O Come, All Ye Faithful in Primer and Pre-reading


One of my students learned O Come, All Ye Faithful in school and wanted to play it. It wasn’t in his Christmas book, so I wrote one out for him.

This is one of the first Christmas Carols I learned. I was so excited because of the dynamic changes in the refrain. I wasn’t taking piano then, so this was the first time I was aware of gradually getting louder in each phrase. I can’t explain how thrilled I was to learn that music could do that! Sometimes as a teacher I forget that what is old-hat to me is a novel idea to my students.

There are two arrangements to choose from. One is pre-reading and the other is on-the-staff and only uses 8 notes. One thing interesting about this carol is that there are no thirds (skipping notes) in the right hand and only one skip on the left. That makes it a lot easier.  Yes, I used dotted quarter notes in the staff version, but it’s easy to teach by rote. If they know this carol, they are going to play the dotted rhythms anyway so they might as well see what they are playing. Also, when they find this rhythm in other music they won’t be afraid of it.

O Come, All Ye Faithful – Pre-reading

O Come, All Ye Faithful – Early Elementary  [The primer version originally had the middle C in measure 14 in the wrong hand. I fixed it and reposted it. Thank you to the kind teacher who let me know!]


Filed under Christmas, Holiday Music

Some More Beginning Christmas Music


I’ve been busy and added some more beginning level Christmas music to my big list of Christmas arrangements in my last post.

Today’s group are for beginners who know just a few notes on the staff.

Up on the Housetop – Beginning level, on the staff

Jolly Old St. Nicholas – Beginning level, on the staff

Deck the Halls – Beginning level, on the staff

We Three Kings – Beginning level, on the staff.





Filed under Christmas, Holiday Music

Christmas Music


Today I am posting some Christmas music I’ve arranged for my students over the years. I’m listing it here to share with you.

I’ll try to group it by level. But when it comes to arranging Christmas music, I don’t always stay true to the levels used in method books.  That is not a problem with my students.

Here’s some advice for beginning teachers. Give your students Christmas music that is easier than in their method books, so they can learn several tunes each week. After a few years of lessons, they will know many carols and songs.

You are my editors, so let me know right away if you see any mistakes or bad links.

I will add some more arrangements after I polish them up, so check back. Suggestions are welcome, but I cannot arrange music under copyright, such as Frosty, Frozen, or Rudolph. :)

[Ed. More beginning level Christmas music has been added here.]

Pre-reading-no staff

Jingle Bells

Deck the Halls

Jolly Old St. Nicholas

We Wish You a Merry Christmas

The Twelve Days of Christmas

Away in a Manger-UK melody (a lovely melody by Kirkpatrick that is not well-used in the US, but more common in Canada and the UK)

We Three Kings

Good King Wenceslas

Early Elementary, on the staff with big notes and no hands together

Jingle Bells

Away in a Manger (traditional US version)

We Three Kings (primer level in middle C position)


We Wish You a Merry Christmas

Silent Night (Teach the dotted note by rote. They can do it!)

Away in a Manger (Kirkpatrick UK version)

Twelve Days of Christmas - 5 pages

Later Elementary

Silent Night

Jolly Old St. Nicholas

Deck the Halls




Filed under Christmas

Bats and Cats Rhythm Game


Bats and Cats Rhythm Game

If you have a group lesson coming up or you are looking for a Halloween game, here is one I posted a few years ago. I’m reposting it today in case you have forgotten about it.  A lot of teachers think this game is just for beginners because the game board has only easy note values. But there are 3 sets of cards for this game, and each set gets progressively more difficult. The third set has 16th notes beamed with 8th notes which is in the 4th level books of most modern method books.

Print out just the levels you want to use. The first page has directions to the game, so there is no need to print that page on card stock. This game looks really lovely printed on photo paper, which I buy at Dollar Tree. At 8 pages for $1.00, it is very reasonable and really makes the color pop out. I also laminate the game board. Be sure to print out more than one page of the rhythm cards if you use this with a group.

[Last year I made a companion to this game, but for notes instead of rhythm.  Students enjoy it, too, and I also made keyboard cards for beginners to use with it. You can find the note game here.]

Bats And Cats Notes

Directions to Bats and Cats Rhythm Game

  • Print two game boards, one for the student and one for the teacher. If playing with a group, print one game board for each student.
  • Print out the bat rhythm cards on cards stock and cut them into squares. If playing with a group, print more cards. Using your printer’s settings, print the cards with the rhythms that are appropriate for your student and omit the rhythms the student has not learned.
  • Divide the cards equally among the players or use a common stack for the cards, depending on how many cards you use.
  • Players take turns drawing a card, counting the rhythm, and placing it over a corresponding rhythm on the game board. If a player draws a card with the corresponding rhythm already covered, place it in a discard pile to be shuffled and used again.
  • The game is over when the first player covers all 9 squares.


Filed under Group lesson ideas, Halloween, Holiday Activities and Worksheets, Rhythm