My idea of the perfect family Christmas is a little clichéd but involves mince pies, mulled wine, a roaring fire and singing around the piano. This is becoming a reality in our house. With an array of instruments including piano, guitar, clarinet and saxophone and a whole family who enjoy singing and music, we are loving making and recording music together. When I was asked if I would like to review Jingle Bells, from music-for-kids, I thought it would be a good chance to add Christmas songs to our repertoire.
The Jingle Bells book and CD features 18 well-known Christmas carols and songs. The book is nicely presented with each song displaying the notes of the melody plus chords written along the top. There is also a handy chord chart at the back of the book for both guitar and ukulele. Being a beginner, I photocopied the chord sheet to make it easier to reference while I was playing guitar. With my basic guitar skill, I found that there were a few too many chord changes to play many of the tunes with confidence but with most songs you could leave some of the chords out.
The piano music is basic (right hand melody and chords) and was great for my 8-year-old to practice sight-reading and play a simple tune . The chords could be added by a more experienced pianist to play accompaniment, I even managed to sing along to my own rudimentary playing during silent night.
The CD contains all the songs in the song book and is a nicely sung collection of Christmas carols. Younger children may find the keys too high.
My little ones enjoyed filling out the sticker pages and singing along to Jingle Bells while their sister played the recorder. I was disappointed that there weren’t more songs for the little ones like ‘Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer’, ‘When Santa got Stuck up the Chimney’ or ‘Away in a Manger’. They joined in with Jingle bells and We Wish you a Merry Christmas and there are a few other simple melodies that they could learn but I would have liked to have seen more simple songs that weren’t carols.
If you are looking for a simple book and CD of traditional Christmas Carols, at £7.95 this is excellent value. The book is available from musicroom.com
For further information about music for kids visit https://www.facebook.com/musicforkidsuk
No payment was a received for this review, a copy of the material was received for review purposes.