Three Christmas Songs to Suit Any Level – Piano-Guitar-Ukulele

That seems like a bit of a boast, doesn’t it! Three songs to suit players of any level on piano, guitar or ukulele… and I probably need to qualify this claim.

Firstly, if you are playing guitar or ukulele, you’ll need to know either the first ten guitar chords (C, D, Dm, E, Em, F, G, G7, A & Am) or first position treble clef notes. If you’re on the piano, you’ll need to know at least how to read treble clef notes.

Beyond that, the music is your plaything – play chord accompaniment on the piano below the melody, fingerstyle guitar and ukulele… whatever you fancy.

The three songs in question are:

  1. Away In A Manger
  2. We Three King
  3. We Wish You a Merry Christmas

Click on the link above to download the free PDF of the song in question – and have a great Christmas!

Taking suggestions for next year’s three songs

Tunes to Develop Left Hand on the Piano

For some reason, piano pupils tend to pick up reading the treble clef more quickly and easily than the bass clef. Actually, I suspect there are two reasons. Firstly, as children, when schools introduce us to the world of music notation, they go with instruments that use the treble clef – the recorder, for example, or violin – and so we feel some familiarity with the treble clef as a result. The other is that the majority of us are right-handed, and the treble clef tends to be restricted to right-hand use, the left-hand taking on the bass clef.

Whatever the reasons, the left hand and the bass clef need a little extra focus to keep them up to speed with the right.

There are at least three tools that provide this focus. Firstly, we have flashcards. These show a note in the bass clef and you have to find/name it as quickly as possible and then check if you got it right. While you can buy physical flashcards, there are several mobile apps available that provide this service for free. Here’s a link to Music Flashcards to get you started.

The second tool is sight-reading. By sight-read, I mean being presented with a short piece of music you haven’t seen before, which you then play. The Improve Your Sight-Reading series by Paul Harris is one of the best books, though it covers treble and well as bass clef sight-reading. The best place to start would be the Grade 1 book. I would suggest looking through the passage of music to sight-read, then play it through three times, improving it each time as necessary.

The third tool is learning a piece of bass clef music. The piece of music in question shouldn’t be so easy that you can sight-read it. Rather it should present enough of a challenge that you can spend a few weeks turning it into a proper musical performance. To this end I have put together a sheet of tunes in the bass clef, which should be suitable for most piano pupils who have been playing for a few months.

You can download the PDF here: Bass_Clef_Tunes_for_the_Piano.pdf

Open Mic Night – July 2017

Thanks to Jilly – one of my guitar pupils – for organising the Open Mic Night at the Alton British Legion at the start of July. It was a great evening and, despite my dreadful migraine, I was pleased to be able to play a couple of songs on the keyboard.

The first is a song I wrote when I was 19 for my band at university: The Coopers. It’s called “Time To Leave” and is, in part, about Derby, but also in some way about my life at the time.

The second is a cover of Bruce Hornsby’s “The Way It Is”.

If you’d like to have a little listen, here they are: