No matter what kind of music you’re interested in — be it rock, pop, jazz, heavy metal, or anything else — there are certain famous songs and melodies out there that you will instantly recognize. Even if you can’t immediately name the composer, those first few notes will catch your ear.
You may have heard it at a wedding, in a plot-twisting movie scene, in a commercial on TV, or you may even hear hints of it hidden within contemporary songs (including Dave Matthews and Weezer songs!). As a new piano player, you may be interested in learning these famous piano songs. After all, with these popular piano pieces memorized, you can sit down at any set of keys and instantly impress everyone around you. If it’s not the limelight you’re after, it’s still a super-satisfying feeling to know how to play the songs you’ve grown to love ever since you saw Disney’s Fantasia as a child.
So what’s a piano player to do? You could sit down and try to figure out the song by ear… or find the sheet music online. But if you want to learn the piece quickly, YouTube piano tutorials can be a great resource!
While not all of the songs below are the best options for beginners, the best video tutorials will break down the piece into easily-digestible sections, helping intermediate players learn it faster. Without further ado, here are best piano tutorials on YouTube for eight popular songs — enjoy!
How to Play “Ode to Joy”
This is a fantastic piano tutorial from YouTuber Bruce Siegel from DoctorKeys.com. After playing the piece in entirety, Bruce then demonstrates how to play each hand, slowly, along with a visual representation of which keys are being played. Watch and follow along a few times, and you’ll be ready to show off this easy piano song!
How to Play “Clair de lune”
This tune plays in one of the best scenes in the movie Ocean’s Eleven. While “Clair de lune” isn’t the easiest song to play on the piano, this video tutorial below from JJ Bartley Music breaks it down super slowly to make it much less scary. This three-part tutorial will take some time to get through, but the end result is worth it!
How to Play “March Funèbre”
While you may not recognize the name of this piece, you’ll definitely recognize the tune! This somber piece is demonstrated by YouTuber John Nelson on a keyboard with the note names clearly shown, which can help if you haven’t yet learned how to read piano music. (Tip: John has a TON of other YouTube piano tutorials on his channel, including top-40 songs from Taylor Swift and Sam Smith!)
How to Play “Moonlight Sonata”
This 8-part video series by YouTuber Claude Aylestock— though not the full version of the piece — is a great introduction to Beethoven’s “Moonlight Sonata”. If you already know your way around the piano a bit, but just need some practice reading along with sheet music, this tutorial is a great option because it shows both the sheet music AND the host’s hands.
How to Play “Ave Maria”
Here’s an easy piano tutorial for “Ave Maria” from YouCanPlayIt.com. As you follow along, you’ll be introduced to the left and right hand parts separately and slowly. Put it all together, take the tempo up a notch, and you’ve got it!
How to Play “The Entertainer”
This piece, performed by Dr. Cory Hall at BachScholar™ in the video below, is more for intermediate to advanced piano players — it’s a tough one! You’ll need to have your sheet music up in front of you for this, as the video is less a piano tutorial, but more an interpretation and explanation of the style and feel of the piece.
How to “Love Song” (Sara Bareilles)
This easy-to-follow YouTube piano tutorial by HDPiano slowly demonstrates the right and left hands, showing you how to play the intro and the verses of this popular piano song. Only the first part of the tutorial is free, but it’s a great way to get started!
(Want more pop tutorials? Check out our extended list of easy pop songs for piano!)
Finally, if you want to be the life of the party, look for lists of the most-requested dueling piano bar songs. These songs are guaranteed to get everyone singing along and having a blast. Speaking of which…
How to Play “Don’t Stop Believin'” (Journey)
Another fantastic YouTube piano tutorial from HDPiano! In this one, you’ll learn the intro and verse for Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin'”. The syncopation is a little tricky — but the more you practice, the easier it’ll get. And trust us… the minute you start playing this one, everyone around you will pay attention!
So there you have it: eight awesome tutorials for playing the best and most popular piano songs! Of course, these videos should be considered just a starting point — YouTube can be fantastic for learning specific songs and the basics, but there’s a lot more to learn if you want to master the piano.
So what’s next? Working with a piano teacher to learn how to read sheet music, understand tempo and dynamic markings, and more! Not sure you’re ready for that yet? Don’t worry. Start by downloading our FREE piano video series, hosted by one of our awesome piano teachers! You’ll get a taste of what lessons are like, and learn the basics. And when you are ready, we’re here to help you find a piano teacher near you!
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