Jingle Bells sheet music is one of those need-to-know pieces for beginner piano players.This free sheet has so many things going for it, both for the student, and from the perspective of the teacher!
This cute and singable little Christmas tune is a favorite of young kids:
Why is this such a great song for beginners?
First of all, Jingle Bells is such a familiar tune, that even when it is not the Christmas season, little kids are often very excited to learn it. Because of its familiarity, they will memorize it quickly, and then, if you wish, you can start adding other activities -- like Mary Had a Little Lamb, this is a good song to use as a foundation for learning or polishing new skills.
Here is Jingle Bells, as I give it to my beginners:
Here is an even easier way to read Jingle Bells. These Alphanotes are like music note drawings:
So what makes Jingle Bells sheet music so versatile?
This Christmas song is the perfect tool... now start using it!
Here it is with chord symbols:
But there's no left hand!
I want my students to learn early on how to read chord symbols, so they can play lead sheets. Each "C" means "play a C chord here". See below how I actually have my students play Jingle Bells sheet music, with open chords (open fifths):
Why not just START with the lead sheet with chord names on it?
Because a few of them will jump to the conclusion that the letter is telling them the name of the note below, even if they know better. And they are beginners when I give them this music, and I want as few distractions on the music as possible.
I suggest you give it to your piano students without the chord symbols initially, or else make a point of asking them "What does this letter C mean here? And this letter F? And this G?" Why ask them this? So, depending on their familiarity with chords, you might be better off with a plain sheet. Or, start in the very first week asking THEM to play the chords for YOUR right-hand melody.
The very easiest way to add LH
The first week or so, if they already have the experience of putting LH chords to a RH melody, you might suggest that they use just a C chord the whole song, with no chord change, as in Indian Dance. Tell them the song will sound prettier if they play it up high on the piano, so that it does sound "more like bells".
Then add the secondary chords
After a week or so like this, you can start adding in the "G pinch" chord (the G7 made with the f & g, using the 2 &1 fingers of the left hand) and the "little F" chord (f & a, again with the 2 & 1 fingers of the left hand). The G pinch chord is easy, especially after playing Mary Had a Little Lamb, but beginners have a hard time with the Little F chord, because it necessitates the stretch of the thumb. Sometimes, after a struggle, I just let young pianists substitute the G7 chord for the F chords, and we come back to the F chord later.
Have fun with this well-loved Christmas music!
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!
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