How to Play Mary Had a Little Lamb on Piano?

Mary Had A Little Lamb is one of the best pieces for the first music lessons. Beginners, especially young children, are very fond of playing famous songs on the keyboard. It’s very fun to play a song that is well-known to everyone.

Fun to play and easy to learn!

How to Play Mary Had a Little Lamb on Piano?

How to Play Mary Had a Little Lamb on Piano?

This is a very famous children’s song written in English and has American roots. This song has been famous for a very long time, it appeared at the beginning of the 19th century.

The American writer Sarah Joseph Hale wrote the original poem “Mary Had a Lamb” and published it in 1830.

02 Mary Had a Little Lamb

It is currently one of the most well-known nursery rhymes in existence! It’s understandable why it has caught the attention of so many aspiring pianists, given how well-known and easy it is to play.

If you want to learn how to play this song, our article will help you! This song is easy to learn even if it’s your first time playing the piano. In the article, we will talk about all the nuances of this song.

In addition, at the end of the article, you can find and download free piano sheet music of the song in PDF format.

But before you start learning “Mary Had a Lamb” on the piano, you need to familiarize yourself with the basics of determining the notes on the piano keyboard.

You probably know that there are only 7 notes in music, and a full-size piano keyboard has 88 keys. The piano keyboard consists of black and white keys. All white keys correspond to note names – A, B, C, D, E, F, G. You can use black ones to easily find the notes you need.

Black keys on the keyboard are placed in groups – 2 or 3 notes each. These groups help us identify the names of all the white keys. For example, C is to the left of each group of two black keys.

Keys and Notes on the piano

You can learn more about piano key layouts and how to make them easier to remember in the article “How to label piano keys”.

Let’s Play the Melody with the Right Hand!

Learning a new song should start with a melody. We usually play it with the right hand.

We play the melody with the following fingers – 1, 2, 3, and 5. In the position from the note middle C, we need the following notes – C, D, E, and G.

In the following image, you can see with which fingers you need to play the melody with both the right and left hands.

Let's Play the Melody

Pay attention to what notes on the keyboard you need to play the song in the key of C major (in position from the note C).

Position from note C

If you are fluent in playing the melody in positions from C, try using the transposition method – play the tune in positions from F and G.

“Mary Had a Little Lamb” in position from the note F (F major)

Position from the note F

“Mary Had a Little Lamb” in position from the note G (G major)

Position from the note G

Little advice. Many children love not only to play, but also to sing. When you can confidently play a melody with your right hand, try not only to play, but also to sing! It’s fun!

What are the 4 notes in “Mary had a little lamb”?

In the first position from C in “Mary Had a Little lamb” we use 4 notes – C, D, E, and G. In position from F – F, G, A, and C. In position from G – G, A, B, and D.

Let’s Add an Accompaniment in the Left Hand!

As soon as you start playing the right-hand part freely enough, you should start learning the left-hand part. In the left-hand part, there are several variations of different levels of difficulty. Let’s start with the easiest!

For the easiest accompaniment, you will need 2 different keys – C and G. Note C should be played with the 5th finger of the left hand, and the note G should be played with the first finger. Each note is a whole note, its duration is equal to 4 beats. The first note is played simultaneously with the first note in the right-hand part.

Let's Add an Accompaniment

If you are having trouble reading piano sheet music, I recommend you read the article “How to read piano tabs”.

Identifying Chords

If the two-note accompaniment seems too easy for you, let’s play the chords! For this variation you will need 2 chords – a chord C-E-G (finger numbers – 5-3-1 respectively) and a chord B-F-G (finger numbers – 5-2-1). You can see them in the following piano sheet music:


Pay attention to the rhythm! Each chord is made up of whole notes. You must play each chord on the downbeat of each bar.

To begin with, don’t forget to play long notes and count beats from 1 to 4. This will help you remember the lengths of the chords and make it easier to play with both hands.

Other Bass Variations

If this bass line seems simple enough to you, I recommend that you look at the following options. In the following variations, you will find various interesting rhythmic patterns in the bass part – half notes, quarter notes, and even eighth notes, intervals, and arpeggios.

Please note that for the following options you need to be able to read music in the bass clef!

Piano version 3

Piano version 3

Piano version 4

Piano version 4

Piano version 5


You can download these versions of this children’s song in PDF format for free at the website “Music all the time”.

What are the keys for “Mary Had a Little Lamb on piano”?

To play a tune you need 4 different keys – C, D, E, and G. For the simplest version of the accompaniment in the left hand, you will need 2 notes – C and G.

Playing the whole song with both hands

I recommend that you first learn the parts of both hands separately, and only then try to play with both hands.

The dissociation of the hands is one of the most challenging exercises while learning to play the piano. In order to complete this exercise, our brain must carefully coordinate a variety of motions using both hands, which is something it is not accustomed to doing.

Because of this, we’ve divided our Mary Had a Little Lamb lesson article into three separate parts: learning the right-hand part, learning the left-hand part, and lastly learning the notes in both hands simultaneously. This enables the song to be learned gradually.

You should start playing with two hands after you learn the parts of each hand separately. Don’t try to play the song with both hands at once from beginning to end in the first lesson.

The fastest and most effective way is to learn a new song in small episodes:

  1. Take one beat.
  2. Play the right-hand part once, and play the bass or chord once.
  3. Then try playing this measure with both hands.
  4. Don’t rush, play at your own tempo.

Then add the next bar and repeat all steps. Thus, without difficulty, you will soon learn the whole song. Believe me, in order to learn how to play this song well, one, maximum 2 piano lessons will be enough for you!

Transpose and Get Familiar with Different Keys

Once you’ve learned the song with both hands, you can move on to the next very interesting step, transposition.

Many kids really love transposition in piano lessons! It’s very fun and interesting. Transposition not only gives us the opportunity to hear how a music piece we know sounds in different keys. This is a great way to become familiar with major and minor keys and get to know black keys – sharps and flats.

How to use transposition in your piano lessons? You can move your hand one key to the right – start playing the tune from the note F and we will hear our musical theme in D minor. We change the note F to F sharp – and we get into the key of D major!

Do you want to try playing the black keys? Then play our musical theme on the notes of G flat, A flat, B flat, and D flat!

Transposition gives us enormous scope for creativity and the joy of playing and learning all the keys of the piano.

How do you play Little Lamb on the keyboard?

If you still have questions or doubts about how to play the song “Mary had a little lamb” on the piano, I recommend that you watch the following video tutorial. It’s ideal for beginners!

Download  “Mary Had a Little Lamb” – Easy Piano Music – in PDF

Download and print a simple version of the song “Mary had a little lamb” free in PDF by clicking the button. 

Mary Had a Little Lamb – Easy Piano Music – Conclusion

We have come to the end of our article. I hope it was useful to you and you have already learned how to play the song “Mary had a little lamb” on the piano. This music track, like many other easy songs, is ideal for beginners for their first piano lessons.

The main rule is to learn with pleasure! Do not neglect the study of note names and their location on the keyboard, the study of reading piano notes in both treble and bass clefs, rhythms, and durations.

If you have already played “Mary had a little lamb”, please share your experiences. If you have any questions about learning to play the piano, ask them in the comments, and I will be glad to answer them!

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