Each year I buy my students a Christmas book at their level or maybe just a little below their level. I want them to be able to learn them quickly, except for my older students who want to work on something longer.
One of my students had a book without Silent Night, so I made this for him. He was hesitant about the dotted quarter notes, but I told him to play like he sings it, and then it was fine. I have this little ditty that I sing, “The rhythm is the way the words go, yeah.”
Actually, I have plenty of time to teach him how to count, but for now I just want him to enjoy the seasonal music we all love.
When I made the art work, it had interesting textures that didn’t show up when I made it so tiny. But at least it adds a little color.
I have a Primer/Level 1 version on my website, if this one is too hard.
Enjoy the season!
Good King Wenceslas
I don’t think too many of my students know this carol before I teach it to them. While I was doing research, I discovered it wasn’t in any of the many denominations of hymn books I have around my studio. I remember singing it in school and I always liked it. But in today’s world, children are not exposed to Chrismas carols as I was growing up, so I like to teach them to my students.
Even though your students may not know it, they love to hear about the good, kindly king who helped the poor man stay warm during the cold days of winter. It reminds us that not everyone is as fortunate as most of us are.
This is a song with not very many skips, so you always find it in beginning level Christmas books. I shaded the left hand for the beginning students who have trouble knowing which hand to use. Notice that the left hand thumb is on B in my version, but the fingering can easily be changed.
Twelve Days of Christmas
This one took some time. It was hard for me to figure out how to write this so that an older first year student could play it. (Young children don’t have the attention span for this version. Give them the two-verse pre-reading version I posted several years ago.) I didn’t want eighth notes, so I settled on the rhythm you can see above. When played at a fast clip, it sounds correct. All twelve verses are included. It took forever to draw a partridge in a pear tree, but I managed to finally muster up something to add a little color to the page. My daughter drew the turtledoves on the last page.
I have included some finger numbers that are useful for such a long piece as this. The right hand thumb is on middle D, and the left hand thumb is on middle C. I realize many beginning students are not comfortable with this hand position, so change it around if you need to. However, more and more teachers are using method books that do not keep both thumbs on middle C, and finding it is a lot more comfortable and easier to keep a rounded hand shape.
When my students play The Twelve Days of Christmas, I tell them to play only 6 verses, not the entire song if they plan to play it for family or friends. I’ve never listened to all 12 verses at a piano lesson, either. Let’s face it, this is a singing song, not really piano playing music! But I’m posting it here because I could not find an easy version for a student who asked for it, and I thought I would share it with you!
Light Up the Tree
I have made several coloring sheets for Christmas, but they only had notes around middle C. This one has the notes from bass C to treble C. I might have students color this while they wait on their siblings or use at a group lesson. One of my students didn’t know that Christmas lights could be in color since so many people use clear lights now!