Anyone who has taken a guitar lesson or picked up the instrument knows it’s not necessarily an easy one to play. Many people have dreams of being a rock star, and with two chords, you can be a rock star for children.
Two chords? Yes, that’s right. There are numerous children’s songs with only two chords. While you might want to expand your chord repertoire eventually to play even more children’s songs, starting with C and G7 is a way to get jumpstarted.
First, tune your guitar. If you do not know how, visit an online tuner, but you will have to learn how to use your ear to match the notes you hear from your computer. In standard tuning, the strings of the guitar are tuned to E A D G B and e from low to high. Most children’s songs will be played in standard tuning.
Second, learn a bit about the mechanics of the guitar. The neck of the guitar is divided into frets; the first fret is by the head of the guitar. Many guitars will have dots placed on the third, fifth, seventh, ninth, and twelfth frets for reference. For children’s songs, you will likely not need to go above the third fret. The strings of the guitar are numbers from high to low, so the thinnest, highest sounding string is number 1, and the lowest, thickest string is 6.
Now it’s time to learn the two chords for children’s songs. The first is a C chord. Place your index finger on the first fret of the second string, followed by your middle finger on the second fret of the fourth string (the third string will be left open). Finally, place your ring finger on the third fret of the fifth string and strum all the strings except number 6. You just strummed a C chord!
The G7 is related to the C chord and requires only a few changes. Move your ring finger to the third fret of string 6, middle finger to the second fret of the fifth string, and your index finger to the first fret of the first string. Keep in mind each finger stays on the same fret, but they are now placed on different strings. Strum all six strings, and you’ve played a G7 chord!
Practice playing these chords for children’s songs and switching between them; eventually your motor memory will kick in and make playing the chords easier. Try playing and humming or singing these children’s songs, each of which starts on a C chord:
- Itsy Bitsy Spider
- Skip to My Lou
- London Bridge
- Mary Had a Little Lamb
- Wheels on the Bus
- Hokey Pokey
- Apples and Bananas
- He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands
- Polly Wolly Doodle
- Do Your Ears Hang Low?
- How Much is that Doggie in the Window?
If you have difficulty figuring out where to change the chord, you can find chord charts online that will include the chord changes. Playing children’s songs for your kids is a great musical activity, and you’ll get to be the rock star you always wanted to be.