21 Easy Xylophone Songs For Beginners

I’m not going to beat around the bush. The best xylophone songs for beginners are children’s songs like “Hot Cross Buns,” Christmas songs like “Jingle Bells,” and familiar classical numbers like “Ode to Joy.”

That said, you can play just about any riff or melody you want on the xylophone, so I’ve picked out some pop, dance, rock, punk rock, and grunge songs with simple riffs and melodies you can attempt on your instrument as well.

This should be a lot of fun! Let’s dive in.

“Hey Jude” by The Beatles

Song year: 1968

All pop roads lead back to The Beatles, and their influence is virtually unsurpassed. Any xylophone player interested in venturing outside of classical and traditional music should certainly try their hands at some Beatles, and “Hey Jude” is a great place to start.

Depending on the arrangement, it is probably one of the easiest of any songs to play, which is why we’ve put it at the top of the list.

But that doesn’t mean it’s not a great song. I love the melody as well as the singalong at the end myself.

“Can’t Help Falling In Love” by Elvis Presley

Song year: 1961

This number seems to come up again and again when we’re talking about easy songs for beginners (with just about any instrument), but there is a good reason for that. It has a simple melody that can be played on just about any instrument.

Elvis Presley’s “Can’t Help Falling In Love” is classic, romantic, and beautiful. It’s also very recognizable, and a great foundation for any instrumentalist to build on.

If you want to learn rock and roll, then you’d better learn a thing or two from the “King.”

“Perfect” by Ed Sheeran

Song year: 2017

When you play Ed Sheeran’s “Perfect” on the xylophone, one thing becomes clear. “Hey, isn’t the melody a variation on ‘Amazing Grace?’” Now, I’m not saying that’s what Sheeran himself was inspired by. But there are “Amazing Grace” and “Perfect” mashups out there, so that should tell you something.

Overall, its melody is simple. It should not take you long to master.

While I would love to make some comments about the song being a little too sappy, I have probably written more sentimental songs than this myself, so I will keep my comments to myself.

“Saving All My Love For You” by Whitney Houston

Song year: 1985

While Whitney Houston’s “Saving All My Love For You” may not be the easiest of all melodies to play on the xylophone, you’re only required to play one note at a time, so it’s very doable with a bit of persistence. Plus, the song is a ballad, so it has a slower tempo, which is usually more manageable for beginners.

For those who want a bit of a challenge – but not too much of a challenge – “Saving All My Love For You” is worth the effort.

“All Of Me” by John Legend

Song year: 2013

John Legend’s “All Of Me” is a popular modern piano ballad. It may sound kind of complicated upon the first brush. At its core, however, it’s a very simple song. There’s only one sharp, and for the most part, there aren’t any big intervallic jumps in it either.

The melody is very representative of emotionally evocative pop music, so it’s well worth learning and adding to your repertoire. Remember – everything technique, melody, and riff you learn can be applied elsewhere. Always look for opportunities to implement what you’ve learned.

“Don’t Speak” by No Doubt

Song year: 1995

The minor key “Don’t Speak” is the mid-90s No Doubt classic. The song has a very recognizable melody that’s fun to play and not too hard to learn. There are some slightly faster flourishes in it, but if you take it slowly, one note at a time, you should be able to pick it up without too much trouble.

Once you feel more comfortable with the songs mentioned in this guide, you might want to try other, more Ska-oriented No Doubt tunes as well. They’re way more fun!

“Smells Like Teen Spirit” by Nirvana

Song year: 1991

Name a grunge song more iconic than Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit.” It’s impossible. That’s because this song flew that banner higher than any other grunge band emerging out of Seattle around the same time.

I bet you didn’t think you’d be able to play it on the xylophone though!

It is in a bit of an odd key, but its melody is so memorable and recognizable that using your intuition could help you find your footing with this song faster than you might assume.

“The Pretender” by Foo Fighters

Song year: 2007

“The Pretender” is a bit of a different song for the Foo Fighters. You may not think of it that way, but vocalist Dave Grohl himself said the song did not originally fit into the established template of the band, and he had to figure out a way to “make it more Foo Fighters.”

While I’m not a huge Foo Fighters fan, “The Pretender” is one of my favorite songs of theirs.

The song is effectively in A minor, so there are very few sharps or flats to play. When it comes right down to it, the melody is very repetitive too. But some sections can be a little harder to master, depending on the version you select, so fair warning.

“Clocks” by Coldplay

Song year: 2002

With a fantastical- and adventurous-sounding intro and melody (probably the coolest part about the song), Coldplay’s “Clocks” captivated many a listener, especially upon its initial release in 2002.

These are the qualities that make the song especially fun to play on the xylophone as well, and fortunately, it’s not that hard to master either.

“(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” by The Rolling Stones

Song year: 1965

From the main riff to the melody, The Rolling Stones’ “(I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction” is a very straightforward tune. That might explain why it caught on the way it did! It’s almost in the same league as The Beatles’ “Day Tripper” in terms of its overall importance.

There are some intervallic jumps in the verses, though, so you will need to use your right and left hands well to make this one sound awesome. Working on your coordination is a key part of learning the xylophone, mind you.

“Smoke on the Water” by Deep Purple

Song year: 1972

By now, I’m sure you’re starting to get the picture. Yes, you can play rock songs on the xylophone, and they can sound cool too!

Deep Purple’s “Smoke on the Water” is one of those enduring classics. Its riff is iconic, to the point of being a meme and even a self-caricature. But somehow, it still rocks! Even if the main riff is trite, the solos sure aren’t.

You can capture the essence of smoke on the water and fire in the sky very easily on a xylophone. This might even be one of the best songs to start with.

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