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If you’re looking for another book of easy carol arrangements for piano to add to your collection, this probably isn’t the book you’re looking for. Indeed, I’ve featured many such books before. I reviewed one of Darren Day’s Christmas books last year, so it’s lovely to be able to share this, quite different, volume with you. The book is billed as containing ’19 solos, arrangements, duets & fun activities’.
“This book is packed with Christmas fun! You’ll find new and original solos with lyrics, familiar classical tunes reimagined with festive lyrics, and some well known Christmas songs for good measure.”
I’ve seen many Christmas piano books in my time, but nothing quite like this one. The main thrust of this volume is that it takes familiar classical tunes, and adds a festive twist. Whilst there are some overtly Christmas tunes included, as I said above, this isn’t solely a book of carol arrangements.
Some of the familiar classical tunes include Brahms’ ‘Lullaby’, Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ and Grieg’s ‘In the Hall of the Mountain King’. These are presented in easy arrangements, mainly hands separately, but some hands together. Some also have accompanying duet parts which could be played by another student or the teacher. Seasonal lyrics have been added such as “Creeping through the house at night, try not to get a frighted! Watch out for the little, sneaky mischievous elf!” These could be sung, but also used as an aid to the rhythm.
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In last year’s review of Darren’s other Christmas book, Countdown to Christmas, I mentioned that the highlight was his own original tunes, so it’s pleasing to see several of these included in Did Someone Say Christmas, including ‘Christmas Bells’, ‘Dear Santa’, ‘Ho Ho Ho!’, and ‘The Secret Stowaways’. Again, these are relatively straightforward, some with duet accompaniments, and each one is full of its own character. Familiar Christmas tunes haven’t been sidelined entirely, the book featuring easy arrangements of ‘Deck the Halls’, ‘Jingle Bells’ and ‘We wish you a merry Christmas’.
Perhaps one of the bonuses of this book is the inclusion of seasonal activities which relate to the pieces featured. These include matching activities for both melody and rhythm, and also a ‘true or false’ Christmas activity. As I mentioned in my previous review, for sheet music, the book is an unusual size. The quality is good enough for a book which is likely to get a lot of use in terms of being filled in for the activities. Whilst the price perhaps doesn’t reflect the quality of the publication, it is quite justified given the volume of material included (about 50p an item). I suspect that for many, a studio licence (as detailed below) would be of more benefit, and ultimately, better value.
Whilst there are many easy Christmas books available for piano, Darren Day has filled a niche by creating a book which combines original compositions, arrangements of Christmas tunes, and reimagined classical melodies, alongside fun activities with a seasonal flavour. I can see this book being especially useful for piano teachers who are looking for new seasonal and Christmas material for early-stage and beginner piano students. Once again, it is Darren’s imaginative original compositions which stand out.
Did Someone Say Christmas: 19 Solos, Arrangements, Duets & Fun Activities by Darren Day, is published by Darren Day Piano, ISBN 9798354841189, RRP £10.95.
A digital studio licence is also available via MyMusicResource and TopMusicMarketplace.
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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