Santa Claus Sing-a-long
Welcome to this Christmas Sing-a-long Tutorial for "Santa Claus is coming to town".
Now if you are familiar with PianoGroove’s solo piano tutorial for this very song – based on Bill Evans voicings – you will know this simple little tune can be dressed up to the 9’s.
If you are looking for that elegant beautiful jazz arrangement, you’ll find one here on PianoGroove. Check out the related lessons below. But that’s not the direction we are going in this video.
Instead we want to pear down the voicings to its roots – it was created in 1934 by John Frederick Coots and Haven Gillespie. Back then harmonic arrangements were not as sophisticated as today.
Great For Kids & Adults Alike!
The accessibility of "Santa Claus Is Comin To Town" makes it a great number for a sing-a-long with friends and family. Both adults and kids love this song!
As the pianist you must make it as easy as possible for everyone to join in the festive cheer. Once everyone is singing along with you, you will be holding everything together through your harmony and rhythm.
When leading a group of singers, it’s important that you stay agile so that you can both lead and follow at the same time. Particularly as the merry-men of the group could go in any direction.
A Simplified Arrangement
We are going to stay in the same key as the solo piano version inspired by Bill Evans. However, for the purpose of this singalong, we are going to simplify the chords and changes.
We will start by playing through the form with simple triads and we will then revisit the tune with 7th chords and discuss the harmonic movement.
Just 1 Verse To Work With
Something to keep in mind is that this song only has 1 verse, but if you got the crowd going, then you don’t want to stop at just one time through, so something I’ve done with this tune is sing 2 x’s through straight, usually by the 2nd time everyone is comfortable and having fun with it more than the first time, even though the words are the same!
Then I’ve soloed through 1 time, you could also bring in elements from the other arrangement or play that arrangement through before returning to the sing-a-long.