Christmas Guided Listening 2016

Every December I like to take an hour of rehearsal and do a guided listening with my students. An hour is half of our weekly time together, which should give you an idea of how important I consider this activity.

Christmas songs are great for guided listening because of their ubiquity – we can listen to and discuss various versions, focusing on arrangement, interpretation, style.

Here are my 2015 and 2014 editions. But a new year means a new song and many versions to choose from. Please feel free to try this activity with your own students – it would be a great activity for that time between the concert and the last day of school.

I’ve written at length about active listening here; but here are a few brief points to keep in mind.

  1. The order is important. Pay attention to the room, give them the version they need next. The order below worked for me, but might not for you.
  2. Be insistent about “why.” Not, “I didn’t like this one,” but “I didn’t like this one because…”
  3. Remember to be amazed at the different life experiences and preferences that surface in a room, no matter how apparently homogenous. What a great lesson that is!

Guided Listening: Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

  1. Frank Sinatra [iTunes] [Amazon]
  2. The Singers Unlimited [iTunes] [Amazon]
  3. Ella Fitzgerald [iTunes] [Amazon]
  4. The Manhattan Transfer [iTunes] [Amazon]
  5. Christina Aguilera [iTunes] [Amazon]
  6. Take 6 [iTunes] [Amazon]
  7. James Taylor [iTunes] [Amazon]
  8. Pentatonix [iTunes] [Amazon]
  9. Leslie Odom, Jr. [iTunes] [Amazon]
  10. Chanticleer [iTunes] [Amazon]

Here’s the Spotify Playlist

Enjoy and report back!