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

Pat-a-Pan has an engaging rhythm and a beautiful minor melody.

Three versions of "Willie, Take Your Little Drum":

  • one difficult, 
  • one fairly easy, and 
  • one (bottom of the page) for beginners!
Pat-a-Pan, a French Christmas song.  This Christmas sheet music is FREE!

Please scroll down the page for the links to the free printable PDFs.

Four verses of Christmas song lyrics translated from the French original lyrics are included with this free Christmas song... 

"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.

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

Please scroll down the page for the links to the free printable PDFs.

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

Please scroll down the page for the links to the free printable PDFs.

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 TAH / TAH TAH TAH TAH / TAH, tee-tee TAH TAH /

TAH-2, TAH-2, / TAH-2, TAH TAH / TAH TAH TAH TAH /

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.

Mrs. Behnke's flute choir:



The links to the piano music:


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


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


Download Willie Take Your Little Drum for beginning piano 









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Just the Black Keys, a piano song book for young beginners.

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This book is available as a digital download  from this site, and also from Amazon as a paperback!

This is the perfect easy start for little pianists.

And when they start reading white-key notes on the staff, this is a fun easy resource to say each week, "Choose a new black-key song at home this week and figure it out to show me next lesson!"  They will be spending more time at the piano.

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Carrie,Voice and Piano Teacher:
This site is FABULOUS.

For all the reasons you explain on the site itself--this is exactly what piano teachers need! (I still need to go look at the vocal music). Wow. THANK YOU SO MUCH!

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California Student:
Hi, I want to thank you for such a wonderful and educational website. I have found all the information you have posted and your comments immensely helpful, and I am grateful for your posting it.

I am sure you are an awesome teacher and person. I am a beginner piano student, so many thanks and Happy New Year.

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Comments

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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About the Author

Dana Thynes

Hi, I'm Dana!  (Say that like "Anna".)  I'm the owner of Music-for-Music-Teachers.com.

Like some of you, I've been playing the piano since early childhood, and added a few other instruments along the way, plus an interest in arranging and composing music.

You can find out more about me and the reason for this website at my About Me page.