Classical piano music has an enduring appeal for all ages and levels of experience.
Whether you are a beginner or an experienced pianist, there is something to be enjoyed in the vast repertoire of classical pieces ranging from the Baroque to Romantic periods.
For adult beginners who want to explore more of this genre, here is a list of 13 easy classical piano pieces that will bring satisfaction and joy as you learn them.
From Bach’s Menuet in G Major BWV114, Beethoven’s Für Elise, Mozart’s Piano Sonata in C Major K545, Chopin’s Waltz in A Minor, and Debussy’s Arabesque No. 1 – these beloved compositions by some of the greatest composers ever have stood the test of time and remain popular favorites today!
And if you want to learn these easy classical piano songs but don’t have a piano teacher, stay tuned because I have a fantastic resource to help even beginner pianists studying on their own master these songs.
Ready? Let’s get to it!
Menuet in G Major BWV114 – Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach
The Menuet in G Major BWV114 from the Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach is a delightful classical piano piece.
Thanks to its inclusion in the Notebook, it was attributed to J. S. Bach until the 1970s when it was established that the piece was actually composed by Christian Petzold.
Petzold was a famous composer, church organist, and teacher of his day.
Unfortunately, only a few of his works have survived the centuries since his death in 1733.
In the first part of the piece, the right hand carries the melody. The trickiest part is navigating the occasional ornaments in the right hand.
The left hand has a fairly basic accompaniment consisting of mostly quarter and dotted half notes.
There are a few eighth notes in the left hand of the first section but none in the second section.
The moderate tempo makes this a very attainable piece for adult beginners.
Menuet in G Minor BWV115 – Notebook for Anna Magdalena Bach
The Menuet in G Minor BWV155 is another relatively short piece written by Christian Petzold.
Thanks to the minor key signature, watch out for the accidentals sprinkled throughout.
Like the G Major Menuet, the first section also contains several ornaments in the right hand. And the melody is comprised of quarter and eighth notes.
The second section is similar to the first, aside from a few measures of E natural rather than E flat.
Watch out for the accidentals throughout the second section, as there are several.
Once you master the notes, this piece offers a beautiful melody and technical challenges appropriate for most adult beginners.
Prelude in C Major – Johann Sebastian Bach
The Prelude in C Major is the first piece in the first book of The Well-Tempered Clavier, written by J.S. Bach.
Although it looks complicated at first glance, the piece is a series of broken chords. Once you master the patterns, it’s an attainable piece for beginning piano students.
And if you struggle with getting hands together, this is an excellent piece to try because the left-hand accompaniment is minimal and follows a very specific pattern throughout.
You do have to watch for a few accidentals scattered throughout the piece. Still, for the most part, C major is an easier key signature for more beginning students.
Overall, this is a fun piece to play that, once mastered, will give you a tremendous feeling of accomplishment!
Piano Sonata in C Major, K545 – Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
Composed in the late 1780s, the Piano Sonata in C Major is often considered appropriate for beginning piano students.
The entire piece consists of 3 movements, with the first, Allegro, being the most familiar.
As is characteristic of Mozart compositions, the Allegro movement has a very happy and upbeat sound.
It is slightly trickier than the other pieces listed thus far on the list, thanks to the eighth note accompaniment in the left hand.
There are trills to navigate in the right hand and sixteenth-note runs which increase the difficulty factor of this sonata.
Although this piece is slightly longer than other pieces listed, it has much to offer the learner in terms of rhythm, dynamic contrasts, and phrasing.
Due to the technical challenges, this is a great one to learn with a teacher while taking piano lessons.
Moonlight Sonata – Ludwig van Beethoven
The first movement of the Moonlight Sonata is an iconic piece composed in 1801.
Although the entire sonata has 3 movements, it’s the first that is the most popular.
The second movement is also attainable for a late beginner or early intermediate pianist; however, the third is technically challenging and should be reserved for the advanced pianist.
One of the challenges of the first movement lies in bringing out the melody despite nearly constant triplets in the right hand.
Another challenge of this piece is the dynamic contrast, leaning most toward the pianissimo side.
Phrasing and bringing out the mood of the piece are additional learning opportunities for the first movement of this famous sonata.
Overall, this beautiful piece is fun to learn and will be recognized by your friends and family. It’s an excellent piece for new pianists interested in classical music.
Fur Elise – Ludwig van Beethoven
The Bagatelle in A Minor, also known by its more popular name, Fur Elise, is one of Beethoven’s most recognizable pieces for piano.
Although published after his death, the piece has since risen to fame. It continues to be regularly performed by pianists everywhere.
The piece has a rondo form, with the main theme returning at several points throughout.
And as it is in a minor key, you can expect a smattering of accidentals to keep you on your toes.
The piece does clip along at a fair pace and contains an abundance of sixteenth notes.
The pedaling can also get a bit muddy if you’re not careful.
Despite the performance challenges, this remains an excellent piece for people just stepping into the world of classical piano!
Waltz in B Minor, Op. 18 No. 6 – Franz Schubert
Franz Schubert is known for beautiful melodic lines, and this waltz composed in the early 1800s is no exception.
Careful attention to legato and the stray accidental yields a melancholy and striking melody.
The left hand has a reasonably predictable accompaniment pattern typical of waltzes. With some practice, even someone new to the piano can master the jumps in the pattern.
The second section has a few dynamic shifts, which create a sense of mystery and beauty.
Given all the unique compositional elements, this is a gorgeous piece attainable by beginner pianists.
Waltz in A Minor – Frederic Chopin
The Waltz in A Minor is one of Chopin’s most approachable pieces for beginning pianists.
Like the menuets above, the piece was attributed to an alternate composer for almost a century until it was finally established as Chopin’s in 1955.
As is characteristic of Chopin’s compositional style, the Waltz has a highly emotional feel. Given its key signature, melancholy dominates the piece aside from a brief foray into A Major, suggesting a carefree, happy attitude.
One of the more challenging aspects of the piece is expression of the overall mood. There are ornaments scattered throughout the work, which add trickiness.
Aside from the above, the Waltz in A Minor is an excellent piece for new pianists interested in playing the music of the Romantic period.
Of Foreign Lands and Peoples from Kinderszenen, Op. 15 – Robert Schumann
Composed in 1838, Of Foreign Lands and Peoples is one of 13 pieces in the more extensive work called ‘Scenes from Childhood.’
The main challenge of this piece is bringing out the melody in the midst of a busy accompaniment.
Written in 2/4 time, this piece is driven by eighth notes. It’s a beautiful piece, perfect for beginning pianists.
If you’re interested in a tutorial on this piece, check out Dr. Josh Wright’s YouTube video.
The Sick Doll, Op. 39 – Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky
Like the previous piece, The Sick Doll is part of a more extensive collection of short works.
This piece also shares the same time signature as Of Foreign Lands and Peoples.
The Sick Doll has a slow tempo and fewer notes than the other pieces highlighted in this post. There are a few accidentals to navigate and subtle dynamic contrasts, which add an air of the dramatic.
Thanks to these small details, it’s one of the most attainable pieces for any piano player.
To a Wild Rose, Op. 51 – MacDowell
MacDowell is the first and only American composer to make this list of easy classical piano pieces for adult beginners.
The piece was composed just before the turn of the 20th century and evokes within the listener a scene of serene calm.
To a Wild Rose shares the same time signature as the previous two pieces. And the key signature is A, meaning there are 3 sharps with which to contend.
But the tempo is relatively slow, and the rhythms predictable, so once you master the pattern, the piece falls right into place.
Dr. Josh Wright, renowned classical pianist, and teacher, also has an instructional video on this piece that you can find by clicking here.
Gymnopedie No. 1 – Erik Satie
Satie was a French composer who wrote this piece just before the turn of the 20th century.
There are 3 pieces included as part of the larger set, and the inspiration for the piece remains controversial.
The challenge of this piece is not so much the notes themselves but in portraying a specific scene.
Gymnopedie is a very legato piece and requires attention to pedaling to achieve the perfect balance between ideal and overpedaling.
This is a beautiful, calm piece, attainable for beginning pianists and impressive when performed well.
Arabesque No. 1 – Claude Debussy
Debussy is one of the most famous composers of the Impressionist period.
Although similar in compositional style, the Arabesque is more challenging than Gymnopedie, thanks to the quicker tempo and triplet rhythms sprinkled throughout.
There are a few rhythmically tricky sections where you must navigate triplets in one hand and eighth notes in the other.
I prefer this piece to Satie’s, although it is more challenging. The Arabesque has elements of both the Impressionist and Romantic periods of music that make it an exciting and charming piece.
When performed well, it is a gorgeous piece and fun to play!
Frequently Asked Questions
Can you learn to play piano without a teacher?
Yes. But depending on your goals and the type of music you want to learn, it may be helpful to have a piano teacher.
Check out my recent post, Can You Really Learn Piano Without a Teacher, for all the details on whether this is the best option for you and your goals.
Are there good online resources for learning to play the piano?
Absolutely. If you’re brand new to the piano and would love to learn pop songs, check out Playground Sessions.
Playground Sessions introduces you to the concepts of playing along with the band right from the start. And it’s designed for people who have never touched a keyboard, so no experience is required!
You can find my Playground Sessions review here.
There are a few other apps and programs; however, Playground Sessions is the only one I’ve used and can wholeheartedly recommend.
What is the best resource for learning classical music as a beginner?
If you know that classical is your jam, you must check out Dr. Josh Wright. He has an active YouTube channel where he regularly posts piano tutorials.
He also has a program called ProPractice, which consists of video tutorials for most of the pieces listed above.
The full version of ProPractice contains video lessons for people who have never touched a piano before up through tutorials for advanced classical repertoire by Rachmaninoff and Franz Liszt.
You can also purchase tutorial videos for individual songs, including most listed above. Most of the individual lesson videos are less than $20 and well worth the investment.
I’ve been a member of ProPractice for several years now. I have seen my piano skills improve thanks tremendously to this course!
If you want to learn more, click the link or read my ProPractice review post.
Playing the piano is rewarding and can be a great way to relax!
Whether you’re just starting out or have been playing for a little while, there are tons of resources available online to help you learn.
And it always helps to learn music that you love. Hopefully, the pieces above have given you some inspiration on where to start.
If you’re looking for more piano-inspired posts, check out my other helpful content below!
It may take some time and practice to master a new piece. Still, with dedication and an enjoyable learning experience, you’ll make beautiful music in no time!
If you loved this post, check out:
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- Playground Sessions Review: Waste of Time or Worth the Hype?
- Acoustic vs. Digital Piano: Which One is Right for You?
- 15 Best Love Songs to Play on the Piano
- Can You Learn to Play Piano by Watching YouTube Videos?
- The Best Ways to Learn Piano in 2023
- How to Set Realistic Piano Goals and Achieve Them
- Can You Really Learn Piano Without a Teacher?
- Your Ultimate Guide to the Perfect Piano Practice Routine
- A Complete Review of ProPractice by Dr. Josh Wright
Christian Petzold (composer) – Wikipedia
Minuets in G major and G minor – Wikipedia
Waltz in A minor (Chopin) – Wikipedia