Mary had a Little Lamb – Recorder Notes and Sheet Music

mary had a little lamb - recorder lesson

Mary had a Little Lamb is a very popular and beautiful nursery rhyme that many children love! It’s also one of the easiest and best songs for beginners to learn on the recorder because it doesn’t require a lot of different notes. If you are starting to learn to play the recorder or want to teach it to your children or students, Mary had a Little Lamb is the tune to choose. In this free recorder tutorial, we will first learn about the background of the song and how to play it. We will take a look at the finger charts for the necessary notes and learn step by step how to play the whole melody. We also provide the sheet music for free PDF download for the advanced players among us who know how to read sheet music.

History of Mary had a little Lamb

Mary Had a Little Lamb originated in 19th century America. Sarah Josepha Hale wrote the lyrics, which were first published in 1830. The poem was inspired by a true story about Mary Sawyer, a young girl from Sterling, Massachusetts, who one day brought her pet lamb to school, much to the delight and surprise of her classmates and teacher. Mary claimed that the lamb had been rejected by its mother and that she had raised it herself, which further endeared the story to many. Lowell Mason later composed the music, which greatly enhanced the rhyme’s popularity. The first sound recording made by Thomas Edison in 1877 featured a recitation of Mary Had a Little Lamb.

Mary had a little Lamb Finger Chart

As mentioned above, Mary had a Little Lamb follows a very simple melody. To play this nursery rhyme we only need 4 notes! We are playing the song in the key of C major and the notes we need are C, D, E and G. If you are a beginner or teaching children to play the recorder, you should first familiarize yourself with these notes on the recorder. If you already know how to play the 4 different notes on the recorder, you can skip to the next section. If not, take a look at the fingering chart below, which shows all the notes needed to play Mary had a Little Lamb.

Mary had a Little Lamb - Recorder Finger Chart

As a beginner, we should first practice the individual notes one by one, and once we have mastered these notes, we try to play these notes one by one without looking at the fingering chart. When this is well practiced, we can move on to the next part where we play the song with the notes.

Recorder Notes for Mary had a little Lamb

We now know how to play the notes C, D, E, and G. We are now ready to try to play the melody. Children can be overwhelmed by music notation because it requires some knowledge of music theory. That is why we put the notes on top of the lyrics to have an easier representation of the notes. Let’s start by playing the melody slowly, just one line at a time. Once we 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 the speed.

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

Mary had a Little Lamb - Recorder Letter Notes

Check the audio recording below on how Mary had a Little Lamb 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 Mary had a little Lamb

If you know how to read sheet music, you shouldn’t use the simplified version with lyrics and notes. Playing a song using sheet music is always the best option, because all the information about a song is in there, and it’s the most important way to read and write music. If you don’t know how to read music yet, it might be worth starting to learn with this simple song. Take a look, it doesn’t look that complex.

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 Mary had a little Lamb:

Mary had a Little Lamb - Recorder Sheet Music

Free Recorder Printables for Mary had a little Lamb

You prefer printing the lyrics with the notes or the sheet music? Feel free to download them for free for your students or for your practicing at home.

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 Mary had a Little Lamb on the guitar or piano.