How To Simplify Christmas Sing-A-Longs
In this masterclass we will explore how you can jump quickly into any Christmas Tune from the Christmas RealBook.
For those hard core jazzers, who love 7th chords, ii V turn arounds galore, this tutorial will not be for you. It’s for people who want to be able to play through the RealBook for fun at the holidays, or those that want more of traditional, pop or even country spin on these classics.
We’re all busy in this season and few of us want to practice year round for these seasonal songs, so we’re going to explore some tips to make it easy to site read and minimise you practice time, as well as harken back to that traditional and nostalgic sound.
“Jingle Bells” Sing-a-long Tutorial
Let’s use the tune “Jingle Bells” because it’s one that can get people singing at a holiday party like no other, trust me on that. The score as it appears in the Christmas RealBook can be a bit intimidating, especially if you are leading a group of merry carollers who are pulling on the tempo every which way!
In this lesson we will identify the most crucial parts of the harmony and simplify our arrangement so that we can play smoothly and confidently.
Stick with the pillars of the chords which is the 1, 3, 5, & 7 and leave out any extensions and alterations from your voicings.
If you are experienced with inversions, then you are welcome to use them because often they are easier to play once you are familiar with them.
Our most important chords to look out for are going to be the I, the IV, and V – these are important to the harmonic sound and are most likely to be missed if skip them.
In many cases, set ups such as ii Vs and turn arounds can be ignored to simplify and streamline the form.
Playing simply and cleanly is the key if you do not have time to get comfortable with more complicated harmonies.