There’s nothing quite like music to lift our spirits when we need some cheering. Check out these 6 songs bound to inspire you and others to look for the good. And while you’re at it, see if you can learn a melody or harmony part on your favorite instrument.
Happy Together – The Turtles
This song has been covered many times by many bands but was first made famous by the group The Turtles in February 1967. Written by Garry Bonner and Alan Gordon, it captures that happy-go-lucky sound that just makes you feel, well, happy! Check out this link to see the many instruments this song has been adapted for. It’s especially great for flute, cello, guitar, violin, French horn, and trumpet. There are several piano solo versions as well.
Here Comes the Sun – The Beatles
George Harrison wrote this song on a sunny day near the end of the winter of 1969. He said in an interview with BBC Radio: “It was just sunny and it was all just the release of that tension that had been building up on me…. It was just a really nice sunny day, and I picked up the guitar, which was the first time I'd played the guitar for a couple of weeks because I'd been so busy. And the first thing that came out was that song.” What is even more inspiring is reading that hospitals have been playing this song more to help cheer patients up. This song adapts really nicely to the piano, keyboards, guitar, and ukulele. The melody can be played on many other instruments, too, such as flute, trombone, sax, clarinet, trumpet, violin, and cello. You can find some of these options at this link.
Three Little Birds – Bob Marley
This song was first released in 1977 and has been used in many television commercials, shows, and movies. Bob Marley was inspired to write this song after watching the birds around his house in Jamaica. The steady, laid-back beat lends itself nicely to playing it on the guitar and ukulele. You can even pick out the organ sounds if you listen closely. Some great arrangements are found at this link.
Don’t Worry, Be Happy – Bobby McFerrin
No “cheerful songs” list would be complete without Bobby McFerrin’s catchy tune, released in 1988. One thing that made this song famous was it was the first song sung a cappella (without instruments) to reach #1 in the US. Don’t let that stop you from learning to play it on your instrument though. There are lots of great arrangements for piano, guitar, and ukulele, as well as solo parts for trumpet, violin, cello, saxophone, flute, clarinet, French horn, and trombone, found at this link.
My Favorite Things from ‘The Sound of Music’ – Rodgers & Hammerstein
This song first came from the 1959 musical by Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein II, and was made even more famous in the 1965 movie version, sung by Julie Andrews. Many musicians have adapted it, including John Coltrane and Bobby McFerrin. In 2019, Ariana Grande sampled the melody for her hit song “7 Rings.” Many different piano arrangements of all levels can be found at this link, as well as versions for flute, violin, cello, guitar, clarinet, saxophone, French horn, and trumpet.
Imagine – John Lennon & The Plastic Ono Band
John Lennon wrote this song with his wife, Yoko Ono, in 1969. While it is not as cheerful sounding as the other songs listed above, the message is hopeful and inspiring and has become even more celebrated this year with Gal Gadot’s Instagram post of many celebrities singing the song together while in quarantine. You can find lots of beautiful arrangements for piano, guitar, violin, cello, violin, viola, trumpet, French horn, trombone, clarinet, and flute at this link.
Want some help learning to play the songs above? Check out our list of qualified teachers on Tonara Connect. You can search for teachers by instruments they teach, languages they speak, their availability, and even receive a free trial lesson. You can even use the built-in chat to ask the teacher questions ahead of time. Find the right teacher for you and let the music journey begin!