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?  No!  Instead, your students will be playing more music sooner.

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

Familiar and stirring as well as comforting.

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!

Ants Go Marching lyrics & sheet music

Not for early beginners, but a student who can use a more complicated fingering.

This is a very fun song to play and sing!

Just a few alphanotes.

Arab Dance, also called "Coffee", arranged for beginner piano students

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.

Baby Shark piano music

Baby Shark sheet music

Yes, this is the song greatly loved by younger brothers and sisters and loathed, apparently, by their satiated older siblings and parents!

It starts with the familiar "Jaws" theme - just two different notes! - then jumps right into the theme.

Only a few notes have letter names.

Beethoven's Fifth Symphony Theme for piano beginners

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.

Free piano sheet music pdf for beginners

Boil'em Cabbage Down free piano sheet music pdf for beginners

This is TOTALLY FUN.  

You and your students have to try it to believe it.  

They will love how EASY it is, and how - after a week or two - it makes a dynamic duet!

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!

Chopsticks music for piano players

Chopsticks music

To be played with the index fingers...

The initial notes of the first four measures are lettered.

Duets and solos on this page.

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

Click above for the pdf you see here, or go to the main "Deck the Halls" page to find more 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!

Free classical sheet music

Egyptian Dance free classical sheet music, lead sheet

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.  

First Noel

The story of the first Christmas

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 easy piano music

First Noel, Middle C position

This arrangement of The First Noel has just a few "helper notes." 

First Noel with helper notes

Only a few alphanotes in this arrangement.

Found a Peanut

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

Frere Jacques piano music with letters in the noteheads

Frere Jacques

With repeating phrases and a familiar tune, this song will be an easy accomplishment for your young students!

Plus, the round is pretty.  Follow the numbers at the beginning of each grand staff.

Beethoven theme Fur Elise, easy music

Fur Elise, beginner version

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

Original Fur Elise with easy notes

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

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

Easy piano music "Go Tell Aunt Rhody"

Go Tell Aunt Rhody

A famous song - every beginning band must play it!

The nice thing is that it's actually PRETTY.

Piano sheet music "God is Good"

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.

This pretty piece is a BLAST for students!

Singing round "Have You Seen the Ghost of John," with letters inside the notes

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 is all most students need!

Irish Wedding piano lead sheet

Irish Wedding

This whirlwind of a melody is in 3/4 time, which makes it hard at first.

Once students learn this song, they LOVE IT, because it is FUN to play!

Irish Wedding "Helper"

Just a few alphanotes

Irish Wedding longer, helper version

Longer, fancier arrangement, but still do-able for first year students, once they learn broken chords.

Harder arrangements can be found here.

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

The Lake Pirates piano music, easiest arrangement in Am

Lake Pirates helper version - this link will take you to the Lake Pirates page

OH BOY.  This song is EPIC. 

Sounding much harder than it is (because of octave changes and left hand chord pattern changes), this song is a favorite of boys and girls alike. 

The easiest arrangement, shown here, has lyrics.

The other two arrangements are trickier but very satisfying.

Lavender's Blue piano music

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.

Find more songs like this one at  the page Halloween Songs.

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.

Morning Song piano sheet music with letters in the notes

Morning Song by Grieg

This is just the melody of the main theme, with chord symbols.  

Easy and pretty!

My Heart Will Go On sheet music for beginning piano

My Heart Will Go On Titanic Music

This is the beautiful theme from the movie "Titanic". Here, small chords are used in the left hand, and the occasional lettered note, to help beginners master the whole theme.

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 piano sheet music for beginners

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 sheet music for piano beginners

Old Joe Clark

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

The Pachelbel Canon, for beginning piano

Pachelbel Canon in D piano sheet for beginners

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

Fancy version of Pachelbel Canon for piano beginners

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 - also known as Hot Cross Buns - for beginning piano

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

This may be the easiest song ever!

Raggle-Taggle Gypsies

A fun ballad - a song story about a lady who leaves her house and lands to go off with the gypsies.

The Jaws theme song - or what sounds a lot like it! Piano sheet music for beginners.


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!

Shortnin' Bread with lettered notes

Shortnin' Bread sheet music

This version has "helper notes" - only a few named notes.  It is full of repeating patterns, but that doesn't mean it's repetitious!  Indeed, this is a charming bit of music!

Silent Night piano 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!  See a couple of videos, and more arrangement choices, at Star of the County Down Beginner Piano Music.

Star of the County Down helper version

Just a few lettered notes

Take Me Out to the Ballgame piano music for beginners

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.

Titanic music for beginner piano students

Titanic music "My Heart Will Go On"

This is a pretty but easy version of the main theme from the famous movie, Titanic.

The occasional lettered note, plus small chords in the left hand, make this song easy to master even for beginners.

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!  Note names in every note-head.

Twinkle Twinkle piano sheet with lettered notes

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 sheet music for piano with lettered notes

Wabash Cannonball

A great song with lots of energy about a train that travels all across the USA.

The lettered notes aren't in the graphic shown.

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 piano sheet music for early beginners

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, a late elementary arrangement for piano, with a few lettered notes

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.

Greensleeves melody piano sheet music for beginners

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.

Music for Music Teachers has other great free resources for piano teachers!  Take a look:

Rote Learning - leaving the written page behind (or treating it like a map!)

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Interested in songs from the Bible for your students or church?  Check out my other website,! clickable logo link

Songs Old & Songs New

All the first-year material I give my beginner students. 

Piano keyboard sheets, scales, chords, note-reading exercises, and over 256 pages of music!

The Story of Esther - a Bible opera!

Queen Esther in the Bible

This beautiful song book for piano & voice "Esther, For Such a Time as This",  available as a digital downloadtells the riveting story of the time when  Jews in ancient Persia faced a foe named Haman, and how a  brave young queen risked her life to save her people.

A good choice for a singing story-teller, an operatic group, a short theater production, or a class of children!

This book is also available from Amazon as a paperback.

Just the Black Keys, a piano song book for young beginners.

Just the Black Keys

This book is available as a digital download  from this site.  Visit this page to see some free examples from the book.

It is also available from Amazon as a paperback!

This is the perfect easy start for little pianists.

And when they start reading white-key notes on the staff, this is a fun easy resource to say each week, "Choose a new black-key song at home this week and figure it out to show me next lesson!"  They will be spending more time at the piano.

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

Teaching Little Fingers to Play Ensemble book

I just wanted to thank you for providing music for music teachers.

I have two piano students, one of which is my little sister. This site has been such a blessing! Thank-you so much!

Thanks for providing such a comprehensive music  teaching program with all the relevant tools.  

It will make it easy to introduce my 8 g-children and others to music.  You are truly a blessing.

Perfect Start for Notereading
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My elementary students love the songs!

One girl kept wanting me to play Cats at Night for her, and she was so excited to start learning it :)

Brave sheetmusic

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About the Author

Dana Thynes

Hi, I'm Dana!  (Say that like "Anna".)  I'm the owner of, and a newer site,

Like some of you, I've been playing the piano since early childhood, and have added a few other instruments along the way, plus an interest in arranging and composing music.

You can find out more about me and the reason for this website at my About Me page.