As the holiday song says, “It’s the most wonderful time of the year.”
Well, that depends. If you’re looking to teach your kids some great classics of the season, YouTube is a fantastic yet often frustrating and not so “wonderful” resource.
There are just too many options and bad song renditions. Before you know it, you’ve spent an hour, or three, going down one blind alley after another.
Enter my wife, Jan. She’s not only an elementary school teacher/librarian, she’s also a wonderful singer and member of a local choral group, and buddies with the music teachers at her school. Between them, they guided me—and now, you—to learning some great holiday songs on YouTube. (Taylor Swift will be here in a minute!)
Children Love to Sing
A little company called Children Love to Sing was founded over 20 years ago by a teacher who was frustrated by the lack of good resources to help teach children to sing. Check out this playlist they’ve put together of 27 holiday songs. They are tasteful and well-done, and easy to sing along with since the lyrics are right on the screen.
Their version of “Silent Night” is a good example:
[embedvideo id=”nEH7_2c644Q?list=PLI-is5tEGAnSAlFFQ3fEWvQistH_KDPRV” website=”youtube”]
Kidz Bop looks like a bigger outfit that manages a group of four kids who tour the country and put out several albums a year. A fan has put together playlists of some favorite songs, and this one has 47 (!) holiday songs that are lively and well-sung.
A drawback is that, unlike the playlist above, these songs don’t show the lyrics. But a plus is that this list has a bigger mix of popular tunes and classic songs.
A nice example is “Jingle Bell Rock.” And to print out lyrics to this and dozens of other seasonal songs, check out this site.
[embedvideo id=”3O_crHTHcDU?list=PLbb3F5Zkq8DR-dHeLRi2uO-IVMHRsOShm” website=”youtube”]
And Finally, Taylor Swift!
Yes, even the mega-star Taylor Swift is into holiday music…and why not? It’s some of the most beautiful music ever written. Her version of “White Christmas” by Irving Berlin has the lyrics on screen, making it an easy sing-along:
[embedvideo id=”9iEfX6AvfYI” website=”youtube”]
My wife’s friends, the music teachers, say it’s a great exercise to hear the way other artists sing the same song. So you might want to compare Taylor Swift’s version with the way Kelly Clarkson sings the same song, and for that matter, how the great Bing Crosby (who first made it popular) sang it.
Finally, just for fun, take a listen to the awesome a capella group, Straight No Chaser, who started their career as a college group at Indiana University. This song is a really clever mash-up of lots of Christmas music, good for four minutes of smiles!
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Of course, once you and the kids have learned a few songs, why not go door to door this season and sing your hearts out! It’s yet another way to add meaning and magic to your holiday season. And to learn more about the value of music and singing in education, read more about it on LearningLiftoff.com.