If you're not a musician yourself but are shopping for easy songs to play on the piano for someone else, you might not know what to look for. Sheet music can look pretty intimidating to the uninitiated, and even to those of who have playing it for years! Here are a few guidelines for finding easy piano music. These are meant to be understood by those who have no background in music at all. 1. Font Size Easy sheet music will be printed in large font. The bigger it is, the easier. My first piano song, Hot Cross Buns, was one sheet of paper with about three staves (the horizontal lines where the notes are printed). On the opposite end of the scale, advanced music can be incredibly tiny and dense. Look for music with big notes not too close together on the page. 2. Easy Time Signatures A time signature is the marking on the top left corner of the staff that looks like a fraction with two numbers stacked vertically with a line between them. Simple songs are usually written in 3/4 or 4/4 time. These are the first time signatures that most beginning piano players will learn, and they're very common. A different time signature doesn't necessarily mean that it's not an easy song. 4/2 time and 6/8 are also relatively common and easy. Watch out, though, for signatures like 7/5. That one is not really for a novice. Also, easy songs usually do not change time signatures throughout the piece. 3. Easy Note Shapes Most piano students start out learning quarter notes and half notes. These are the notes that look like an oval with a line sticking out of it; a solid oval is a quarter note and a hollow one is a half note. A few of them may have dots after them, which count as half of the note's value. Easy songs will not have many eighth and sixteenth notes, which are the notes that have little squiggles coming off the lines. Or, the easy piano music may be written in eighth notes, but it won't switch a lot between eighth notes and quarter notes or half notes. The fewer note shapes, the easier the song. 4. Few Dynamic Markings Dynamics are notes that tell a student how quickly or how loudly to play a piece. Small ps and fs, sometimes with an m or various combinations of the three, denote volume, while words like andante and allegretto denote speed. Easy songs will have only a few of these, or just one at the beginning. This also includes crescendo and decrescendo marks, which look like stretched out greater than and less than signs, and dots (stacatto) and other marks above specific notes. The fewer there are in the piece, the easier it is to play. Of course, it also helps to know what genre of music the person you're shopping for prefers. You can find easy songs to play on piano in every category, from classical pieces to show tunes, from jazz music to pop songs. The variety is endless.