Note-Naming Worksheets - Reading Music Notes for Beginners

NOTE NAMING WORKSHEETS ought to be more fun than just worksheets.  These ones are, because they are real songs and pieces that kids love.   With "made easy" notes - keyboard music notes with names, these are songs the kids actually want to play.

Are lettered notes like a "gateway drug", risking the possibility that your students will never learn to read music properly?  On the contrary, in the early stages of note-reading, not only can many tears can be avoided and the reward of playing actual  music be reached, but understanding of the up-and-down movement of notes on the staff is reinforced!

I enjoy seeing students dive excitedly into a new piece and follow the lettered notes carefully, especially in the "helper" versions, where only a few tricky notes or measures are lettered.  I'm excited for you to see your students accept new music more willingly, too!

Most of the pieces on this page are beginner level, with a melody shared by both hands, but a few are more challenging, such as part 1 of Für Elise, with the original notes, The Lake Pirates, and also a LONG VERSION of the Pachelbel Canon (not the one featured directly below...).

Pachelbel Canon easy piano sheet music

Here are all the AlphaNote songs so far:

All the Pretty Little Horses

Amazing Grace

Arabian Dance, from the Nutcracker

Ash Grove

Beethoven's 5th Symphony - go to the page to download 3 arrangements


Come Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy (a Sacred Harp melody)

Deck the Halls With Boughs of Holly, an alphanote helper

Egyptian Dance helper version

Erie Canal Song

Erie Canal with 2 hands, helper version

First Noel

First Noel with helper notes (only a few alphanotes)

Found a Peanut

Für Elise, beginner version

Für Elise original version, part 1 only, with helper notes

Fuzzy Wuzzy

Fuzzy Wuzzy helper version

God is So Good

God is So Good with chords

God Rest You Merry Gentlemen, alphanotes

God Rest You Merry Gentlemen, alphanotes helper

Greensleeves (What Child is This melody)

Greensleeves chords & melody, lettered notes & helper notes

Haida, a singing round from Israel

Happy Birthday

Hark How the Bells beginner arrangement, alphanotes helper

Hark How the Bells elementary, a helper version

Have You Seen the Ghost of John

Hungarian Dance

I'm a Pirate - go to the page for solo & duet versions

Indian Dance

Indian Dance helper

Irish Wedding

Irish Wedding "Helper" - just a few alphanotes

Irish Wedding longer, helper version

Jingle Bells

Jolly Old Saint Nicholas helper version

Lake Pirates helper version

Lavender's Blue - with the Cinderella song lyrics!

Lavender's Blue helper version

Louie Louie

Mary Had a Little Lamb

Mary Had a Little Lamb alphanotes helper

Minka alphanotes helper, Dm traditional version

Monsters Everywhere, a Halloween song

Monsters Everywhere, with just a few helper notes

Morning Has Broken

O Christmas Tree (O Tannenbaum)

O Holy Night

Ode to Joy

Old Joe Clark

Pachelbel Canon in D piano sheet for beginners

Pachelbel Canon in D sheet music long and fancy version

Pizza Please (Hot Cross Buns) for right & also left hands - see the main page

Sharks, plain version

Sharks, with dynamic markings

Silent Night duet with helper notes

Slumber My Darling (for singers)

Spanish Ladies, an old British sea chanty

Star of the County Down

Star of the County Down helper version

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

The B-I-B-L-E

This Old Man - NEW!

Toccata by Johann Sebastian Bach, introduction

Toccata, very short and simple

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star helper (just a few notes with letters)

Up on the Housetop the Reindeer Pause

Up on the Housetop the Reindeer Pause, in the key of C (more singable)

Wabash Cannonball, melody

Wabash Cannonball melody, helper

Wabash Cannonball Secondo

Waltzing Matilda

Waltzing Matilda with helper notes

We Wish You a Merry Christmas

What Child is This, lettered notes & helper notes

What Wondrous Love

White, Orange & Green (for singers)

Wiegenlied, "Mozart's Cradle Song", for singers

Yo Ho Ho, a song about life on the sea - please see the page

Yes, I've scoffed at this shortcut approach.  Not anymore.  What I've seen is that kids are much more willing to take on a new piece of music if there is a bit of help - or a lot of help - there.  They are playing MORE music!

Plus, their interpretation of the "up" and "down" movement of the notes is reinforced - or corrected.  A bit like a video game, this is an instant feedback system that really helps even with familiar melodies.  I have seen this with my students!

I've had lots of people request music with the note names on it to help them learn piano notes, so I've decided to make available, over time, an AlphaNote version of the music of every beginner level piece (along with the standard notation music, of course).  Today I gave "All the Pretty Little Horses", AlphaNote version, to a young beginner, and smiled to hear her persevere past the skips in the melody.  (Those skips always trip them up.)  

My young beginning readers and even pre-readers dive into this music:

All the Pretty Little Horses, reading music notes for beginners

Download All the Pretty Little Horses with easy-to-read keyboard music notes

It will be fun to see how it goes... reading music notes for beginners is a long process, in any case, and I'm hoping this encourages the learning of more songs, more quickly, rather than a reliance on the little letters inside the note-heads.  Maybe it will end up being like guitar tablature - the kids fight every step of the way against reading standard notation!  But I don't think so.

On the two initial songs, Mary Had a Little Lamb and All the Pretty Little Horses, I just went ahead and put AlphaNotes - piano music with letters - in every measure, but that was because I'm just getting to know this software.  I think what I'm actually headed toward is just supplying the names of the first note of each hand, or perhaps the first measure.  

I'll be listing new additions to the "AlphaNote Repertoire" here on this page, which can be found in "Music Education Tools" under "Piano Teaching Tools".

Comments: Do you have a story or a question about music teaching? Share it!

Please note that all comments are moderated, and will not appear until I have approved them. Also, IF YOU ARE ASKING FOR MUSIC THAT IS NOT IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN, YOUR REQUEST WILL BE IGNORED. That's pretty much any music written in the last 75 years...

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