The Best Holiday Songs to Learn on Piano, Guitar, and Violin
Every holiday season, families gather to hear their children and grandchildren perform holiday classics. For some musicians, this is their first year playing their instrument. For others, they’ve been honing their craft for years and the holidays are a time to display it. Whether your child will be participating in a recital or simply performing at a family gathering, holiday songs are always a hit. If you’re not sure which songs are suitable for you or your child’s playing level, keep reading. These are the best beginner and intermediate holiday songs for piano, guitar, and violin.
Beginner Holiday Songs on Piano
The piano is an excellent first instrument for children to learn. It helps them understand the basics of music theory as well as how to read sheet music. Not to mention the benefit it has on their hand-eye coordination. For your little one’s first piano performance, pick a song that won’t be too far out of their wheelhouse.
1. Jingle Bells
Even during the summer time, Jingle Bells is often one of the first piano songs a student will learn. Why? Because it’s simple enough for the smallest of hands to learn, and it’s familiar. Every child knows this song, so they know how it’s supposed to sound.
2. Frosty the Snowman
Like Jingle Bells, most kids are familiar with Frosty the Snowman. It’s best to work bar by bar until each one is perfect. Then, slowly string the melody together. Frosty doesn’t require a bass clef to get the melody across, so kids who struggle with the bass can still enjoy playing it.
3. The First Noel
When your little pianist has started learning how to combine the bass and treble clefs, The First Noel is a great song to practice with. The right hand carries the melody while the left adds steady, 3-count notes.
Intermediate Holiday Songs on Piano
When your child can use both hands to play a song and read the music with ease, they’re ready for the next level. Intermediate holiday songs are still on the simpler side, but leave more room for creativity and personality.
1. Silent Night
Silent Night is one of those holiday songs that can be adjusted for every level. At the intermediate level, find a version that incorporates the pedal. This is an important skill to learn and one that Silent Night allows for plenty of practice.
Let it Snow
If your pianist is ready to add some spunk to their performance, Let it Snow is a great option. This holiday song can get quite jazzy, depending on how engaged the musician gets. It’s a fun song for students to express their creativity and take liberties with the music.
Beginner Holiday Songs on Guitar
The guitar is another typical instrument for kids to begin learning music on. However, guitar is also common for adult learnerswho want to play their favourite artist’s music or write their own. Learning to play these beginner holiday guitar songs is great for practicing technique.
1. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer
If you can play the G chord and the C chord, you can likely make Rudolph proud on the guitar. This simple song has an easy melody, predictable timing, and is fun to sing along to. Plus, it helps you brush up on your alternate bass accompaniment technique.
2. Jingle Bells
Another easy to learn guitar song is Jingle Bells. With a simple progression between D and A7 chords and a fun pace, students will find learning this song a breeze. Remember to strum downwards on each beat to really nail it.
3. Silver Bells
Songs that allow for a slower tempo can be easier to play for beginners. As the last note carries, you have time to read the chords and prepare for the next one. You can play Silver Bells with the four basic chords all beginners know, G, C, D, and Am.
Intermediate Holiday Songs on Guitar
Once you’re comfortable with chord progressions andsome basic techniques, it’s time to work on finger picking and other intermediate guitar elements. You can make any of the beginner guitar holiday songs more challenging by adding finger picking techniques. Or, try one of these intermediate guitar songs.
1. The 12 Days of Christmas
Easily one of the most enjoyable songs to sing together, The 12 Days of Christmas can be a challenge for newer players. For one thing, the time signatures vary as the song goes on. You need to be aware of your timing with each verse and not get too caught up in singing the lyrics.
O Little Town of Bethlehem
Like Silver Bells, this holiday song has a slower tempo that allows for more thinking between movements. O Little Town of Bethlehem is a familiar tune, but the challenge lies in the new chords and, specifically, the barre chords. Take your time to strum each bar as you set your fingers up for the next chord.
Beginner Holiday Songs on Violin
The violin is one of the most beautiful instruments, but no one can deny that it comes with a big learning curve. Often, beginner violinists are older children, teens, and adults. For this holiday season, beginners can work on their skills with these easy songs.
1. O Holy Night
O Holy Night is one of those songs that sounds like it was made for the violin. The long notes, slow tempo, and predictable melody make it perfect for beginners. The challenge lies in the bow work, where you want to hold the bow in the down position to draw out the long notes, but also prepare for the next phase in the up bow.
2. Away in a Manger
This carol is often taught to beginner violinists because of its tempo and possible variations for challenging parts. For example, there are a few moments in the piece that use the fourth finger, but you can play the next higher open string instead. It’s great for practicing low and high finger placements!
Intermediate Holiday Songs on Violin
With a little elbow grease and dedication, you’ll be able to move on to intermediate level violin songs for the holidays. These tunes will challenge your skills, but they’ll also be a ton of fun to play and perform.
1. Deck the Halls
Some might say Deck the Halls is a beginner level violin song, but there are a few sections that make it a higher difficulty level. One of which is the handful of quick bow lifts between some of the phases that can cause the bow to bounce. Violinists need strong control over their bow and its placement.
2. Carol of the Bells
New violinists who are seeking a challenge will love playing Carol of the Bells for a few reasons. First is the intense speed of the eighth notes. Second, you need lots of flexibility to hold the crucial high fourth finger notes. Once you master this song, you’ll be immensely proud.
Interested in mastering these songs before the holidays? DeGazon Music Studios offers music lessons to all ages for piano, guitar, violin, and more.
You can schedule a free introductory lesson byrequesting information or calling the Mississauga office at (416) 517-3769.
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