The recorder is such a popular and easy instrument to get started on. There is a reason why many of us learned this instrument in school, as it gives students a solid musical foundation.
I’ve put together a list of 20 easy songs that you can play on a recorder that will get you in the mood for learning! Apart from that, you can find some advice on what makes for an easy recorder song and what tunes you should pick when you’re learning.
- 1. Happy Birthday to You
- 2. Titanic: My Heart Will Go On
- 3. Baby Shark
- 4. Amazing Grace
- 5. Ode to Joy
- 6. It’s Raining
- 7. Mary Had a Little Lamb
- 8. Row Row Row Your Boat
- 9. Old MacDonald Had a Farm
- 10. Jingle Bells
- 11. Silent Night
- 12. We Wish You A Merry Christmas
- 13. When The Saints Go Marching In
- 14. The First Noel
- 15. Pop Goes the Weasel
- 16. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
- 17. Rain Rain Go Away
- 18. Bingo Was His Name-O
- 19. Oh My Darling Clementine
- 20. Hot Cross Buns
- What Makes a Song Easy on Recorder?
1. Happy Birthday to You
One of the most recognizable songs in the entire world, this instant birthday classic is an easy tune you can learn to play on any instrument. It has a total of 6 notes, so it will take you up and down pretty much the entire scale, but the melody is so easy you will master it in no time. This is also a great tune to practice different note lengths.
2. Titanic: My Heart Will Go On
An all-time classic tune from one of the best-known movies in cinematic history. Celine Dion made a career out of this song, so why wouldn’t you? This is a really easy tune to master, as it only has 5 different notes, but you will use two (F and E) 90% of the time. It’s also quite slow and repetitive, so you don’t have to hurry when playing it.
3. Baby Shark
If you had a baby in the past couple of years, there’s literally no chance you don’t know this song. “Baby Shark” by Pinkfong came out in 2016 and has become an instant hit and classic with children, so it’s only natural they would want to learn this song. As with all of the children’s songs, this one is also quite simple. It consists of just a few notes and once you get where they are, you’ll be able to play it like a master.
4. Amazing Grace
If you’re looking to play something more complex with 3 or 4 notes, “Amazing Grace” by John Newton is a good choice. This is because everybody knows this Christian Hymn and because it lets you learn all the different notes easily and acceptably. This song is a bit longer and uses plenty of notes, but don’t be scared. If you’re past playing the easiest melodies out there, this can be a perfect step to take towards a bit more complex melodies and songs.
5. Ode to Joy
Another easy-to-medium-level song, this masterpiece of classical music by Ludwig Van Beethoven is well-known around the world. Same as the previous one, Ode to Joy is not your easiest piece to master but is still quite easy to learn, and once you do master it you will feel incredible. This is a great way to master different notes and how to combine them.
6. It’s Raining
Let’s move on to this nursery rhyme favorite. This is one of the easiest songs on this list, as it only consists of three notes – A, E, and G. The rhythm is the same throughout the song and there’s no way you won’t master this song in no time at all.
7. Mary Had a Little Lamb
“Mary Had a Little Lamb” is a widely known song around the world and as such, it always finds its way to starter materials on different instruments. It consists of just 4 notes and is slow, so you won’t have to take on too much when first starting to learn how to play it.
8. Row Row Row Your Boat
This is a song that’s great if you want to learn some other notes than just your standard A, E, C, G, and D that most of these songs use. Moving higher up the pitch, you’ll get to hear and play some other notes that are not so common in songs but still do it easily and with an easy song you know well.
9. Old MacDonald Had a Farm
A children’s favorite around the world, “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” by Thomas D’Urfey & Frederick Thomas Nettingham is a great tune to practice your recorder skills with. It has 5 notes so you’ll get to move up and down the ladder, but still, it’s not that hard and you can follow it pretty easily.
10. Jingle Bells
“Jingle Bells” is a highly popular Christmas carol that is very easy to learn on the recorder. It uses 5 notes and is played in a fairly slow tempo which is why it’s considered beginner-friendly. The tutorial will show you exactly how to progress and have this one down in no time.
11. Silent Night
While we’re on the topic of Christmas carols, “Silent Night” is another beautiful, straightforward, and easy-to-learn song on the recorder. Interesting fact – It was first performed during Christmas Mass in Austria around 200 years ago. It uses basic notes and will improve the way you hold those notes for a longer period. Try it out and have this one in your pocket for that special time of year.
12. We Wish You A Merry Christmas
Let’s get one more in the arsenal of Christmas songs. The most important of all is “We Wish You A Merry Christmas”. There is no caroling without this classic tune. It uses a slightly faster tempo but nothing too overwhelming. Try to follow along with the tutorial and you will get it down.
13. When The Saints Go Marching In
“When The Saints Go Marching In” is another beginner-friendly tune you should learn when starting on the recorder. This easy tune can be learned within an hour if you follow along with the tutorial. It uses basic notes and is pretty straightforward all the way through.
14. The First Noel
“The First Noel” is a beautiful-sounding tune when played on the recorder. It’s an easy-to-medium-level song to play because it has a slightly faster tempo and note changes. But, because the note changes are in a straightforward fashion, you should be able to master this.
15. Pop Goes the Weasel
“Pop Goes the Weasel” is a very common and beginner-friendly song on the recorder that originated in England. Because the song is short and has so few notes, it is incredibly easy to learn it within minutes. This simple tune could be a good starting point for absolute recorder beginners.
16. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star
I don’t think there’s an individual on this planet that doesn’t know “Twinkle Twinkle Little Star” by Jane Taylor, both the melody and the lyrics. This is the perfect song for beginner recorder players because it features a note repetition sequence throughout and is incredibly easy to master.
17. Rain Rain Go Away
Another nursery rhyme that is super-easy to learn on the recorder. “Rain Rain Go Away” is a popular tune we all know from when we were kids and if you want to learn a beginner-friendly song on the recorder, this is the one. Just following the slowed-version tutorial above, you’ll have this one down within 15 minutes.
18. Bingo Was His Name-O
Another popular nursery rhyme, “Bingo Was His Name-O” is a classic and if you already know a thing or two on the recorder, this one will be a breeze. Granted, there are more note sequences and the song is longer than most nursery rhymes, but it is still incredibly easy.
19. Oh My Darling Clementine
Here we have a more interesting piece to work on. “Oh My Darling Clementine” is a bit more fast-paced but the above tutorial will show you a slowed version. Take your time to master this first before trying out the original tempo. Needless to say, this is one of the most captivating children’s recorder songs you can learn.
20. Hot Cross Buns
Finishing this list with the easiest song out of all on this list. Hot Cross Buns uses just three notes and a slow playing tempo. This is all you need to master this song and get your music career started!
What Makes a Song Easy on Recorder?
Slow Songs: Not just on a recorder, but playing slow songs is crucial at the beginning of playing any instrument. Because you don’t have the skills yet to play faster pieces, the slower you can get is better. This will help you develop your playing skills more accurately and precisely (in this instance your fingering technique).
Easy Rhythms: When starting to learn a new instrument, you should always start with easier rhythms. This means that you shouldn’t expect to master difficult pieces with tons of rhythm changes but opt for a familiar, easy rhythm like 4/4 or ¾. This will, again, help you master the basics, before moving on to more complex stuff.
Familiar Songs: Learning how to play new songs takes some time and it’s always better if you already have in your mind how the tune is going to unravel before you play the next note. This can also help you learn where notes are and how to play them, especially for your fingering technique on a recorder. So, try and practice some familiar tunes first, which is also a reason why all music textbooks start with nursery rhymes and similar easy songs.
Repetitive Songs: When starting out you don’t want to get too much over your head when learning how to play. Choosing repetitive songs will help you with learning new songs, as you have to repeat the same phrases again and again, which is great for practicing and learning new skills in general.
I hope this list of easy recorder songs has helped you learn some new tunes to play on your recorder. Wind instruments such as the flute, clarinet, and recorder are such fun to play and provide a solid foundation and start into people’s musical journeys. Even though the recorder is not the most glamorous instrument out there, this is a great and fun way to learn some music and the basics of wind instruments.