Yankee Doodle
for Beginning Piano Players

Yankee Doodle with more arrangements!

  • A new late elementary/early intermediate piano arrangement
  • Two Middle C arrangements with the full melody and chord symbols
  • A Middle C arrangement for early beginners with a short melody
  • The same short version, with chord symbols for a duet partner
Yankee Doodle piano

This arrangement starts with small chords, which open up to large "swingy" chords for the chorus, lending energy to the song!

Yankee Doodle lyrics and music

Please scroll down the page for the download links.

Lots of fun lyrics

There are more verses of Yankee Doodle lyrics than shown here.  Some of them, being from the 1700's, are hard to understand, with antiquated terms, but the verses that are here are fun to sing!

In case you don't know, "Yankee Doodle" was a term of derision that the British applied to the soldiers of the colonies in pre-Revolutionary War America.  The colonials adopted it and turned it into a patriotic name!

A fun old video

This 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: 

A Middle-C version for early students

Yankee Doodle beginner music
Easy Yankee Doodle lyrics

Simplified rhythms

When we reach the chorus, you may notice that the rhythm is very straight, not dotted as it should be.  Changing the rhythm is something that is frequently done for beginning musicians, in piano music and also other instrumental music.

If you wish for the original rhythm in this song, here is what it looks like:

Dotted rhythm in Yankee Doodle

There is a PDF download of this version available, farther down the page.

A good song for beginners - two shortened versions

This song has a strong beat -- that's the kind of song most fun to play for beginning piano students!  It is also a familiar tune, and kids love it when they realize that they already know how a song should sound.

Yankee Doodle for beginner piano

Please scroll down the page for the download links.

So the melody is great, but additionally, this free sheet music page has lots of ideas for stretching your students' understanding of what CHORDS are all about.  Keep reading.

Yankee Doodle with chord symbols

Please scroll down the page for the download links.

How to make a duet

Notice the added chord symbols in the graphic above? After kids play through the melody, you can turn it into a fast 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 on the piano

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.) 

Piano Chord patterns for Yankee Doodle duet

Switch parts

Then switch places on the piano bench: let them be the Secondo  chord part! 

First, have them play, with LH only, C chords all the way through the song -- though the song really needs an F chord as well as the G chord, it will sound just fine to a young musician with C chords only.

Use a hand gesture

As you play the melody with one hand, let your other hand help them keep time, by using 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 time, add in all chords

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

Adding energy

Last of all -- this is the most fun! -- demonstrate how to play "Left, Right, L, R," with each of the chords.  You can see how this is done by studying the page Star of the County Down beginner piano.

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).

The slash symbols should 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)

All melody for the other.

Use your own fingering

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 (there are tiny skips in the sound from time to time): 

The links for the music PDFs:

Download intermediate piano arrangement of Yankee Doodle

Download Middle C arrangement of Yankee Doodle with long lyrics

Download the easy arrangement with the common dotted rhythm

Download free sheet music short Yankee Doodle for beginners

Download short Yankee Doodle with chord symbols 

Interested in songs from the Bible for your students or church?  Check out my other website, SingTheBibleStory.com!

SingTheBibleStory.com clickable logo link

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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...

About the Author

Dana Thynes

Hi, I'm Dana!  (Say that like "Anna".)  I'm the owner of Music-for-Music-Teachers.com, and a newer site, SingTheBibleStory.com.

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.