“Ding, dong merrily on high…”
“FIVE GOLDEN RINGS…”
“Little donkey, little donkey…”
Ah, yes, it’s that time of year where us Music teachers are madly teaching Christmas carols to hundreds of students in preparation for annual school Christmas carol nights and End-of-Year celebrations.
It is a time of year that I love. I love the Christmas cheer and all the joy and happiness and the anticipation – not only of the birth of Jesus, but also the end of the school year for us in Australia and 6 weeks much needed break!
I started planning and having Christmas songs spinning round in my head weeks ago. It is always a challenge to find songs that everyone enjoys learning and performing. So often it is easy to fall into just doing the same old (traditional?) versions of songs that we do year after year.
But as my Dance co-teacher said as we looked at the suggested songs for our Nativity play, “These songs are pretty boring and if I’m not having fun dancing to these songs, then the kids won’t have fun either.”
Over the years I have found great songs, and great versions of songs, to use in our Christmas celebrations and I thought I’d share some of them with you (and there is not a Little Donkey in sight!).
Hopefully some of these might inspire you to think outside the square and find songs that will engage and lift the spirits of your students during this festive season.
O Come All Ye Faithful – Mary Mary: time to get tribal!
Little Drummer Boy – For King and Country – if you are into bucket drumming, this song is awesome for drumming along to!
Walking in the Air – from “The Snowman”: I absolutely LOVE this song! It would lend itself to some gorgeous ribbon dancing, or if you have a strong choir, this is sure to be a crowd pleaser!
And another from a movie…
Christmas Star – John Williams (from “Home Alone 2): This song is nice and easy for the students to learn and sing and is a gorgeous alternative to a lot of the very “kiddy” Christmas Star songs out there. (And it is also a great to tell the students that the composer also composed the music to Jaws, Star Wars and Jurassic Park!)
Noel – Young and Free (Hillsong): This was a huge hit with my students and is a fantastic dance track alternative to the First Noel.
Angel Jam – from “David’s Dynasty”: We are using this song to end our Nativity this year. It is super catchy and is suitable from young to older students.
Santa Wear Your Shorts – Hi 5: Do you like to do fun Christmas songs and want something with an Australian feel? You can’t go past old skool Hi 5! I love this song and it is a winner year after year!
And finally, do you try and get your students to sing Silent Night each year and hope to have sweet, gentle singing, with perfectly pitched notes and NO terrible glissando up to the high note with no luck? Then, this version is for you!
Silent Night Rap – from “An Unplugged Christmas” by Susie Williams and Luke Gambill
Hope this gives you some inspiration!
PS – and if you are looking to integrate some fun Christmas rhythm activities, check out Bulletin Board Lady – Music Clip It Christmas Edition. I have been using this as a warm up activity before we get stuck into the singing, and the students are loving it!