I first wrote this post over two years ago as “Easy Christmas Carol Books”. Having had a few queries since from parents about which music to buy their children for Christmas, I decided to add some books below with more challenging yet fun arrangements.
“As the frosty mornings are starting to set in and christmas parties are getting booked up, it’s time to prepare some festive music so today I’m looking at what is available. So many books are promoted as ‘easy’ piano music or ‘easy to play’ but ‘easy’ is such a relative term.
One of my favourites which truly is about as ‘easy’ as you can get is The Easiest Tune Book of Christmas Carols. Despite being in it’s fiftieth year of publication it is still one of the best. Whilst it isn’t decked with brightly coloured pictures like some of the more recent editions of christmas carols, it is easy to read, easy to play, the fingering is sensible and points where the pianist must change hand position are clearly marked with an apostrophe though the edition is designed to reduce the need for changes in hand position where possible.
The left hand parts are also very simple and guitar chords are also given.
Piano Time Carols from Oxford University Press is a little bit more expensive than ‘The Easiest Tune Book of…’ but it offers a more attractive front cover. Inside colour is used subtely. The carol arrangements are easy enough but a little more challenging than ‘The Easiest Tune Book’. The left hand parts use more chords and the right hand involves more changes of position.”
For more advanced pianists, Pam Wedgewood’s JAZZIN’ ABOUT Classic Christmas arrangements are more challenging but particularly fun when played alongside the backing CD in this new edition. One of the arrangements which is most popular with my students is “Christmas Jingle”, a medley of Jingle Bells and We wish you a merry Christmas that switches between straight 4/4 time and 3/4 Jazz Waltz.
Christopher Norton uses five well-known carols in Carol Jazz as a ‘jumping off’ point for jazz-related variations. These arrangements offer the more advanced pianists a chance to develop their own improvisation skills following a suggested routine.