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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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#14111 - 10/02/00 09:09 AM Re: Christmas/Holiday music
Katrina Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 09/21/00
Posts: 123
I have a recital planned for Dec. 1. My students are going to start on their Christmas numbers soon. Kids are funny about Christmas music. They'll work on it in July if you let them!

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#14112 - 10/08/00 02:19 PM Re: Christmas/Holiday music
Michele Offline
Regular Member

Registered: 09/05/00
Posts: 68
Loc: Michigan
Help, I'm looking for a nice arrangement of "O Holy Night" at a mid-intermediate level. I have one arrangement that sounds like it should be used at a skating rink and two others that just sound too empty (BTW this is for a very picky student). Any help will be greatly appreciated. I don't have enough time to add stuff to the ones I have, and it would be great to just tell my student what to go buy.



[This message has been edited by Michele (edited 08 October 2000).]

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#14113 - 10/08/00 02:39 PM Re: Christmas/Holiday music
Marcia Vahl Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 04/25/00
Posts: 161
Loc: Brooklyn Park, MN, USA
Check the book "Christmas with Style" by Randall Hartsell. (Nice arrangement, 2 "verses" with a neat key change in the middle.)

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#14114 - 10/12/00 08:53 AM Re: Christmas/Holiday music
kathy Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 07/21/00
Posts: 199
Did any of you sign up for the Alfred new music club? I signed up only to receive the Christmas shipment, and I thought the form said it would come in September, but I am still waiting. Have any of you received the Christmas shipment? This won't leave me much time to familiarize myself with the music, make decisions, and get everything ordered for the beginning of November!

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#14115 - 10/17/00 02:31 PM Re: Christmas/Holiday music
bethann Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 10/12/00
Posts: 359
Loc: Nebraska
Is anyone very familiar with the PA Christmas books? I have two students who started the primer in September and am wondering if there is any Christmas music available for them to play.

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#14116 - 10/17/00 05:24 PM Re: Christmas/Holiday music
Lisa Kalmar Offline
Star Member

Registered: 04/10/00
Posts: 4277
Loc: KC
THere're three books you can choose from: a Pre-Reading Christmas, the PA Primer, and the Primer level of the regular Faber Xmas series. THe Pre-reading book has the little letters in the noteheads, with some staff reading towards the end. The PA Primer pretty much matches the rest of the series and has "stocking stuffers" designed to trick them into sightreading every day, plus a couple of other cute ideas. The Primer regular Xmas book has the standards. Did you get the Faber Xmas catalog that came last week? I think there are pics and things from each book in there!

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#14117 - 12/06/00 10:10 AM Re: Christmas/Holiday music
Carole Offline
Star Member

Registered: 06/08/00
Posts: 2229
Loc: southern California
Just wanted to do an update and find out how everyone's holiday music is going? I have most of my students in Christmas Faber books this year and they have been terrific! We love the arrangements. I found a Hannukah book for two siblings and they have enjoyed that (Hal Leonard book). My contest for who can learn the most songs for the holidays is going well. I have a few who weren't motivated by it (but they aren't motivated by anything), but the majority are working hard and the total so far I think is 10. The one who learned 10 is a 7th grader and her songs were not easy so I'm especially proud of her. She is going to record them for her away family. Next weekend is a group class where we'll play our songs and also have a store recital on Sunday. It will be a long one with all instruments playing. What about you all????

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#14118 - 12/06/00 11:21 AM Re: Christmas/Holiday music
Jalapeņo Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
All of my students were anxious to get to work on some Christmas songs, so we're not working out of the reg. method books this month but are instead devoting all our time and energy to holiday music.

All of my students come from Christian families. One 9-year-old boy wants to learn "We Three Kings," so I was thrilled that this song is in one of the Faber PA primer-level Christmas books. A 6-year-old girl has her heart set on learning "Away in a Manger." Her mother brought a book (not Faber) that her older brother used several years back. I'm not too wild about the book because there are finger #'s above every single note (red for RH; green for LH); however, since this child just started taking lessons 2 months ago & has not gotten to staff reading yet, I've decided just to teach her a few carols using the finger #'s, just so she'll have something to play during the holiday season. She also wants to learn "Jingle Bells," and this book has the eighth-note rhythm written in, so I'm using the blue jello counting method (from the Music Mind Games bk.) to get her to play correctly.

My 9-year-old daughter learned all the songs in the Faber PA2B Christmas bk. by herself w/o any difficulties, so she's now working on some songs in the Faber PA3A bk. She enjoys a challenge, so I'm letting her see if she can do it. I'll help her if she asks, though. I'm really proud of her progress. Arlene, you can ignore my posts about my daughter if you wish. I can't help but brag from time to time.

I'm really thrilled at how motivated my students are, now that I've switched everybody over to PA!

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#14119 - 12/06/00 07:07 PM Re: Christmas/Holiday music
bethann Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 10/12/00
Posts: 359
Loc: Nebraska
I too am enjoying listening to my students playing Christmas music. While I LOVE the PA Christmas primer, I have a couple of early beginners in the Alfred Pre-Reading Christmas Activity Book. The songs are pretty simple for them, but the activities give them a chance to think and they love coloring the pictures.

Also, I have a teenager using the Alfred Adult Top Hits Christmas book (she especially loves playing "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" - can't stand it myself!)

Another student is working out of a Christmas duet book, I believe edited by Denis Alexander, and we are having so much fun playing duets together! Anyone else having great success with different Christmas books? (Already planning for next year!)

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#14120 - 12/07/00 07:35 AM Re: Christmas/Holiday music
Rhapsody Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/19/00
Posts: 2329
Does anyone know of a lively, but easy, arrangement of the old traditional English carol "Christmas is Coming" (Late Elementary)? There's a rollicking version in "The Christmas Pianist" software, but it is too difficult. Either a sheet or in a collection -- maybe even a 1P/4H or 2P/4h duet?

(I also posted this under "Adult Piano Study: Ideas for Christmas Music" because I went to that topic first. Should I delete one of my posts and, if so, which one? Thanks.)
_________________________
There is no cure for boring.

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#14121 - 12/07/00 08:27 AM Re: Christmas/Holiday music
Jalapeņo Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
 Quote:
Originally posted by bethann:
I too am enjoying listening to my students playing Christmas music. While I LOVE the PA Christmas primer, I have a couple of early beginners in the Alfred Pre-Reading Christmas Activity Book. The songs are pretty simple for them, but the activities give them a chance to think and they love coloring the pictures.

Also, I have a teenager using the Alfred Adult Top Hits Christmas book (she especially loves playing "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" - can't stand it myself!)

Another student is working out of a Christmas duet book, I believe edited by Denis Alexander, and we are having so much fun playing duets together! Anyone else having great success with different Christmas books? (Already planning for next year!)



I had a 10-year-old female student last year who only knew 2 Christmas songs, "Silent Night" & "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer." I don't like "Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer" either, but what's a teacher to do in a situation like this? (This is the same student who, when told to play a piece in march tempo, thought I meant the month of March!)

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#14122 - 12/08/00 12:49 AM Re: Christmas/Holiday music
Randall Faber Global Moderator Offline
Resident Member

Registered: 03/31/00
Posts: 130
Here's an idea that has been a big success for our students: Instead of a Christmas recital, have a Christmas open house. The students entertain, taking turns in 10 minute segments. Pay each student a couple dollars for the gig, but also place a jar on the piano for tips. Students love it and so do the parents. Funny, but the students see this as more professional than a recital because they are being paid!

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#14123 - 12/08/00 11:32 AM Re: Christmas/Holiday music
Jalapeņo Offline
Star Member

Registered: 11/04/00
Posts: 5712
 Quote:
Originally posted by Randall Faber:
Here's an idea that has been a big success for our students: Instead of a Christmas recital, have a Christmas open house. The students entertain, taking turns in 10 minute segments. Pay each student a couple dollars for the gig, but also place a jar on the piano for tips. Students love it and so do the parents. Funny, but the students see this as more professional than a recital because they are being paid!


I love the creative things you come up with. What a great way to psych kids out!

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#14124 - 12/26/00 04:07 PM Re: Christmas/Holiday music
Lilla Offline
Star Member

Registered: 10/30/00
Posts: 1573
Loc: Chicago
Happy Holidays to all! Just wondering how you end your students'Christmas music for the year. Do you ease out? Do you finish all songs currently being worked on? Do you just stop (or set-aside) ? Lilla

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#14125 - 12/29/00 12:54 AM Re: Christmas/Holiday music
Joy123 Offline
Mainstay Member

Registered: 05/22/00
Posts: 566
Lilla: I start Christmas music early in the season. My students and I love it so much.
Since they love it so much, they practice more and make progress and learn things with more ease. Each year I come away from the Christmas music experience feeling that my students have REALLY LEARNED! As to how I end it--as I mentioned earlier, I start early.
Each week I hear the Christmas pieces that were assigned the week before, but I also tell them to keep them up BECAUSE I am going to hear ALL of their Christmas music at the last lesson before Christmas break. I make a BIG thing out of them playing ALL of their Christmas music at this last lesson for me. When that last lesson comes, I listen to ALL of them. Most of the students have them real well and we can stop Christmas music for that year triumphantly. However, a few of the more advanced students may have a few places in some of their pieces that need a little more work. If there are a few things on some that need just a little bit more work, I say---oh, you can get that all worked out OVER the holidays as you won't have school and I don't mind hearing just a few Christmas things after Christmas. Then, I listen to these FEW things the FIRST lesson after Christmas. This plan works beautifully for me Christmas after Christmas.

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