Old Joe Clark piano music for beginners, now with an easier G-to-F chord progression, has fun lyrics and great rhythm. With silly words about his 18-story house filled with chicken pie, Old Joe Clark is fun to sing too. It's also pretty easy! Here it is in several different versions...
Like a number of my favorite teaching songs, I've made several versions of Old Joe Clark piano sheet music.
This first version is for beginners just getting comfortable around Middle C, but ready to take a leap into playing skips (or thirds) in unfamiliar songs. (Skips in a FAMILIAR song such as Mary Had a Little Lamb, and Yankee Doodle seem to be much easier for kids, because their ear is helping them.)
Work with them on these skips -- you may want them to "help you" spot all the skips and put loops around them, perhaps with a colored pen or pencil.
This version below has a few "AlphaNotes" to help with the hardest spots:
I have not put any fingering in the LH -- you'll have to help your student decide whether they prefer their "2" finger or their "1" on bass clef B. Some kids really dislike cramming their thumbs together on Middle C, and will fight against any fingering that tries to force them that way, all the while reading the actual note itself just fine.
Frequently in method books, the specified fingering is arbitrary, and could just as well have been something else. By encouraging kids to (sometimes!) make their own choices about fingering, I hope that they will come to realize musical decisions are rarely cast in stone. I want to give them a sense of control, and the desire to think for themselves.
Here is an Old Joe Clark regular piano notes version with chord symbols added:
Use the chord symbols to suggest an accompaniment, or a Secondo, with the melody being the Primo. For an idea of how to do the chords, see the Secondo version below. A "boogie" back-and-forth kind of chord suits Old Joe Clark piano music very well, and the kids like the "bluesy" sound of the G7th at the very end...
I used to use a D7 chord as the contrasting chord, but substituting the F chord has made it possible for real beginners to play this part... they don't have to move far at all. The D7 chord was a big jump away from G. (Also, according to some commenters on my guitar version of Old Joe Clark, the F chord is more authentic.)
After kids can play the 2-handed melody easily, come back to it later with a bit of harmony:
Now the following arrangement it is very fun! It uses a D7 chord instead of F. I give this to students who are familiar with Old Joe Clark already, and who like the sound of 12-bar-blues boogie piano:
It is exactly the same melody, and same chords, but written so that one person can read and play the whole song without a duet partner. The penultimate F# chord brings a smile to students' faces the first time I play it for them!
Enjoy this free easy sheet music! And thanks for stopping by.
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? I'd love to hear 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...