Yankee Doodle for Beginning Piano Players

Yankee Doodle is a familiar song with a strong beat -- that's the kind of song most fun to play for beginning piano students. Here is free sheet music for Yankee Doodle, and lots of ideas for stretching your students' understanding of what chords are all about! 




This funny old video, below, has the Yankee Doodle lyrics and a great male singer bringing them to life! Wait for the introduction to be done - it's worth it: 



Yankee Doodle for beginner piano


Download free sheet music Yankee Doodle for beginners 


After they play through the melody, you can turn it into a duet by adding simple chords. With you, the piano teacher, on the bottom part (or secondo)and them on the top part, play through together like this: 

How to add chords to Yankee Doodle

Then try it, still as a teacher/student duet, like this -- much more energy in the music! (The bass staff shows the left and right hands playing open chords an octave apart.) 


Then switch parts, let them be the Secondo or chord part! First, have them play, with LH only, C chords all the way through the song -- it will sound just fine to a young musician with C chords only.

To help them keep time, use a conducting gesture -- a downward movement like a bouncing ball -- to compel a rhythmic response from them. This is far more effective, I have found, than just counting aloud. Physical movement from the teacher seems to propel their hands to move in time.

After a week or more of playing C chords only while you play the melody, have them play -- again, left hand only -- the F and G chords also, as 4-beat chords.

Last of all -- this is the most fun -- demonstrate how to play "Left, Right, L, R," with each of the chords. 

Yankee Doodle with chord symbols

Download free sheet music Yankee Doodle with chord symbols 

Show them the page with chord and slash symbols (or just write on their original sheet... I write all over my students' music, usually with colored pens). As with guitar players, the slash symbols make it very plain how many times to play the chords.

They will love playing in this rhythmic fashion with big arm movements, and it is an easy kind of duet for beginners to play together: all chords for one piano player -- no note-reading necessary -- and all melody for the other.

I have put no fingering into this piece. After a discussion about "skips" and "steps" (a talk you need to have again and again), they may not need any fingering at all.

Here is another Yankee Doodle video - same singer as the one above, but with fun pictures (unfortunately there are tiny skips in the sound from time to time): 






Have fun with Yankee Doodle! 



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Venugopal, India:
A few months ago I wrote to you about my problem to play with both hands on the piano. You encouraged me not to lose heart and keep practicing. I kept up my practice and now I am comfortable with using both hands. Thanks to your kind words, I am enjoying my piano every day.


Dannielle, Australia:
I was wondering if it was at all possible to gain permission from you to use some of the pieces of music on this website for my students performing at an Eisteddod in Australia? I have found this website most helpful to my teaching and the students seem to enjoy this music. Would you mind if they played some of these pieces in a public setting?
Dana:
Hi, Dannielle, Absolutely you may use my pieces in public! Thanks for asking (but no need). Best wishes for a fun performance.


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!!

Perfect Start for Notereading

Frank :
I am a public school music teacher. May I download your scale sheets for piano?
Dana:
By all means, Frank! On some of my free sheets, I have written "For Use by Private Music Teachers" down by the Copyright notice, but I really intend them to be for the use of all teachers and students alike.



Stasi:
AH!!!!! I am so happy to find a helpful site like this. I started to give piano lessons to one little girl from church and two girls requested voice lessons this spring. Since then, word got out and going into the fall I have 18 students. I am so excited, but I'm running out of materials that they can borrow, and I, like you hate telling the parents to buy more books. Because I have such a diverse group of students I spend SO much time making supplemental material and I feel like I have to pick through other websites, to only find one or two useful things. I am so thankful for the wealth of supplement that you have offered here! And it's all SO user friendly!! THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!!

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


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Kelly-Ann:
Thank you, Thank you, Thank you....I have a lot of books on graded pieces but not a lot of beginner pieces. I use material I have written myself together with books I encourage my parents to buy... but sometimes parents just can't afford a book- and as a teacher you sometimes do find your self searching for material....Thank you thank you thank you once again!

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TimTopham Piano Blog

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