Happy Birthday – Recorder Notes and Sheet Music

Happy Birthday - Recorder Lesson

When learning and playing a musical instrument, Happy Birthday should be at the top of your song list. It’s simple, it’s short, and everyone knows it. And if you play an instrument, you’re sure to be asked to play it for someone’s birthday. And playing Happy Birthday for someone is always a nice gift and surprise. The melody requires quite a few notes, but it’s a good beginner’s song for the recorder. In this free lesson we will learn more about the background of this song and how to play it on the recorder the easy way! First, we will take a look at the finger charts for the notes needed and give you the easy recorder notes over the lyrics. We also provide the sheet music for the more advanced musicians out there!

History of Happy Birthday To You

The song was originally composed by two American sisters, Patty Hill and Mildred J. Hill, who were both kindergarten teachers. It was originally titled “Good Morning to All” and had completely different lyrics. Their goal was to create a simple and easy-to-sing song for young children, making it more of a nursery rhyme at first. The person who later changed the lyrics to the well-known “Happy Birthday to You” remains unfortunately unknown. The song was first published with the lyrics Happy Birthday to You in 1912. Today, it is often sung at birthday parties when the birthday cake is brought to the table. The song is one of the best known English songs in the world and has been translated into many other languages.

Happy Birthday Finger Chart

Happy Birthday To You has a very nice melody. To play this song we need 8 different notes! So first you want to make sure that you know how to play these notes on your recorder. We are going to play the song in the key of G major, so the notes are D, E, F#, G, A, B, C and D’. Notice that we are playing two different D notes in this song, a low D and a high D. To make the distinction in the following section, we put a ‘ symbol next to the note name that refers to the high D note. If you already know how to play all these notes on the recorder, you can skip the finger charts. If not, take a look at the finger chart below, which shows all the notes needed to play Happy Birthday to You.

Happy Birthday - Recorder

If you have just started playing the recorder you should first practice the individual notes one by one. If you can play them without any difficulties and you don’t have to look at the finger chart anymore, you are good to move on. Once well practiced, you can move on to the next section where we play the song with these notes.

Recorder Notes for Happy Birthday

Let’s play the melody know. But again, beginners should start slowly, which means playing first just the first line of the song and practice it until they get it right. Many teachers and musicians use sheet music in order to play a song on the recorder. However, reading sheet music can be quite challenging for young children. So, if you or your students don’t know how to read music, I recommend to put the letter notes just above the lyrics. This simplifies the playing a lot for beginners. Once you can play the first line without any difficulty, we can move on to the next line, but still play it more slowly than too fast. When we can play the whole melody without mistakes, we increase to full speed.

Here are the lyrics with the letter notes to play it in an easy way:

Happy Birthday - Recorder Easy Letter Notes

Have a listen to the audio recording below on how Happy Birthday should sound like played on a recorder. You can also reduce the speed of the recording to play along while practicing.

Recorder Sheet Music for Happy Birthday

If you and your students know how to read music, you shouldn’t use the simplified version with lyrics and letter notes above. Sheet music is the better way to write and read music. Here we can immediately see that there are two different D notes involved, and that one is the lower D note and the other is the higher D note. If you want to learn how to read music, Happy Birthday is also an excellent song to start with.

How to read Guitar Sheet Music

Guitar Chords are illustrated in guitar chords diagram. They are a simplified illustration of the guitar neck and it tells you where to put which finger on which string. Learn more about how to read guitar chords!

Here is the recorder sheet music for Happy Birthday:

Happy Birthday - Recorder Sheet Music

Free Recorder Printables for Happy Birthday

We also provide free printables for each song for your practice or lessons! So feel free to download the lyrics with notes and sheet music as PDF versions for free!

Mary had a Little Lamb - Recorder Printables

Interested in instruments other than the recorder? You can also find a free lesson on how to play Happy Birthday on the guitar or piano.