Before I go on, let me give you my philosophy on Christmas music for my piano students. Number one: I let them play non-hymn Christmas carols. (Gasp!) Ok, ok, calm down and let me explain. I do NOT let them play these songs in church....thank you captain obvious. I let them play them just for fun. C'mon, who doesn't like to play all 12 verses of "The 12 Days of Christmas"???
Number Two: I don't assign these songs like normal songs they practice every week. I lighten their load of songs from their lesson books, and give them the Christmas songs to practice and play just for fun. I mean seriously, Christmas only comes once a year, why waste it trying to cram practice time down their throat?? Besides, a lot of times they actually learn more this way, especially if its songs they like. (But don't tell them that.)
Okay, now on to the links:
The Church Pianist (Jenifer Cook) has some great "in church" arrangements. This time great doesn't just translate free, it also translates into "I love her arrangements."
Koerts Music (James Koerts) has a few of those "great" arrangements and also a Christmas book available for purchase.
pdfpiano.com is having a sale right now on Christmas and Thanksgiving music. Also, if you have not already, sign up for their free monthly newletter. Each month they include a piano arrangement. December's will be here shortly, I'm excited to see what Christmas song it might be!
Susan Paradis has some pre-reading and beginner songs that she has adapted. I used several of these for my beginning students that were just dying to play Christmas music. These are those "non-church" songs I was talking about. My students loved them! Especially without the pressure of having to have it all practiced up in a weeks time. For some, I even let them just play it like they heard it in their heads, even if it wasn't exactly what was written. Gasp, I'm a horrible teacher. :)
I also have some books from Soundforth and the like that I am playing out of this Christmas season. I just may let you in on some of those one of these days.
How about you? Where do you find good Christmas Music for your students?? What is your "Christmas Music Philosophy?"