Camptown Races duet and solo for guitar or fiddle is great for guitar students who are beginning to read standard notation. Yes, I'm talking about playing the melody, not just the chords! My students are always just a bit shocked when I make this plain to them.
This song, in this key, makes a great beginning-to-read-real-notes song for guitar players, because there are so many open strings. See the bottom of page 2, the note-reading guide and tablature for guitar.
I gave this to an 8-year-old boy last week, just the first 2 measures, and it was a bit of a struggle, but he's catching on. This week we added 2 more measures, "Doo-dah! Doo-dah!" He can already read tablature, so the transition to notes is possible with lots of repetition.
The notereading guide is a fairly new approach I'm taking. In the past I've printed Tablature/ Standard notation guides for my guitar students to use, but I'm finding that having the notes with tab right on the music keeps my students working a bit harder!
That wasn't all we did to prepare to read notes... we also drew the treble clef note names "D - E - F - G - A - B - C - D - E" on a giant horizontal staff, and then played a game drawing cards with the letter names, and placing tiny alphabet blocks onto a large cloth board I have. Every time he pulled a card that was an open string, he found it on his guitar. If it was a card that needed a fretted string, I played it on my guitar.
It was a useful exploratory "game" - it was the first time he became aware that all the E's on the guitar sound the same, but in different octaves. Anyway, this is only the beginning of note-reading activities...
Below is a solo version of Camptown Races, with tabs. Like the duet above, this is a nice key for violin as well. With guitar, you can help your student decide if they want to be tough and use their pinky finger on the 4th fret notes, or talk to them about first versus second position.
Since this melody will not require using the first fret, they could just use finger one on fret 2 and finger three on fret 4. Personally, I like to encourage them to stick with matching the finger to the correct fret for a very long time, in order to form good habits! That means finger one on fret one, finger two goes on fret two, etc.