Old MacDonald had a Farm – Recorder Notes and Sheet Music

old macdonald recorder

Old MacDonald had a Farm is one of our all-time favorite children’s songs. Every child loves this song, even the little ones, because an essential part of the song is to imitate different farm animals. And that’s what gets all the little kids really excited when they hear and sing the song. It’s also a really good nursery rhyme for young beginners to learn and play on the recorder. In this lesson, we’re going to learn how to play Old MacDonald on the recorder. We will first look at the notes needed and how to play them on the recorder using a fingering chart. We also provide the sheet music and an easy letter notes version as PDF for free!

History of Old MacDonald had a Farm

The author and origin of the song remain unclear. The song first appeared in print in 1917 in a soldier’s songbook titled “Tommy Tunes” which compiled songs from the World War I era. The song was listed under the title “Ohi” with lyrics closely resembling the version we are familiar with today. Despite this, the nursery rhyme must predate this publication. Earlier versions have been documented, and it was even published in the UK prior to this. Evidence suggests that a song similar to “Old MacDonald Had a Farm” was featured in operas as far back as the 17th century.

Old MacDonald had a Farm Finger Chart

Old MacDonald is a pretty easy to play on the recorder because you only need 5 different notes! We will play the nursery rhyme in C major and the required notes are G, A, B, D and E. If you are beginner or you are teaching beginners, then you should first of all familiarize yourself with these notes on the recorder. What if you already know how to play these notes without much difficulty? Great, then you can jump directly to the notes or sheet music. If this is not the case, take a closer look at the fingering chart below, which shows all the notes needed to play Old MacDonald.

Old MacDonald had a Farm - Recorder Finger Chart

Beginners should practice the individual notes first, and once they master them, they should try to play these notes individually without looking at the fingering chart. If this has been well practiced, you can move on to the next part where we play the song with the notes.

Recorder Notes for Old MacDonald

Let’s play the melody on the recorder. Young beginners often prefer an easier presentation of the notes than sheet music. Thats we put the notes over the lyrics. Start by playing the melody slowly and just one line at the beginning. Once you can play the first line without too much difficulty, you can move on to the next line, but still play it more slowly than too fast. When you can play the whole melody without mistakes, you can increase the speed.

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

Old MacDonald had a Farm - Recorder Letter Notes

Listen to the recording below on how Old MacDonald had a Farm should sound like played on a recorder. You can also reduce the speed of the recording to play along.

Recorder Sheet Music for old MacDonald

Do you know how to read sheet music? Great, you can use the sheet music below to play Old MacDonald. Playing a song by sheet music is always the best choice because all the information about a song is in there and it’s the main way to read and to write music. Sure, it requires some understanding of music theory and some practice reading it but if you are just starting to learn to read music, or you want to introduce it to your students, Old MacDonald is an excellent song for it.

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 Old MacDonald had a Farm:

Old MacDonald had a Farm - Recorder Sheet Music

Free Recorder Printables for Old MacDonald

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

Old MacDonald had a Farm - Free Printables for Recorder

Interested in instruments other than the recorder? You can also find a free lesson on how to play Old MacDonald had a Farm on the guitar or piano.