A couple of months ago I said, "You know you're a music teacher when you're thinking about Halloween in August."
Well, the sentiment holds true for today's post.
Here we are, dedicated piano teachers, preparing for Christmastime and singing all of those carols while watching jack-o-lanterns and ghosts go by as we drive to work.
I don't know about you, but I've been singing Christmas music for the last 2 weeks or so.
Today, I'll be sharing with you 6 Christmas songs that I've arranged for my students over the years. It is my hope that you and your students will get as much enjoyment out of them as my students and I have.
Up on the Housetop
This fun arrangement gives students the chance to explore the wide range of the piano and with a glissando for a flourishing end.
This is by far the most requested piece in my studio.
Seriously, everyone wants to learn Jingle Bells. This pre-reading arrangement is easily accessible to young beginners.
O Christmas Tree
The second most popular piece that my students request? O Christmas Tree.
This approachable arrangement will help your elementary piano students learn eighth notes in a familiar and comfortable way.
O Holy Night
Requested by an adult student, this lyrical arrangement is simple & beautiful.
We Wish You A Merry Christmas
Three things that make this early elementary arrangement awesome:
Deck the Hall
With or without the "s" at the end of the title, this is a piece that your elementary piano students will adore!
Just like We Wish You a Merry Christmas, there are no eighth notes, but the RH position changes and the LH intervals add a little sugar and spice to this piece.
You know you're a music teacher when you're thinking about Halloween in August.
This year I'm planning a Halloween recital, so I've been thinking about it extra early. I love writing holiday music for my students and I have several Halloween pieces in my store. Today I'll be discussing some of them, but also sharing music for other instruments and fun activities.
Songs & Improv
Midnight Masquerade is a song I wrote for a student who just discovered she could reach octaves! This piece comes with 3 versions, one with and one without octaves, as well as a simpler pre-reading version.
Halloween Piano Improv
I’ve been using this resource from Teach Piano Today since it came out 5 years ago. The simple teacher duet part combined with the creative phrases make for a fun time creating at the piano.
This song is perfect for beginner piano students! The simple repeated patterns make it easy to play and the minor key makes it sound especially Halloween-y. This piece comes with FOUR versions: two pre-reading arrangements in A minor position and two staff reading in D minor position. It's currently free on my TpT Store, but only for a limited time.
Activities & Games
Skin & Bones
Have you ever heard of the song "Skin & Bones"? I first learned this song when I was teaching elementary band. The vocal teacher in my school had her students singing it while playing a circle game. I've since found that it's wonderful in private voice lessons. The repeated "Ooo" is especially useful in helping students explore vowel shaping. I also found this Orff arrangement for classroom music teachers.
Addams Family Cup Passing Game
My students LOVE cup activities. I have no idea who came up with it, but it is brilliant! Someone created this visual and there’s a YouTube follow along video. This year I’m going to challenge my students to perform it with a frown like Wednesday Addams….and let’s be honest, there’s nothing funnier than seeing kids trying not to smile!
Weesing's Halloween song book includes a minor version of Looby Lou with new lyrics. It got me thinking about all of the other children's songs that can be sung in minor to make them sound "spooky".
Bats & Cats Notes
Oh my goodness, how my students LOVE this game by Susan Paradis. It’s easily adaptable to intermediate students. No joke, I had a student request it twice this summer. Definitely a must have!
I have been doing themed recitals for years. It started back when I was teaching in-home lessons and all of my students wanted to play music from the same genre.
When I had 10, 20, even 30 students it was easy to find enough variety of pieces for them to play, but as my studio grew, I began having trouble finding pieces to fit my themes.
The biggest problem? There was a limited amount of pre-staff reading piano music for my newest piano students. There is some out there, but at the time I had more students than pieces, so I began to write my own music for these kiddos.
Here are 3 winter songs that I wrote for my piano students. I hope your students enjoy them as much as mine have!
So many of my students have been obsessed with dinosaurs at some point in their young lives. Dinosaur Winter was written for one of these students.
This white key pre-reading piece uses quarter notes, quarter rests (which can be taught by rote) and half notes. Played on C, D, & E it's the perfect piece for a student just learning the white keys on the piano!
Dancing in the Snow
This is a lyrical piece that is centered around the C 5-Finger Scale (aka C position). It has students swirling down the piano with cross-hand motion.
I typically have my students start on G7 (the highest G on the piano), but it can be started in any octave.
The Abominable Snowman
Have a student who loves those low sounds? This song is for them!
Written in A minor, with basic rhythms of quarter, half, and whole notes, and an easy hand position, this fun piece will delight every student!
All downloads come with a studio license. An explanation of this license can be found on each listing.
Want to get your hands on all 3 pieces? Visit my Teachers Pay Teachers shop to purchase the Winter Piano Music Bundle and save!