Ode to Joy Piano
Music for Beginners

Ode to Joy is one of Beethoven's most recognized and beloved melodies. Perhaps your student's older brother has played it on his trumpet in school band, or perhaps he has heard it sung in church as "Joyful, Joyful, we adore thee..." Here are several versions of simple, free kids sheet music for beginning piano players which can be dressed up with chords.



It is just possible your student has heard the song sung by a quartet at the end of Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. However it may be, if they have heard this most famous of Beethoven's songs before, they will want to play it themselves!

This is probably how they will want to play it:

Ode to Joy for beginner piano

Beethoven's Ode to Joy with Left Hand

And eventually, beginners will play it like that. But at first, I simplify the melody so they can concentrate on reading the notes:

Easy piano song Ode to Joy


Free Beethoven printable piano music easiest version 

With only minimal fingering, kids read this song just like "Snakes," except I warn them that there are some skips hiding in some of the measures. We go looking for the skips (or thirds), and circle them with a colored pen.

This free kids' sheet music is a simplified version of Beethoven's actual rhythm. Another change I have made is to turn the melody up at the end of line 3 instead of down, in order to contain the melody within one hand. That way,we can add chords in a few weeks or months when the melody is very strong.

With chords, Ode to Joy can be dressed up for a duet, or returned to later when they have gained more skill and their hands are more independent.

Ode to Joy with chord symbols


Free kids' sheet music Ode to Joy with chord symbols

When should you start adding chords? As I said, not until the melody is well in hand.

I've had kids play the chord accompaniment different ways in this piece, but always starting it as a duet with them on the melody and me on the chords -- BIG chords. It's good for them to feel the majesty of this piece and to learn to feel comfortable with all the sounds happening while they strive to keep the melody going rhythmically. (If they get too lost and confused initially, then I drop the fancy accompaniment and just play along with them, doubling their part.)

Ode to Joy accompaniment


This is the kind of accompaniment I might make - FOR ME, THE TEACHER!

Then we switch places, and I have them try C and G open chords all the way through, striking the chord on beat 1 only. Changing chords may be a little slow at first, but this student will have been playing the C, F, and G chords of the 12-Bar-Blues for at least a few weeks or months by now.

Open chords with Ode to Joy


Then we do something fun. I point out to them that they can change from C to G and back to C again without even looking at their hand, if they "sneak" through the g key, using it as a landmark."Close your eyes and try it," I tell them, and now it becomes a challenge. They love a challenge!

Then we go through the whole piece, with me on the melody and them on the chords, left handonly, swapping back and forth from C to G to C.

Line 3 is a lot of work, moving twice a measure. Watch out where there are 2 C chords in a row! Then line 4 is just like line 2.

After we have played Ode to Joy all the way through, we make one last change...after the energy of line 3, it doesn't seem right to settle back down to just one chord a measure, so we put four chords in each measure of line 4 -- what a difference! I ask them if they can feel the difference, and they can indeed!

It may be some time before they can put this vigorous left hand together with the right hand melody, but that's okay...in the meantime, you have a great duet, and they are learning chord basics.



Sheet Music Plus Classical













Comments

Do you have a funny story about this music, or does it remind you of something you'd like to share with other readers? Do you have a question? We'd love to hear it!

Enter Your Title

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Naming the Notes 
I think personally that all the notes should be named with the letter e.g. GGGEEEDDD Dana: I leave that up to the discretion of the individual …

Why Don't You Put Names Over the Notes? 
You should put the notes names above the notes. It would be sooo much easier for learning children. Thanks! Dana: Hi, Zhanna, If I did that, …

I need help! 
I really want to learn piano is there any way I can do it online? Dana: I suggest you have a look at You Can Play Piano.com , the suggestions …

Why should we not write the letters in? 
Some of the time beginners will struggle to play the notes. Why should we not write the letters in English or write the English letters under the notes …

Question - Do You Have the Letters for the Pieces? 
I have a question. Do you have the letters for the pieces. I would like to teach my little brother how to play the piano and the letters would be the easiest …

Thank you! 
This site was great it helped me get lots of sheet music for the summer while I'm off of piano lessons :) Thank You soooo much!!!!

Thank You for Age-Appropriate Sheetmusic 
I just wanted to say what a relief it is to find a resource that isn't smothered with baby pictures. I have older beginners learning at the moment and …

Please Could You Put the Names on the Notes? 
Please could you put it like: EEFGGFED As I can understand that! ;) Dana: Hi, Anonymous. I see that you have already figured out the beginning …

Thank-you! I was happy to find your downloads... 
I was getting lost on the internet looking for some very simple beginner stuff when I found your amazing site. My son is 8 and says he wants to learn …

Click here to write your own.

New! Comments

Have your say... Leave me a comment in the box below.

Matt:
THIS SITE IS AMAZING!!... Thank you so much for your hard work getting these on the web, you have made many children very happy!!

Patriotic Solos Book Level 2


Becky:
A thousand thanks for your beginning piano and guitar songs. I've already printed several for my children, including the Pretty Little Horses TAB and Carol of the Bells for piano. What a wonderful resource!




Joy:
I bought your Halloween Songs, wrote teacher accompaniment for some, and performed with 17 of my students in costume at an assisted living facility. It was a "win-win" situation. The kids and residents loved it and the parents were very pleased with the service aspect of their children's performance as well. Thank you for sharing these lovely pieces that introduce the minor key in a very simple and interesting way to early elementary students. 



Helpful Piano Sites

Beth'sMusicNotesBlog

Cantorian.org


EyeEarRevolution (a blog)

FreePianoLessons4Kids

FreeSheetMusic.net

Martha Beth's Piano Site

MusicFolkPlayHymns

MusicLessonsPlus

MusicInMotion.com

MusicMattersBlog

Musicnotes.com

Piano Music for Boys (Teach Piano Today)

Piano Adventures Forum

PianoWorldForum

Sheetmusicplus

Susan Paradis Teacher Resources

TCW Resources

TimTopham (a blog)



Over 60,000 digital sheet music titles!

Harry Potter Sheet Music

“Firework” by Katy Perry

Sound of Music

South Pacific

Hello Dolly

Brigadoon

Cabaret

Carousel

Chicago

Fiddler on the Roof

Godspell

Grease

Guys & Dolls

The King and I

My Fair Lady

Oklahoma

Oliver

Show Boat

West Side Story

Browse the world's largest sheet music store!

Marybeth:
I love your site! It has been an incredible resource forme as a Music teacher. I love your ideas and the music you share...

Rossana:
Greetings from Perú, South America. I like your blog, I teach piano to children, and it isgood for all the piano teachers.

Carrie,Voice and Piano Teacher:
This site is FABULOUS. For all the reasons you explain on the site itself--this is exactly what piano teachers need! (I still need to go look at the vocal music). Wow. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

The Hobbit sheet music

Kim in Washington:
My son is hooked...I've been introducing piano to my son on and off for a year or so, but he's not had much interest. Then I gave him "Monsters Everywhere". He loved playing it with the organ sound on our piano. He memorized it that week and I'm printing off the other Halloween songs to keep him going. I love the detailed instructions on teaching since he is my first student! Thanks so much.
Dana:
That is so neat that your son has experienced the magic and mystery of music through this little song. That is so exciting to me. Thanks for writing, Kim!

Folksongs for Two book, Music-for-Music-Teachers.com

Carrie,Voice and Piano Teacher:
This site is FABULOUS. For all the reasons you explain on the site itself--this is exactly what piano teachers need! (I still need to go look at the vocal music). Wow. THANK YOU SO MUCH!



Miggy, United Kingdom:
I've just found your website and I think I've died and gone to heaven. I've just taken up the piano again after 35 years absence... buying sheet music was getting expensive/a luxury. The tips are great too. I also live in the middle of nowhere so buying from a shop is not really an option unless I fancy a 120 mile round trip for a piece of sheet music!

Perfect Start for Notereading

Doris:
Thank you so much for this website, I have found just about everything that I need in music.



Elania:
...I have been slowly giving my oldest daughter whatever my memory can dredge up, scouring the internet for free music she can do, but your website with its instructions AND tips on how to teach pieces are going to help me SO much in this endeavor. I just wanted to tell you thank you. Really really! THANK YOU!

Les Miserables movie sheetmusic

Cathy:
I recently purchased your arrangement of The Moldau (a longtime favorite of mine). I wasn't sure if any of my students would be interested in it, but to my amazement 3 of my students LOVE it. Thank you so much for making your great arrangement.

Downton Abbey sheetmusic download

Bob:
I am a "retiree" and brand new guitar student. I have used your guitar tabs for Shenandoah and Amazing Grace, and find it exciting to hear real music coming out of my guitar for the first time.

Organ book for beginners


Marta:
Thank you for the free downloads! I'm a private teacher and I teach piano and beginner voice as well. :) I've been running my studio for about a year and I've come across the same issue; I don't want my students to have to purchase an entire supplemental book for only a couple of songs. So thank you for this site...some great downloads!!


Cailan:
There is an incredible amount of people online who just want to be heard, but very few who have given what you have so clearly. Regarding instruction for those of us who can't afford lessons, your site has been a real gift to stumble across. I'm looking forward to now removing a few bad habits. My humblest thanks from Australia.

Great Music Resources

ArtSongCentral

Beth'sMusicNotes

Cantorian.org

EyeEarRevolution (a blog)

FreePianoLessons4Kids

IMSLP

Martha Beth's Piano Site

MusicFolkPlayHymns

MusicLessonsPlus

MusicMattersBlog

Musicnotes.com

Piano Adventures Forum

Piano Music for Boys (Teach Piano Today)

PianoWorldForum

Sheetmusicplus

Susan Paradis Teacher Resources

TCW Resources

TimTopham Piano Blog


Would you like to receive an email once a month to see what's new at Music-for-Music-Teachers? Use the sign-up form below to get "Take Note".

Enter Your E-mail Address
Enter Your First Name (optional)
Then

Don't worry — your e-mail address is totally secure.
I promise to use it only to send you Take Note! E-zine.