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A First Book of Christmas Songs: 20 Favorite Songs in Easy Piano Arrangements (Dover Music for Piano) Paperback – July 9, 1997

4.2 out of 5 stars 104 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

Beloved holiday songs for the beginning pianist
Beginning pianists will love playing the music of Christmas with this new volume of holiday songs in musically attractive, pedagogically sound, and fun-to-play arrangements. These expert settings explore a full and satisfying piano sound within the natural capabilities of the novice performer. Twenty holiday favorites include Silent Night; O, Come All Ye Faithful; O Little Town of Bethlehem; Jingle Bells; Deck the Halls; O Christmas Tree; and more.
Delightful illustrations add a festive note to this modestly priced collection, which will be welcomed by beginning pianists of all ages.
See every Dover book in print at www.doverpublications.com
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 10 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 5
  • Series: Dover Music for Piano
  • Paperback: 48 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications (July 9, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0486297187
  • ISBN-13: 978-0486297187
  • Product Dimensions: 11 x 8.2 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (104 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #490,155 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By J. Haughton on November 16, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Here are the 20 songs in the book:

Angels We Have Heard on High; Jingle Bells; Away in a Manger; Joy to the World; Silent Night; Deck the Halls; O, Come All Ye Faithful; Song of the Birds; The Coventry Carol; O Come, O Come, Emmanuel; We Three Kings of Orient Are; The First Nowell; O Little Town of Bethlehem; What Child is This?; Hark! The Herald Angels Sing; O Christmas Tree; We Wish You a Merry Christmas; God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen; Pat-a-pan; Shepherds, O Shepherds.

There are illustrations throughout the book for children to color, and all-in-all it's not bad for the price. I do wish, however, that all the verses of the songs could have been included (only the first verse is given) so that you wouldn't have to buy a Christmas songbook separately or hunt down verses on the Internet.
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This is a great book from Dover Publishing. The layout and illustrations are nice, but there is one infamous typo, and frankly, this is a book for more advanced elementary piano students. As a teacher, I've got quite a collection of Christmas music books, and this is definitely not a "first book." If you're looking for more simpler music that's much better geared for younger children, look for the Bastien collection.
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Having purchased this for my kids to use and practice in time for Christmas 2005, I pretested all the music and found it to be a nice starter set of Christmas music for the piano student in their first or second year of training. The arrangements tend to be minimalistic. Caveat: there are at least two obviously wrong notes in The First Nowell and Jingle Bells, so you'd be well advised to correct them once you find them; hopefully they'll fix them by the time a second edition rolls out. Nice features: Each song can be played without turning pages. A charming black-and-white illustration accompanies each song. There's also a list of the songs in order of difficulty for those who want to learn the songs that way.
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Great for children. Each song is illustrated with pictures to color. Wide representation of songs and styles. The arrangements are simple, but musical.
Note: Although this book is for beginners, it is at the Primary Level. If you're looking for a simple five-finger Christmas book. This isn't it. Great for Level II Primary however!
It's also a fun book to improvise from. There's something about seeing the Carols broken out of their standard hymn settings that sparks the imagination for creating spontaneous innovative arrangements when working from Bergerac's setting as a base.
A great Value!
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Format: Paperback
I have never played the piano before this past year and at 56 years of age, it isn't the easiest thing to pick up! However, this book not only let's you play 'like a pro' right off the bat, but the stylings are simple, understandable, and with the number of the finger of each hand attached to each note, one can play with confidence immediately! Lovely and very satisfying. E.
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By A Customer on November 24, 2002
Format: Paperback
This is a great book for a first year piano student. It's fun and a real confidence booster for kids to be able to sit down and play a familiar Christmas tune for grandma and grandpa or other guests and this book gives simple arrangements that sound nice. Plus there are pictures to color too so for under five dollars I can't think of a better deal!
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I was really excited about this book b/c I got it free with Amazon's 4-for-3 deal. I was looking for a Christmas book to use with my beginning piano students. While this book is very simply arranged, many of the songs are not in the key of C Major. Several of them are in the key of F or G, even D! Some of the songs also have eighth notes. This is not beginning level! None of my beginners could play from the book. I didn't even get to use it for them this year. I recommend Alfred's Basic Piano Christmas books. Level 1 and Level 2Alfred's Basic Piano Course: Merry Christmas! (Alfred's Basic Piano Library) Level 2 seem to be graded much more appropriately.
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Format: Paperback
Many kids get this book before the age of 10, and even 5 is not too early to start them learning their Christmas songs. On any given day you will see the children streaming from music school or music camp, clutching this durable Dover book to their chests while the music in their heads strums through their fingers, and conjures up a jolly Christmas to come. The sadder aspects of Christmas are not forgotten either, and the minor keys in which some holiday gems are written (e.g., O Little Town of Bethlehem which, even if not in a minor key borrows some mournful tones from Russian and Jewish music) will provide an adult counterpoint to the brainless holiday rock music that's a staple to US top 40 radio around this time of year.

Give your kids (or nephews and nieces) this book of Christmas songs. Bergerac is one of the best arrangers around, and knows the mind of a child every bit as extensively as the late Dr. Seuss. Indeed, one hopes that Bergerac goes to work next on a book of Seuss-inspired tunes, that would be awesome.
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