Beginner violinists look forward to this time of year as a chance to display their newly acquired talents. The holiday season gives you ample opportunity to perform, whether it involves a scheduled recital and performance, or you just want to show off for family and friends in an informal setting. Indeed, there’s nothing as fun as being able to join with other musicians during this time of year and play the traditional tunes we all know and love.
But it’s not always easy for beginning violin students to know which holiday music to focus on during practice. New students often ask, “Which songs are the best for beginner violin? And, which tunes are the easiest to learn quickly?”
Fortunately, many of the most popular holiday tunes are very basic. The following ten songs are excellent for new violin students to learn because they employ fundamental techniques, execution, and scales.
“Jingle Bells” by James Lord Pierpont. Originally released under the title "One Horse Open Sleigh" in 1857, this traditional holiday song written in common time and G Major is perfect for beginner violin students. The sheet music is free to print and this example includes the entire lyrics, not just the first verse.
“Joy to the World” (by Lowell Mason circa 1830). Another traditional American tune, many people think that Handel was the original composer. However, it’s generally assumed today that he wasn’t. Either way, this is a great holiday song to perform at church or home.
“Away in a Manger” (traditional version). For beginner violinists, this classic carol sounds incredible when played with a slow tempo. This is another free printable download and is easy to learn.
“Silent Night” by Franz Gruber. This holiday music classic has a wonderful history, and you can read about how this Austrian song was created here. For some reason, possibly because of its heartfelt lyrics and beautiful melody, since the first Christmas it was performed, it has remained a holiday tradition.
“Deck the Halls” (traditional version). This Welsh holiday song was composed sometime in the 16th century, but remains a standard favorite. The basic melody is upbeat in common time, but with a little practice, you’ll be able to perform this song easily.
“We Three Kings of Orient Are” by John Henry Hopkins, Jr. So often the most famous holiday music is inspired by the season and performed for the first time at a religious service. That’s the case for this tune, which is generally held to have been written for an elaborate pageant. The G Major composition in ¾ time is great for beginner violin students.
“We Wish You a Merry Christmas” (Unknown author, English origin). This holiday sheet music is free to print or download, and harkens back to a time of traditional carolers. The G Major score is easy for beginner violinists to learn, and its familiar melody is a staple for many holiday gatherings.
“Jingle Bell Rock” by Joe Beal and Jim Boothe. Although this song costs $3.99 to print a copy of the sheet music, it’s completely worth it. According to Billboard, this song is one of the most requested tunes every holiday season. It has a fun melody and rockin’ beat that makes it a great addition to any party.
“The Twelve Days of Christmas” (traditional English composition). Although this song will require a bit more practice to master, it’s not out of reach for a beginner violin student. Download the sheet music for this traditional tune for only $2.99.
“Hark the Herald Angels Sing” by Felix Mendelssohn. Perfect for church performances, this classic holiday music in G Major can be downloaded and printed for only $3.99. Plus, it sounds extremely lovely when played as a violin solo.
“It Came Upon a Midnight Clear” by Richard Storrs Willis (1850). Another tune that is perfect for the holidays. The sheet music for this familiar song can be purchased for $4.99, but it does take some effort to learn. Give yourself plenty of time, and before you know it, you’ll be able to play this masterpiece at your holiday gathering.
Finding holiday music to play on the violin and being able to play it for friends and family is one of the perks of all your recent practicing. Just remember to take your time and practice a few of these tunes so that you’ll be able to amaze your audiences with your hard-earned abilities.