Sing We Christmas, and lessons therein


One of my happiest childhood memories is of standing around the piano, singing, while my mom played Christmas carol after Christmas carol. It was such a happy, peaceful time, and because of it, I also know all the words to at least three (if not more) verses to all the major Christmas carols, too.

I'm a little embarrassed to admit this, but despite the fact that my mom is a classical pianist, and the fact that I have degrees in music performance (cello), my own piano skills are ... lacking.


However, we live in a house that came furnished with a piano, and this summer my mom found these two vintage Christmas carol books at a used bookstore for me. So I decided to start working on my piano skills, with the hope of creating similar happy memories for my own children.


The red book is from 1942 and is in 4-part choral arrangements, so it's above my ability level. However, the white one (from the late 70's) is easy. So I began fumbling through "The First Nowell" a few weeks ago. I made myself a goal to become proficient at one song at a time, and move on to as many as I was able by Christmas.

So far, "The First Nowell" has been learned and polished, and I'm pleased with how it sounds, so I moved on to "Good King Wenceslas" on Thanksgiving. I'm becoming fluent with that now, too, so I've begun learning "Coventry Carol", which is a little harder for me. I'm excited about my progress, though, and doubly pleased about the (perhaps not-so-) surprising benefit of having my children see me practice and improve at something that I haven't always done. (Most of the things I "do" were learned before they were born, so they haven't really had the opportunity to see me learn something so new.) It's a good example for Elisabeth with her own cello practice, as well as just being a life lesson that I hope they learn during their time home with me.


And, now we can enjoy (a few) Christmas carols sung around the piano, just like when I was a girl.