The trombone often plays a supporting role in music. But that doesn’t mean you can’t also pick up famous melodies and riffs to an array of popular songs.
In this guide, we look at multiple easy trombone songs for beginners across a variety of styles – pop, rock, soft rock, folk rock, metal, blue-eyed soul, and more.
Now here’s a fun and easy way to build your skills as a trombonist. Learn the following songs.
“We Will Rock You” by Queen
Song year: 1977
Today, Queen’s “We Will Rock You” may have been reduced to a sports arena clap-along, but at the time of its release, it was much more than that.
The stomps and claps were used in place of drums and percussion, and the song is largely driven by the stomp / stomp / clap / rest rhythmic pattern. This struck a chord with the listening public. And aside from a Brian May guitar solo at the end, the song is largely A cappella.
“We Will Rock You” still has a melody, of course, but since you can play it with just four notes, it serves as a great starting place for beginning trombonists. The four-note sequence even works well as a riff. This song is a must.
“My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion
Song year: 1997
The much-hyped and most popular romantic disaster movie of 1997 – starring English beauty Kate Winslet and at the time early 20s heartthrob Leonardo DiCaprio – was of course Titanic.
Titanic had a theme song that would go on to become as notorious as the film, and in 1997, there was no Spotify. So, spurred on by the explosive popularity of the movie, watching audiences rushed out to buy the movie’s soundtrack at local CD stores.
The theme song, of course, was Canadian singer Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.” In retrospect, some are probably cringing at that memory, but there’s your history lesson.
“My Heart Will Go On” is largely considered an easy song to play. That could have more to do with its easy tempo and well-recognized melody than anything, mind you. But I still think it’s a beginner-friendly tune overall.
“Never Gonna Give You Up” by Rick Astley
Song year: 1987
Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” is considered one of the cheesiest songs of all time. And maybe in the 80s, it was a cheeseball. But the 90s ended up having far-campier but very popular novelty songs like “Cotton Eye Joe,” “Blue (Da Ba Dee),” and “Barbie Girl,” among others. So, who’s laughing now?
True, “Never Gonna Give You Up” features a try-hard Astley, silly lyrics (upon closer examination), an over-the-top happy-sounding backing track, and an outdated music video that’s unlikely to impress anyone.
But time indeed showed that Astley could sing his face off and outlast many of his peers, and he’s still at it!
If Rickrolling your friends is of any interest to you, your only choice is to learn “Never Gonna Give You Up.”
“Seven Nation Army” by The White Stripes
Song year: 2003
Guitarist and singer Jack White took inspiration from the simple minor key rock riffs of yesteryear in writing the enduring modern garage rock classic “Seven Nation Army.” Today, this song is taught to developing musicians across the world because of its simplicity (sometimes in mockery).
The main riff is very playable, regardless of your instrument. It sounds very cool on the trombone too. If you want to add a bit of rock to your repertoire, this should prove a quick study.
“Iron Man” by Black Sabbath
Song year: 1971
Black Sabbath’s work in heavy metal was foundation-setting for countless bands to come, like Black Label Society, Black Flag, and even Metallica. Guitarist Tony Iommi and crew successfully invaded the world with countless classic riffs, including this, “Iron Man.”
Today, “Iron Man” is considered a very teachable moment in rock history. The main riff is not a challenging one, whether played on the guitar or the trombone. But it sounds good. It’s a great riff to start your journey with.
“Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple
Song year: 1973
Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” features one of the most important (and possibly one of the most overplayed and parodied) guitar riffs in all of history.
Guitarist Ritchie Blackmore showed the world that you could write a killer riff with just four double stops / power chords. Conveniently, they seem to forget his guitar solo, which demonstrates that he was more than just a capable rhythm guitarist. His playing later influenced the likes of Randy Rhoads and Yngwie Malmsteen.
As with many guitar riffs, this one sounds good on trombone too.
“Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac
Song year: 1977
Fleetwood Mac’s “Dreams” would go on to become their only Billboard Hot 100 chart-topper. This is a little surprising considering the popularity of the band as well as their prolific release schedule. “Dreams,” for reference, is off their 11th album, Rumours.
“Dreams” has easy soft rock vibes, lush harmonies, rhythmic electric piano, and atmospheric electric guitar swells.
The video tutorial walks you through most of the song, so you may not want to start with this song. But when you’re ready to take on a bit of a project, it’s an excellent choice.
“I Gotta Feeling” by Black Eyed Peas
Song year: 2009
The Black Eyed Pea’s “I Gotta Feeling” would quickly rise to become a party night essential in 2009 and in the years to follow. I can still remember listening to it on the ride down to the club with friends.
I find it interesting that the title uses the slang word “gotta,” which translates to “got to,” as in “I’ve got to go.” It doesn’t make any sense in context – “I’ve got to feeling?” Oh well, I know I’m nitpicking in a genre where slang is very common and accepted.
Overall, “I Gotta Feeling” has got an easy-to-follow melody, with a slight staccato feel. Well worth learning for brass players.
“Crazy Train” by Ozzy Osbourne
Song year: 1980
The legend of guitarist Randy Rhoads continues to live on in this enduring classic. No, really. People won’t stop talking about it.
Ozzy Osbourne’s “Crazy Train” is a great tune with great guitar riffs, licks, and solos. Yes, Rhoads knew what he was doing, and it is too bad we lost him in a plane crash.
The video tutorial above is especially easy given that it teaches you the opening bassline. This should be a quick study for most.
“Master of Puppets” by Metallica
Song year: 1986
As a beginner, it’s unlikely that you’ll turn to the music of Metallica in your early development, even if you do one day hope to be able to play their songs.
But depending on the sections you choose, there are some very playable melodies and riffs. In the video tutorial found above, you’ll discover how to play the melody to “Master of Puppets,” which is surprisingly repetitive and not too hard to play, especially if attempted at slower tempos.
“Careless Whisper” by George Michael
Song year: 1984
The remorseful and scandalous “Careless Whisper” is George Michael at his soulful best (though the case could be made that it’s a little melodramatic and cheesy too). The main saxophone riff is beyond famous, and it’s to the point where it has even been covered, quoted, or parodied by a variety of artists.
Yes, in the video tutorial, you do get to learn the main riff (though it is at a lower octave to ensure it’s playable on the trombone). Fun! If you have any friends who play saxophone, it might be fun to trade licks with them on this one.
“All Star” by Smash Mouth
Song year: 1999
American rock band Smash Mouth was in full swing in the late 90s, and “All Star” would go on to become one of the most recognizable tunes in their catalog. Know it or not, the band remains active to this day.
Writing songs that made people feel important and amazing was something the English rock band Oasis did very well in the 90s, but could the argument be made that Smash Mouth captured a bit of that magic with “All Star” too?
The video tutorial only covers the verse melody, but if you want to go deeper into the song, you can find sheet music online.
“Uptown Funk” by Mark Ronson ft. Bruno Mars
Song year: 2014
Every brass player should probably learn to play something with a bit of a funky, percussive groove, and that’s something Mark Ronson’s “Uptown Funk” offers up in spades.
The song brings together many simple elements to create a more complex whole, making it beginner friendly on most instruments including the trombone.
In the video tutorial, you get to learn the vocal bassline as well as the main melody. Lots to sink your teeth into here. This should make for excellent practice.
“Hey Jude” by The Beatles
Song year: 1968
Most trombone teachers would likely agree with the notion of working a bit of Beatles into your practice routine. There are plenty of good beginner-oriented songs to choose from, but “Hey Jude” may well be among one of the best.
Played slowly, the melody to “Hey Jude” isn’t too hard to emulate on the trombone. There is quite a bit to the song, though, so you may not necessarily want to begin your journey here. I’m not saying it’s difficult, I’m just saying it’s quite a bit to take on if you’re just getting started.
Still, some beginners like the challenge of trying to learn an entire song, and if that’s you, don’t let me stop you.
“Take On Me” by a-ha
Song year: 1984
a-ha’s “Take On Me” has got a synth riff that grabs you and won’t let go. If that wasn’t enough, vocalist Morten Harket’s melody continues rising higher well into the chorus. The song was written to show off his vocal range, and there’s no question it does exactly that.
The video tutorial focuses exclusively on the bassline in the chorus, so if you were hoping to learn the synth riff, sorry to disappoint. But if that’s something you want to work on, you can certainly find the sheet music for it.
Learning to play basslines, however, is still well worth the effort.
“Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen
Song year: 1984
Canadian singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen spent countless hours developing “Hallelujah,” writing roughly 150 verses until he was completely satisfied with the lyrical content (who knows if he was ever truly satisfied with the result).
Cohen must have known that he had a masterpiece on his hands, though, because this is one of those impasses most musicians find they must pass through to get to the other side of their development.
The song has a lot to teach you in terms of chord progressions, ascending and descending melodies, lyrics, and a great deal more. The video tutorial will show you how to play the immortal melody.
“Stay With Me” by Sam Smith
Song year: 2014
Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” had three songwriters, including Smith himself. It’s still amazing that nobody noticed its similarity to Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down” before its official release. Oh well, in due course, Petty and Jeff Lynne got their due credit and everyone’s happy.
Petty and company were masters of piecing together simple elements to create great songs, and it’s certainly not an insult that Sam Smith favored this style on “Stay With Me.”
And it’s thanks to songs like these that beginner instrumentalists can develop and gain confidence in their instruments faster. Yep. The melody to this tune is quite simple to play. Give it a try.
Easy Trombone Songs For Beginners, Final Thoughts
Now you should have all the material you need to develop your technique on the trombone. If at first you don’t succeed, readjust, and try again. Every instrument takes time to master, so you will need to remain patient with the process. Have fun and good luck!