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
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.
Bouree (bwv 996) by J.S Bach
Fur Elise by L.V Beethoven
Ode to Joy by L.V Beethoven
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.