Jingle Bells – a simple version for early elementary, hands together

Yes, it’s another version of Jingle Bells! This one’s for students who have been learning for just a little while. It’s nice and simple, although it does feature some dotted rhythms and hands together. The tune has been simplified slightly to make it as easy as possible to play.

The link to download the sheet music is below the video. It can also be downloaded via the Sheet Music page.

Under The Christmas Lights – audio and links to sheet music

(Post updated January 16 2024). Yes, it’s been very quiet around here recently. But that is about to change as Animatedpiano releases a Christmas single! It’s a piano cover of Under The Christmas Lights by Gwen Stefani, and it will be available on several major streaming platforms.

Unfortunately, and beyond the control of animatedpiano.com, it wasn’t available for Christmas 2023. But it is available now. At least we’ll be nice and early for Christmas 2024!

The beautiful photo which appears on the cover artwork is used by kind permission of Jill Wellington on Pixabay.

So here it is, along with Gwen Stefani’s original:

The sheet music for the piano arrangement is already available on Sheet Music Plus and Sheet Music Direct, in two versions.

The Original Key version, as heard on the Animatedpiano recording, would be suitable for an advanced intermediate (UK grade 5-6) student who enjoys a challenge. It’s in the key of D flat major, so there are lots of black keys, but there are no big chords or wide stretches.

The C major version is basically the same arrangement but in the key of C, so it’s almost entirely on the white keys. It will be approachable at grade 4 level.

Under The Christmas Lights (Original Key) – Sheet Music Plus

Under The Christmas Lights (Original Key) – Sheet Music Direct

Under The Christmas Lights (C major) – Sheet Music Plus

Under The Christmas Lights (C major) – Sheet Music Direct

Getting Started On The Piano

Here’s a collection of very simple tunes for beginner pianists, using just the 5 notes which were shown in Piano Notation Basics Part 5. The free PDF can be downloaded from below the video, or via the Sheet Music section.

Finding Your Way 1, as mentioned in the video, is available from the link here (more details and video coming soon).

Getting Started On The Piano

This link will take you to the Piano Pictures website, where you can download your free PDF.

Piano Notation Basics

New to the piano and not sure about notation? This series of 6 videos will tell you everything you need to know to start reading notes with confidence.

These videos are suitable for beginners of all ages and will be a useful resource for music teachers. Pause the videos at appropriate moments for comments, discussion or activities.

Part 1 introduces staves (the lines on which music is written) and clefs (the signs which tell you whether to play high notes or low notes).

Part 2 looks at note heads and stems, and explains what it means to say that notes are ‘on lines’ or ‘in spaces’.

Part 3 explains ‘the beat’ in music, and introduces time signatures and bar lines.

Part 4 introduces simple note values with some musical examples, and explains how finger numbers are used.

Part 5 shows you how to name and find some notes on the piano.

Part 6 is a review of things which were covered in the previous videos.

For ‘Getting Started On The Piano‘ (mentioned in Part 6), see the next post.

ABRSM Piano exam pieces performed by Jill Morton

‘Hmm, what’s it supposed to sound like?’ If you’ve ever asked that question about an exam piece, you may have searched for a video of it on YouTube. You may also have discovered some videos that are not very good!

Fortunately, there are some videos that are performed and recorded to a very high standard, for example those by Jill Morton. Her recordings are a valuable reference for exam preparation, and they are enjoyable to listen to as well. All of the pieces are beautifully performed and very clearly recorded. So here’s a selection of Jill Morton’s videos of ABRSM exam pieces. You can find more, plus videos of Trinity College exam pieces, on Jill’s YouTube channel.

The Duchess of Cambridge’s Christmas piano performance

Well, this came as a surprise to many people – the Duchess of Cambridge plays the piano! It will surely be an inspiration to many piano students.

Here is an extract from the description on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge’s official YouTube channel:

Watch The Duchess of Cambridge and Tom Walker perform ‘For Those Who Can’t Be Here’ at Westminster Abbey for Royal Carols: Together At Christmas. The performance took place in The Chapter House inside Westminster Abbey in December 2021. The song was played as part of the Royal Carols: Together At Christmas, a carol service that reflected upon the difficult past 18 months for people across our nation, and particularly for those who might be more vulnerable, isolated or have limited access to support.’

Gurlitt: The First Lessons (Op.117)

Cornelius Gurlitt (1820-1901) was a German composer who wrote a great amount of attractive music for piano students. Here is a selection of pieces from his collection The First Lessons (Anfangs-Stunden in German). These editions have been specially prepared for animatedpiano.com and are free to download. They are hosted by the International Music Score Library Project (imslp.org).

The earlier pieces in The First Lessons have no titles so the following descriptions may be helpful:

No.6, Allegretto grazioso, is a charming little melody which grows out of a C major broken chord pattern.

No.8, Vivace, is a spirited march.

No.9, Allegretto, is a little study which encourages a good, well-balanced hand position.

No.12, Moderato, is a simple scale study. It uses the scale of C major in the right hand and, later, G major in the left hand.

Christmas carillon

This year it’s going to be a very strange Christmas for most of us, but we have to make the best of it while remembering to stay safe. Here’s our musical Christmas greeting, featuring the sound of a carillon. If you’re wondering what a carillon is, there is some information in the video.

With best wishes for Christmas and the New Year.

In the Bleak Midwinter (Sheet music level E)

In the Bleak Midwinter is a setting of a poem by Christina Rosetti (1830-94). The music is by Gustav Holst (1874-1934), who is best known as the composer of the orchestral suite The Planets. The sheet music can be downloaded below (underneath the video) or via the Sheet Music page.

This arrangement stays fairly close to Holst’s original setting for 4-part choir. A light touch on the sustaining pedal may be helpful in places, but be careful not to overdo the pedalling.

Resources to liven up piano learning: sheet music, videos and more!

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