This December my monthly group lesson will be featuring a new activity: Christmas Caroling! Instead of performing a recital piece (since it’s after the Christmas recital), they will be learning a simple piece to play on the piano while everyone sings along. It’s not “caroling” in the sense of traveling to homes in the neighborhood, but I thought still calling it “caroling” would make it seem more exciting 🙂
Not only will this activity help students build their skills as accompanists and collaborators, but it going to be a whole lot of fun! (This is also a fantastic activity for a studio Christmas or Holiday party!)
How does it work?
I prepared a packet of 16 songs (using songs offered for free on websites, so I could make copies). These pieces are arranged by difficulty, starting very simple (pre-reading) and going to an intermediate level. I’ve decided to put all these together into a template I could share with other teachers.
When each student arrives the week before the group lesson we choose an appropriate level piece (one they can learn confidently in one week) and I print it out for them. When they arrive at the group lesson the next week, we each play our piece while the other students sing along.
With this activity, it’s very important to choose a piece that is simple enough for each student. For students who haven’t played for a group before, this can be an intimidating thing and the need for a steady rhythm is paramount.
Before the actual group lesson, I print out additional packets of music so each student can see the lyrics (two or three students can share, of course). The songs all include lyrics and are preferably only one page, although 1/3 of the pieces are 2 pages. I use songs from the following websites: susanparadis.com, gmajorusictheory.com, pianoteacherresource.blogspot.com, and lds.org.
(Many of the songs in this template have religious lyrics. So make sure your students’ parents, or the student if they are an adult, are okay with such an event. Or you can simply change the repertoire to meet your needs.)
Here are a few variations you can try, either to change the original idea or simply add more time:
- Students sightread the songs instead of prepping a week before (also a good activity after everyone has already played their assigned piece)
- Students play pieces from another resource (great for advanced students, since the songs in the template only go up to intermediate level)
- Multiple students play at the same time (same arrangement at a different place on the piano)
- Spice it up with some of my free Christmas song chord charts (or use ONLY chord charts)
What does the template include?
Here are the songs, arranged by difficulty, that are *included in the template:
- Jolly Old Saint Nicholas
- Good King Wenceslas
- Jingle Bells
- Up on the Housetop
- Away in a Manger
- O Come, All Ye Faithful (easy version)
- We Three Kings
- We Wish You a Merry Christmas
- O Christmas Tree
- Deck the Halls
- Silent Night
- White Christmas
- Oh, Come, All Ye Faithful (harder version)
- Hark! The Herald Angels Sing
- Angels We Have Heard On High
*Note: I don’t include a pdf of the songs in the template, to respect the copyright of the website owner. However, I do include a direct link to download each song (from the original website) so that you can print them easily.
I also include a signup sheet that includes the names of each song, so students can put their names by the piece(s) they’d like to play:
You can start with a fun get-to-know-you game, supplement with a theory or ear-training activity, and end with hot chocolate while watching this 🙂
If you’d like to be notified about new posts and join TheFreeIMT family, please join our weekly newsletter.