9 easy piano pieces to get you started on keys

17 August 2020, 13:34 | Updated: 17 August 2020, 15:55

Easy piano pieces
Easy piano pieces. Picture: Getty

By Elizabeth Davis

Are you just starting to learn the piano? Maybe you’re returning to the instrument after a few years away. Here are some perfect easy pieces to play on keys...

These beautiful pieces – for beginners and intermediate players – are by some of the greatest composers of all time and are perfect to keep you motivated, whether you’re a new starter or you’re returning to the piano.

Here are some of our favourite pieces of easy music for keys.

  1. Beethoven: Für Elise

    Beethoven is supposed to have written the short piano piece for a pupil called ‘Elise’ – but there’s not actually much evidence for that story. In fact, the dedication on the manuscript doesn’t even say Elise, it says ‘Für Therese’.

    But however it came about, this charming piano work is the perfect piece if you’re just starting out.

    Read more: What does Beethoven’s ‘Für Elise’ mean, and who was Elise? >

  2. Debussy: Clair de lune

    This haunting piano work is for any intermediate players out there. And if you’re a beginner, this is a great piece to work towards.

    The nickname ‘Clair de lune’ means ‘light of the moon’ and you can just imagine the gently shimmering reflection of a full moon in the sound of this piece by Debussy.

  3. Mozart: Sonata No. 16 (Sonata Facile)

    Mozart might be the most famous composer who ever lived, but that doesn’t mean that all of his pieces are incredibly difficult.

    In fact, he wrote this Sonata specifically for people just starting out on the piano – facile means ‘easy’ (though it’s not as easy as you might hope!). This is a great piece for beginners, or intermediate players who want to play a beautiful piece of Mozart without the breakneck semi-quavers.

    Here’s the brilliant young pianist Evan Le making it look incredibly easy…

  4. J.S. Bach: Minuet in G

    This piece comes from a notebook that belonged to Bach’s wife, Anna Magdalena. In her book she’d painstakingly copied out music by composers from the 17th and 18th century – including Couperin and her husband, Bach. This sweet little Minuet was long thought to have been by Bach but more recent research suggests it was actually by a composer called Christian Petzold.

    But poor of Petzold – most of the world still knows this work as Bach’s Minuet in G. Anyway, it’s a delightful little work. Give it a try!

    Bach - Menuet in G Major BWV Anh 114

  5. Einaudi: Primavera

    Literally meaning ‘Springtime’, this simple, meditative piece for solo piano is wonderfully satisfying to play. Written in E flat, it’s built on a signature Einaudi left-hand accompaniment of repeating broken chords and Alberti bass patterns. Then, a beautiful, twinkling melody soars over the top.

    Discover 10 facts about Italian composer, Ludovico Einaudi >

    Ludovico Einaudi - Primavera - Piano Tutorial by PlutaX - Synthesia

  6. Schumann: ‘Einsame Blumen’ from Waldszenen

    Schumann was married to one of the greatest pianists of his era – Clara Wieck (later Clara Schumann). So it’s no surprise he wrote some of the best piano music of the Romantic age.

    Waldszenen, or ‘Forest Scenes’ is a collection of piano miniatures describing scenes from a cosy Wayside Inn to a lively hunt. The most approachable of the bunch is ‘Einsame Blumen’ – or Lonely Flowers. No one writes a melody like good old Schumann.

    Schumann: Waldszenen, Op.82 - 3. Einsame Blumen

  7. Beethoven: ‘Moonlight’ Sonata (I)

    Beethoven wrote 32 piano sonatas and some of them have become real monoliths of the solo piano repertoire – every Romantic pianist worth their salt will tackle the ‘Hammerklavier’ Sonata in their career.

    But the ‘Moonlight’ Sonata is both beautiful and perfect for beginners. The first movement – the most famous section – is also the most straightforward to play.

    Beethoven - Moonlight Sonata (1st Movement)

  8. Satie: Gymnopédie No. 1

    No one’s quite clear what the word ‘gymnopédie’ means, but what is certain, is that Satie’s Gymnopédies, written in 1888, are some of the most simple and beautiful pieces of all time.

    And the great news is that they’re easy to play! Each of them are designed to be played ‘Lent’ (or slowly), which will be music to the ears of any beginner pianist…

    Erik Satie - Gymnopédie No.1

  9. Schumann: Vom fremden Ländern und Menschen from Kinderszenen

    Another appearance from Robert Schumann – and this delightful miniature comes from his collection of pieces called ‘Scenes from Childhood’.

    The collection is steeped with nostalgia as the adult composer remembers cosy scenes from childhood – like playing Blind Man’s Buff, or curling up by the fire. This piece, whose title means ‘Of Foreign Lands and People’ perhaps describes the child’s wonder at hearing about fantastical tales of faraway places. Why not give it a go?

    Schumann: Von fremden Ländern und Menschen / Argerich