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#14101 - 09/21/00 10:32 PM Christmas/Holiday music
Carole Offline
Star Member

Registered: 06/08/00
Posts: 2229
Loc: southern California
I know we have discussed this subject in the past, but could not find it. Do you all start your Christmas/holiday music about the 2nd-3rd week of October? That's about the time I was planning. Want to have plenty of time to learn the songs! I think someone asked the question which of the Faber books is the most popular-Christmas PA or the supplementary books? I have copies of both and will let the student choose, I guess. Also in my e-mail, I received a promotion of Alfred's new Christmas music. They are offering sets of books at a reduced price. Some look good-have Top Hits style with songs you don't hear often. Real attractive covers, as well, that look very inviting. Have any of you received this promo?

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#14102 - 09/22/00 10:59 AM Re: Christmas/Holiday music
Arlene Steffen Offline
Star Member

Registered: 06/20/00
Posts: 2972
Loc: Fresno, CA USA
Maybe I'm out of the loop on this one, but what I usually do with Christmas music is wait until the middle of November and then cut WAY back on everything else they are doing. I assign Christmas music at a lower level than they are are actually working at. For me, it serves three purposes. First, they get to play Christmas music closer to Christmas. Second, they get a break from their regular fare and third, we work hard on what I call "quick learn." We try to see how quickly they can learn and perfect a piece without much help from me. I sometimes set a goal of one week for a piece to be brought to performance level. It's a real challenge and they get a real boost knowing they can do it.

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#14103 - 09/22/00 02:01 PM Re: Christmas/Holiday music
Lisa Kalmar Offline
Star Member

Registered: 04/10/00
Posts: 4277
Loc: KC
I must be out of the loop also, cuz I do it pretty much like Arlene does (and for the same reasons) with a few small modifications. If the kids are intermediate I usually start them earlier in November, but the rest I wait til about mid-November. I use the same level or a little more difficult for beginners and 2nd year students. A lot of times they end up teaching themselves harder music through sheer willpower, which I love to see.

In December I usually teach only one private lesson and one group class before the holiday break. My goal is for each child to learn an entire Xmas book and have something to perform perfectly for the group class/party.

I haven't seen that Alfred promotion, daggone it, but I love to use their Xmas books. As much as I love, love, love the Faber ones, I like to see the kids reading something from another publisher that looks entirely different on the page every once in awhile.

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#14104 - 09/22/00 04:03 PM Re: Christmas/Holiday music
Carole Offline
Star Member

Registered: 06/08/00
Posts: 2229
Loc: southern California
Thanks for your suggestions. For some reason I have the mindset that we have to start early early to learn this music, but maybe I am not giving my kids enough credit. Knowing something is coming up, such as a holiday family gathering they're expected to play for, is a great motivator! I'm into this thinking of starting early on Christmas music because at our church we start on the choir cantata in Sept!!! BTW, the Alfred promo is very enticing. It came to me thru e-mail so don't know if it's on the regular web-site.

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#14105 - 09/22/00 11:20 PM Re: Christmas/Holiday music
Mary Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 07/19/00
Posts: 121
Loc: Missouri
I also start Christmas music in November but have been thinking about it already. So far I have preferred the supplementary books but have only tried primer of PA.

Instead of posting this in the game section I am going to put it here. I have two games I do at Christmas time. I have a set of Christmas melodies without words. I ask the student, just by looking at the music and without playing, to figure out which Christmas carol it is. We also open the book to the table of contents and take turns clapping the rhythms. Then try to guess which song was clapped. I try to learn a new and exciting Christmas carol that I play for each student. This is always a nice way to end the last lesson of the year, just before Christmas break.

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#14106 - 09/23/00 11:54 PM Re: Christmas/Holiday music
Carole Offline
Star Member

Registered: 06/08/00
Posts: 2229
Loc: southern California
I LOVE your Christmas games, Mary. Think we'll give those a try this year.

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#14107 - 09/24/00 12:24 AM Re: Christmas/Holiday music
Joy123 Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 05/22/00
Posts: 566
Carole: Like you, I almost always start Christmas music sometime in October. I LOVE it--the students LOVE it--- so it is a WINNER! My students do a LOT of LEARNING with their Christmas music.

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#14108 - 09/25/00 10:28 PM Re: Christmas/Holiday music
kathy Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 07/21/00
Posts: 199
I've been wondering what to do this year regarding Christmas music, so was happy to see this thread! In fact, one student asked today when we would be starting Christmas music! I have started in Oct. before, but feel like we miss out too much on progressing in their other books that way. I like Arlene's suggestion, and may try it. If you're looking for some beautiful arrangements for early to mid intermediate students, I think nothing beats Jerry Ray's Simply Christmas and Christmas with Style. (Alfred). Christmas with Style is my personal favorite book to play from, because it's one thing I pull out every year that I don't have to work hard on--just enjoy the beauty of his wonderful arrangments! I also enjoy the Faber supplementary Christmas books (more than the PA Christmas books). I'll be receiving my Alfed Christmas package this week, so I'll let you know how I like those books. kathy

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#14109 - 09/28/00 01:03 PM Re: Christmas/Holiday music
kathy Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 07/21/00
Posts: 199
I'd like to hear what some of you do with your students at Christmas time, such as holiday recital, in-home party, program at nursing home, or whatever. I've never done anything in the past (it's too busy a time for me to plan anything big) but I think the children would enjoy the opportunity to share their music. I am thinking of calling a retirement home where the residents are senior citizens but still in relatively good health (not a full-fledged nursing home, which can be a bit intimidating to young children). I thought it might be a nice service project for the students to play for them, plus give them an audience for their music. What do you think?

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#14110 - 09/28/00 08:35 PM Re: Christmas/Holiday music
Mary Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 07/19/00
Posts: 121
Loc: Missouri
I used to invite the students to my house for a Christmas party. They took turns playing their Christmas carols for each other. Very informal. Everyone had to play at least once. Students started bringing gifts for me to the party and I felt awkward with that. So I haven't done that for years.

I encourage all the students to play a Christmas solo in their church. There are about 8 or 10 students from the church I attend. They do the preservice music before Christmas Eve. Sometimes older students play the offertory or other special music.

This year, for the first time, six of my students are participating in a piano ensemble festival. At each level two songs are played, one Christmas, one not.

I would love to do a Christmas recital some year but there are already so many other things scheduled that I never have.

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