Top 13 Piano Christmas Songs for Beginners

September 09, 2023 • 6 minute read
Kick-off the Christmas season on a festive note with your piano. Especially if you are a beginner: This guide will walk you through 13 popular Christmas songs that you can learn and play with ease!
Top 13 Piano Christmas Songs for Beginners
There is nothing quite like playing the piano at Christmas, especially if you are a beginner. The soothing sound of the keys, the gatherings around to sing-along, the joy it brings to people – it's magical. But before this magic happens you need to sit down at your piano and practice. Let's dive in and take a look at 13 famous Christmas songs perfect for beginners (we kept them as easy as possible and yet they still sound great). You can expect some evergreen classics like 'Silent Night' or 'Jingle Bells' of course. But we know you also fancy a few contemporary favourites like 'Last Christmas'.
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1. Silent Night

Silent Night is 'THE' classic Christmas carol composed by the Austrian composer Franz Xaver Gruber in 1818. The piano is the perfect instrument to play a beautiful rendition (and maybe sing-along). You know the melody for sure. Add the right chords and off you go. It's perfectly suited for all levels and beginners will have quick success.

2. Jingle Bells

Jingle Bells is an iconic song written by James Pierpont. Its recognizable melody, composed in C Major, features a simple, rhythmic structure, making it a popular choice for every musician around Christmas. The song is comprised mainly of eighth and quarter notes, accompanied by chords – suitable for everyone who just started out on the piano.

3. Last Christmas

This is a 'must have' if you want to play the most popular contemporary Christmas song. Released in 1984 by Wham! (George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley), Last Christmas features a catchy pop beat. At first this one can be a little tricky to play on the piano but even as a beginner you'll get the hang of it if you dedicate some time to practice.

4. O Come, All Ye Faithful

O Come, All Ye Faithful (in some countries also known as 'Adeste Fideles') is a Christmas carol thought to be composed by John Francis Wade. What we know for sure is, that it was composed in the 18th century. It features significant sections of harmony which sound magnificent on the piano. It's also great to sing along to it, so you can play an easy accompaniment. Nice to know: This is always the last song of the Midnight Mass for Christmas in the Vatican.

5. Joy To The World

Joy To The World is a popular song by Georg Friedrich Händel. We think the Pentatonix added a nice contemporary touch (as you can see in the video). The melody and harmony on the piano often embody the joyous and uplifting spirit of the song. Beware of the rhythm (needs some practice). But there's plenty of sheet music arrangements out there for beginners.

6. We Wish You A Merry Christmas

We Wish You A Merry Christmas is a traditional English carol often performed at the end of concerts during the Christmas season (and people love to sing-along). Its upbeat tune and easy chord progression make it a favorite among piano players of all skill levels. You can't be wrong with this one on the piano as it puts everyone in a festive mood.

7. Carol Of The Bells

Carol of the Bells is a popular Christmas carol composed by Mykola Leontovych. Known for its distinctive four-note ostinato motif, it has been covered by various artists in different genres. It's considered a more challenging piece for piano players as it requires dexterity to articulate the rapid-fire notes. So if you are an absolute beginners this might not be the right choice. But when you've made some progress you'll enjoy the musical challenge.

8. Do They Know It's Christmas?

Here's another contemporary one (and you'll love it). Do They Know It's Christmas? is a charity song recorded by the supergroup Band Aid in 1984. The song, distinctive for its iconic piano intro, delivers a message about global empathy in festive times. Aimed at aiding Ethiopian famine relief at the time, it continues to inspire piano players with its powerful melody and philanthropic roots. Go for a simplified arrangement and you'll have plenty of fun on the piano.

9. Hark! The Herald Angels Sing

Hark! The Herald Angels Sing is a Christmas carol composed by Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy. Originally written for choir and orchestra, it still sounds great when played on the piano. This carol's energetic pulse harmoniously blends with choral melodies. If you don't want to stick to the super popular traditionals like Silent Night or Jingle Bells this piece will expand your piano repertoire.

10. O Holy Night

O Holy Night is yet again a classic Christmas carol, this time with French roots (the French name of the song is 'Minuit, chrétiens). The heart of the song is rooted in its expressive melody, which makes it appealing to piano players (and yest - all other musicians).

11. Away In A Manger

Away in a Manger is a popular Christmas carol composed by William J. Kirkpatrick in 1895. Its melody is simple yet enchanting, making it a favorite. This guitar-based carol is often converted into piano arrangements, inviting pianists to bring out its soothing mood and traditionally tender aura. It's ideal even for absolute beginners - just be sure to pick the right sheet music.

12. We Three Kings

We Three Kings, composed by John Henry Hopkins, is a popular Christmas carol sang worldwide. ICaptivating with its rich harmony and solemn rhythm, it narratively follows the Three Wise Men's journey and is thus a must-have for this list. We also think it sounds pretty good on the piano. So: go for it.

13. The Little Drummer Boy

This one is actually a more contemporary song although most people consider it a classic for Christmas. The Little Drummer Boy, composed by Katherine Davis in 1941, features a poignant melody played on the piano. Its simple rhythms and harmonies are an ideal practice piece. The piano accents the narrative of the drumming boy, making it a much-loved Christmas carol.

Christmas on the piano? Easy!

Playing the piano is a wonderful hobby, and Christmas is the perfect opportunity to refine this skill and spread joy. With the list above, we hope you will find delight in playing these 13 piano Christmas songs. Recall, the ultimate goal is to enjoy the learning process and share the resulting merriment with those around you. Keep practising, stay patient, and most importantly, never stop enjoying the rhythm of music. Discover the wonders of playing the piano, and brighten up this festive season with your new-found talent!

By the way: If you are looking for inspiration regarding the right piano Christmas gift we got you covered as well!

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