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.

Pachelbel Canon easy piano sheet music

Are lettered notes like a "gateway drug", risking the possibility that your students will never learn to read music properly?  

Here are all the AlphaNote songs so far:

All the Pretty Little Horses, reading music notes for beginner piano players, free

All the Pretty Little Horses

This is very pretty, especially with secondo chords supplied by a duet partner, with 3 repeating lines!

Amazing Grace

The famous song written by a reformed slave trader, John Newton

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!

Arab Dance, also called

Arab Dance, or Arabian Dance

From the Nutcracker, this piece is mesmerizing and atmospheric! This is the most approachable of the melodies from Tchaikovsky's "Nutcracker Suite"

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!

Ash Grove

A song from Wales that describes the happiness of being with the beloved one... this is a famous old song with a arching melody line.

5th Symphony Beethoven

The famous 4-note motif that even kids know is what makes this piece so engaging & exciting!

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, Egyptian Dance, The Lake Pirates, and also a LONG VERSION of the Pachelbel Canon (not the one featured directly below...).


"There was a farmer, had a dog, and Bingo was his name-o!"

This song may drive you CRAZY, but it might be just what one of your students likes!

Blow, Ye Winds in the Morning

A sailor's song about whaling, with an engaging old tune!

This is a "helper" version.

The link will take you to the page, where you will also find a duet version of Blow, Ye Winds with alphanotes.

The Cat Came Back lyrics and chords for beginning piano, with some lettered notes

The Cat Came Back lyrics and chords

This link takes you to a page with several different arrangements.

This song with its hilarious lyrics (to kids) can be simplified down to just five notes!

It is two pages long, with lots of lyrics!

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

An old melody with old-fashioned words describing the condition of mankind

Deck the Halls free Christmas songs piano music for beginners

Deck the Halls With Boughs of Holly free Christmas songs

Go to the page to find many arrangements of this popular Christmas song!

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!

Piano arrangement of

Egyptian Dance free classical sheet music, "helper" version

This link takes you to the page for this mysterious-sounding music.

No, it's not really for beginners, but since it is ALMOST a five-finger song (minus the pretty broken chords), it is within reach of some beginning students with a little bit of help!

This beautiful melody from an opera by Saint-Saen uses an unusual scale to achieve its mysterious atmosphere.

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!

Erie Canal Song

A popular tune about an older time in America, when mules pulled barges along the Erie Canal

The Erie Canal song with two hands, alphanotes "helper"

The easy descending left hand of the first half of this song is a good challenge for students who already know the melody of the Erie Canal song.

This link will take you to the Erie Canal page with several different arrangements, including one with guitar tabs.

I've had lots of people request music with the note names on it to help them learn piano notes.  

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.

First Noel

The story of the first Christmas

First Noel with helper notes

Only a few alphanotes

Found a Peanut

Every kid needs to learn this silly song by-and-by!

Fur Elise, beginner version

Just the notes of the well-known theme, written around the notes beginners learn first, around middle C

r Elise original version, part 1 only

With helper notes - the actual notes of Beethoven's famous work.

Fuzzy Wuzzy piano song for beginners, with note names inside the note heads

Fuzzy Wuzzy all alphanotes

A cute and simple song about a bear with no hair

Fuzzy Wuzzy alphanotes helper

A helper version - just a few alphanotes

A helper version - just a few alphanotes

God is Good - God is So Good beginning piano song

God is So Good (or, God is Good)

A simple song about God that uses just 5 notes.

The challenge comes in the "skips" or thirds that make up the melody

God is So Good 

This arrangement has a left hand part as well; very easy!

God Rest You Merry Gentlemen

An old English Christmas carol, frequently heard in movies!

God Rest You Merry Gentlemen alphanotes helper

With just SOME of the notes having letter names in the heads.

Greensleeves (What Child is This)

A Christmas song, if you use the "What Child is This" lyrics.  This is one of the oldest and most beloved melodies still played today.

Greensleeves piano duet with letters inside the note-heads

Greensleeves piano music

This page has a choice of ALL lettered notes, a few helper notes, and shows how to play this duet with a full sound.

Haida, a singing round from Israel

Full of energy and opportunities for clapping, this is a favorite of my singers

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday is a difficult melody, but many of your students are going to want to play it!

Lettered notes will help them learn it faster.

Happy Birthday sheet music for early piano with left hand small chords and a few notes with letter names

Happy Birthday with chords, alphanotes helper

Just a few notes with letters in the note-heads

Hark How the Bells beginner arrangement, alphanotes helper

This is the famous Ukrainian Bell Carol, also known as "Carol of the Bells"  - and also "the Home Alone" theme, to kids who have seen that movie!

Hark How the Bells elementary, a helper version

Just a few AlphaNotes.

Singing round

Have You Seen the Ghost of John 

This is an amazingly LOVELY vocal round that has very silly words - but also alternate lyrics.

Hungarian Dance

Perhaps Brahms's favorite of his Hungarian Dances, this theme is full of fire!

I'm a Pirate is a fun piano song with a strong melody!

I'm a Pirate piano music sheets for beginners

A fun song for young kids, this piece has  a minor melody with strong intervals, repeated phrases, and exciting lyrics!

Check out the page for more versions.

Indian Dance piano song for young beginners - easy, and a favorite!

Indian Dance

One of the FAVORITE beginner songs, in which strong, drumming open chords can be added a few weeks after conquering the melody

Indian Dance helper

Only a few lettered notes

Irish Wedding

This whirlwind of a melody is in 3/4 time, which makes it hard at first, but once students learn this song, they LOVE IT.

Irish Wedding "Helper"

Just a few alphanotes

Irish Wedding longer, helper version

Longer, fancier arrangement.

Jingle Bells

Beginners will welcome this familiar Christmas tune into their repertoire.

Jolly Old Saint Nicholas helper version

This Christmas song can sound cheery or beautiful, depending on the way a duet player adds chords

Kum Ba Yah

The sweet melody asking God to be close and to hear prayer

Lake Pirates helper version

OH BOY.  This song is EPIC.  Sounding much harder than it is (because of octave changes and left hand chord pattern changes), this 3-page song is a favorite of boys and girls alike.  No lyrics, just a strong melody with chords.

Lavender's Blue

A pretty melody with charming lyrics, this is an old folk song, or even nursery tune. 

In the Kenneth Branaugh production of "Cinderella", the prince hears Cinderella singing this song and thereby is able to rescue her (Find my Lavender's Blue page and you & your student can watch two videos - the song from the movie, and the movie trailer).

Lavender's Blue helper version

Just a few lettered notes.

Louie Louie

Once students can reliably find & form triads, they are ready for this "song," which is really just an exercise that sounds like Louie Louie.

Why would they want to?  To understand the I-IV-V chords relationships.

And they want to because is fun and sound COOL!

Mary Had a Little Lamb

Despite being common and universal, kids still want to know this song. 

I make sure they know it WELL so that they can get started with simple chord practice.

Mary Had a Little Lamb alphanotes helper

Just a few lettered notes.

Minka alphanotes helper

A folk song from Ukraine, energetic!

Halloween song Monsters Everywhere, an EASY READ!

Monsters Everywhere

Halloween song that builds suspense even though it mostly moves by steps

Monsters Everywhere helper 

Adding just a few lettered notes

Morning Has Broken melody with lettered notes for shared hands, plus chord symbols, for piano.  Lyrics too.

Morning Has Broken

This beautiful melody was made famous years ago by Cat Stevens.

The song is quite difficult, being full of thirds and fourths and even fifths! 

Good note-reading is necessary, or... this sheet with lettered notes can help a beginner.

O Christmas Tree

Known as "O Tannenbaum" in its native country, this is a well-loved carol from Germany

O Holy Night

Long and difficult and quite beautiful, a carol about the wonderful night the Saviour of the world was born

Ode to Joy

Beethoven's most famous song ever.

All children should know this 5-finger melody!

Ode to Joy, helper version

Just a few lettered notes in the song

Old Joe Clark

This American melody with the silly words is extra fun when a duet partner adds boogie chords!

Pachelbel Canon in D piano sheet for beginners

Just the melody, needing a duet partner for this famous piece

Pachelbel Canon in D sheet music long and fancy version

This is melody AND chords, a solo! 

It includes the intricate fast-moving section that is so pretty.

Page 3 is shown.

Pizza Please (Hot Cross Buns) for right or left hand

This may be the easiest song ever!


This short song builds tension with only 3 different notes, and will remind you of the "Jaws"  theme song.


The same music, but dressed up with dynamic markings!

Legato slurs, accents, and rests add drama to this little piece!

Silent Night duet with helper notes

This Christmas carol arrangement has rolling chords in the secondo, and the melody in the primo

Slumber My Darling

This sweet lullaby by American Stephen Foster is especially for singers

Spanish Ladies

An old British sea shanty - boys & girls alike enjoy singing this energetic song!

Star of the County Down

A favorite at my studio with pianists, guitarists, & fiddlers, this Irish song is so fun to play!

Star of the County Down helper version

Just a few lettered notes

Take Me Out to the Ballgame

This energetic old favorite spans an octave and also has accidentals, but alphanotes make them easier.


This engaging minor melody about a spider uses just 5 notes.

Tarantelle alphanotes helper

Set in Am, this is a Middle C shared-hands version.  For more choices and difficulty levels, see the Tarantelle page.

The B-I-B-L-E

Yes, that's the book for me!  The popular children's Sunday school song.

This Old Man

Perhaps everybody knows this "knick - knack - paddy-whack" song. Only 6 notes, like Twinkle Little Star.

Toccata by Johann Sebastian Bach, introduction

This is the dramatic organ piece that makes us think of villains! danger! and excitement!

Toccata, very short and simple

Just the first 9 notes, repeated in different octaves

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

As easy as it comes!

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star helper

Just a few notes with letters

Up on the Housetop the Reindeer Pause

A fun Christmas song with a span of 6 notes.

Up on the Housetop the Reindeer Pause, in the key of C

The song is more singable for children in this key

Wabash Cannonball

A great song about a train that travels all across the USA

Wabash Cannonball melody, helper

Just a few lettered notes.

Wabash Cannonball Secondo

Add these boogie chords to give some energy to this song!

Waltzing Matilda

This very pretty song from Australia is not too hard for a first-year student, with letters in the noteheads!

This often becomes  FAVORITE song of young girls (boys, not so much!).

Waltzing Matilda with helper notes

This arrangement is also easy, and a good challenge for a beginning reader

We Wish You a Merry Christmas

This carol is perfect for the weeks leading up to Christmas!

We Wish You a Merry Christmas, late elementary arrangement, helper notes

Give your student a bit of extra help to nudge them along with this song.

What Child is This (Greensleeves piano music)

This page comes with several different versions - lettered notes & "helper" notes (just a few lettered notes).

This is the same tune as Greensleeves, but with beautiful words about the birth of the baby Jesus

What Do You Do With a Drunken Sailor, several versions on this page

If parents are okay with this song (lyrics ask what to do with the sailor), it can be very fun, as this is a great melody!

What Wondrous Love

A beautiful old song from the Shape-notes tradition, that asks what kind of love could cause the Lord of Bliss to die for us

White, Orange & Green (for singers, usually)

A fabulous song about love for one's country, with an engaging melody.  Not really for beginners, but I do give it to pianists as a lead sheet for chord work.

Wiegenlied, a helping version for singers

Sometimes called "Mozart's Cradle Song", this song is for singers who need help with the notes.

Yo Ho Ho

A fun song about life on the sea, set in A minor around the Middle C area

I've had lots of people request music with the note names on it to help them learn piano notes.  

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.

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.

I do want to caution you about ONLY giving lettered-notes songs to your students.  

You must continually be moving them along the reading road.  

The day may come when you realize they aren't looking at the direction of the noteheads, or learning patterns, but struggling only to read the tiny letters inside the notes.  

That actually slows them down.  These AlphaNote songs should be more like candy, eventually - an easy snack.

On the first two songs I made in this collection, 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 was 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.

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The Adventures of Tonsta, Volume 1, is a book about a young boy travelling over mountains and fjords from village to village, encountering trolls and helping folk in distress.

The Adventures of Tonsta

A perfect read aloud storybook
for little boys or girls. 

The Adventures of Tonsta highlight the travels of a very young boy with a good heart, who goes about helping folk in trouble.  

With a red cap on his head and a sack of tools slung over his shoulder, Tonsta seems to meet people in distress wherever he goes.

Lots of trolls in this book - including one who gives him a Christmas gift!

Available at Amazon

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