Welcome to another easy piano tutorial from Merriam’s Online Academy. Today we’re going to be teaching you how to play If You’re Happy and You Know It on the piano with your Right Hand only, in F Major. It’s helpful if you’ve already covered flats, as well as quarter and eighth notes and rests.
The song is slightly faster than some other beginner piano songs, and students also get practice in repositioning their hand between two positions on the keyboard. It’s also easy to sing along with, and the singing the lyrics also make it engaging and fun to learn.
Here are the skills that we’ve focused on in this video:
- Good Hand Position
- Accidentals / Flats
- Counting quarter and eighth notes
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If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands! (clap clap)
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands!
If you’re happy and you know it, and you really want to show it;
If you’re happy and you know it, clap your hands!
Popular variations of the nursery rhyme usually follow the same pattern but with three or more verses of “stomp your feet!”, “shout ‘hooray/hurray'”, “if you really want to show it”, and many more.
“If you’re happy and you know it” is a famous repetitive children’s song published in the late 1950’s and popularlized shortly thereafter.
If You’re Happy and You Know It Piano Tutorial Video Transcription
Welcome to Merriam’s Online Academy. Today we’re going to be learning how to play “If You’re Happy and You Know It”.
This is a beginner piano tutorial so you don’t need to know a lot about piano but you do need to know a few things. So you need to know how to read notes on the staff and you need to be familiar with eighth notes and also with flats. So if you need a refresher on any of those or if you want a more in-depth lesson, you can check out our videos on those concepts and then come on back and whenever you’re ready, you can download the music in the link below to play along.
Okay, so before we start learning it, I’ll just play it all the way through for you. Okay, let’s take a look here.
So from the beginning, before we play any notes, what have we got here? We have a key signature, we have a B flat, so that tells us we’re in the key of F major. And any B flat that we see in this song or any B we see in this song is going to be a B flat. So I think we only have one little set of Bs and they’re right here all together, so that should be pretty easy to remember. So all of these are going to be B flats. I think that’s all our B’s. So that’s all we really have to worry about there.
And then we have our time signature, we are in good old 4/4 time. Okay, so we’re counting to four in each bar. Okay, so let’s look what we’re starting on. Finger one is starting on C. Nice and standard, right. So we have two Cs and look at all these eighth notes. So just a nice steady eighth-note rhythm here. So we have C, C, then we’re going up to F with finger four, F, F, F, F, F, F, E, F, G and rest and rest and.
Okay, so we have these nice quarter F’s. Let’s go over that quickly. The very beginning is going to be a pickup bar. So we’re actually not counting one and to start, we’re going to be coming in on four and. Okay, so we’re going to come in on four and then this bar, it’s just one and two and three and four, all the way through all eight notes, nothing too tricky here. I can write it in this time, three and four and there we go. And then the last part here we’ve got a quarter note, so that’s getting one and, and then two quarter rests, so each of those will get two and, and then three and. Okay, they’re getting the number and the and. And then we have another little set of eighth notes four and.
Let’s try that again and we’ll add in our counting too. So from our C’s, we’re coming in on four and, one and two, and three, and four and, so that’s C, C then F, F, F, F, F, F, E, F, G and two, and three, and good, back to the C, you don’t have to change your hand position. C, C, good.
Now here, we have a little bit of a change. We’re still using finger four, but we’re moving finger four up to G. So we’re going to have a little bit more of a stretch. You’re going from C up to G with finger four now. So we had from those Cs, C, C, so finger four goes up to G now, G, G, G, G, G, G, F, G, A and rest and rest and. Okay, so same pattern that we just did, we’ve just moved our hands up one note.
Okay, now here, we have another finger change. This one, you’re gonna have to actually pick up your hand and move it. Okay? But you just done a rest so your hand should be kind of off the piano anyways. Okay, so we’ve finished there with finger five on A. During the rest, we’re going to move finger four to the same A, so we have A, A. Now here we go, third line. Remember we have all these Bs but we need to play B flat for all of them. So we have B flat, B flat, B flat, B flat, jump down to D, you’ll use finger one there. D, D, B flat, B flat. Good.
Next bar would be A with finger four A, A, A, G, F, F. Okay, now there’s a finger two in your music, but it’s not a finger change, it’s just a nice little reminder for you. And then we do have to do a finger change. So here, we actually have to squish into finger five. So we had finger two on F, and you’re going to squish your hand down so that finger five is now on A. A, A.
Okay, this is kind of a trickier part of this song. So let’s go finger four is on A, we had A, A, B flat, B flat, B flat, B flat, D, D, B flat, B flat, A, A, A, G, F, F. Now squish finger five over to A, A, A. Now you can kind of stretch your hand back into a normal position here, G would be with finger four, G, G, G, F, E, E, D, E, F and rest and rest and nice.
So you might notice here at the end of the song, we have oh this is in a different color, we have a repeat sign, so you would go back and do it again. And then also in this last bar, we don’t have four beats, we’re in four, four time, but there’s not four beats here. So this would be one and two and three and, whereas beat four, well, if you’re repeating, your beat four would be up here at the beginning of the song, the “If you’re happy and you know it.”
If you’re going to do the repeat, you would just do in the very last line happy and you know it, clap your hands, and two, and three, and if you’re. So you would go back and restart it there.
Why don’t we review from this little squishy two to five. I’m going to take out this. And we will start right here, kind of in the middle of the bar there. So we had finger two on F. And we just have to do that little finger squish to get five on A, so F, F, A, A, G, G, G, F, E, E, D, E, F and two, and three, repeat, C, C, F. Okay, and you could just keep going from there.
Let’s try the whole thing. We won’t do the repeat because once you’ve played it once, I know you can play it again. You don’t need to play it with me again. So let’s just go from the beginning, we’ll try to do the whole thing. We’ll go nice and slow and I’ll try to call out as many things as I can as we go. So we’re, of course, starting finger one on C and finger four is ready to go up to F.
We’re coming in on beat four, one and two and three and four and C, C, F, F, F, F,F, F, E, F, G and rest and rest and C, C, finger four up to G, G, G, G, G, G, F, G, A and rest and rest. Finger four on A, A, A, B flat, B flat, B flat, B flat, B flat, D, D, B flat, B flat, A, A, A, G, F, F. Squish finger five on to A, A, A, G, G, G, F, E, E, D, E, F and rest and rest. And there we go, that’s the whole song.
So it does get a little bit fast with all the eighth notes but luckily, a lot of the notes are repeated. So it’s not like your hand is flying around the piano, doing all sorts of crazy things, right? The tricky part is really counting how many of these repeated notes you have to do, it’s very easy to kind of get into a daze and just keep playing a million of those notes. So you just have to kind of watch your music and pay attention for when it changes.
Okay, let’s do it one more time. This time, I’m not gonna say anything. We’re just going to play along. So I’ll still count us in and remember that we’re coming in on beat four.
There we go, how did you do? Did you get through the whole thing with all those finger changes and the B flats? Hopefully, you did. If there are any parts that you need extra help on, please just go back and you can rewatch that part in the video or just take some time and just practice that section. You don’t need to do the whole song every time. Don’t be afraid to just focus really hard on the part that you find the trickiest. And as you play this, of course, you can bring it up to the speed that you would actually sing it.
You could also add in a little swing rhythm if you’d like, a lot of people sing the song that way. So instead of counting one, and two, and three, and four, you could count with this swing, which would be one and two, and three, and four, and your notes would still get the same rhythm you would just be counting a little bit differently. And if you want of course you can add in your clapping and stomping and shouting hooray and whatever else you want to do in this song for the actions.
I hope you had fun playing this song, I definitely did. So, if you enjoyed it, please come back and check out some of our other beginner piano tutorial videos and hopefully, I’ll see you soon.