10 Easy Popular Songs to Play on Piano for Beginners

Pianote  /  Song Tutorials  /  May 8, 2024

Don’t think you can play songs on the piano as a beginner? Think again! Even the fanciest pop songs are often built on just a handful of chords. Play the chords and you can play a whole song! In this listicle, we’ll introduce you to ten easy popular songs to play on piano for beginners. We’ve linked in-depth tutorials and even free resources like sheet music, lead sheets, and chord charts. So get ready to play!

🎹 Your Go-To Place for All Things Piano

Get exclusive interviews, fascinating articles, and inspiring lessons delivered straight to your inbox.

By signing up you’ll also receive our ongoing free lessons and special offers. Don’t worry, we value your privacy and you can unsubscribe at any time.

#1. “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen

Leonard Cohen’s majestic classic only requires a handful of chords and the iconic accompaniment in the left hand fits nicely into the 6/8 time signature. In this easy-to-follow tutorial, Lisa shows you a range of ways you can approach the song with minimal sight-reading required.

> Tutorial

#2. “The Scientist” by Coldplay

The hypnotic opening riff to “The Scientist” only contains three simple chords…and you can play the entire song with them! One of Coldplay’s most beloved tracks, “The Scientist” proves that the formula to a great pop song lies in simplicity.

> Tutorial

#3. “Perfect” by Ed Sheeran

A perfect song for a lucky Valentine, Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” only contains four basic chords in G major. It also works well with the same broken chord pattern in 6/8 as “Hallelujah,” making this a perfect song to learn after it!

> Tutorial

#4. “Someone You Loved” by Lewis Capaldi

This song is originally in the key of D-flat major, but we’ve simplified it to the key of D major to make it more accessible. If you want to play it in D-flat major, however, just transpose everything down by one half-step. (Here’s a handy chords and scales library that might help.) In her tutorial, Lisa will show you ways to play the accompaniment and how the main riff is built out of the chord progression.

> Tutorial

#5. “Let It Be” by the Beatles

This Beatles classic is so well-suited for beginners, we use it as an example all the time. It’s in the key of C major, which means we don’t have to worry about any of the black keys. And it uses the Big 4 chords: C, G, Am, and F. Knowing your inversions will help with this one.

> Tutorial
> The genius behind “Let It Be”

All You Need Are 4 Chords

If you want to quickly learn any pop song, be sure to familiarize yourself with the Big 4 chords: C, G, Am, and F. With just these chords, you can unlock hundreds (if not thousands!) of popular songs. Get the full lowdown on how this works in our lesson here.

#6. “1 2 3 4” by Feist

Yes, the Canadian indie darling! This is an awesome little song that’s super beginner-friendly while sounding great. The iconic descending riff is just a descending bass line with a 1st inversion D major chord on top. In our tutorial, Lisa shows you how to move between chords with minimum movement using inversions.

> Tutorial

#7. “Sunday Morning” by Maroon 5

Maroon 5’s “Sunday Morning” is an excellent introduction to one of the most popular chord progressions out there: the 2-5-1. Sometimes notated as ii7-V7-Imaj7, this progression is a core building block of jazz music. It also sounds sophisticated and awesome! In this tutorial, Jordan explains how the 2-5-1 progression is built and teaches you how to play the neat little chromatic riffs in “Sunday Morning.”

> Tutorial

#8. “Stay” by Rihanna

The magic of this song is that it only contains a handful of chords all in a simple quarter-note rhythm. For the most part, the chords are straightforward triads, but there are some colorful 7th chords in the bridge and a few simple chord movements using inversions.

> Tutorial

#9. “Ocean Eyes” by Billie Eilish

“Ocean Eyes” by Billie Eilish is absolutely beautiful…and it only requires three chords In this lesson, Lisa will also teach you how to do some improvisatory exploring around the chords so you can start making the song you’re own. Or, just master the rhythmic movement and the three chords to capture what makes this song so great: its simple elegance.

> Tutorial

#10. “Faded” by Alan Walker

The handful of chords that make up “Faded” by Alan Walker are simple quarter note beats, but they’re such beautiful chords! This song is in D minor, which means there is only one flat (Bb) to worry about. For those who want to take the song to the next level, Lisa also shows you how to build out some harmony in the intro riff.

> Tutorial

Master the Piano YOUR Way 🔥

As a Pianote+ Member, you’ll get access to our 10-step Method, song library, and growing community of piano players just like you. Plus: get coached by world-class pianists and learn whenever you want, wherever you want, and whatever you want.


Thumbnail image photo credits (edited):

  • The Beatles: United Press International, photographer unknown, public domain via Wikimedia Commons
  • Ed Sheeran: Number 10, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
  • Billie Eilish: crommelincklars, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
  • Rihanna: Liam Mendes, CC BY-SA 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons
  • Lewis Capaldi: Harald Krichel, CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons
  • Feist: Raph_PH, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Charmaine Li is a Vancouver writer who has played piano for over 20 years. She holds an Associate diploma (ARCT) from the Royal Conservatory of Music and loves writing about the ways in which music—and music learning—affects the human experience. Charmaine manages The Note. Learn more about Charmaine here.

Start learning piano the easy and fun way.
Sign up for 4 FREE play-along lessons

By signing up you’ll also receive our ongoing free lessons and special offers. Don’t worry, we value your privacy and you can unsubscribe at any time.