Christmas music

Preparing My Students for Christmas Parties

Preparing My Students for Christmas Parties

This year, I decided to bring back Group Class Week at my piano studio. My reasoning was three-fold: First, my students love getting together. Second, there are also concepts that are best taught in a group class setting. Finally, with juggling multiple jobs as well as my studio, I needed to build in some time to catch up on studio administration and planning. Running one group class per teaching night gave me that much needed time to work and/or rest.

The focus for this month's group class was Bulletproofing Your Christmas Music. We explored likely scenarios one could face at a Christmas party, social or community setting...

It's Beginning to Look a Lot Busy Season

As merchandisers will tell you, there are only 32 shopping days left before Christmas.

Any musician will tell you that right after Halloween, we have mere weeks before we are up to our eyeballs with Christmas concerts and party gigs. I'm currently working my Christmas gig repertoire back under my fingers, along with some of the songs from Conservatory Canada's Contemporary Idioms syllabus. Well, I'm finding that it's one thing to stay a couple of pages ahead of my students. It's a complete other story getting their songs up to performance standard.

In the end, some of the new songs won't make the cut this season. They'll be replaced with old standbys with a twist. For instance, I've discovered that God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen sounds very nice with a Latin pattern or a Boogie Woogie pattern and that Blue Christmas sounds neat with a Honky Tonk bass.

Be brave. Next time you practice your holiday music, add some zip to your songs by changing it a bit. You'll find it entertaining and quite enjoyable.

(c) 2007 by Musespeak(tm), Calgary, AB, Canada. All rights reserved.

Christmas Music Recommendations

With Christmas less than a month away, many students rush out to purchase Christmas music. This usually reminds me that it’s time for me to practice for my Christmas gigs. There are wonderful Christmas anthologies available at various playing levels. For the beginning student, I usually recommend Faber & Faber’s supplemental Christmas books, from PreTime Piano (Primer Level) to AdvanceTime Piano (Early Intermediate piano). The books correspond nicely with the Piano Adventures series. For more information, you can visit Faber & Faber’s site:

For the intermediate to advanced student, I recommend the Reader’s Digest Merry Christmas Songbook. It is the only Christmas book I bring to gigs with me. It’s in Piano/Vocal/Guitar format, so it can be used in ensembles. The chord symbols are on the score, making it easy to fake the accompaniment if you wish.

These books are available at all major music stores.

© 2005, Musespeak™, Calgary, Alberta, Canada. All rights reserved.