Review: Countdown to Christmas (Darren Day)

I mentioned in last week’s review that the Christmas market is pretty saturated when it comes to piano music. That means that every year, each new publication has to find its place within that crowded marketplace. From what I’ve seen online so far this year, Countdown to Christmas is certainly proving popular amongst piano teachers.

The book contains 25 Christmas carols and songs composed and arranged by Darren Day. You may remember that I previously reviewed Darren’s book Connections. The pieces and arrangements are aimed at players of around Grades 1-3 standard.

Mary's Lullaby from Countdown to Christmas by Darren Day

Many of the popular carols are included such as Away in a Manger, The First Nowell, Joy to the World and O Little Town of Bethlehem. The arrangements, whilst not adventurous, are effective, with useful fingering suggestions given where appropriate. The lyrics to each carol are included, and free backing tracks are available to download via the QR codes included. The addition of lyrics is useful as many easier piano carol books exclude these.

The music is clearly presented with a ‘no-fuss’ approach. As well as the printed book, the music is also available as digital downloads with a studio licence via the TopMusic Marketplace and MyMusicResource.

O Little Town of Bethlehem arranged by Darren Day from Countdown to Christmas

Whilst the carol arrangements are effective, it’s Darren’s own original solos which shine. Four of these are included: Christmas Waltz (with lyrics), Mary’s Lullaby, One More Sleep and Snowfall. The latter two of these are particularly pleasing with much opportunity for character and expression.

Overall, this is a useful collection which essentially ‘does what it says on the tin’. Clearly presented, musical and accesible.

Countdown to Christmas: 25 Carols, Songs and Original Solos for Piano by Darren Day, is available from Amazon, ISBN 9798464422308, priced £9.95.

I was sent a review copy of this book free of charge; however, this review is my honest opinion as a teacher. You can find my Reviews Policy here.

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