What is "Musicianship Monthly?" Each month, I share links to free resources you can use to focus on a specific musicianship skill with your students all month long! Want to see past skills we have covered? Click HERE!
This month, put your students' musicianship skills to the test with 12 fun challenges that will help get them in the holiday spirit! Keep reading to learn more....
I tried to keep this challenge as flexible as possible so that it can be used with students at any level as well as with students who don't celebrate Christmas.
You can also pair this challenge with some of the other free resources found here on my website, using the list below!
Click HERE or on the image to get your free PDF of this holiday challenge worksheet.
1. Perform a holiday song for a friend.
The holidays are a great time to encourage our students to play for others! Encourage your students to play a favorite piece for a friend or grandparent. (Want to help your students keep track of all of their holiday repertoire? Check out my free Christmas and winter repertoire list templates HERE.)
2. Name every interval or chord in a holiday song from your book.
Put those theory skills to the test! (If your student doesn't have a holiday book, feel free to use one of the songs from my "Free Stuff" page HERE for any of these challenges.)
3. Play a holiday song by ear.
I love using familiar holiday tunes as ear training exercises! You can also have students complete this challenge using my "Play-By-Ear" Christmas Challenge worksheet found HERE.
4. Listen to a movement from Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite.
The short, imaginative pieces in Tchaikovsky's famous suite make excellent active listening choices for students. Feel free to use the listening map videos below if you like, to help students follow the music and learn more about the patterns and musical instruments used in these pieces.
Familiar holiday tunes offer a perfect opportunity for students to be creative and create their own unique versions of well-known pieces! Check out my free holiday lead sheets HERE.
6. Transpose “Jingle Bells” to at least 3 different keys.
This familiar piece is an easy one to transpose, since it only uses 5 notes in the melody. Get a free copy of my "Jingle Bells" transposing challenge page HERE.
Don't care for "Jingle Bells," or need something more challenging? You can find all of my transposing challenge worksheets HERE.
7. Improvise an introduction or coda to your favorite holiday song.
I often give students opportunities to embellish their repertoire pieces. Encourage your students to create their own introduction or coda to a favorite piece! A few ideas they might try:
- Playing repeated high or low notes to start or end the piece (the tonic of the key often works well for this).
- Playing a cross hand arpeggio up or down the piano.
- Repeating the last line of the piece in a different octave.
8. Clap the rhythm to a holiday song from your book.
Don't forget to review rhythm skills, too! For even more holiday fun, you might have students tap the rhythm on a tambourine, or shake it out using jingle bells.
9. Teach a friend how to play the melody from the first line of “Deck the Halls.”
Having students teach someone else can be an eye-opening experience! Encourage students to teach a friend or family member how to play the opening melody of "Deck the Halls" using the simple version found HERE.
10. Name every note in a holiday song from your book.
Put those note identification skills to the test by using a piece your student hasn't played yet from their book!
11. Sight-read a holiday song that is new to you.
If you are like me, you are always looking for opportunities to build your students' sight-reading skills! You can find several free holiday pieces at a variety of levels in my blog post HERE. Or, use my levelled, Christmas "name-that-tune" worksheets found HERE.
12. Create your own original piece inspired by the sound of bells.
Finally, wrap up this holiday challenge by having students create their own original holiday piece! For students who need a little more structure to create, feel free to use my "Carol of the Bells" improv worksheet found HERE.
What do you think? How are you encouraging your students to use their musicianship skills over the holidays? I would love to hear from you in the comments!