Top 10 Christmas Songs on Piano for Beginners
If you want to play something extraordinary on the piano this Christmas but aren’t sure where to start, here are some beginner-level Christmas songs for novice pianists!
Christmas isn’t Christmas without the music, and this year you can join and add to the atmosphere in a new way. Instead of just singing, beginner piano players can play along when friends and family want to have a sing-along.
Our shortlist shows you which popular festive season songs are easy enough, even without advanced knowledge or experience. We promise some of your favorites are on this list!
1. Jingle Bells
Jingle Bells is a typical Christmas song, but James Pierpont, the composer, didn’t write it. He published it as ‘One Horse Open Sleigh.’ People placed bells on sleigh horses during winter, so it doesn’t refer to Christmas.
The simplicity of the sheet music makes it an excellent song to gain confidence. Your left hand mostly plays a single clef note while your right hand handles the melody.
2. Silent Night
Silent Night, which tells the story of Jesus’ birth, is a famous hymn. Franz Xaver Gruber composed the melody, using lyrics from Joseph Mohr. Within a few decades, it was popular in New York. Bing Crosby recorded it in 1935 and sold 10 million copies.
It’s popular with beginner players because it mostly requires playing white notes. Also, use it to practice using the pedal during longer phrases.
3. Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer
The Rudolph in this song is a fictional character. Writer Robert May published booklets with his story in 1939.
In 1949, Gene Autry released a single of this song which Johnny Marks–Robert May’s brother in law–wrote. It rose to the top of US charts that year and in 2018.
This song has challenging elements, including the rhythm that changes when you transition from the introduction to the verses. Use it to challenge yourself, and use the SimplyPiano app to practice if you struggle.
4. O Holy Night
This song started as a French poem by Placide Cappeau, and Adolphe Adam wrote the melody in 1847. Later, John Sullivan Dwight created the English lyrics.
To be comfortable playing this hymn, sharpen your knowledge of piano chord structures. It challenges beginner players’ skills because of chord inversions, but once you master it, the rest is easy.
The song’s time signature is 3/4. Use your metronome and aim to play it at 164 bpm.
5. We Wish You a Merry Christmas
Here is another easy song to help build your confidence. Because the chorus repeats the same words and notes, you’ll master it quickly. It’s a fun song that people love to sing, and the audience’s enthusiasm helps new players play with more bravado.
The origin of this song isn’t known, but it became popular around 1935 when conductor Arthur Warrell included it in a university singing group’s repertoire. It’s relevant for Christmas and New Year, so you only have to learn one song to be your family’s star performer on both occasions.
6. What Child is This?
This song is easy to master because of the well-known melody, ‘Greensleeves.’ In 1865, William Chatterton Dix combined it with his new lyrics to form a Christmas carol.
7. Let it Snow
Beginner piano players who love jazz can use ‘Let it Snow’ to practice their skills in this genre. The piece helps you practice playing half notes on the left and eighth notes on the right.
The correct name is ‘Let it Snow! Let it Snow! Let it Snow!’ Don’t confuse this with Boyz II Men’s version. Although there’s no mention of Christmas, we associate it with the festive season. The classic melody dates back to 1945, and it performed well on Billboard charts, with different recordings all reaching the Top 10.
8. Frosty the Snowman
This song is super fun to sing and great for entertaining kids. It requires some practice because it’s one of the trickier melodies on our list. Start off playing it slowly to become comfortable with the movements.
When using simpler versions, an advantage is that you’ll only play the following chords in most of the song:
- C major
- F major
- G major
You can use 1st inversion for G major and 2nd inversion for F major to keep finger movement to a minimum.
Walter Rollins and Steve Nelson wrote the song in 1950. It’s another song Gene Autry recorded. The singer and his team wanted another hit after Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer, and it reached the top 10 on multiple US charts that year.
9. Santa Claus is Coming to Town
Here’s one of the more complex songs on our list, but use a simple version, and you’ll get it after sufficiently practicing each hand on its own before putting it all together. When performing, people will likely clap along, helping you keep rhythm.
If you struggle a lot, a handy method is to destupefy your left hand with intentional exercises.
J. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie wrote this classic. Early recordings come from 1934, and over the years, over 200 artists have included it in their albums, including Mariah Carey.
10. Deck the Halls
This melody comes from a 1500s song, ‘Nos Galan’, which translates to ‘New Year’s Eve.’ Thomas Oliphant wrote the words we know today in 1862. The catchy phrase ‘Fa la la la la la la la la’ is synonymous with Christmas and easy enough for kids to sing along to.
Deck the Halls is also easy to add to a beginner piano player’s festive repertoire because of all the repetition. Line one, two, and four are very similar, so you have fewer details to practice. The third line only has minor differences, so beginners can feel comfortable performing this melody faster than in some other songs.
So many many Christmas songs.
Using your music, help create that Christmassy atmosphere and enjoy the season even more than before. You can find more songs for special occasions online, and if you have suggestions of songs other beginners can try, please share in the comments section.