Brother John – Easy Piano Notes and Sheet Music

Brother John Piano

Brother John (sometimes called “Are you sleeping”) is a very popular French children’s song in the world. Actually, it’s a translation of the French song Frère Jacques and it has been translated in many languages, which makes it a known tune in a lot of countries. It is simple, short and has a catchy melody, which makes it a perfect song for beginners to learn actually on piano. In this free lesson we will lean how to play this great piano song and some background of the nursery rhyme. We also provide you the lyrics with piano letter notes and sheet music for your practice or piano lessons at the end of the article.

Origin of Brother John

Brother John is a traditional French nursery rhyme with historical roots extending back to the 18th century. The earliest recorded version of the song dates to around 1780. The melody is often associated with the Baroque composer Jean-Philippe Rameau. However, the lyrics and the specific context of the nursery rhyme’s creation remain uncertain. Over time, “Frère Jacques” spread beyond France, becoming internationally recognized and translated into numerous languages. The song is even known in China or South Africa!

Piano Letter Notes for Brother John

Brother John is a very easy song to play on any musical instrument. It’s often one of the first songs young students learn in music class. If you are learning or teaching piano to children and they don’t know how to read music, we recommend that you use the lyrics with piano-letter notes. That is much easier for beginners to understand than sheet music. However, before you start, you should familiarize yourself with where each note is located on the piano keyboard. It can also be a good idea to label the piano keys with the notes. This will help you find the right notes in the beginning.

However, in order to reduce the student’s dependence on the piano key labels, you should remove them after the child can confidently play a few songs.

Here are the keys on the keyboard that you have to use for the song Brother John:

Brother John - keyboard

You see that you need 2 different G notes, one lower and one higher G. This is difficult to indicate with simple letter notes on the lyrics and that’s we put a ‘ symbol in order to make the distinction. So keep in mind, that the last G played in this song is the low G, all other G notes played in this song is the high G.

And be sure to check out our article on how to read piano notes, where we explain how to easily remember and find the piano keys on the keyboard, and how they correspond to the notes on the sheet music.

The following chart with the lyrics and the letters enables you to learn and play it in a very easy way:

Brother John - Piano Letter Notes

Have a listen to the recording below in order to play along or to see if you got it right:

You can also play the song by using piano chords instead of the single notes. This is a bit more challenging but a good exercise. Intermediate players can also combine right and left hand playing. However, beginners should always start playing songs with one hand and note by note.

Piano Sheet Music for Brother John

All the information about a music piece lies in the sheet music. However, sheet music is not super beginner-friendly because it requires some knowledge and learning in order to read it. That’s why lyrics with letter notes are used for kids and beginners. But as already mentioned before the song requires two different G notes. And that’s where you immediately see which G note you have to play on the piano if you know how to read sheet music.

Here are the music notes for Brother John:

Brother John - Letter Notes for Piano

Free PDF Printables for Brother John

Feel free to download and to share the lyrics with letter notes and the sheet music for your practicing or piano lesson!

Brother John - Piano Free Printables

Interested in instruments other than the piano? You can also find a free lesson on how to play Brother John on the guitar.

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