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Top 10 Essential Easy Ukulele Songs for Beginners

Top 10 Essential & Easy Ukulele Songs for Beginners

Top 10 Essential Easy Ukulele Songs for BeginnersLooking for easy ukulele songs for beginners? You can’t go wrong with any of the tunes on this list by ukulele teacher Willy M.! Although each of these hits are easy uke songs for beginners, they might require you to learn a new chord or two.

10 Easy Ukulele Songs for Beginners

Learning to play the ukulele comes with a whole catalog of fun songs. To help you out on your budding career as a ukulele player, here are the top 10 essential easy uke songs to play. Keep scrolling for videos of each.

  • I Make My Own Sunshine – Alyssa Bonagura
  • Riptide – Vance Joy
  • Mele Kalikimaka – Robert Alex Anderson
  • Tears In Heaven – Eric Clapton
  • Upside Down – Jack Johnson
  • Tonight You Belong to Me – Prudence and Patience
  • Hey Soul Sister – Train
  • I’m Yours – Jason Mraz
  • I Do/Falling For You – Colbie Caillat
  • Somewhere over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

10. Somewhere over the Rainbow/What a Wonderful World – Israel Kamakawiwo’ole

In 1993, Israel Kamakawiwo’ole brought us his interpretation of two classic songs that have been inscribed into the American consciousness – “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and the Louis Armstrong classic “What a Wonderful World.”

This track was featured on Iz’s album Facing Future, and since has gone on to be a staple in many movies. It was featured in Meet Joe Black, Finding Forester, 50 First Dates, Son of the Mask, and several other popular movies. Fun fact: the album Facing Future holds the record for the bestselling album by a Hawaiian national to date.

There are eight chords in this song, but they are not particularly difficult chords to play: C, G, F, Am – typical chords for the key of C, with E7, D, Dm7, and Em thrown into the mix for fun. I chose this song as #10 since it will probably require the most work, but it will definitely be appreciated by your audience.

9. I Do/Falling For You – Colbie Caillat

Next up on this list of easy ukulele songs is a combo of “I Do” and “Falling for You” by Colbie Caillat. Both Colbie Caillat and Jason Mraz were at the head of the modern ukulele movement. Caillat has many songs that are great for the ukulele. I recommend learning both of these songs and playing them as a medley.

“Falling for You” isn’t necessarily a ukulele song, but it works great with “I Do.” “Falling for You” is in the key of D using D, A, Em, and G. “I Do” is in the key of G and uses the chords G, D, C, D7, Em, Am, B7, and Cm. The Cm might give you a bit of a challenge, but if you can tackle “Somewhere Over the Rainbow/What A Wonderful World,” I know you can handle this song as well!

8. I’m Yours – Jason Mraz

I probably wouldn’t be writing articles about the ukulele if you hadn’t heard the song “I’m Yours.” The fact is, Jason Mraz took a simple ukulele line and married it to a tremendously catchy tune giving us this song that once is in your head, it just won’t go away. The cool thing for you budding uke players out there, is that it’s a really simple song to play, from the basic lead intro to the shuffling strumming pattern.

This song uses chords known as the “oldies progression” because they are common to a lot of popular songs from the 50s. These chords are really just C, Am, F, and G. Jason also throws in a D for the turnaround section to build a bit more tension. Give yourself a few hours of practice and you’ll have this song in the bag.

7. Hey Soul Sister – Train

After Jason and Colbie hit the charts, 90s wonder band Train came back with a Jason Mraz sounding groove entitled “Hey Soul Sister.” The song is very similar in structure to “I’m Yours.” Now I’m not saying Train copied Jason Mraz, well, maybe I am. I think the legal term is “heavily influenced by. ”

If you check out the chord structure, “Hey Soul Sister” is basically the same song as “I’m Yours,” but with different lyrics and a different pattern to the chorus. Essentially, if you can learn “I’m Yours” and transpose it to the key of G, you’ll have this song down. In G, the chord progression will be G, Em, C, and D.

6. Upside Down – Jack Johnson

One of my all time favorite songs to play is “Upside Down” by Jack Johnson from the movie Curious George. “Upside Down” only has 5 chords (E, F#m, A, B, and G#m), and the lead lick is very simple to play.

I personally like to play this song in the key of G (G, Am, C, D, and Bm). Like I suggested for Colbie’s songs, feel free to segue some of Jack’s songs together to create a good medley!

5. Tonight You Belong to Me – Prudence and Patience

At some point in your ukulele career you are going to be asked to play this song, made popular by Steve Martin’s rendition in the movie The Jerk. This is a fun little song, originally done by a girl band called “Prudence and Patience.”

If you have a coronet player to play with you, it’s even more fun! This is one of the most basic ukulele songs too, using only the chords A, D, G, and E with a Dm and an Eb thrown in for good measure. Have fun with this sweet, romantic tune!

4. Tears In Heaven – Eric Clapton

A song that you probably didn’t expect to see on this list is “Tears in Heaven” by Eric Clapton. This beautiful song, which was written after he tragically lost his son Conner, is one that has brought tears and healing to countless people after their own losses. It is definitely a great song to have in your repertoire.

It’s not a very difficult song to play, but the bridge might take some extra attention. The main chords in the song are A, E, F#m, and D with a C#m thrown in. But in the bridge Clapton goes into the key of G for a minute, throwing in the G and C as well.

It might sound like a bit of a challenge, but it will be worth it to learn this meaningful tune.

3. Mele Kalikimaka – Robert Alex Anderson

When you play the ukulele, you won’t always be playing around a campfire or on the beach. Sometime you will be asked to play holiday music, and “Mele Kalikimaka” is one easy uke song you should have in your songbook.

“Mele Kalikimaka” was popularized by Bing Crosby but unlike most crooner songs, this one is pretty simple to play. G, D7, E, C, A7, and Am should get you through most of the song. It’s immediately recognizable and if you can croon a bit, you’ll really wow your audience!

2. Riptide – Vance Joy

I found this little gem on YouTube one day. The original song sounds to me like someone playing a classical guitar with a capo. However, this young lady does a killer rendition on the ukulele.

This fun ukulele song only has Am, G, and C chords, so even the most brand new uke players should be able to handle it.

1. I Make My Own Sunshine – Alyssa Bonagura

The final song I want to include on this list of easy uke songs for beginners is one of my favorite good time songs – “I Make My Own Sunshine” by Alyssa Bonagura. This song features the ukulele and is infectiously catchy!

The uke chords are simple: G, D, Em, and C. I think Alyssa tunes down a half step in the original song, but you’ll be fine using these chords! Did you notice the oldies progression keeps cropping up again and again on this list?

Well, there you have it – the top 10 easy ukulele songs every beginner should learn. Practicing these songs until you master them is an excellent way to challenge yourself to get better at the ukulele. Need some extra help advancing your skills? Search for a ukulele teacher today and you’ll be playing all of these songs in no time!

Willy M

Author: Willy M. teaches guitar, ukulele, and mandolin lessons in Winston, NC. He is the author of the Dead Man’s Tuning series of mandolin songbooks, and is a former member of the American Federation of Musicians. Willy has been teaching for 20 years, and his students have ranged in age from young children to folks in their 80’s. Learn more about Willy here!

 

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Top karaoke songs

100+ Best Karaoke Songs for Girls, Guys, Groups & More

Best karaoke songs to sing for men, women, duets, groups, and more.

Karaoke night! Some people make it a weekly ritual. Some do it for fun, and others take it very seriously, even competing in karaoke contests!

No matter how you view karaoke, it’s a wonderful way to practice performing – especially if you’re a beginner singer. This guide will help you make the most of the night, including tips to prepare beforehand, how to choose the best karaoke songs, and how to shine on stage!

How to Pick the Best Karaoke Songs For You

Before you hit the stage, I recommend having a few songs in mind. Thinking ahead can be especially helpful for beginner karaoke singers, since it will take the stress away from choosing a song the night of. But there’s a lot more to it than just picking your favorite song!

Let’s say you love the Beatles. That doesn’t mean you can sing any Beatles’ song in the original key without straining your voice. John and Paul had very high singing voices, and most males are baritones. So ask yourself this: “When I sing along to my favorite songs, who am I most comfortable singing with?”

Maybe it’s Taylor Swift, a middle voice. Or perhaps a higher one, like Dolly Parton. Either way, use this guide for help picking your best karaoke song.

Oh, and since karaoke is about fun, don’t forget to pick a song that you truly enjoy singing! It’s usually a better idea to choose something more up-tempo as it will make it less likely for nerves to show. If you’re nervous and singing a ballad, your voice can get shaky.

5 Tips for Singing Karaoke

Here are some other things to keep in mind about how to have a successful karaoke night:

  • Look confident! Start with a smile and with your feet planted shoulder width apart. Make no apologies for being on that stage!
  • Pick a song you really know so you’re not always having to look at the lyrics on the screen. Don’t forget you have an audience that wants you to sing to them!
  • Use good vocal technique. Breathe low, and keep your sound placed in your mask rather than shouting into the microphone.
  • Practice at home! YouTube has many excellent channels, such as KaraFun, that can help you practice.
  • Don’t take yourself too seriously. If you pick a song you love, it will show in your performance. That’s when you can expect the compliments to pour in!

100+ Best Karaoke Songs of All Time

Are you ready to find out the top karaoke songs? Here are some of the most popular karaoke songs, broken down by genre, category, and more! You can also jump to specific song recommendations using these links:

female karaoke songs

Best Female Karaoke Songs

Ladies, you’ve got so many great choices when it comes to top karaoke songs! From powerhouse pop to girl-power classics, all of these songs are really fun to sing! Here are our picks for the best female karaoke songs.

  1. Shake It Off – Taylor Swift
  2. Stronger – Kelly Clarkson
  3. I Will Survive – Gloria Gaynor
  4. It’s Raining Men – The Weather Girls
  5. Single Ladies – Beyoncé
  6. Like a Virgin – Madonna
  7. Wrecking Ball – Miley Cyrus
  8. Emotions – Mariah Carey
  9. Rehab – Amy Winehouse
  10. Black Velvet – Alannah Myles
  11. Son of a Preacher Man – Dusty Springfield
  12. Damn, I Wish I Was Your Lover – Sophie B. Hawkins

karaoke songs for men

Best Karaoke Songs for Men

Guys, start warming up your voices for these top picks in all vocal genres – rock, pop, punk, and even lounge-style. Here are some of the best karaoke songs for men.

  1. Sweet Caroline – Neil Diamond
  2. Don’t Stop Believin’ – Journey
  3. Bohemian Rhapsody – Queen
  4. Wonderwall – Oasis
  5. My Way – Frank Sinatra
  6. I Wanna Be Sedated – the Ramones
  7. Losing My Religion – R.E.M.
  8. Never Gonna Give You Up – Rick Astley
  9. 867-5309/Jenny – Tommy Tutone
  10. Mack the Knife – Bobby Darin
  11. If I Was Your Girlfriend – Prince
  12. When I Was Your Man – Bruno Mars

easy karaoke songs to sing

Top Easy Karaoke Songs

Need something a bit easier to sing? If your vocal skills aren’t quite where you want them to be yet, don’t worry. There are plenty of easy karaoke songs that you can still rock out to.

  1. 500 Miles – The Proclaimers
  2. These Boots Are Made for Walking – Nancy Sinatra
  3. Crazy – Patsy Cline
  4. Happy – Pharrell Williams
  5. Copacabana – Barry Manilow
  6. That’s the Way (I Like It) – KC and the Sunshine Band
  7. Celebration – Kool and the Gang
  8. Funkytown – Lipps, Inc
  9. Don’t Worry, Be Happy – Bobby McFerrin
  10. Eye of the Tiger – Survivor

karaoke duets

Duet Karaoke Songs

Grab a friend for twice the fun! Duet songs let both singers shine. Check out the list below for our top picks.

  1. The Boy is Mine – Brandy and Monica
  2. Cruisin’ – Huey Lewis and Gwyneth Paltrow
  3. Islands in the Stream – Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton
  4. Need You Now – Lady Antebellum
  5. All I Have – Jennifer Lopez and LL Cool J
  6. Up Where We Belong – Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes
  7. Empire State of Mind – Jay-Z and Alicia Keys
  8. Ebony and Ivory – Paul McCartney and Stevie Wonder
  9. Dream a Little Dream of Me – Ella Fitzgerald and Louis Armstrong
  10. Hunger Strike – Eddie Vedder and Chris Cornell

group karaoke songs

Best Group Karaoke Songs

For those of you that hit the bar with a bunch of friends, these group karaoke songs will let you all join in on the fun!

  1. We Are Family – Sister Sledge
  2. California Dreamin’ – The Mamas and the Papas
  3. ABC – Jackson 5
  4. Wannabe – Spice Girls
  5. Push It – Salt ‘n Pepa
  6. No Scrubs – TLC
  7. Lean On Me – Club Nouveau
  8. Rapper’s Delight – Sugar Hill Gang
  9. YMCA – Village People
  10. Supersonic – JJ Fad

funny karaoke songs

Funny Karaoke Songs

Want to just have fun, without worrying about your vocal skills? Pick one of the funny karaoke songs below, add in a splash of confidence and stage presence, and the crowd will love you.

  1. Rock Lobster – B-52s
  2. Just a Friend – Biz Markie
  3. Tubthumping – Chumbawamba
  4. MMMBop – Hanson
  5. Mickey – Toni Basil
  6. Party All the Time – Eddie Murphy
  7. The Future’s So Bright, I Gotta Wear Shades – Timbuk 3
  8. Whip It – Devo
  9. If You Like Piña Coladas – Jimmy Buffet
  10. Rico Suave – Gerardo

90s karaoke songs

’90s Karaoke Songs

’90s kids: listen up! Whether you grew up with rock or pop princesses, these crowd-pleasers will get everyone singing along with you.

  1. Closing Time – Semisonic
  2. Time of Your Life – Green Day
  3. You Oughta Know – Alanis Morissette
  4. Torn – Natalie Imbruglia
  5. I’ll Stand By You – The Pretenders
  6. Genie in a Bottle – Christina Aguilera
  7. Gettin’ Jiggy Wit’ It – Will Smith
  8. Who Am I? (What’s My Name) – Snoop Dogg
  9. Santeria – Sublime
  10. Don’t Speak – No Doubt

80s karaoke songs

’80s Karaoke Songs

More a fan of ’80s music? Here are our favorite jams to sign up for.

  1. Billie Jean – Michael Jackson
  2. I Want to Know What Love Is – Foreigner
  3. I Think We’re Alone Now – Tiffany
  4. Wake Me Up Before You Go Go – Wham!
  5. Don’t You Want Me – Human League
  6. Tainted Love – Soft Cell
  7. I Can’t Wait – Nu Shooz
  8. All Night Long – Lionel Richie
  9. Everybody Wants to Rule the World – Tears for Fears
  10. Part-Time Lover – Stevie Wonder

60s and 70s karaoke songs

’60s and ’70s Karaoke Songs

Break out the bellbottoms and get your best John Travolta impression ready for these disco tunes.

  1. Dancing Queen – ABBA
  2. Stayin’ Alive – The Bee Gees
  3. I’m Every Woman – Chaka Khan
  4. Rapture – Blondie
  5. Do Ya Think I’m Sexy – Rod Stewart
  6. Play That Funky Music – Wild Cherry
  7. Brick House – Commodores
  8. Big Yellow Taxi – Joni Mitchell
  9. You’re So Vain – Carly Simon
  10. Let’s Get it On – Marvin Gaye

love karaoke songs

Best Karaoke Love Songs

Can you feel the love tonight? If you want to impress your sweetie in the crowd, pick one of these top karaoke songs about love.

  1. Time After Time – Cyndi Lauper
  2. Wicked Game – Chris Isaak
  3. Try a Little Tenderness – Otis Redding
  4. Come to My Window – Melissa Etheridge
  5. The Sweetest Thing – U2
  6. I Melt With You – Modern English
  7. That’s the Way Love Goes – Janet Jackson
  8. Can’t Help Falling in Love – Elvis Presley
  9. She Loves You – the Beatles
  10. Nothing Compares 2 U – Sinead O’Connor

rock karaoke songs

Best Rock Karaoke Songs

Love singing rock music? Here are some of the best rock karaoke songs to consider.

  1. Pour Some Sugar On Me – Def Leppard
  2. Creep – Radiohead
  3. Born in the USA – Bruce Springsteen
  4. Under the Bridge – Red Hot Chili Peppers
  5. We’re Not Gonna Take It – Twisted Sister
  6. Livin’ On a Prayer – Bon Jovi
  7. Sweet Home Alabama – Lynyrd Skynyrd
  8. Piece of My Heart – Janis Joplin
  9. Zombie – The Cranberries
  10. Enter Sandman – Metallica

pop karaoke songs

Best Pop Karaoke Songs

Pop songs are super fun to sing at karaoke nights! Here are some of our favorites.

  1. Royals – Lorde
  2. Baby One More Time – Britney Spears
  3. Push – Matchbox Twenty
  4. Treasure – Bruno Mars
  5. Call Me Maybe – Carly Rae Jepsen
  6. Hallelujah – Jeff Buckley
  7. Iris – Goo Goo Dolls
  8. The Middle – Jimmy Eat World
  9. Timber – Ke$ha and Pitbull
  10. All About That Bass – Meghan Trainor

R&B karaoke songs

Best R&B Karaoke Songs

Feeling that rhythm and blues? Put your heart and soul into these top R&B karaoke songs.

  1. This is How We Do It – Montell Jordan
  2. Let’s Stay Together – Al Green
  3. Poison – Bel Biv Devoe
  4. End of the Road – Boyz II Men
  5. No Diggity – Blackstreet
  6. Doo Wop (That Thing) – Lauryn Hill
  7. Un-break My Heart – Toni Braxton
  8. Not Gon’ Cry – Mary J. Blige
  9. He’s So Fine – The Chiffons
  10. Chain of Fools – Aretha Franklin

country karaoke songs

Best Country Karaoke Songs

More of the honky-tonk type? Whether you prefer classic country songs or modern-day hits, here are the best country karaoke songs.

  1. Man! I Feel Like a Woman! – Shania Twain
  2. Something to Talk About – Bonnie Raitt
  3. Ring of Fire – Johnny Cash
  4. Take Me Home, Country Roads – John Denver
  5. Stand By Your Man – Tammy Wynette
  6. Friends In Low Places – Garth Brooks
  7. Your Cheatin’ Heart – Hank Williams
  8. Before He Cheats – Carrie Underwood
  9. Celebrity – Brad Paisley
  10. All My Ex’s Live in Texas – George Strait

worst country karaoke songs

Worst Karaoke Songs

And whatever you do, avoid these WORST karaoke songs!

  1. Achy Breaky Heart – Billy Ray Cyrus
  2. I’ve Got You Babe – Sonny and Cher
  3. Picture – Sheryl Crow and Kid Rock
  4. Baby Got Back – Sir Mix-A-Lot
  5. Ice Ice Baby – Vanilla Ice
  6. Barbie Girl – Aqua
  7. My Heart Will Go On – Celine Dion
  8. Margaritaville – Jimmy Buffet
  9. Boyfriend – Justin Bieber
  10. Friday – Rebecca Black

How Karaoke Can Make You a Better Singer

It goes without saying that performing, in general, becomes easier the more you do it. Karaoke night is a great way to get over stage fright if you attend regularly. You’ll always have an audience, and they are usually very supportive and encouraging (especially if you go with friends and family)!

Doing karaoke is also a great idea if you’re pursuing music. Think of it this way: you’re not being judged as you would be at an audition or vocal contest, so it’s certainly less stressful. Try out any of these songs risk-free before you take it to the “big time”!

Readers, which top karaoke songs did we leave out? Add a comment below with your personal favorites.

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MollyRPost Author: Molly R.
Molly R. teaches online and in-person singing lessons in Hayward, CA. Her specialties include teaching beginner vocalists, shy singers, children, teens, lapsed singers, and older beginners. She joined TakeLessons in November 2013. Learn more about Molly here!

Photo by Metropolitan Transportation Authority of the State of New York

7 Strange Ways to Keep Your Voice Healthy

7 Strange (But Effective) Ways to Keep Your Voice Healthy

7 Strange Ways to Keep Your Voice HealthyAs a singer, you probably know how important it is to take care of your voice — it is your instrument, after all! If you’re already staying hydrated and doing your daily warm-ups, take it a step further by trying these strange (but effective) strategies in this guest post by Ann Arbor, MI voice teacher Elaina R...

 

Most people know that water and rest are good for the voice. Warming up properly and engaging in physical activity like yoga can also keep you healthy and happy.

But beyond that, did you know there are lots of bizarre things you can do to keep your voice healthy, even when you aren’t singing? As a professional singer, I’ve acquired lots of little eccentric ways to keep my cords happy while those around me go hoarse. Here are the top seven strange ways to keep your voice healthy.

1. The Concert/Sports Game “Wooo”

The biggest culprit of vocal health problems is vocal abuse. We use our voices constantly, and if we do it wrong, the voice suffers. One place where we tend to abuse our voices is at big events like concerts and sports games, where everyone spends hours hollering at the top of their lungs.

So, what’s the solution? The concert/sports game “wooo” allows you to enjoy the thrill of yelling without killing your cords. Some people naturally do this: think of the times you’ve heard a long, high “WOOOO!” at a concert.

This head voice “wooo” is also a popular vocal warm-up. To master this, simply practice gently saying “wooo” in head voice (falsetto for men) with adequate breath support. As you get better at this, you will be able to make a lot of noise — more than the screaming, overenthusiastic fan who won’t be able to talk the next day.

Here’s a good example (skip to 1:02):

If you need help with this, ask your voice teacher.

2. Pretend to Scream on Roller Coasters

While I do enjoy healthy whooping at concerts and sports games, I choose to stay mute on roller coasters. Why? The ups and downs aren’t exactly conducive to proper vocal technique, and no one is listening to you anyway. I just open my mouth so it looks like I’m screaming and enjoy the ride. I promise it doesn’t take away from the fun, and you’ll be able to sing beautifully even after a full day at the amusement park.

3. Don’t Sing Only Christina Aguilera at Karaoke Night

Vocal health for singers is important to keep in mind, even while you’re out at karaoke! Yes, it’s fun to belt along to your favorite tunes at karaoke night (or in the car, shower, or wherever). But overdoing it can lead to serious vocal problems.

To avoid hurting yourself, limit the number of super-high belting songs you sing and try mixing in some head voice-dominant songs (Beyoncé’s “Naughty Girl, Ellie Goulding’s “Lights”, and pretty much anything Justin Timberlake sings are good, low-impact choices).

If you find yourself belting all the time for fun, please, please, please take voice lessons. Belting is not inherently unhealthy, and you can learn how to do it right — but it can injure your voice if you do it wrong (trust me, I know from experience).

4. Lip Sync at Concerts

Concerts are bad for voices. Not only do we scream at them, we also sing along — loudly and badly — to our favorite songs. Doing this is fun, but if you don’t want to wave goodbye to your voice, try lip syncing. No one will notice, and you’ll still have a great time (as well as showing everyone that you know all of the lyrics).

5. Support Your Speaking Voice

Did you know that voice therapists treat people who talk a lot (actors, reporters, lecturers, etc.) just as often as they treat singers? You probably talk more than you sing, and talking too loudly or with lots of tension can harm your voice.

If you have a voice teacher, ask him or her to devote a lesson to healthy, supported speaking. Your voice teacher can help you apply breath support, throat relaxation, and other vocal techniques to your speaking.

If you don’t have a teacher, consider getting one! But in the meantime, try speaking while thinking about breath support and resonance concepts. If you get the hang of it, your speaking voice will have more range (no monotone here) and be louder with less physical effort.

6. Pick Quiet Restaurants

If you’re going out for a nice long meal, consider noise levels. Some restaurants are so loud that you have to shout across the table, and by the end of the meal your voice won’t feel so great. Taking noise levels into account will not only protect your vocal cords, it will make the dinner conversation much more audible and enjoyable.

7. Mouth Words at Clubs

Remember tip #4? You can use this at noisy clubs, parties, and other events as well. If people try to talk to you, they aren’t going to be able to hear you unless you shout. But they might actually understand you if you mouth your words clearly. If they don’t, they will lean in and you can speak at a comfortable volume.


As you can see, you don’t have to be a hermit to keep your voice healthy. Go to all of the social gatherings, concerts, clubs, restaurants, and sports games you want. If you keep these seven strange ways to keep your voice healthy in mind, your vocal cords will stay as rested as if you had stayed at home and watched Netflix.

Learn More About Vocal Health for Singers

ElainaElaina R. teaches opera voice and singing in Ypsilanti, MI, as well as online. She received her Master of Music from the University of Michigan, and earned her Bachelor’s degree in Vocal Arts from the University of Southern California. Learn more about Elaina here!

Photo by Jeff

 

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14 Common Musical Terms All Piano Players Need to Know

As you’re learning how to read music on the piano, you’ll come across a lot of different words and terms that will seem like a foreign language. And that’s because… they are!

Most sheet music terms you’ll see are Italian, or have Italian roots, while others are taken from French, German, Latin, or Spanish. But don’t worry — you don’t need to learn how to speak Italian fluently to be a good piano player. There are many piano terms and symbols, but the 14 listed in the infographic below are some of the most common. If you understand these, you’ll be able to play many famous piano pieces in the way the composer intended — and become a better piano player as you continue learning!

piano terms

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*Special thanks to online piano teacher Crystal B. for her help with these music term definitions!*

What other sheet music terms have you come across? Do you have any tips for memorizing them? Leave a comment with your questions and advice!

 

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Feature photo by Justin Beckley

easy pop songs to play on piano

5 Easy Pop Songs to Play On Piano

easy piano songs to play for beginners

Looking for some fun and easy pop songs to play on the piano? Take a look at these suggestions from Greeley, CO teacher Andy W.

Playing your favorite songs on the piano doesn’t have to be difficult. Start out with songs you enjoy and build from there. Here are five easy pop songs to play on piano for beginners! When you’re ready to advance, try taking private piano lessons.

Easy Piano Pop Songs for Beginners to Play

“All About That Bass” – Meghan Trainor

This is a fun, chart-topping song. The chords to this are A – Bmin – E – A. Each of these chords is played for two bars and the entire progression is eight bars. The good news for you is that this progression is repeated nonstop throughout the whole song. Practice playing the bassline in the left hand first and then add the melody in the right hand. Listen for how the melody in the verse is different from the chorus. Later in the song, the chords are played with constant eighth notes. Check out the video below for a play-along tutorial:

“Someone Like You” – Adele

This hit from Adele’s album, 21, managed to top the charts in almost 10 countries. You can play most of this song, including the verse and chorus, by playing four repeated chords: A, E, F#min, D. While you play constant arepeggios in the left hand, add the melody in the right. Here is a play-along video to help you learn it:

For even more ideas check out these 3 easy hit songs!

“Clocks” – Coldplay

This is one of Coldplay’s biggest hits, dating back to 2002. Since it’s so recognizable, this makes it one of the most fun pop songs to play on the piano. It has a few different sections to learn, but let’s just look at the most famous part for now. The right hand plays the signature arpeggio pattern, while the left hand plays chords and rhythmically lines up with the arpeggios. The chords to the verse and chorus are Eb – Bbmin – Fmin. The Eb is played for one bar, Bmin for two, and the Fmin for one. Looking at the bridge, the chords are Gb – Db – Ab. The bridge chords are played with constant eighth notes. This video breaks the song down well:

“Stay With Me” – Sam Smith

Fortunately for you, Sam Smith decided to repeat only three chords with the same rhythm for this entire song. So, here are the chords: Amin, F, C. After you get the chords in the left hand down, add the melody in your right hand. The video below shows how to add some cool fills to make it interesting:

“Billie Jean” – Michael Jackson

Just for fun, let’s look at “Billie Jean” from the album Thriller, which dates back to 1982. We’ll focus on the synth parts in this song. In the right hand, play these three chords: F#min – G#min – A – G#min. For these chords, there is a four-note bassline for the left hand to play. When the chords change to Bbmin, there is a second bassline. Using these two basslines and two chord sections, you can play the verses and choruses. Play along with the video below:

I hope these easy and fun pop songs help you learn how to play the piano. Keep practicing them and then make your own list of new pop songs to learn!

AndyWPost Author: Andy W.
Andy W. teaches guitar, singing, piano, and more in Greeley, CO. He specializes in jazz, and has played guitar for 12 years. Learn more about Andy here!

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best songs to sing - road trip

Your Official Road Trip Playlist: 150+ Best Songs to Sing Along To

best roadtrip sing along songsTaking a road trip can be the best way to enjoy a long vacation – driving makes getting there half the fun! Planning a road trip involves thinking ahead to sleep, snacks, ideally a rotation of multiple drivers, and – of course – picking out a road trip playlist of the best songs to sing along to.

Singing along to road trip music is a great way to prevent drowsiness, and worse, outright falling asleep. Make your trip safer and a lot more fun with these 150 best singalong songs.

150+ Best Singalong Songs for your Road Trip Playlist

Best Road Trip Songs

Need to stay awake during a long trip? Here are some of the most popular road trip songs everyone knows…

  1. “Life is A Highway (cover)” – Rascal Flatts
  2. “Back in the Saddle” – Aerosmith
  3. “Life in the Fast Lane” – the Eagles
  4. “Roam” – B-52s
  5. “Sweet Home Alabama” – Lynyrd Skynyrd
  6. “Livin’ on A Prayer” – Bon Jovi
  7. “Here I Go Again” – Whitesnake
  8. “I’m Gonna Be (500 Miles)” – the Proclaimers

Road Trip Songs that Make You Dance

These popular road trips songs are guaranteed to get you wiggling in your seat

  1. “Blue (Da Ba Dee)” – Eiffel 65
  2. “Doctor Jones” – Aqua
  3. “Raise Your Glass” – P!nk
  4. “Dancing Queen” – ABBA
  5. “Dark Horse” – Katy Perry
  6. “Crazy in Love” – Beyonce and Jay-Z
  7. “Gold Digger” – Kanye West featuring Jamie Foxx
  8. “Around the World” – Daft Punk
  9. “Uptown Funk” – Mark Ronson
  10. “Hey Ya” – Outkast

’90s Nostalgia Road Trip Songs

Tunes from the ’90s and ’00s, for the millennial in everyone

  1. “Quit Playin’ Games With My Heart” – Backstreet Boys
  2. “You’re Still the One” – Shania Twain
  3. “Tearin’ up My Heart” – *NSync
  4. “Free Fallin’” – Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
  5. “Roll to Me” – Del Amitri
  6. “Ocean Avenue” – Yellowcard
  7. “I Miss You” – Blink-182
  8. “Jane Says” – Jane’s Addiction
  9. “Welcome to Paradise” – Green Day
  10. “Only Wanna Be with You” – Hootie & the Blowfish
  11. “Champagne Supernova” – Oasis
  12. “Just A Girl” – No Doubt
  13. “Absolutely (Story of A Girl)” – Nine Days
  14. “Man in the Box” – Alice in Chains
  15. “Drops of Jupiter” – Train
  16. “Gives You Hell” – All-American Rejects
  17. “1985” – Bowling for Soup
  18. “Stacy’s Mom” – Fountains of Wayne
  19. “Here It Goes Again” – OK Go
  20. “Save Tonight” – Eagle-Eye Cherry

Beats with a Bounce

Spunky yet chill, rock and alternative tunes to add to your road trip playlist

  1. “The Guitar Man” – Cake
  2. “Scar Tissue” – Red Hot Chili Peppers
  3. “What I Got” – Sublime
  4. “One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer” – George Thorogood
  5. “Girls Don’t Like Boys” – Good Charlotte
  6. “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)” – The Beastie Boys
  7. “The Joker” – Steve Miller Band
  8. “Zombies Ate My Neighbors” – Single File
  9. “Mr. Jones” – Counting Crows
  10. “Sugar, We’re Going Down” – Fall Out Boy
  11. “Feel Good, Inc.” – the Gorillaz
  12. “Sex and Candy” – Marcy Playground
  13. “Are You Gonna Be My Girl?” – Jet
  14. “It’s the End of the World As We Know It” – R.E.M.
  15. “The Impression That I Get” – the Mighty Mighty Bosstones
  16. “Float On” – Modest Mouse
  17. “Ain’t No Rest for the Wicked” – Cage the Elephant
  18. “Hey There Delilah” – Plain White T’s
  19. “99 Red Balloons” – Nena
  20. “White & Nerdy” – “Weird Al” Yankovic
  21. “I’m on A Boat” – the Lonely Island featuring T-Pain
  22. “Party Like A Rockstar” – Shop Boyz
  23. “Ice Ice Baby” – Vanilla Ice
  24. “Someday” – Sugar Ray
  25. “Seven Nation Army” – the White Stripes

Blastin’ Backbeats

For when you want to turn it up to eleven

  1. “Sorrow” – Bad Religion
  2. “Should I Stay or Should I Go” – the Clash
  3. “I Wanna Be Sedated” – the Ramones
  4. “The Four Horsemen” – Metallica
  5. “Fear of the Dark” – Iron Maiden
  6. “Peace Sells” – Megadeth
  7. “Ten Thousand Fists” – Disturbed
  8. “Shout at the Devil” – Mötley Crüe
  9. “You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’” – Judas Priest
  10. “Fat Lip” – Sum 41
  11. “Come Out and Play (Keep ‘Em Separated)” – the Offspring
  12. “Smells Like Teen Spirit” – Nirvana
  13. “Beverly Hills” – Weezer
  14. “Too Many Puppies” – Primus
  15. “This Is Not A Song, It’s A Sandwich” – Psychostick

Retro Road Trip Music

Good tempos for your road trip playlist from back in the day

  1. “My Girl” – The Temptations
  2. “Wipeout” – The Surfaris
  3. “Have You Ever Seen the Rain?” – Creedence Clearwater Revival
  4. “Bang the Drum All Day” – Todd Rundgren
  5. “California Dreamin’” – The Mamas and the Papas
  6. “Welcome to the Jungle” – Guns N’ Roses
  7. “Panama” – Van Halen
  8. “Fun, Fun, Fun” – the Beach Boys
  9. “American Pie” – Don McLean
  10. “Rock Around the Clock” – Bill Haley and His Comets
  11. “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” – Cyndi Lauper
  12. “Mother” – Danzig
  13. “Purple Haze” – Jimi Hendrix
  14. “One Love (People Get Ready)” – Bob Marley
  15. “Take On Me” – A-Ha
  16. “No More Mr. Nice Guy” – Alice Cooper
  17. “I Know It’s Only Rock ‘n Roll (But I Like It)” – the Rolling Stones
  18. “Once in A Lifetime” – Talking Heads
  19. “Stuck in the Middle with You” – Stealers Wheel
  20. “Cheeseburger in Paradise” – Jimmy Buffett
  21. “Ring of Fire” – Johnny Cash
  22. “It’s Raining Men” – the Weather Girls
  23. “Hound Dog” – Elvis Presley

Best Road Trip Songs for Singers

Addictive melodies to show off your vocal skills

  1. “Piano Man” – Billy Joel
  2. “All These Things That I’ve Done” – the Killers
  3. “Send the Pain Below” – Chevelle
  4. “Closer to Fine” – Indigo Girls
  5. “I Write Sins Not Tragedies” – Panic! At the Disco
  6. “Knights of Cydonia” – Muse
  7. “No One Knows” – Queens of the Stone Age
  8. “Stairway to Heaven” – Led Zeppelin
  9. “Piece of My Heart” – Janis Joplin
  10. “All Along the Watchtower” – Bob Dylan
  11. “Interstate Love Song” – Stone Temple Pilots
  12. “Pardon Me” – Incubus
  13. “Rocket Man” – Elton John
  14. “Black Hole Sun” – Soundgarden
  15. “Birdhouse in Your Soul” – They Might Be Giants
  16. “Ziggy Stardust” – David Bowie
  17. “Dog Days Are Over” – Florence and the Machine
  18. “Layla” – Eric Clapton
  19. “Imagine” – John Lennon
  20. “Someone to Watch Over Me” – Ella Fitzgerald (music by George and Ira Gerschwin)
  21. “I Ain’t Superstitious” – Willie Dixon
  22. “Rolling in the Deep” – Adele

SEE ALSO: 100+ Best Karaoke Songs

Awesome Anthems

Classic favorites that everyone in the car knows, and can agree on

  1. “In the Street” – Cheap Trick
  2. “I Will Survive” – Gloria Gaynor
  3. “Don’t Stop Believin’” – Journey
  4. “Bohemian Rhapsody” – Queen
  5. “Jack & Diane” – John Mellencamp
  6. “Born to Be Wild” – Steppenwolf
  7. “Rock and Roll All Night” – KISS
  8. “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” – the Supremes
  9. “We’re Not Gonna Take It” – Twisted Sister
  10. “Crazy Train” – Ozzy Osbourne
  11. “Dancin’ in the Street” – Martha and the Vandellas
  12. “Ballroom Blitz” – The Sweet
  13. “Rock You Like A Hurricane” – the Scorpion
  14. “Eye of the Tiger” – Survivor
  15. “Cum on Feel the Noize” – Quiet Riot
  16. “Carry On, Wayward Son” – Kansas
  17. “Thriller” – Michael Jackson
  18. “You Shook Me All Night Long” – AC/DC
  19. “Soak Up The Sun” – Sheryl Crow
  20. “Pinball Wizard” – the Who
  21. “Juke Box Hero” – Foreigner
  22. “Summer of ’69” – Bryan Adams
  23. “The Time Warp” – Rocky Horror Picture Show
  24. “Another Brick in the Wall (pt. 2)” – Pink Floyd
  25. “The Twist” – Chubby Checker
  26. “Do You Love Me” – the Contours
  27. “Old Time Rock and Roll” – Bob Seger

Songs Everyone Knows

If you’re looking for more recent hits, here’s some more popular road trip music

  1. “Work” – Rihanna ft. Drake
  2. “No Broken Hearts” – Bebe Rexha ft. Nicki Minaj
  3. “Cheap Thrills” – Sia
  4. “Wild Things” – Alessia Cara
  5. “Can’t Stop the Feeling!” – Justin Timberlake
  6. “Ride” – Twenty One Pilots
  7. “Cake by the Ocean” – DNCE
  8. “Kill Em With Kindness” – Selena Gomez

Singing road trip music is good for the heart and soul. You’ll have a blast with this road trip playlist that you can sing along with.

Remember, it’s never a bad time to work on your singing voice. If you want to really “wow” your passengers, consider taking free online singing classes to improve your skills!

Check out even more songs to sing here!

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Piano Playing

8 Unexpected Benefits of Playing the Piano

Piano PlayingThere are several benefits of playing piano that go far beyond a greater appreciation for music and the acquisition of a new skill. Most of these benefits are applicable to both adults and children – it’s never too late, nor too early, to explore your musical side! If you are still unsure about signing up for piano lessons, read on to check out some of the long-term benefits you can expect to reap. Some you may never have thought about before!

1. Better Response to Criticism

To get the most from this benefit of playing piano, it’s important to work with a qualified piano teacher who is able to give you constructive criticism. When younger students see their teacher as an expert in the field, it’s much easier to take their advice and feedback. And this ability to respond to criticism – and learn from it – will typically carry over to other aspects of daily life, such as school and work.

2. Improved Ability to Handle Stress

Participating in piano recitals, or even just performing in front of a group of friends, can help students deal with the symptoms of stage fright. Plus, all of the practicing leading up to the performance will help you learn about dedication, self-discipline, and the goal-setting process.

3. Learn to React Well to Successes and Disappointments

This is another skill you will gain from performing, especially if you participate in piano competitions. Similar to learning how to respond to criticism, you may experience some disappointment along the way. A good piano teacher will help you learn how to maintain a positive outlook, even when things don’t go your way. And when they do, you can celebrate your wins together!

4. Increased Social Participation

The ability to play in front of a group is an important social skill. It’s a great way to share your talents with others, and you may find yourself expanding your network as you put yourself out there in the musical community. Discussing your piano playing with other musicians is a wonderful way to improve your understanding of the instrument – plus, you never know how your connections can help you later in life!

5. Stronger Hand Muscles

Piano playing is helpful for developing dexterity in children and for maintaining strength in adult hands. Keep in mind, though: in order for your hand muscles to develop properly, you’ll need to learn the correct form and hand position for playing the piano with a professional teacher.

6. Improved School Performance

Studies have found that children who begin learning piano during grade school have better general and spatial cognitive development than their peers, which can help with mathematic skills. In addition, playing piano can help with concentration and therefore improve students’ overall school performance. (Learn more about how music lessons make you smarter here!)

7. Aural Awareness

Whether you naturally have a good sense of pitch or you struggle with this skill, piano playing can definitely help you improve. Some of these benefits of playing piano include developing a sense of relative pitch, and training your mind to recognize tones, intervals, and chords, which can help with learning music theory later on in your studies.

8. Split Concentration

When you’re first starting to learn how to play the piano, it can be incredibly frustrating to coordinate your two hands each playing something different. But the more you play and practice, the easier it will get – trust us! Even simpler pieces can teach you the skills and focus you’ll need to improve your skills.

Split concentration is not just a physical ability; you can also use the skill for listening. If you’re taking lessons with a piano teacher, you’ll likely learn how to listen to the sound of your playing as if you were both in the front of the concert hall and to the back of the room. You can use the mental part of this training in everyday life to improve your multitasking skills.

Final Notes

If you have been unsure about taking up piano lessons for yourself or your child, think about all of these benefits of playing piano. Of course, many people choose to begin piano lessons for the simple joy of learning and playing an instrument as a hobby. Whatever your reason for starting to play, remember that you can begin learning at any age. Put in the effort, and you’ll notice the positive feelings you experience when you learn a new skill!

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easy guitar songs fun to play

5 Easy Guitar Songs That are Fun to Play

easy guitar songs fun to playWho says easy guitar songs are boring? There are hundreds of simple songs that are easy to master, which is great news if you’re just beginning to learn how to play the guitar!

In this guide, we’ll share five easy guitar songs as well as how to play basic chords, and even more tips for learning new music.

 

5 Easy Guitar Songs

Each song consists of distinct parts such as the intro, the verse, and the chorus. The way these parts are arranged constitutes the song’s structure. Understanding song structure helps you learn new songs quicker because you anticipate the part that’s coming up next.

As you learn new songs, or even as you listen to music, pay attention to how the parts of a song are arranged. A typical pop song might look like this: intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, chorus.

Here are five of our favorite YouTube videos of easy guitar songs for beginners. Make sure to tune your guitar before getting started!

1. “Stand By Me”

If you are looking for easy guitar songs to impress your sweetheart, this classic tune should work like a charm. Originally recorded in 1961 by Ben E. King, this classic ballad uses just 4 chords: G, Em, C, and D. In the video below, you’ll learn how to play the chord progression and R&B strum pattern for “Stand By Me.”

2. “Ho Hey”

Looking for something a little more contemporary? This 2012 hit by The Lumineers should be right up your alley. Below, guitar teacher Dustin B. teaches a slight variation on the C chord for the intro, then shows you the simple chord progressions for the verse and chorus.

3. “Brown Eyed Girl”

Van Morrison’s 1967 song “Brown Eyed Girl” has long been a pop favorite. It’s also been covered by artists such as Bob Dylan, Adele, and Green Day, just to name a few. In this tutorial, beginning guitarists can learn the chord progression and strum pattern in the beginning of the video. More intermediate players can stick around to learn the riff toward the end.

4. “Royals”

This is one of our favorite easy guitar songs. Teen pop queen Lorde’s catchy songs have an effortless cool that have generated a lot of buzz. Her breakthrough hit “Royals”  is sure to be a favorite among beginning guitarists too, since it contains only three easy chords: D, C, and G.

5. “Elevation”

If you’re ready to plug in your ax and turn your amp up to 11, we’ve got the song for you. “Elevation,” released by U2 in 2000, features two simple chords, E and A, plus an easy guitar riff.

How to Play Easy Guitar Songs

To play any of these easy guitar songs, you must have a solid knowledge of some basic guitar chords. Chords are three or more guitar notes that when played together create a harmony. If you haven’t yet mastered reading sheet music for guitar, chord charts are an easier way to learn how to play chords.

easy guitar chord This chart shows you how to play an A chord. Each of the six vertical lines represents one of the six strings on your guitar. Each horizontal line represents a fret. On chord charts, the line furthest to the left always corresponds to your sixth (or low E) string. The line furthest to the right represents your first (or high E) string. From left to right, the string names are E-A-D-G-B-E.

Your left-hand fingers are numbers one through four, starting with your index finger. According to this chart, you should play the A chord by placing your middle finger on the second fret of the D string, your ring finger on the second fret of the G string, and your pinkie finger on the second fret of the B string.

You’ll notice there are also Xs and Os at the top of the chart. The X represents a string that is not played. So when you strum your A chord, start from the fifth string down. The strings with Os at the top of the chart are played open, which means you should still strum this string but you do not need to hold down a fret with your left hand.

Now that you know how to read a chord chart, here are a few more basic chords you’ll need to learn in order to start playing easy guitar songs:

guitar chords chart

When you’re playing a song, you will need to be able to transition smoothly from one chord to the next. If you would like to practice changing chords before getting started with songs, try playing each chord above for four counts and then transition smoothly to the next chord.

Once you’re comfortable with these basic chords, it’s time to start putting them together and playing some easy guitar songs!

More Tips for Learning Easy Guitar Songs

It’s always best to start slow. Use a metronome and practice playing each part of the song slowly and in time. As your playing improves, pick up the pace until you are playing at the same tempo as the song. If you like, you can even play along with a recording of the song to give you a better feel for the rhythm.

For beginners, it is often very helpful to practice each part of the song separately before putting the whole thing together. Start with the verse, and once you feel comfortable playing that chord progression, move on to the chorus. When you feel confident playing each part separately, it’s time to put the whole song together.

No matter what song you’d like to play, odds are someone has already posted a YouTube video or a chord chart online. One of our favorite sites for free chord charts and guitar tabs is Ultimate Guitar. All of their arrangements are user-submitted, however, so be warned that you might sometimes come across a transcription of a song that doesn’t sound quite right.

Always remember to keep a positive attitude and have fun with your guitar! Learning to play these easy guitar songs might take some time at first, but you will only get better the more you practice. For more help learning how to play the guitar, sign up for lessons with a private guitar teacher. Your guitar teacher will help you avoid poor technique and bad playing habits. Search for a guitar teacher now!

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 Photo thumbnail by Rebekka

How to Play Ukulele: 5 Easy Ukulele Songs

ukulele

Once you’ve mastered playing chords on the ukulele, you’re ready to move on to tackling some songs. Here are 5 easy ukulele songs that are great for beginners. Remember, it’s okay to start slow and gradually increase your speed until you’re playing the song at its normal tempo.

Alouette

This French folk song is light and breezy. With just two chords for you to master, this is a great song to practice singing
while playing once you get the chord transitions down.

Tabs and chords for Alouette

Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

This children’s classic uses three basic chords.

Tabs and chords for Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

Old MacDonald

“Old MacDonald Had a Farm” is another classic children’s song that is easy to play on the ukulele.

Tabs and chords for Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star

Amazing Grace

This hymn is a little more challenging. Once you’ve mastered simpler songs, try adding “Amazing Grace” to your repertoire.

Tabs and chords for Amazing Grace

Knocking on Heaven’s Door

This classic Eric Clapton ballad is a bit more challenging than the other songs, but certainly doable for a beginner. Just remember to stay focused on learning the chords and start slow!

Tabs and chords for Knocking on Heaven’s Door

Use these songs as a jumping off point to get started playing the ukulele. There are lots of other great resources online that can help you learn to play just about any ukulele song you can think of. In fact, if you’re looking for more songs to play, here is a guide that lists songs based on category and experience level.

If you feel like you need a bit more help learning how to play ukulele, music lessons are another great option to explore. When you take private music lessons, your teacher can tailor lesson plans to you, to make sure you learn what you really want to know!

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Learn to Play 20 Songs Using 5 Easy Guitar Chords

5 Basic Guitar Chords & 20 Easy Guitar Songs for Beginners

easy guitar chords guitar songs
Are you ready to learn 5 basic guitar chords that are the basis of dozens of easy songs? In this blog post, we’ll take a look at a few simple open-string chords on the guitar that you can use to play many beginner guitar songs.

You’ll learn how to read guitar chord grids and tips for memorizing these 5 important guitar chord shapes. We’ll also take a look at a chord-change exercise that will help you get your chord playing skills up to speed in no time.

How to Play 20 Guitar Songs with 5 Easy Guitar Chords

Understanding Chord-Grid Notation

Along with guitar tablature (or “tabs), chord grids are an important shorthand method of notating guitar music. Although it is important for all guitar students to eventually learn to read music notation, tablature and chord grids are usually a better option for beginners who just want to learn simple rock, pop, or folk songs quickly. Remember, the notation is just a means to an end, and just another way to learn something you’ll play on your guitar.

basic guitar chord gridWith chord-grids, you are looking at a simple diagram, or snapshot, of the guitar neck. The guitar is oriented so that the headstock is pointing upward, horizontal lines represent the fret-wires that separate the frets (spaces), and the vertical lines are strings.

Dots inside the diagram represent left-hand fingers, which are placed over the string inside the indicated fret. For the ‘A’ chord pictured here, all three fingers sit inside the second fret. Set your fourth (pinky) finger on the 2nd string, your third (ring) finger on the 3rd string, and your second (middle) finger on the 4th string.

Often the left-hand thumb will stay anchored on top of the neck to deaden the sixth string. This is called a flesh mute and allows the guitarist to strum all six strings so that only five strings are heard.

5 Open-String, Basic Guitar Chords for Beginners

A, C, D, Em, G Guitar Chords for Beginners

Once you understand the notation, the next step is to get the chords down by memory. In some cases, these basic guitar chords can be remembered easily by comparing them to geometric shapes. If you connect the dots inside each grid, you’ll see that the ‘A’ is a straight line, the ‘C’ is a diagonal line, the ‘D’ is an equilateral triangle, and the ‘G’ chord forms an isosceles triangle.

After you have the chords memorized, it’s time to check each chord string-by-string to ensure all the notes are sounding. Pick through each string going downward from the bass strings to the treble strings. Listen closely to verify each note. If a string is muted, try resetting the fingers so they sit higher on the fingertips. Make sure the fingers do not touch against any open strings, thereby dampening them.

Chord Change Drills

guitar chord progressions

Practice changing between any two chords using this simple drill. Play each chord on beats 1 & 3, lift the fingers completely on beats 2 & 4, and repeat. Make sure to set and remove all the fingers together (simultaneously). By doing this for a few minutes each day, you will learn to do fast and clean chord changes in the left hand, which is key to being able to play songs well.

20 Beginner Guitar Songs Using Only A, C, D, Em, and G Chords

Now that you’ve mastered the basic guitar chords for beginners, you can move on to learning dozens of new songs. Here’s a list of 20 easy guitar songs that use only these five chords:

1. Bad Moon Rising (Credence Clearwater Revival)

2. Eleanor Rigby (The Beatles)

3. Brown Eyed Girl (Van Morrison)

4. Catch the Wind (Donovan)

5. Clementine 

6. Sweet Home Alabama (Lynyrd Skynyrd)

7. Lightly Row 

8. Amazing Grace 

9. Time of Your Life (Green Day)

10. Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star 

11. Heart of Gold (Neil Young)

12. Old MacDonald 

13. Story of My Life (Social Distortion)

14. Louie, Louie (The Kingsmen)

15. What I Got (Sublime)

16. Free Fallin’ (Tom Petty)

17. Anything, Anything (Dramarama)

18. Rockin’ in the Free World (Neil Young)

19. Mary Had a Little Lamb 

20. Viva la Vida (Coldplay)

These songs are just the beginning! If you need help mastering the chords, or adding more difficult chords such as the F Chord, to your repertoire, try working with a guitar teacher near you, or find one online. Taking guitar lessons is a great way to ensure you’re building your skills on a solid foundation. Now go have fun rocking out!

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