Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!)

Posted by: tangleweeds

Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!) - 11/03/12 12:58 PM

Who's already started learning holiday music? Or else, have you chosen what you're going to work on once you get your recital piece turned in? Or do you wait for the last minute?

Past years, I've waited around for the holiday inspiration to strike, which means that around December 21st I start butchering some ultra-simple carols, so they end up sounding half-decent a day or two after New Year's ( frown :holiday fail: frown ).

So this year I'm staring earlier; I figure the retailers start bringing it on right after Halloween, so maybe I should too. Thus I'm already getting going with my holiday crafts, and Christmas carols too.

So what are your holiday musical plans?
Posted by: EdwardianPiano

Re: Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!) - 11/03/12 01:04 PM

Haven't got any as yet but I can play Jingle Bells from Alfred's LOL!


I might make some piano/music themed crimbo cards...
Posted by: casinitaly

Re: Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!) - 11/03/12 01:10 PM

Me me me! I started about 2 weeks ago.

I pulled out my "Joy of Christmas" and have been going through my favourites. I'm really pleased at how much better I can read through them compared to last year.

I don't think I'm quite ready for any sing-a-longs yet, but I am pleased with the improvement.
Posted by: tangleweeds

Re: Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!) - 11/03/12 02:22 PM

In case people haven't ventured into the Piano Teachers' forum, there's a good thread over there of recommendations of holiday music for piano students.

I took a couple of recommendations from over there, and got
Christmas for All Time, Level 2 (<=sheetmusicplus link, has song list & sample pages)
(Amazon link). This book goes with the Adult Piano Adventures series.
As well as Dennis Alexander's
Christmas Piano Book, Level 2(<=sheetmusicplus link, has song list & sample pages)
(Amazon link). This book goes with Alfred's Adult All-in-One.

Aside from the teachers' recommendations, I picked these because I've enjoyed other stuff by Dennis Alexander, and the Faber's book comes with an "enhanced" CD which has accompaniments as well as MP3 demos of the pieces played as they should be... plus it has MIDI files suitable for use with Home Concert Extreme, which did indeed appear as an early birthday present. smile
Posted by: Barbareola

Re: Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!) - 11/03/12 03:38 PM

tangleweeds@ How are you going to use Home Concert Extreme? Could you let us know wether it fulfills your hopes or not?

I'm asking because I have looked at their website and the geek in me is all excited, but then, what does she know. wink
Posted by: tangleweeds

Re: Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!) - 11/03/12 04:27 PM

Originally Posted By: Barbareola
tangleweeds@ How are you going to use Home Concert Extreme? Could you let us know wether it fulfills your hopes or not?

I'm going to go reply to this in the Home Concert Xtreme thread I started last month, just to keep both threads more on-topic for the benefit of future forum searches. So stay tuned (over there)... I'll post as soon as I'm done typing!
Posted by: Mr Super-Hunky

Re: Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!) - 11/03/12 10:09 PM

Don't forget about our annual 'Holiday Performances' thread. (Being politically correct).

It usually opens around Dec 1st and lasts as long as you can stand it.
Posted by: ZoeCalgary

Re: Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!) - 11/03/12 10:59 PM

Last year I took a break from prepping for my grade 4 exam to do Christmas pieces. I started in November with theFaber level 4 book. This year I started earlier but instead of going to the level 5 book I did level 3a-3b of Faber. I really like the Faber books and doing the slightly easier arrangements make it easier to focus on dynamics and musicality. Plus I can do more pieces in the short amount of time. So far I have Silent Night, Angels We Have Hears On High, and God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. Fun stuff!!
Posted by: tangleweeds

Re: Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!) - 11/03/12 11:19 PM

Originally Posted By: ZoeCalgary
I really like the Faber books and doing the slightly easier arrangements make it easier to focus on dynamics and musicality.

Not holiday-related, but I've been doing this in my own (self-directed) piano study. When I first returned to piano (after a year of childhood lessons many decades ago), I was hungry for ever more complexity in what I was playing. It was like having more notes made things sound better to me.

But since I read Effortless Mastery, I've actually regressed myself in terms of the difficulty level printed on the cover, so that I can play more "from the zone". I've been finding that this regression has freed up brain cells that I can use to focus more intensively on significant details like dynamics and articulation, as well as broader concerns like musicality and relaxation at the keyboard.

Back to Christmas music: are you working from the supplemental PlayTime, ChordTime etc type series (I can never keep track of them all), or some other Faber holiday books that I'm not aware of?
Posted by: SoundThumb

Re: Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!) - 11/04/12 01:48 AM

Last week my teacher mentioned that if I wanted to have something ready by Christmas, I better get started. Pulled out Christmas for All Time book 2 which I used last year. Like Casinitaly, I was pleasantly surprised at how much easier it was to read through and play a song that I had worked so hard to learn last year. Even the notes seem bigger than I remember. It is so difficult for me to notice any progress, week-to-week, but maybe it is happening. That would be a great Christmas present!
Posted by: Bobpickle

Re: Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!) - 11/04/12 03:20 AM

Found a great transcription last year of "I'll Be Home For Christmas" that I knew I'd want to learn someday, before I could even play. I plan on giving that, and some great transcriptions from here a go (http://noelnoelnoel.com/piano/piano.html); they're simple (ish) enough that I can hopefully get through them all by that time
Posted by: SoundThumb

Re: Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!) - 11/04/12 08:48 AM

Thanks for that link, Bobpickle. That site looks very interesting and just about my level.
Posted by: ZoeCalgary

Re: Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!) - 11/04/12 11:20 AM

Tangleweeds - the Faber books have the following names for their levels:

- Pretime (primer)
- Playtime (level 1)
- Showtime (level 2a)
- chordtime (level 2b)
- Funtime (level 3a-3b) (early intermediate)
- Bigtime (level 4) (intermediate)
- Advancetime (level 5) (advanced)

I felt much like you a few months ago. I was always wanting to get to the more andvanced and complex music. But that was getting me nowhere! It wasn't until I had decided I wanted to play in a long term care residence that I realized two things

1) I didn't have many pieces in my repertoire
2) those pieces I had pushed me to my limits and I could never relax when playing them

I read somewhere you should 'perform' pieces you have mastered and are several levels below your current level. So this started me on my journey for nice easier arrangements of pieces. I did a 360 turnaround fromwanting more complex music to easier music! Back to the Christmas music I have the following:

- Funtime 3a-3b
- Bigtime 4
- Advancetime 5 (haven't played any of these yet)

- Piano Adventures Christmas book 1- I bought this for my son last year who had just started playing. This year he is able to sight read through many of the pieces and enjoying this very much.

I believe the all of the above books are Faber supplementary materials. What I like is that in each level the pieces are arranged very nicely and sound very musical. I think my son hears this too because he gets really excited playing from the Faber book.
Posted by: justpin

Re: Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!) - 11/04/12 04:50 PM

I learnt Auld Lang Syne ages ago.
Posted by: LizAnne

Re: Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!) - 11/04/12 07:17 PM

We're learning a few (simplified) Nutcracker pieces in my group lessons. I was scared when she said we were going to do christmas music (yuk!), but Nutcracker I can handle. smile

I dream of being able to string them all together and post them, but it'll probably only be one piece, maybe two.
Posted by: EdwardianPiano

Re: Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!) - 11/04/12 08:02 PM

Quote:
We're learning a few (simplified) Nutcracker pieces in my group lessons. I was scared when she said we were going to do christmas music (yuk!), but Nutcracker I can handle. smile



LOL! My teacher suggested we could work on some Xmas music a couple of weeks ago and I politely said I wasn't into Xmas- not my bag at all! Jingle Bells is enough. laugh
Posted by: bbuckis

Re: Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!) - 11/04/12 08:53 PM

Started last years Christmas music really late (like the second week of December.) So this year I made sure to start earlier.
Teacher wanted me to start learning Clair de lune, last week. I showed up with Merry Christmas Darling and Happy Holidays.
Fortunately he thought it was a good idea!
Posted by: tangleweeds

Re: Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!) - 11/04/12 09:23 PM

Originally Posted By: EdwardianPiano
Quote:
I was scared when she said we were going to do christmas music (yuk!),

LOL! My teacher suggested we could work on some Xmas music a couple of weeks ago and I politely said I wasn't into Xmas- not my bag at all! Jingle Bells is enough. laugh

It's funny, some years I really get into Christmas, and other years I want nothing to do with it. This year both my roommate and I seem to be getting into it. While I'm learning christmas music, she picked up one of those crafty die-cutting machines, and she's collecting dies for recycling old soda-pop cans into metallic snowflakes and other ornaments.

(And augh, I have several pairs of Christmas-present handmade socks to finish knitting. Back in August, it seemed like a brilliant idea to make kneesocks... the blasted things go on forever!!)
Posted by: ZoeCalgary

Re: Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!) - 11/04/12 11:28 PM

I had my first lesson with my new teacher today. When I played Hark The Herald Angels Sing she said that was really nice. We need to get you something harder. Haha! I showed her my level 5 book and I picked Auld Lang Syne. I think I'll go back to my level 4 and pick something from there too. I love playing Christmas carols. But, I find I have to learn several per season so you don't drive yourself crazy.
Posted by: fliper

Re: Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!) - 11/05/12 02:05 AM

I started to play from "Alfred's Adult All-in-One Course - Merry Christmas Book (Level 1)"
http://www.sheetmusicplus.com/title/Alfr...Level-1/3658934
Posted by: mom3gram

Re: Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!) - 11/05/12 10:37 AM

I'm still using that one, fliper! I was thinking about getting the second book, but then I remembered that I bought "Christmas For All Time, Book 2" (Faber)last year, and only learned one piece from it.

Last year I learned "Carol of the Bells" from the Faber book, and the short version of "O Come, O Come Emmanuel" from David Nevue, and just relaxed with level one pieces for the rest of my Christmas repertoire. I'm waiting a little bit longer this year because last year by the time Christmas day came, I was already burned out on Christmas carols. LOL
Posted by: Ben Crosland

Re: Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!) - 11/06/12 11:41 AM

In case anyone is interested in some jazzier versions of classic carols, I have two arrangements available now:

Swingle Bells

and

Three Blue Kings

Both are about Grade 3 difficulty smile
Posted by: mom3gram

Re: Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!) - 11/06/12 12:05 PM

Originally Posted By: Ben Crosland
In case anyone is interested in some jazzier versions of classic carols, I have two arrangements available now:

Swingle Bells

and

Three Blue Kings


Both are about Grade 3 difficulty smile



Love the titles! smile
Posted by: JeanieA

Re: Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!) - 11/06/12 08:44 PM

This may not be "politically correct," but it seems apropos... and yes, I started practicing Christmas music a couple of weeks ago! smile

Posted by: Michael Taylor

Re: Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!) - 11/07/12 12:50 AM

I'm working on Christmas music already. I started by playingthe pieces that i learned last year out of the Faber level 4 Christmas book. I played about 4 pieces last year (they are on my youtube page.) I decided to play a few more pieces out of that book for this Christmas. I should have them ready when the Christmas thread gets started.

Most of the pieces that I played last year took a couple of weeks per piece. I am finding them to be much easier this year.
Posted by: Marco M

Re: Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!) - 11/07/12 04:10 AM

Do you know which Christmas songs are the classics to listen to in Lima, PerĂº?
Posted by: JimF

Re: Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!) - 11/07/12 08:10 AM

Weeds,

I picked up a couple of books from that thread figuring they'd make good reading fodder if nothing else.

I've also been searching for jazzy arrangements and just last night found the one I want to work on........a real nice Dan Coates arrangement of Merry Christmas, Darling. Once I heard those lush chords I knew I was hooked for the holidays, even though it is going to take some work to get it sounding good.
Posted by: jaredm2012

Re: Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!) - 11/07/12 04:08 PM

I'm working on some Christmas music now, and loving it! It is some of my favorite music. My teacher is using some carol books to go through to work on sight reading skills, and I figure I'll pick 4-5 of them to work up to play for fun for family and friends this Christmas.
Posted by: JimF

Re: Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!) - 11/07/12 04:29 PM

LOL, when I played through it last night I didn't even realize the song (Merry Christmas, Darling) was the one done back in the 1970's by Karen Carpenter. Ugggh, if there was ever a group or a singer that made me gag it was the Carpenters in the 70's. I may have to rethink my Xmas strategy here.
Posted by: malkin

Re: Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!) - 11/07/12 09:41 PM

Originally Posted By: JimF
Ugggh, if there was ever a group or a singer that made me gag it was the Carpenters in the 70's.


Same here.
I hope you can focus on the music rather than that bit of unfortunate history.
Posted by: newest student

Re: Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!) - 11/13/12 06:59 PM

Started lessons 8 weeks ago. Jingle Bells is kicking my butt!!
Posted by: Allard

Re: Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!) - 11/13/12 09:41 PM

Last year I spent a month learning a couple songs from Alfred's Basic Adult Christmas Piano Book, level one. Last weekend I played most of it while sight-reading laugh

Granted, many of the songs are so familiar, but it still felt like progress.
Posted by: ZoeCalgary

Re: Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!) - 11/13/12 11:20 PM

Allard that is excellent progress! Good for you. This is where you see/hear/feel the progress with the materials from last year. Good for you!

Newest student hang in there. You will tame the Jingle Beast. Give it some time. You will see it will come together.
Posted by: TrapperJohn

Re: Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!) - 11/14/12 07:27 AM

Originally Posted By: JimF
LOL, when I played through it last night I didn't even realize the song (Merry Christmas, Darling) was the one done back in the 1970's by Karen Carpenter. Ugggh, if there was ever a group or a singer that made me gag it was the Carpenters in the 70's. I may have to rethink my Xmas strategy here.


The Dan Coates arrangement of "Merry Christmas, Darling" is an excellent intermediate level arrangement of a wonderful holiday classic - it has just the correct number of slightly dissonant chords placed at just the ideal spots to make it "edgy" and interesting - I worked on and recorded this arrangement a couple of years ago and posted it to Mr. Super Hunky's annual holiday music thread...

Keep working on it and you'll be very glad you did - don't allow your very unjustifiable and unreasonable prejudice against The Carpenters stop you from learning and playing one of the best popular Christmas songs ever from one of the finest and most remarkable voices ever...

Perhaps you might want to give her another in depth and at length hearing, which would be a fair hearing now that you have probably gained much in wisdom with age and maturity...
Posted by: btcomm

Re: Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!) - 11/14/12 10:14 AM

I agree with TrapperJohn. I'm sure any of us wished we had the piano/arranger chops Richard Carpenter had and what can you say about Karen Carpenter's voice -- she was amazing.
Posted by: JimF

Re: Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!) - 11/14/12 04:57 PM

I hear you TJ, but the gag reflex is strong. And I will be the first to admit it is a nice arrangement as I originally stated. I will even agree that she had a good voice and was/is talented.

"Prejudiced and unreasonable"? Nahhhh. grin Sometimes music or a musician or a song can be tied in our minds with specific people, places, and moments in time. That's just the way it is....baggage. As I told my first wife, "go ahead, take alllllll the Linda Rondstadt albums, just leave me the Dead, the Airplane and the Who. smokin cursing

Ref. under R - Rostosky, Jazz, icepick in eyeball. wink
Posted by: TrapperJohn

Re: Tra-la-la, la-la (Pa-rum-pum-pum, pum!) - 11/15/12 09:45 AM

Originally Posted By: JimF
...I will even agree that she had a good voice...



Ha! Saying Karen Carpenter has a good voice is sort of like saying that Playboy's Playmate of the Month has nice assets - it's true, but seems to be a slight understatement laugh