Getting Ready for the Holiday Season—with Holiday Piano Music!
This article is for teachers getting their students ready for an exciting time of year—a time for holiday music for students to share with friends and family! We will go over the basics of finding great sheet music for all levels and a practice plan that can have piano students performing their seasonal favorites by the time the holidays roll around.
Just when you’ve gotten settled into your routine for the fall, the holiday season is right around the corner! It approaches fast for music teachers as well as students, and now it’s already time to start thinking about music for the holidays. With a concrete plan and preparation, you can bring excitement to lessons by introducing holiday music that gives students the wonderful opportunity to share their progress with family and friends. Read on for a few tips on how to make holiday piano repertoire successful for your students.
Why start holiday piano music preparation now?
The beginning of November is a great time to introduce holiday music to your students. It’s close enough to the holidays to make sense from a lesson perspective, and far enough out from the holidays to really master a few songs. I like to think of holiday music preparation as a mini-recital for students. Generally, you should follow an 8-week plan to work on pieces that will be performed, and students will love to share their holiday favorites with others. Helping them prepare for the season in advance equips them with the confidence and fluency to give a great performance, no matter what level!
Where do you get level-appropriate holiday piano sheet music?
Luckily, holiday music is abundant! If you are working out of method books with your students, there is usually a supplemental book that has corresponding pieces that directly match what the student is working on. However, you can always look through the supplemental books for other methods to find comparable materials, or use your best discretion when selecting from options at your preferred sheet music store. Some students are not particular about which holiday standards could be performed, but others may have certain pieces they prefer. If specific pieces are mentioned when introducing the idea, a quick search on musicnotes.com can come back with a ton of results at various levels.
How many holiday songs should I prepare with students?
It’s totally up to the teacher and student, but I like to have a goal of 3. Usually, I select pieces that are level appropriate but are not huge leaps in difficulty. With an 8 week plan, 3 medium-difficulty songs can be worked on in lessons without taking the entire lesson duration. As you get past Thanksgiving, lessons can be more focused on the holiday pieces. In this amount of time (beginning of November through the end of December), you may even have enough time to explore memorization opportunities.
The holiday performance challenge!
The great thing about having students perform holiday music (and the setting in which it is usually shared) is that students will be in front of family and in a comfortable environment. The student will feel great about their ability to share the gift of music with others close to them, so I love to suggest doing a mini-recital within the household. It’s a time when the student can have everyone listening to the holiday pieces that were learned with undivided attention and a very easy performance practice for the student.
Don’t wait for the holidays.
Don’t wait to start thinking about holiday music for your students! The season will be here in a flash, and we as teachers should take advantage of the opportunity to give students holiday repertoire they will enjoy and undoubtedly share. If you are especially looking for ways to energize lessons, work towards the holiday challenge to encourage engagement, even in a busy time of year