A great way to end your Christmas recital

Last year I shared a fun Christmas Songs & Activities Pack with several activities you can use in private lessons and groups during the holiday season.

Today I wanted to share what I did with one of the activities for my studio recital this weekend. The Carol of the Bells Jam Session Activity was the perfect thing to do at our group class after I had the students perform their recital pieces for each other.

I printed the activity and cut out the strips that each has a simple part of the song. Before the students came I got out my bells and other instruments and decided which part I wanted each student to play and what they would play it on. One of the great things about this activity is that there are SO many ways you can do it. You can use whatever instruments you have available and make it turn out so fun. I used my piano and my organ (the two students I assigned to play on the organ were thrilled to have a chance to try it out!), hand bells and xylophone tone bells, boomwhackers, and a tambourine. It would have worked just as well using all bells, any number of different instruments, or even all on the piano if you can squeeze your students onto different parts of the piano. The possibilities are endless.

I did change a couple of the parts to be more simple because I have a few students who are pretty young. I love that this activity is actually really fun for children or teenagers or adults alike, and it is very easy to adapt it to whatever age group you have.

Make sure that you assign the first part (the main motive that repeats over and over and over) to someone who is a little older or who you can trust to carry a steady rhythm throughout the entire piece. The way this works is that you start with part number 1, have that student play it twice, and then add part two. Once they have played it twice, add part three, and so on until everyone is playing. It’s important to have everyone count together out loud (“1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 1 – 2 – 3 -4”) so everyone knows where to come in.

After parts eleven and twelve were played (I had one of my teenagers play both of them on the organ, once with right hand and one with left hand) I had all of the students stop playing (I taught them to listen for the A, A A A! at the end of that section and think “Stop! Stop stop stop!”) and my most advanced student and I played the bridge section together. After that everyone jumped back in and played their parts two more times. We ended with the first motive being played just once on the bells, slowly, and then one of my students played the lowest A on the piano to end.

I was a little nervous that everything might fall apart (we had only rehearsed once, at group class a couple of days before the recital) but my students nailed it! I was so proud of them. The audience was delighted and the students had a BLAST. It was the perfect way to end our Christmas recital!

Visit the Shop to download this activity and  for more great piano teaching resources!

Jennifer Boster

2 Responses to “A great way to end your Christmas recital

  • Debra Damron
    12 months ago

    I did this with 13 of my younger students for our Christmas Recital this year. Five students on one piano, 6 students on another, one with jingle bells, and one on a xylophone. It was amazing and they had so much fun! They never had a chance to rehearse beforehand (other than with me during their private lessons) but it all worked out perfectly! They all did so great!!! Thank you so much!!!

    • I’m so glad it worked out Debra!! That makes me so happy.