Jingle Bells is probably the best loved and most famous of all Christmas songs. It appeals to all ages and nothing announces the arrival of the Christmas season better than a jolly rendition – here is a step by step lesson piano lesson plan for how to play Jingle Bells for beginners, with free Easy Jingle Bells sheet music that you can print off at the bottom of the page.
Jingle Bells is a very easy tune to play on the piano so it’s perfect for beginners to be able to grasp quite early on. The tune is so well known and it’s repetitive pattern and small five note range makes it a perfect piece for young players with small hands. Very young ones can just play the melody line with the right hand only, and the left hand can be added later on, when the child is ready to play both hands together. This Jingle Bells sheet music is simplified slightly as it is designed with beginners in mind.
Before attempting to teach Jingle Bells and if you are new to the piano, check out my First Piano Lessons eBook to introduce the basic concepts of fingering, rhythm and notation. The lessons and exercises in the eBook introduce children to playing the piano in a fun, engaging way.
Easy Jingle Bells Sheet Music & How to Play Jingle Bells on the Piano
Right Hand Tune
Teach the right hand first and don’t attempt to add the left hand until they can play the R.H easily.
1. Sing the song together, while clapping the rhythm at the same time. Take a fairly slow tempo.
2. Play the tune to the child while they sing along, if the child can read the words, suggest they point to the words on the music as they sing.
3. Explain that the R.H plays the top line and that there are four beats in the bar. Ask the child to place their R.H in position with 1 (thumb) on middle C. Talk the child through the fingering of the first phrase, touching gently each finger in the correct order that they should play.
4. Ask the child to play the first phrase slowly, count 4 beats in, and point at the notes as they play them. Play it twice through.
5. Add each phrase in the same way, breaking it up into small chunks makes it easier to grasp.
6. Finally see if they can manage to play the whole piece. Make sure they don’t try to go too fast and point to the notes as they play, helping them with the fingering if they get stuck. Encourage them to keep going and make very light of any mistakes. Give lots of praise and encouragement!
7. Once the R.H is mastered you can move on to the L.H but most beginners are happy to play it with one hand for a while, or as a duet with their teacher.
Left Hand Chords
8. This may be the first time that they have had a new position for the L.H, so spend a little time getting used to the C below middle C. Explain that the L.H is in the same place as the R.H but one octave lower. This is covered in my lesson Easiest Way to Learn the Notes by practising note hopping.
9. First demonstrate playing the three notes C,E & G together with fingers 5 ,3 &1 . Explain that when the notes are played together they make a chord. Then ask the child to have a go, this might take a little practise at first, explain that it is a bit tricky but will get easier. If the 3 notes at once are too difficult, then miss out the middle note E, and just play C & G with 5 & 1.
10. Point out that the chord is played on the first beat of the bar, each time on the word Jingle. Invite the child to play the L.H while you play the R.H. Once they have got the hang of the chord, the rest seems relatively easy – but don’t expect them to grasp it all in one lesson.
11. Explain the left hand rhythm on the word “way” (bars 4 & 12) as “1 off! 3 off!” as this explains the crotchet (1/4 note) rests. Play the rest of the left hand phrase by phrase, with fingers 1-5-1 moving only on the first beat of the bar. Point out the clashing 2 &1 minims (1/2 notes) played both at once in bars 13 & 15 and ask if they like them – and then if it sounds good when it goes back to the friendly old C chord at the end!
12. Practise the song together as a duet, taking turns to play both left and right hands until they find it easy . The child will want to attempt to play both hands together soon enough, but it should be all their idea!
Print off the Jingle Bells sheet music by clicking here or on the image below.
For more easy Christmas sheet music for kids, check out:
Check out our Christmas lesson plan for lots more musical and educational activities to celebrate the season!
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