there’s a famous scene featuring a piano duet of several tunes; the tune that comes right before “Chopsticks” in that scene is “Heart and Soul.”

The legendary Hoagy Carmichael wrote “Heart And Soul,” and it teaches one of the most important chord progressions in music. The entire tune is built around the 1-6-2-5 progression, a stape of jazz and many other popular music genres.

“Heart and Soul” is often a duet, with one person playing the bassline and another playing the melody. The thing I love about this particular duet is that it’s a lot of fun with two people, but it’s a worthwhile challenge to make it a solo piece, too.

Once you learn the most basic version as a soloist, you can bring some elements of the duet version into your performance, most notably, playing the bassline with single notes and broken chords in your left hand.

Here’s a simple video tutorial:

15. Amazing Grace

Gospel pianists are consistently among the world’s most technically gifted musicians, and “Amazing Grace” is one of the most famous gospel songs ever. I’m not expecting beginners to play like a top gospel musician, but I wanted to add this song as a long-term measure of progress.

Like some of the songs above, pianists of all levels play “Amazing Grace” because it’s a beautiful song to reharmonize. It has a beautiful melody that carries a lot of emotion, and even at a beginner level, you can express lots of personality in your playing.

Initially, this song might be easier than much of my list, but it encourages creative freedom more than the rest. So, learn the most basic version of “Amazing Grace” and use it as a platform to test new musical concepts as your playing improves.

By the time you reach an intermediate level and beyond, the beautiful melody will remain, but the way you play “Amazing Grace” will be completely different. It will be a lovely reminder of your journey.

Here’s a simple video tutorial:

Conclusion

Being a beginner is exciting because everything is new, and there’s so much to explore. It can also be tough; sometimes, the hardest part is just getting started.

I hope this list of easy piano songs helps some of you make that first step and never look back. Good luck!

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