Top Student Song Choices

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This month I want to share some of the most popular, most requested songs that I have taught over the last decade of teaching here at the Edmonton Academy of Music. The lists are in no particular order.

Pop /Rock Songs:

Stitches by Shawn Mendes

Riptide by Vance Joy

Demons by Imagine Dragons

The Middle by Zed, Grey ft. Marren Morris

Lost Boy by Ruth B

Crazy Train by Ozzy Osbourne

Let Her Go by Passenger

Counting Starts by One Republic

Although he has only one song on the list, Shawn Mendes seems to be taking over top spot for most requested artist by my students, with Imagine Dragons taking the runner up position. I love when students have a song request because I know they will learn the song much quicker and usually perform better as well. I can always find some redeeming qualities in even the most repetitive, un-imaginative pop song.

Movie, T.V and video game themes:

Hedwigs Theme (Harry Potter them song) by John Williams

StarWars main theme by John Williams

He’s a Pirate by Klaus Badelt

Mario Bros video game theme song

Megalovania from the game Undertale

Jurassic Park theme song by John Williams

Mission Impossible  theme song

Naruto-various songs.

Hedwig’s theme, the main piece from the Harry Potter movie series , has definitively moved into number 1 status, taking over  from the Star Wars Theme song: clearly John William has an ability to write catchy melodies that fit beautifully in a movie.

Movie/video game sound tracks can be a good choice for students, they are very familiar songs that usually use more advanced chords or techniques than your average pop songs.

Classical/Jazz/other pieces:

Bouree (bwv 996) by J.S Bach

Fur Elise by L.V Beethoven

Ode to Joy by  L.V Beethoven

Romance-anonymous, Spain

Over the Rainbow by Harold Arlen and Yip Harburg

Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy by the Andrews Sisters

The last category is more exciting for me that the other categories. These pieces definitely give students a challenge, and are usually very catchy once we get going with them. I have played them as duets with 2 guitars, ukulele and guitar , solo versions on both instruments and they always sound amazing.

I hope these songs give you some helpful ideas when you’re making your next choice for lessons

John McDonnell is a guitar, bass, ukulele, theory teacher.