How to Play ‘Happy Birthday’
As a musician there are some things you just have to do and playing ‘Happy Birthday’ is one of them. Trouble is it isn’t that easy to do !
First it is in 3/4 time which means there are 3 beats in each bar. It is hard to get 4/4 or regular time out of your head because 4/4 is all you hear mostly. Step 1 then is to count to yourself “1_2_3_1_2_3_” to try and get that 3/4 feel into your head.
Playing it in the key of G is a good idea – ‘Happy Birthday’ has an octave range in it so can be hard to get the high note if you don’t start low enough.
The first note for singing ‘Happy Birthday’ is D which is the 4th string on your guitar ( Find the 4th string if you are not sure by counting up 4 strings from the 1st or thinnest string ) so pick that note for a start and try and get everyone who is singing ready to start on the same note. The first singing note “Happy…” is the 5th of the chord G so can be tricky for people to find by themselves if you just strum the chord G for them – better to give them the note.
Remember this is the only time a lot of people ever sing so it is up to us musicians to try and help them through it and up to us to try and make it as tuneful as possible.
P.S. remember that your family needs a plumber, your family needs a doctor and every now and then your family needs a musician and hey, we’re ready !!