I own a lot of Christmas piano books (a whole shelf section), all full of festive classics. Indeed, I get sent new Christmas books to review each year. I wanted to include these two volumes of festive classics arranged by Michael Higgins, for two primary reasons:
- One volume is for ‘really easy piano’ and sometimes, particularly as teachers, we need arrangements which are that simple: there aren’t many published books which meet that criteria;
- They are both available as downloads, especially useful given how long the post is taking at the moment.
Both volumes contain the same 10 festive classics:
- Away in a Manger
- God Rest You Merry, Gentlemen
- Good King Wenceslas
- Hark! the Herald-Angels Sing
- Jingle Bells
- O Come, All Ye Faithful
- Silent Night
- The First Nowell
- We Three Kings
- We Wish You a Merry Christmas
The majority of arrangements in the really easy piano version are in C major, with a few in F and G majors, restricting key signatures to just one flat or sharp. The easy piano version is the same, though there are some accidentals appearing in hands together sections. All of the really easy arrangements of these 10 festive classics are for hands separate playing, with the easy version mixing hands separate with some hands together playing. Both volumes restrict players to, in the main, a single hand position. A few of the arrangements are given in two different keys giving both students and teachers a choice. This could also be useful for anyone who wants to sing along!
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The fact that these two volumes are available as downloads is a bonus too. There is a lot of downloadable Christmas music on the internet, but the arrangements are often poor, the presentation far from ideal. In contrast, these two volumes are presented in as good a version as if they were a professionally printed book. I do think this matters, and with so much available online, we should still be discerning about what we purchase, and as teachers, what we offer our students.
At the current exchange rate, the arrangements work out at about 50p each which is excellent value. Many single piece downloads aren’t available for less than £1.99. The music is presented on a nicely-sized stave, the notation clear. Again, these are little things, but they do make a difference. If you want to save paper and you are comfortable playing or teaching from a tablet device, these two volumes are both excellent additions to your Christmas repertoire. If you’re a dinosaur like me, then you can quite happily print them yourself at home. They do, as so many books often fail to do, what they say on the ‘tin’.
Christmas Piano: 10 Festive Classics (Really Easy Piano) arranged by Michael Higgins, is published by Pygmalion Music, and is available from Sheet Music Plus, A0.1114269, $6.99.
Christmas Piano: 10 Festive Classics (Easy Piano) arranged by Michael Higgins, is published by Pygmalion Music, and is available from Sheet Music Plus, A0.1114259, $6.99.
I was sent a review copy of these books free of charge; however, this review is my honest opinion as a teacher. You can find my Reviews Policy here.
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