Learn 5 Easy and Fun Nursery Rhymes: Part 2 - The Melodies

If you want to keep your little army of rockers entertained during the time off school, or you want to get them involved with playing music then check out this lesson and accompanying video.

We are going to look at 5 very easy and fun nursery rhymes that you can play to your children, or even get them to start playing along with. The 5 pieces are pretty easy and use mostly open strings so even someone who has never touched a guitar before would be able to get a good start on these.

Let’s dive right in and let the fun begin..

Mary Had A Little Lamb

This nursery rhyme is based on the E, A and D strings and is quite a nice easy rhythm to follow along. It used a combination of quarter and eighth notes.

The majority of this melody is based around open strings and the 2nd fret on the A string. There are a few instances where you drop down to the 3rd fret on the Low E or climb to the open D string.

For a total beginner, this would make a great coordination building exercise.

Mary Had a Little Lamb Tab
Mary Had a Little Lamb Tab 2

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star

If you’ve already played guitar a little, you may have come across the G Major scale. This piece uses that scale. If you haven’t seen that scale before, here it is:

G Major Scale

The first thing you’ll notice about this piece is that it moves between the G, B and E strings quite freely. This is great for picking coordination. There are also a few good fretting hand stretches in this.

When working on fret hand stretches it is important to commit specific fingers to specific frets. As this melody uses the G Major Scale, best practice would be to use your first finger for any notes on the first fret, middle finger for any notes on the second fret and ring finger for any notes on the third fret.

Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Tab
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Tab 2
Twinkle Twinkle Little Star Tab 3

The Wheels On The Bus Go Round and Round

Out of the 5 melodies in this lesson, this one is probably the trickiest. While it’s not too technical, it does have a slight country feel to some of the picking patterns as well as some interesting finger groupings.

Don’t forget to use that little finger for the stretches to the 5th fret notes.

The Wheels On The Bus Go Round and Round Tab
The Wheels On The Bus Go Round and Round Tab 2

Old MacDonald Had a Farm

Everyone knows this song and it’s a great introduction to the importance of rhythm. You’ll notice at a glance that the majority of this is played with just open strings. The important thing here is just how those open strings are rhythmically played.

This is ideal for young learners to attempt because there is very little fretting hand work required. They can get stuck in to picking some open strings and having some fun getting the rhythms to match up.

Old MacDonald Had a Farm Tab

Row Row Row Your Boat

The final piece in our nursery rhyme lesson is Row Row Row Your Boat. If you’ve learnt any scales, this is another one that is directly first into a scale shape that’s quite common. This one fits into the C Major Scale:

C Major Scale

You can also view the tab for this melody as if your fretting hand is in the form of a C chord. This is especially useful on the triplet run down in the third bar. You are descending through the notes of a C chord, 3 notes per beat. This can be played either by moving your fingers for each note, or just by placing your hand into the chord and picking down the strings.

Don’t worry about the timing on this one being super tight. It’s played with a little swing so have some fun with it.

Row Row Row Your Boat Tab
Row Row Row Your Boat Tab 2

Practicing the melodies to simple songs will help to improve your lead guitar playing. For getting started with rhythm guitar, practice the chord changes in Part 1 of this Lesson - or move ahead to find out about how to use a capo.

This PMT College lesson was brought to you in partnership with, and written by experienced guitar teacher Leigh Fuge. Leigh works as part of a community of guitar teachers based across the UK. Click here to find a teacher near you.