Fun Beginner Music For Piano

Jan 28, 2015

Last week we took a look at some beginner songs for one of the most versatile instrument available, the guitar. With its wide range of available genres, its portability, and its sheer popularity, it isn’t difficult to find all kinds of beginner lessons and songs all over the internet. But what if you aren’t learning the guitar? Another extremely versatile and popular instrument is the piano. You might not have stopped to think about it before, but most of your favourite rock stars play the piano. Steven Tyler of Aerosmith, Freddie Mercury of Queen, Billie Joe Armstrong of Green Day, and The Edge of U2 just to name a few. And that’s not even mentioning the obvious choices like Elton John, Billy Joel, or Vanessa Carleton. Jazz has always featured a lot of ivory tickling, and obviously classical was made for pianists. The instrument itself has even become more convenient with the advent of electronic keyboards. So, this week, in keeping with the theme we started last time, we’re going to take a look at some beginner songs for the piano.


We’ll start off this exploration of beginner music for the piano with the classics. Just like when learning to play the guitar, sometimes its better to look into easier arrangements of more well known songs, instead of playing the things that are within your technical skills, but aren’t much fun. The issue with this approach with classical music is that you may not actually know many of the pieces by their name, so I will try to include YouTube links wherever possible. I’m sure you’ll recognize the tunes once you hear them.

Let’s start with “Fur Elise” by Beethoven. This one you may actually know by name, as it has been one of the most popular piano classics for centuries. It is a beautiful piece, but what most people overlook is how simple it is. If you keep to a moderate speed, nothing in this composition is exceptionally difficult. Sure, there are a few tricky bits in the second half, but it’s nothing that can’t be mastered with a little practice. This is a great piece to learn for dinner parties or other classy get togethers as it is easily recognzable and always a crowd pleaser.

Another relatively simple piece that will have every ear turned towards you is “Clair de Lune” by Debussy. This song is nice and slow, and again, almost universally recognizable. Debussy used slightly irregulr harmonies, and in this piece in particular they flow together to create a gentle, pieceful image. The only real trick to this song is to make sure you keep your fingers light on the keys. It is a light, fluid song, so try to avoid heaviness.

One last classical piece you are sure to know when you hear it is also by Beethoven; his Piano Sonata No. 14 in C-Sharp Minor, also known as “Moonlight Sonata.” Probably one of the most recognized piano pieces of all time, and a constant favourite among musicians and listeners alike, “Moonlight Sonata” is a remarkably easy composition. With some practice and confidence you can master this beautifully simple song.


Moving through the history of popular piano music, the next step is jazz. The differences between classical music and jazz pieces can make learning very exciting and intimidating, all at the same time. This can become a real problem if you choose the wrong songs to start with.

To begin this jazz section I’m going with a song first written in 1954, but was made popular by the one and only Frank Sinatra in 1964. “Fly Me to the Moon” has become a frequently recorded jazz standard. It’s melody and rhythm can be switched up for slow jazz (like in that YouTube clip), swing, or even latin, the chord progression moves nicely in the cycle of fifths, and it has a catchy meoldy.

Another jazz classic comes from the great Miles Davis. “So What” is concidered one of the best example of modal jazz, which uses musical modes rather than chord progession. This study in modal music makes this song particularly good for beginning students as it helps to teach the concept of “less is more” in your playing.

Last up for jazz is “Summertime” by George Gershwin. This popular jazz standard features simple rhythms with a pinch of blues, and grants students the opporunity to learn about line clichés. This song is such a necessary part of any jazz musician’s repetior that it is has become one of the most covered songs of all time, with over 33,000 covers so far.


Now it’s time for the rockers! You may not think about the piano part of many popular rock songs, and it’s true many modern bands have started to neglect it at times, but there are still a number of songs you can learn to impress your family, friends, and even yourself!

Most people know that a lot of the popular music we listen to is just the same 4 chords arranged in unique and interesting ways. “Let It Be” by the Beatles is no different. Everybody knows this song, and it’s practically a rite of passage for young piano players.

Another surprisingly simple rock song for the piano beginner is “Werewolves of London” by Warren Zevon. It also only has a few chords, one of the best licks in rock history, and it’s a lot of fun to sing along to. Figure this one out and you’ll have your whole audience howling for the moon!

Last up we have “Home Sweet Home” by Mötley Crüe. This power ballad features a pretty piano intro, and plenty of the keys throughout. Interestingly, the amazing piano riff that makes this song was actually written by Mötley Crüe drummer, Tommy Lee. No word on where learning to play it will put you with Pam.

These nine songs are only a small fraction of the more popular piano music available out there. Just because you are only learning does not mean you have to stick to the same tired old songs that everyone else learns with. Do a little internet research of your own, and I’m sure you’ll be able to find simple, beginner level compositions for nearly any song you want to play. Remember, you only get better by challenging yourself, so go out there and find something fun to play that pushes your technical limits into new territory!