Pat-a-Pan, or Willie Take Your Little Drum

Pat-a-Pan has an engaging rhythm and a beautiful minor melody. Four verses of Christmas song lyrics translated from the French original lyrics are included with these free Christmas songs! Three versions of "Willie, Take Your Little Drum": one difficult, one fairly easy, and one (bottom of the page) for beginners!

"Willie Take Your Little Drum" or "Pat-a-Pan" is unfamiliar to a lot of kids, so you may have to run this one by them a couple of times before they will really "hear" it. This lively, free Christmas sheet music certainly has a different flavor than most of the Christmas songs they know... but it is catchy and beautiful.

Hear the Cantamus Training choir singing an arrangement of this lovely Christmas music:

Here is the free Christmas sheet music for the more difficult arrangement of Pat-a-Pan, with a driving left hand rhythm.

Pat-a-Pan, a French Christmas song.  This Christmas sheet music is FREE!

Download Pat-a-Pan free Christmas sheet music, intermediate level 

It is the rhythm that mainly makes coordinating the hands together difficult. This arrangement is based on an old one by Ruth Heller, but the right hand is simplified a bit so it flows more easily.

I have NOT put fingering in; I do have an unchanging fingering that I prefer, but your students will probably find their own fingering for this song no matter what I put in here.

Experiment with the phrases, trying different fingering; pencil it in, then encourage them to see how that works for them over the course of the week. They are more apt to try fingering if they had a contributing part in choosing it.

This easier version of Pat-a-Pan, below, doesn't have the driving left hand rhythm of the more difficult version above, but it preserves the beautiful harmonies, and includes all the Christmas song lyrics.

Christmas sheet music from France

French Christmas carol Pat-a-Pan

Download Pat-a-Pan with Christmas song lyrics, elementary level piano 

Below is a very simple arrangement, a Middle C version for beginners. It works for a duet Primo, and you can use the left hand chord pattern of Version 1 (the hard version, above) for a Secondo! (Just be sure to take the melody part up an octave or two.)

Easy piano song for Christmas

Download Willie Take Your Little Drum for beginning piano 

I left the rhythm of the notes in this beginner's version the same as above in the elementary and intermediate piano arrangements above. Sure, there are eighth notes in the fast parts, but don't worry about that. Instead of turning this song into a chore by imposing "1 & 2 & 3 & 4 &" , not suitable for beginners, you and your students can count it my favorite way for 8th notes:



TAH-2, tee-tee-tee-tee / TAH-2, tee-tee-tee-tee / TAH-2, etc.,

with the bold "TAH"s being the first beat of each measure.

Probably most of you do some form of this already! Kids catch on very quickly that eighth notes move faster.

Here is "Ms. Benke's Flute Choir:"

Have fun with these free Christmas songs!


Do you have a funny story about this music, or does it remind you of something you'd like to share with other readers? Do you have a question? I'd love to hear it!

Please note that all comments are moderated, and will not appear until I have approved them. Also, IF YOU ARE ASKING FOR MUSIC THAT IS NOT IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN, YOUR REQUEST WILL BE IGNORED. That's pretty much any music written in the last 75 years...

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