10 Easy Clarinet Songs for Beginners (With Videos)
Clarinet beginners are eager to play beautiful melodies of the songs they love during the process of learning. Beginner clarinet players should focus on learning easy songs to practice fingering, breath control, and holding a note.
This is the recommended approach to building confidence while playing. The last thing you want is to be discouraged and delay the learning process.
I made a selection of 10 easy clarinet songs from various genres and various periods to introduce you to. I’m gonna briefly explain how and why each song in the list may be ideal for a beginner, so let’s start!
1. Canon – Johann Pachelbel
Pachelbel’s Canon is one of the most famous Baroque music works. It was written for three violins and ground bass in the last years of the 1600s. The distribution of this musical work was after the early 20th century. After its publication, the piece became so popular that it was possible to hear it any time on TV, in a movie, or at a wedding.
“Canon” can be played on any instrument and sound beautiful on most. The main theme is highly used in many popular songs.
For beginners, it’s important to practice long notes. Popular songs have an advantage because they are well-known, easy to play and memorize at the same time. This is why Pachelbel’s Canon may be one of the best pieces for beginners.
2. Ode to Joy – Ludwig van Beethoven
“Ode to Joy” is a poem written in the late 18th century by the German poet, Friedrich Schiller. One setting of this poem is sung by a chorus and vocal soloists in the final movement of Beethoven’s 9th Symphony. This piece has both classical and romantic stylistic characteristics.
“Ode to Joy” became one of the most famous songs ever, because of Beethoven’s music. You may hear it during a sports event or a sports program on TV or radio. Like Canon, “Ode to Joy” has been transcribed for many different types of instruments over time.
For clarinet beginners, it’s an ideal song to learn, because it is well-known, likable, easy to play, and easy to learn. This great song helps you to improve the top register sounds.
3. Au Claire de la Lune – Jean-Baptiste Lully
“Au Claire de la Lune” is a traditional French nursery rhyme. It is guessed that the song was composed by Jean-Baptiste Lully in the second half of the 17th century. The lyrics of the song were published by Théophile Marion Dumersan in 1843.
I chose one or two songs specifically for beginners and young children but “Au Claire de la Lune” is also for older students. It can be used as a simple exercise to practice in the first few weeks of the learning process.
4. Oh My Darling, Clementine – Percy Montross
“Oh My Darling, Clementine” is a Western folk song written by Percy Montross in 1884. The origin of the music is a mystery. It may be a Spanish ballad that arrived in America during the Gold Rush, or maybe not.
The song is a soft ballad. It doesn’t require any complicated technique. But, it provides you with a new exercise for tonguing and practicing “dotted eighth notes & 16th notes”.
5. My Favorite Things (Julie Andrews) / The Sound of Music – Richard Rodgers
“My Favorite Things” is a song from the musical “The Sound of Music” produced by Rodgers and Hammerstein in 1959. The composer of the song is Richard Rodgers.
Learning this song on the clarinet is easy and the song gives you good vibes. The notes that you play in this song are the most problematic in terms of tuning. This song may be a lifelong tuning exercise for clarinet artists.
6. The Pink Panther / Music from the Film Score – Henry Mancini
The Pink Panther is the music of the movie soundtrack composed by Henry Mancini in 1963. It was written for the flute and was far from easy but when it became popular, it was simplified and transposed for beginner wind players.
This song is ideal as a beginner exercise for gradually improving the embouchure and the breath to the alterations. Increasing your average breath control will benefit you in the long run.
7. Hey Jude (The Beatles) – John Lennon and Paul McCartney
“Hey Jude” is one of the biggest hits of the famous band, The Beatles. The music was composed by John Lennon and Paul McCartney in 1968.
“Hey Jude” is a slow yet enthusiastic song. It’s melodic and easy to play. No technical challenge is required. Learning to play “Hey Jude” on the clarinet may be a good practice to make more expressive of your musicality and interpretation.
8. If I Were A Rich Man / Fiddler on the Roof – Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock
“If I were a rich man” is from the musical, Fiddler on the Roof, composed by Sheldon Harnick and Jerry Bock. The song is written in the Klezmer style and it sounds like the cheerful crying out of a poor man. I like this contrast.
Learning “If I were a rich man” may be a nice first step toward getting to know “world music”. It is a good exercise for practicing legato playing, detaché, and staccato tonguing.
9. Don’t Worry, Be Happy – Bobby McFerrin
“Don’t worry, be happy” is a famous song in a capella style written and performed by Bobby Mcferrin in 1988. Learning this song helps you understand syncopation better.
The above tutorial will show you how to play the song and take it step-by-step to master it. With a good practice session, you can have this one in your pocket.
10. Bad Guy – Billie Eilish O’Connell and Finneas O’Connell
“Bad guy” is a hit song by Billie Eilish written by her and her brother Finneas in 2019. The vocals of Billie Eilish in this song are joyful, dark, and kind of a softly-spoken style.
This tune is easy to play on the clarinet, and you can even take it a step further once you learn more techniques. Learning to play “bad guy” may be fun, encouraging, and motivating for beginners.
Why start with Easy Songs?
Learning easy songs is helpful to understanding the rich characteristics of the clarinet already at the start. Gradually, you will advance as an intermediate player.
These songs will help improve different skills while having fun. Having fun keeps you motivated and curious about what you do. The learning process will help you decide if you want to become a professional clarinet artist and also about what kind of music you want to make.
Besides, the standard B♭ type of clarinet is best for beginners, so, there is a lot of sheet music transposed in B♭ for the B♭ instruments on the web. Usually, improvisation, alternate fingering, and similar stuff come later. Give the above list a try.
With so many great songs out there and names like Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and the sort, a beginning clarinetist can be overwhelmed. With a wide variety of familiar songs, however, you can master basic chord changes.
You can even try easier songs like “happy birthday”, “jingle bells”, “saints go marching in”, “hot cross buns”, “marry had a little lamb”, and “la cucaracha”, “house of the rising sun”, and similar.
These songs are all easy to play on the clarinet. This is an easy list for beginners on the clarinet that can help get you started and more confident at playing the instrument. It can also help you grasp the concept of rhythm and tempo as you practice. With a piano accompaniment on most of the tutorial videos, you will enjoy great-sounding practice sessions.