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4 Easy Songs for Beginner Piano Players

Lisa Witt  /  Beginner Songs / Sep 23

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Playing pop songs on the piano can be very simple—and still sound great. One of the things beginners get frustrated with is being stuck with “baby songs” like “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” But with a handful of chords and few riffs under your hand, you can play the songs you hear on the radio and sound legit.

In this lesson, we’ll teach you how to play the following songs. You may be surprised at how accessible they are!

  1. “The Scientist” by Coldplay
  2. “Lean On Me” by Bill Withers
  3. “As It Was” by Harry Styles
  4. “Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd

How to Play Piano Using Chords

Chords are the foundation of Western music. With just a few chords, you can play hundreds of popular songs. In fact, you can unlock tons of songs with just four basic chords.

One convenient thing about using chords to learn piano is that chords are readily available. Just Google “[name of song] + chords.” There is a big library of chord charts on one of our favorite websites, Ultimate-Guitar.com. While, yes, this website is aimed chiefly at guitarists, you can toggle the settings to “piano” and see chord diagrams for piano.

But if you want an even more convenient way to reference chords, grab a copy of Piano Chords & Scales. This handy reference book is perfect for learning new chords or double-checking that you’re playing chords correctly.


“The Scientist” by Coldplay

Full tutorial available here

In “The Scientist” by Coldplay, the piano is the star. It features a simple piano strumming pattern that isn’t too fast or too slow. The chords we have to know for this song are:

Dm7 | B♭ | F | Fsus2

We’ll pair these chords with their bass note in the left hand. Together, it’ll look something like this:

“Lean On Me” by Bill Withers

Next, we’re flying back in time to play the classic, feel-good “Lean On Me” by Bill Withers!

This song is so fun and so simple. To play the main riff, you essentially keep your hand in one shape and then just move it around. The shape we’ll use on our right hand is the shape we use to play first inversion chords. For example, a C chord is played as E-G-C with fingers 1-2-5.

On our left hand, we’ll play the root notes of those chords. If your hands are big enough, you can play octaves to create more oomph. The motive can be played underneath the chorus too.

Imagining the melody in your head (or singing along!) will help with learning this song.

“As It Was” by Harry Styles

This song is a little faster in tempo, but it’s super fun! There are four chords:

D | Bm | E | A

With my left hand, I play the root note and the fifth. (For D, that’s D and A.)

There’s also a fun little hook that introduces the song. Slowed down, it goes like this:

Try playing this with the song in the background as a backing track.

“Blinding Lights” by The Weeknd

“Blinding Lights” is another fun little song with a cool hook in the beginning. It’s in E-Flat Major and goes like this:

The chords to this song are:

Fm | Cm | B♭ | E♭

If you look up the chords on Ultimate-Guitar.com, you may find that they refer to the flats as sharps. (So, instead of E-flat, they might say D-sharp). That’s just how guitarists roll—for us piano players though, you can think of it as E-flat.

Again, try playing with the track in the background—it’ll help you bring the song up to speed.

Next Steps

You’ve now learned the foundations to four songs! I hope you had fun 🙂 If you want to take your playing to the next level (by learning chord inversions, riff and fills, and other good stuff), check out our Power of Chords course in the Pianote Members Area. Not a Member? No problem! Try Pianote out for free with a seven-day trial.

TRY PIANOTE

Lisa Witt has been teaching piano for 19 years and in that time has helped hundreds of students learn to play the songs they love. Lisa received classical piano training through the Royal Conservatory of Music, but she has since embraced popular music and playing by ear in order to accompany herself and others.

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