Mary Had a Little Lamb (Guitar Lesson)

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Steve Eulberg

Mary Had a Little Lamb

Steve Eulberg covers the classic children's song "Mary Had a Little Lamb."

Taught by Steve Eulberg in Kids and Guitar seriesLength: 6:37Difficulty: 1.0 of 5
Chapter 1: (06:37) Mary Had a Little Lamb Now that you have learned basic left and right hand technique, it's time to start playing some melodies. When first learning to play melodies, it is a good idea to stick with songs that you are already familiar with. Since you already know how "Mary Had a Little Lamb" should sound, it will be easy to identify your mistakes as you practice the melody on guitar.

Steve has chosen to teach you this song for a few specific reasons. The melody of this song features only four notes. All of these notes are played on either the third or second string. This will limit the number of movements you must make with the left hand. Also, the chord progression features two chords that you have learned in previous lessons. Playing through the chord progression will provide you with an opportunity to apply these chords to a practical, musical context.

Steve provides you with two different ways of learning this song. You can either learn from his marker board or the notation and tablature provided under the "Supplemental Content" tab. On his marker board, Steve has written the chord changes in blue. The melody notes are written in red. A melody note is assigned to each syllable of the song lyrics.

Note: If you are unfamiliar with reading notation please visit the Reading Music and Rhythms set of lessons. These lessons are taught by Jim Deeming and Matt Brown.

Practicing the Chord Progression

Before you dive into the melody, work on the chord progression along with Steve. The first chord in this song is G major. If necessary, take some time to review this chord. The ring finger frets the note G at the 3rd fret of the first string. This note is strummed in conjunction with the open third and second strings. The next chord in the progression is D7. This chord is much more difficult since it does not contain any notes played with open strings. Refer to the chord diagram listed under the "Supplemental Content" tab for a review of this chord shape.

When practicing any chord progression, your highest priority is keeping the rhythm steady. Chord changes must be performed without any sort of drop in tempo. Steve plays the chord progression at a pretty quick tempo. If you need to, pause the lesson video and play the progression on your own at a much slower speed. This will provide you with a little more time to adjust your fingers for each chord change. Once you feel that you have mastered the progression on your own, return to the video and try to play along with Steve.

In addition to keeping the rhythm steady, make sure that you always follow the proper fretting rules that you learned in previous lessons. Always play on the tips of your fingers. Keep the finger joints bent and relaxed at all times. Keep your fingers as close to the fret wire as possible without actually touching it. Following these guidelines will eliminate buzzing or muted notes.

The Melody

In order to play the melody, you must learn and memorize the locations of a few notes on the second and third strings. The notes used in this melody are G, A, B, and D. A breakdown of where these notes are located on the fretboard is listed below.

G: open third string
A: 2nd fret of the third string
B: open second string
D: 3rd fret of the second string

When fretting the notes A and D, it is very important that you use the proper finger. When playing A, use the second finger. Fret the note D with the third finger.

Once you have memorized these fingerings, it's time to start working on the melody. At 04:04 in the lesson video, Steve walks you through the melody at a very slow tempo. Pay careful attention to whether each note is played as a quarter note or a half note. Steve says "hold" for each half note in the melody. After Steve has walked you through the melody, pause the lesson video and practice it on your own. Make sure that you are playing with a clear tone and that the rhythm remains steady. Then, return to the lesson video. At 04:48 Steve plays the chord progression. Practice the melody line as Steve plays through the progression. Each melody note played on guitar should match with the note that Steve sings in the video.

Video Subtitles / Captions

Supplemental Learning Material


Member Comments about this Lesson

Discussions with our instructors are just one of the many benefits of becoming a member of JamPlay.

case42case42 replied on August 23rd, 2015

You were correct, to teach a kid golf you have to let them chase the frogs in the water hazzard.

mattpainemattpaine replied on April 15th, 2014

It is a bit tricky. But give it time...

sabineguitarsabineguitar replied on November 27th, 2012

i dont get anything in this video. G is supposed to sound lower than A and i cant do it. P.S. i cheked my tuning and it was perfect.

lewislc3slewislc3s replied on August 17th, 2012

how to sing and count the beats as you sing the song?

sabineguitarsabineguitar replied on November 27th, 2012

i dont know how

LivvyGraceLivvyGrace replied on May 24th, 2011

I found this song pretty easy to play and love to play for my little sister while she sings it!

jkwynnjkwynn replied on May 16th, 2012

I agree, it's only lesson 4 though it gets harder.Trust me..........

rcausrcaus replied on November 19th, 2010

Dear Steve, I was looking for an easy song like "Mary had a little lamb" to understand how we could identify the chord progression through solo. As you explained the solo goes BAGABBB, AAA BDD etc. And in terms of chord progression we are playing in G chord progression. I can identify easy songs through the solo part . However, I have difficulties to know which chord progression then to play. This is despite having a basic understanding of the Ionian and other major modes. Is there any hint you can provide me . Regards rcaus

bspoonerbspooner replied on September 1st, 2010

While you are playing chords and melody together when and what strings are you strumming? For exaample, first measure, B A G A, Chord G. Are you strumming the two strings for B and three for A and G? I have watched the video several times and can't be sure. Please advise which notes get strummed, Thanaka you, bspooner

Kids and Guitar

Found in our Beginner Lesson Sets

Playing the guitar can be a fun, educational, and productive activity for children of all ages. Introduce your child to the wonderful world of music with this lesson series.

Lesson 1

Introduction to Guitar

In this lesson, the first in the Kids and Guitar series, Steve Eulberg introduces the guitar and its many wonders.

Length: 7:23 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 2

Parts of the Guitar

Steve Eulberg talks about the parts of the guitar and how they function. You also get to see some of his wonderful artwork.

Length: 7:30 Difficulty: 0.0 Members Only
Lesson 3

Holding and Playing Guitar

Steve explains how to properly hold your guitar. He also explains how the strings are named.

Length: 8:54 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 4

Playing Guitar

Steve prepares you to play your first notes in this lesson. Get ready for some fun!

Length: 13:12 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 5

Finger Placement and More

Steve explains finger placement and proper playing technique. He also teaches a fun new song.

Length: 14:12 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 6

Tuning the Guitar

Learning how to properly tune the guitar is an absolutely essential skill. In this lesson, Steve walks you through the tuning process.

Length: 8:30 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 7

Hand Exercise

In this lesson, Steve Eulberg provides a new exercise that will challenge your mind and hands.

Length: 8:07 Difficulty: 1.0 FREE
Lesson 8

Chords and a Song

Steve introduces some basic chords. Then, he teaches the classic song "Hot Cross Buns."

Length: 14:48 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 9

The Right Hand

Steve explains proper picking hand technique.

Length: 9:34 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 10

Mary Had a Little Lamb

Steve Eulberg covers the classic children's song "Mary Had a Little Lamb."

Length: 6:37 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 11

Aunt Rhody

Steve teaches an easy children's song called "Aunt Rhody." We've all heard the song. Now it's time to play it!

Length: 10:59 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 12

Paw Paw Patch

Steve teaches a classic song called "Paw Paw Patch" in this lesson.

Length: 10:50 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 13

The Wheels on the Bus

Steve Eulberg teaches the popular kids song "The Wheels on the Bus."

Length: 5:54 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 14

The Wheels on the Bus Part Two

In this lesson, Steve Eulberg teaches the song "The Wheels on the Bus" in a different key.

Length: 14:11 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 15

Old MacDonald Had a Farm

Steve teaches the popular kids song "Old MacDonald Had a Farm" in this lesson.

Length: 11:03 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 16

Ode to Joy

Steve teaches "Ode to Joy," a catchy and highly recognizable tune.

Length: 20:52 Difficulty: 3.0 Members Only
Lesson 17

Scale Finger Practice

Steve demonstrates techniques to accomplish the ability to move your fingers independently.

Length: 6:54 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 18

E Minor Chord

Steve teaches the E minor chord. This chord was first introduced in the song "Ode to Joy" and serves as an introduction to the remaining minor chords that will be taught in this series.

Length: 5:54 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 19

A Minor Chord

Steve introduces the A minor chord. You have an opportunity to compare and contrast the difference in sound between major and minor chords in this lesson.

Length: 9:16 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 20

Picking Technique

Steve breaks away from left hand positions to focus on picking hand technique.

Length: 6:44 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 21

B Minor Chord

Steve adds yet another chord for your fingers to enjoy. In this lesson, he teaches the B minor chord. Steve teaches the proper fingering for this chord and incorporates it into a few chord progression...

Length: 10:54 Difficulty: 0.5 Members Only
Lesson 22

4 Fret Exercise

Give your fretting hand a workout with this 4 fret exercise!

Length: 9:24 Difficulty: 1.0 Members Only
Lesson 23

12 Fret Movement Exercise

Steve Eulberg explains an exercise that will develop your ability to perform position shifts.

Length: 11:11 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 24

"Monkey Around" Fret Exercise

Steve shows how to "monkey around" with a fret hand exercise designed to develop creativity and proper technique.

Length: 4:45 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 25

D Minor Chord

Steve demonstrates the D minor chord.

Length: 3:42 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 26

Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho

Steve uses the new D minor chord from Lesson 25 in the classic song "Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho."

Length: 9:36 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 27

Smooth Chord Transition (The Pivot Finger)

Steve demonstrates some techniques that help transition smoothly between chords.

Length: 9:35 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 28

What and When Hands

This fantastic lesson explains that the strum hand determines when we hear the sound, and the "what" hand creates what we hear.

Length: 8:15 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 29

5th Fret Magic

Steve breaks explains how notes are laid out in first position and how the 5th fret is used to shorten up the work needed to play full scales.

Length: 8:40 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 30

House of Chords - The Room of G

Welcome to the first installment of a series that details how various chords are formed! Get started by learning some "G" chords.

Length: 4:50 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 31

House of Chords - The Room of C

Steve moves from room to room in the house of chords. This lesson features the room of C.

Length: 5:01 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 32

House of Chords - The Room of A

Steve continues through the House of Chords. In this lesson, he has found himself in the room of A.

Length: 14:18 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 33

House of Chords - The Room of E

Steve welcomes you to the room of E as he continues to take you on a tour of the House of Chords.

Length: 5:01 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 34

House of Chords - The Room of D

Steve finally completes his tour of the House of Chords with the room of D.

Length: 3:39 Difficulty: 1.5 Members Only
Lesson 35

Advanced Strumming Pt. 1

It's time to introduce a new strumming technique commonly referred to as the "boom-chuck." This lesson will help develop more advanced picking hand skill.

Length: 6:04 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 36

Advanced Strumming Pt. 2

Steve continues with part 2 of his advanced strumming techniques.

Length: 4:16 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 37

Advanced Strumming Pt. 3

Diving more in depth and getting a better grasp on the alternate "boom chuck" style of picking, Steve continues with part 3 of his advanced strumming techniques.

Length: 2:44 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 38

Advanced Strumming Pt. 4

Steve introduces full chord strumming techniques in part 4 of his advanced strumming lessons.

Length: 3:50 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 39

Advanced Strumming Pt. 5

Steve demonstrates how to "alternate the boom" to a different string in this Advanced Strumming Pt. 5 Lesson.

Length: 3:24 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only
Lesson 40

Advanced Strumming Pt. 6

Welcome to part 6 in a series of advanced strumming techniques. This lesson demonstrates how to "alternate the boom" on two different strings.

Length: 4:15 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 41

Advanced Strumming Pt. 7

Steve Breaks down what the D chord looks like when applying the "boom chuck" strum technique.

Length: 2:33 Difficulty: 2.0 Members Only
Lesson 42

Advanced Strumming Pt. 8

Steve finishes off his strumming sessions by demonstrating additional alternating bass patterns within the context of the "boom chuck" strum pattern.

Length: 6:00 Difficulty: 2.5 Members Only

About Steve Eulberg View Full Biography An Award-winning multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter, Steve Eulberg weaves mountain and hammered dulcimers with a variety of unusual instruments to create thought-provoking, smile-inducing, toe-tapping acoustic experiences.

He has sung and composed for religious communities, union halls, picket lines, inter-faith retreats, mountain-top youth camps, as well as the more familiar venues: clubs, coffeehouses, bookstores, festivals, charity benefits and showcase concerts.

Born and raised in the German-heritage town of Pemberville, Ohio, Steve was exposed to a variety of music in his home. Early piano lessons were followed by trumpet in school band, and he became self-taught on ukelele and guitar and harmonica. Mandolin was added at Capital University where, while majoring in History, he studied Ear Training, Voice and took Arranging lessons from the Conservatory of Music.

While at college, he first heard hammered and mountain dulcimers, building his first mountain dulcimer just before his final year. Seminary training took him the west side of Denver where he built his first hammered dulcimer. With these instruments, he was able to give voice to the Scottish, English and Irish traditions to which he is also heir.

Following marriage in 1985 to Connie Winter-Eulberg he settled in Kansas City, Missouri. There he worked cross-culturally in a church of African-Americans, Latinos and European Americans, with music being a primary organizing tool. He moved with his family in 1997 to be nestled beside the Rocky Mountains in Fort Coillins, Colorado.

Founder of Owl Mountain Music, Inc. he teaches and performs extensively in Colorado and Wyoming with tours across the US and the UK. He delights in introducing the “sweet music” of dulcimers to people in diverse settings and in addition to his own recordings, has included dulcimers in a variety of session work for other musicians.

In 2000 he was commissioned to create a choral composition featuring dulcimers for the Rainbow Chorus in Fort Collins. It was recorded in the same year (BEGINNINGS). He is currently at work on a commissioned symphony that will feature hammered dulcimer and Australian didjeridu.

Eulberg passionately believes that music crosses cultural and language barriers because music builds community. Influenced by a variety of ethnic styles, his music weaves vital lyric with rap, rock, folk, gospel and blues. Audiences of all ages respond well to his presentation and to his warm sense of humor.

Steve is a member of Local 1000 (AFM), The Folk Alliance, BMI and BWAAG (Better World Artists and Activist's Guild).

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