Piano teachers and students are already well into the Christmas music season, even though it has barely begun for everyone else. We have to get started early so that we have beautiful music ready to go for everyone!
I have some favorites that I teach and play each year, but I always feel like I’m missing out on some good music. So, I recently surveyed some piano teachers and piano enthusiasts to learn about their favorite Christmas music to teach and play. I got some great responses and I’m excited to check them all out!
Brandy Woods of Wood Piano Studio recommends:
Jolly Christmas Songs By Richard Bradley for beginning students.
Jazzy Jingles by Jennifer Eklund. I really love jazzed up Christmas music and I just had a listen over on the Piano Pronto website and these sound awesome! They seem really accessible for intermediate students.
Judy Naillon of ViolinJudy recommends In Recital With Christmas Favorites by Helen Marlais. Judy says, “It has my absolute favorite arrangement of Hark the Herald Angels Sing-a duet my students perform at our Christmas Recital EVERY year. Sometimes I play violin with them!” I have to say, I agree with Judy that this is a fantastic arrangement of Hark The Herald Angels Sing.
Alison Matthews made me aware of her beautiful collection, Capturing The Spirit Of Christmas. I just love this excerpt she shared:
Alison also recommends Christmas Jazzin’ About by Pam Wedgwood. Once again, more jazzed up Christmas! I can’t get enough and I’m adding this one to my Amazon cart!
Elena Cobb has 2 beautiful recommendations from her own website. These are available for instant purchase and download:
Once Upon A Frozen Winter by Heather Hammond and Russian Bells. I like how they are more winter themed, so they don’t they don’t expire after Christmas passes!
Andrew Eales of Piano Dao, had another jazzed up Christmas suggestion – Jazz On A Christmas Night 2 by Nikki Iles.
Andrew also recommends Pianoworks Christmas Collection by Janet and Alan Bullard. Andrew has a complete list of his own favorite Christmas recommendations over on his blog.
Sara Campbell of Sara’s Music Studio recommends Christmas Silhouettes by Dennis Alexander. Her favorites in this collection are Silent Night and O Come O Come Emmanuel. This is another one I’m adding to my Amazon cart right away.
As for my own favorites, I love Wendy Steven’s beginning arrangements of Jingle Bells and Deck The Halls. My students always succeed with them and they feel so grown-up playing big glissandos in their simple pieces!
I have 2 solos that I return to year after year for my own enjoyment. One is a swing-style Jingle Bells from Notebook for Saint Nicholas by Peter Jancewicz. This collection features intermediate arrangements in a variety of music styles from Renaissance to Swing.
My other favorite is a beautiful arrangement of Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence by Eugene Butler. It is found The Ready-to-Play Pianist Advent and Christmas book.
And, I’ll leave you with my video of Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence:
I’d love to hear about your favorite Christmas music to play and teach. Leave a comment below to share!
James King says
I have several holiday pieces at http://www.alijammusic.com that people might find fun and useful, from primer level to early advanced. One of the most recent is a jazzy variation on “I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day.” https://alijammusic.com/shop/piano-solos/i-heard-the-bells-on-christmas-day/
Thanks for sharing, James! I recently downloaded a studio license of your Jolly Old St. Nick for my beginning students. I hadn’t visited your site before, but I’ll for sure be back. Looks like you have some great music on there!