Free popular sheet music "Waltzing Matilda" is a very popular song indeed in my studio for beginner piano players. This easy version with all the lyrics is split between 2 hands, and makes a beautiful duet when a partner adds chords! (Or they can use the Secondo duet part.)
(If you're looking for a lead sheet or guitar tabs for Waltzing Matilda, go here.)
I call these easy pieces "notereader songs" -- they are a low-stress, non-threatening way for kids to learn the rhythm of a new melody.
The two versions -- long and short -- of Waltzing Matilda on this page are very easy, meant to be turned into a duet using easy key of C chords.
Free popular sheet music for beginners Waltzing Matilda in Middle C position
Free piano music for beginners Waltzing Matilda Middle C position, short (just page 1)
Printable piano music Waltzing Matilda in the key of D
Here's the piano music with letters:
(If played as a duet, the melody or Primo part must be played UP an octave.) The short version is just the verse of Waltzing Matilda. If my student seems eager for the rest of the melody, I give them the long version and make them use the fancy finger-replacement scheme 5-4-3-2 at the beginning of the chorus on page 2. At least, I make them try it.
If they figure out how to play that section on their own, correctly, without this finger-replacement step, I let them go ahead with their own fingering, as long as it works and they aren't doing AWFUL things such as stretching over several keys from finger 3 to finger 2, for example.
My basic rule is "Could you play this passage with your chosen fingering with your EYES CLOSED?" And I remind them that blind people can learn to play the piano very well. So fingering needs to be efficient -- no wasted fingers.
If your students can sightread this free popular sheet music instantly, have them try Waltzing Matilda in the key of D instead, which will offer them an opportunity to work with the Bm chord. In my studio, the chords will come after the melody is learned, then the student will learn how to play Waltzing Matilda as both a duet Primo (the melody) and a duet Secondo (the chord pattern).
Printable piano music Waltzing Matilda Secondo (short version)
With the key of D version of this free popular sheet music, I like to have my students help me find the "hidden" F and C sharps, in this manner:
First, they identify the two sharps in the key signature. There might be a rapid review of "Do-re-mi-fa-sol-la-ti-Do," and how the "last" sharp is always "ti." Few spoken words, but a quick illustration done by playing and singing the scale, dwelling on the "ti" sound of the C sharp.
Then, the task-at-hand: we hunt through each line for sharps... I say "There are 3 F sharps 'hiding' in this line. Can you spot them?" They always can, when asked like it is a game!
As the student points to each F sharp, I place a little dash (usually red-colored) next to the left of it with a pen or pencil. That is how my piano teacher helped me keep track of black notes, whether sharps or flats, and as a child, these were very helpful to me.
After students have conquered the melody -- sometimes it will be at the same lesson -- we start the chords. Week 1 will likely be just simple open chords. By the following week, they will be ready to try this lovely pattern:
When they are ready, have them try it in D. For some reason, it is more beautiful. Yes it is! Perhaps just because it seems very fresh to the ear for a beginner, who is so frequently playing with white notes only. Here is how that chord pattern looks in the key of D:
In fact, the list of piano chords in Waltzing Matilda encompasses every possible chord in each particular key - the I, ii, iii, IV, V, & the vi chords. I like to point this out to students.
If they haven't tired of Waltzing Matilda and seem willing to stretch their skills using this song, introduce them to the lead sheet for Waltzing Matilda, in which the melody is taken entirely in the right hand, and all chord work in the left.
This beautiful Australian folk song may well be one of your students' favorite songs for a while...
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