Learn Some Easy Tunes!

Easy, recognizable tunes are a great way to work on your tuning, timing and flow.

If it’s a melody you know already, like London Bridges, then you can pick it up more quickly. Once you’ve learned and memorized it, you can focus all your attention on making it sound good. Try to get this simple melody to sound really, really good. If you do that it will give you confidence, and will probably improve the sound of the more difficult things you are learning.

You can benefit from learning and practicing easy tunes if you use them to practice what you are currently learning. So if you’re learning fourth finger, find a way to practice that on an easier tune like London Bridges.

For example, A0-1-0-D3-2-3-A0 from London Bridges can be practiced as A0-1-0-D3-2-3-4. Or make it even more challenging by practicing D4-A1-D4-D3-2-3-4.

In addition, advanced players can take easy tunes and transpose them. A beginning transposition would be to just start the tune on another string:


If you’re learning a more challenging scale like B flat major, then try to play London Bridges in that that scale:


Or, advanced players can use easy tunes to work on playing faster. Speed up those London Bridges!

Or, if you’re learning to add variations to a tune, an easy tune may be a great way to practice that creative skill. If you’re working on double stops, try adding that to London Bridges: 


Or, just play the tune very simply and enjoy the pure sound of the music you are making. Realize that you’ve made some good progress. Then return to something more challenging.

Here are some classic melodies that are easier to learn:

Twinkle Little Star

Ode to Joy

Mary Had a Little Lamb

When the Saints Go Marching In

Freres Jacques

Shortnin’ Bread

London Bridges

See what you can do with them.

What other great simple melodies do you think would be fun learn?

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7 responses to “Learn Some Easy Tunes!

  1. You’ve probably touched on this before, and I apologize for missing it (I’m new). Regarding bowing: if a person can make a satisfactory sound with his or her own version of up/down/slur or no slur, are they harming themselves? To clarify, I’ve watched orchestras and ensembles of strings — it appears they all are moving their bows in unison. So I figure that means there’s a right way and a wrong way. Personally, I would be happy to be able to play “Orange Blossom Special” in my own way, even if it meant arthritis in later years. But I would like to know if there is some general method to bowing. Thanks.

  2. Once again thanks for this great advice, plus my grandchildren would love these tunes. By any chance, would you have lessons for some Christmas tunes to play on the fiddle?