This fun activity will encourage good practicing skills as students count down the days until Christmas with a Christmas practicing activity each day of December. It includes a variety of activities to practice sight reading, performing, technique, theory and more. Merry Christmas!
Please let me know if you do not want your student to participate in Christmas activities and I will assign alternate activities.
Get your piano students listening to great classical music!
The Shades of Sound Listening and Coloring Books are a great way to encourage students to listen to great piano and orchestral repertoire. Students of all ages will love coloring the fun pictures while listening to and learning from the music of the great composers.
This Shades of Sound Christmas edition includes 20 pieces of piano and orchestral literature for the Christmas season, from the Baroque to the Modern period. Includes background and historical information on the pieces and the composers, and a beautiful coloring page for each piece.
The Christmas Shades of Sound book includes 20 different pieces, including:
In Dulci Jubilo from the Christmas Tree Suite by Liszt
1833 ~ Alexander Borodin, Russian composer
More information about Borodin
.1920 ~ Jo Stafford, Singer
.1925 ~ Louis Armstrong recorded “My Heart”, starting a career that brought him worldwide fame.
.1939 ~ Lucia Popp, Czech soprano
.1940 ~ Walt Disney released “Fantasia”. One critic called the film “As terrific as anything that has ever happened on the screen.”
.1941 ~ Hot Lips Page performed the vocal for Artie Shaw’s very long and very slow version of St. James Infirmary on RCA Victor.
.1943 ~ Brian Hyland, Singer
.1943 ~ John Maus, Bass, singer with the trio, The Walker Brothers
.1944 ~ Booker T. Jones, Musician with Booker T and the MG’s
.1945 ~ Neil Young, Canadian folk-rock singer, songwriter and guitarist, with Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young
.1948 ~ Errol Brown, Songwriter with Tony Wilson singer with Hot Chocolate
.1950 ~ Barbara Fairchild, Singer
.1955 ~ Leslie McKeown, Singer with The Bay City Rollers
.1967 ~ Pearl Bailey took over the lead in the Broadway musical, “Hello Dolly”. ‘Pearlie Mae’ was a smash hit in the role.
.1970 ~ After a successful London run, Anthony Quayle starred in the Broadway opening of “Sleuth”.
.1980 ~ John Lennon’s “Starting Over” was released. John and Yoko were seen kissing on the record cover.
.1983 ~ Lionel Richie began the first of four consecutive weeks at the top of the music charts as All Night Long (All Night) became the most popular song in the U.S.
.2001 ~ Broadway composer Albert Hague, who won a Tony for his work on Redhead and who played the part of cranky music teacher Benjamin Shorofsky in the Fame movie and television series, died of cancer. He was 81. Hague composed the music for many Broadway shows, including The Fig Leaves Are Falling, Plain and Fancy, Cafe Crown and Miss Moffat, which starred Bette Davis. He won his Tony in 1959. He also wrote the music for the animated TV classic How the Grinch Stole Christmas and appeared in a number of movies, including the Michael Jordan- Bugs Bunny comedy Space Jam, in which he played a psychiatrist. It was his long-running role as white-bearded, German-accented teacher Shorofsky that brought him to Los Angeles. He played the part for five years on TV. Other TV acting credits included guest appearances on such shows as Hotel, Beauty and the Beast and Tales From the Dark Side. Born Albert Marcuse in Berlin, Hague fled his native Germany for Rome with his mother in 1937 after the Nazis came to power. He eventually settled in the United States, where he studied music at the University of Cincinnati and was adopted by Dr. Elliott B. Hague, an eye surgeon. In recent years, he and his late wife, actress Renee Orin Hague, had a successful cabaret act, appearing at Carnegie Hall two years ago.
.2003 ~ Guy Livingston, a theater maven and journalist who reviewed stage performances for Variety, died. He was 92. After serving in World War II, Livingston became a drama critic for Variety, traveling between Boston and New York reviewing musicals. Later, he became a press agent for many musicals, as well as for musical artists, among them Judy Garland, Nat ‘King’ Cole and Ray Charles.
.2003 ~ Tony Thompson, the driving force behind such groups as Chic and the Power Station, and a drummer whose effortless ability to move from jazz to rock to funk made him a prized session man, died of renal cell cancer. He was 48. The drummer was noted not only for keeping perfect time but also for subtle cymbal syncopation and raw power, talents that kept him in demand as a session player for such stars as Madonna, David Bowie, Diana Ross, Patti LaBelle and Sister Sledge. By the late 1970s, Chic was one of the most popular groups of the disco era. The group sold millions of records beginning with the hit single Dance, Dance, Dance in 1977. Other hits included the singles Le Freak and Good Times and the albums C’est Chic and Risque. After the group disbanded in 1983, Thompson kept busy as a session player, appearing on Sister Sledge’s We Are Family album in 1979, Bowie’s Let’s Dance in 1983 and Madonna’s Like a Virgin in 1984. He also appeared on Mick Jagger’s solo album She’s The Boss in 1985. That same year, Thompson and others formed Power Station. The group’s hits included Some Like it Hot.
.1918 ~ This is Armistice Day or Remembrance Day or Veterans Day or Victory Day or World War I Memorial Day. The name of this special day may be different in different places throughout many nations; but its significance is the same. It was on this day, at 11 a.m., that World War I ceased. The Allied and Central Powers signed an armistice agreement at 5 a.m. in Marshal Foch’s railway car in the Forest of Compiegne, France. Even today, many still bow their heads in remembrance at the 11th hour of this the 11th day of the 11th month.
.1883 ~ Ernst Ansermet, Swiss conductor
.1927 ~ Mose Allison, American jazz pianist, trumpeter and singer
.1929 ~ Dick Clark, TV producer, host of American Bandstand, former Philadelphia DJ
.1929 ~ Andy Kirk and his orchestra recorded “Froggy Bottom” in Kansas City.
.1931 ~ Leslie Parnas, American cellist
.1932 ~ The National Broadcasting Company opened its new studios at Radio City in New York City. They celebrated with a gala program at Radio City Music Hall.
.1938 ~ Kate Smith sang God Bless America for the very first time. It would later become her signature song. Irving Berlin penned the tune in 1917 but never released it until Miss Smith sang it for the first time on her radio broadcast. Actually, the song was then 20 years old, but it had never been publicly performed before.
.1944 ~ Frank Sinatra began a long and successful career with Columbia Records.
.1974 ~ Leonardo DiCaprio, American actor
.1979 ~ Dimitri Tiomkin passed away. He was a Russian-American film score composer and conductor.
.1992 ~ Erskine Hawkins passed away. He was an American trumpet player and big band leader.
.2000 ~ Isadore Granoff, a Ukrainian immigrant who started teaching violin lessons as a teen-ager and built a famed music school in Philadelphia, died in his sleep at the age of 99. Granoff taught Dizzy Gillespie, John Coltrane and others during more than a half- century at the Granoff School of Music. Granoff taught amateurs and professionals. Some of his students went on to become prominent players of classical music, jazz, swing, big band and Latin sounds. Granoff sold the school in 1970 and later stepped down from the board of directors, renouncing the new owner’s promotional tactics.
.2015 ~ Dr. Maurice Hinson died. He was one of America’s most respected authorities on piano literature. Many of the books in the OCMS library were edited by Dr. Hinson. Mrs. O’Connor took a piano pedagogy class with him several years ago and learned so much from him.
Among his outstanding achievements, he received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Music Teachers National Association at it Washington, D.C. convention in the spring of 1994, the Outstanding Alumni Award from the University of Florida in 1990, and the Outstanding Alumni Award from the University of Michigan in the fall of 1995. Dr. Hinson has performed, lectured and given master classes worldwide. His books and editions have become classic standards in the studios of serious piano teachers and students the world over. He was awarded the Franz Liszt Medal by the Hungarian Government in 1986. Hailed as a specialist in American piano music, some of his most recent articles appear in the New Grove Dictionary of American Music in the United States.
.2016 ~ Leonard Cohen died. He was a Canadian singer, songwriter, poet and novelist.
1814 ~ Adolphe Sax, Belgian instrumentalist, inventor of the saxophone and saxotromba
More information about Sax
1854 ~ John Phillip Sousa, American bandmaster and composer; “The March King”
Read quotes by and about Sousa
More information about Sousa
1860 ~ Ignace Jan Paderewski, Composer, pianist, Polish patriot, First Premier of Poland (1919), brought white Zinfandel wine grapes to U.S. for the first time
More information about Ignace Jan Paderewski
.1916 ~ Ray Conniff, American conductor, arranger and composer of popular music, trombonist
.1932 ~ Stonewall Jackson, Singer
.1936 ~ This was the day that big band icon Woody Herman played in his first recording session. He recorded Wintertime Dreams on Decca disc #1056.
.1937 ~ Eugene Pitt, Singer
.1938 ~ P.J. Proby (James Smith), Singer
.1940 ~ Guy Lombardo and the Royal Canadians recorded one of their lesser-known songs for Decca. It was The Moon Fell in the River.
.1941 ~ Doug Sahm, Singer, founded Sir Douglas Quintet
.1943 ~ Mike Clifford, Singer
.1947 ~ George Young, Guitarist with The Easybeats
.1948 ~ Glenn Frey, Songwriter, singer with The Eagles
.2001 ~ John Denman, a clarinetist who was most recently artistic adviser to the Tucson Symphony Orchestra’s pops division, died from complications of esophageal cancer. He was 68. Denman, a native of London, was a principal clarinetist for the orchestra for more than 20 years. Denman also played principal clarinet with the London Symphony Orchestra and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra. He taught music at Trinity College in England before coming to teach at the University of Arizona. He joined the Tucson Symphony Orchestra in the late 1970s. In 1984, Denman left the University of Arizona after failing to receive tenure. For the rest of his life, he focused on his performing career. He also designed a small clarinet, the Kinder-Klari, to make practicing easier for young hands. Denman performed and recorded with jazz icon Buddy DeFranco and was a member of several jazz bands.
.2002 ~ Maria Johansson, an organist who became a local legend for singing religious songs and hymns in one of Stockholm’s main squares every day for nearly three decades, died at the age of 84. The daughter of a preacher, Johansson often served homemade sandwiches to the poor during breaks in her daily performance. At one point, she went to work at a bakery to help pay for the sandwiches, her husband said.
.1929 ~ McKinney’s Cotton Pickers picked and fiddled their way to the Victor studios to record Plain Dirt. Among those pickin’ and grinnin’ were luminaries such as Fats Waller (on piano), Benny Carter and Coleman Hawkins.
.1931 ~ Ike Turner, American soul-rock singer, pianist and guitarist, duo with Ike and Tina Turner Revue, owner of a recording studio
.1936 ~ Billy Sherrill, Songwriter, musician: saxophone, record producer, VP/Executive Producer of CBS Nashville
.1941 ~ Art Garfunkel, American folk-rock singer, songwriter and actor, duo ~Simon and Garfunkel
1942 ~ George M. Cohan passed away at the age of 64. Cohan was a legendary songwriter whose spirited and star~spangled tunes lit up Broadway and will be a part of Americana forever.
More information about Cohan
.1947 ~ Peter Noone (Peter Blair Denis Bernard Noone), Guitarist, piano, singer, Herman of Herman’s Hermits, actor
.1955 ~ The Vienna State Opera House in Austria formally opened, celebrating the end of 17 years of foreign occupation.
.1959 ~ Bryan Adams, Singer, songwriter
.1963 ~ Andrea McArdle, Actress, singer in Annie
.1977 ~ Guy Lombardo passed away at the age of 75. He was a musical fixture for decades, especially on New Year’s Eve. Guy Lombardo, leader of the Royal Canadians, is fondly remembered for many songs he made famous but his most popular remains Auld Lang Syne.
.1986 ~ Dick Clark registered for an initial public stock offering for his TV production company (DCP). On the registration form, he called his product ‘mind candy’.
.2000 ~ Frances Mercer, a leading model of the 1930s who went on to star in films, radio, television and on Broadway, died at the age of 85. Chosen as one of New York’s most beautiful models while still in her teens, Mercer made her film debut in 1938 playing Ginger Rogers’ rival for James Stewart’s affections in “Vivacious Lady.” In the next two years Mercer made eight more movies, including “The Mad Miss Manton” opposite Barbara Stanwyck. In theater work, she had costarring roles in the Broadway musicals “All the Things You Are” and “Something for the Boys.” Mercer also had her own New York-based radio show, “Sunday Night at Nine.” On TV, Mercer played a vituperative mother-in-law on the soap opera “For Better or Worse” and surgical nurse Ann Talbot in the 1955-1957 syndicated series, “Dr. Hudson’s Secret Journal.”
.2000 ~ Jack O’Brian, a newspaper columnist and Associated Press critic who wrote about television and Broadway gossip, died at the age of 86. O’Brian chronicled soap opera plot twists and celebrities and the quiz show scandals of the 1950s. The cultural figures who met with his approval included Bert Lahr, Perry Como and Walter Cronkite. He took a job as a cub reporter with a Buffalo newspaper and established a reputation for cantankerousness when he skewered the local orchestra’s young accordionists. He joined the AP as its drama and movie critic in 1943. Later, he wrote about television and Broadway for a string of newspapers and a nationally syndicated column. He also hosted a WOR-AM radio show.
.2000 ~ Vernel Fournier, who was a drummer for premier jazz acts such as Charlie Parker and Dizzy Gillespie, passed away after suffering an aneurysm. He was 72. Fournier, a New Orleans native, took lessons from a Bourbon Street drummer and as a teen played in New Orleans. He performed with jazz singers including Nancy Wilson and Billy Eckstine. He moved from New York City, where he lived for more than 30 years, to Madison County in 1998.
.1587 ~ Samuel Scheidt, German organist and composer
.1801 ~ Vincenzo Bellini, Italian composer
1911 ~ Vladimir Ussachevsky, Russian-born American composer
More information about Ussachevsky
.1933 ~ John Barry, Academy Award~winning composer
.1941 ~ The classic Jerry Gray arrangement of String of Pearls was recorded by the Glenn Miller Orchestra on Bluebird 78s. The recording featured the trumpet of Bobby Hackett.
.1948 ~ Lulu (Marie McDonald McLaughlin Lawrie), Singer. She changed her name to Lulu (and The Luvvers) in Scotland, early in her career. Married to singer Maurice Gibb
.1954 ~ Adam Ant (Stuart Goddard), Singer
.1956 ~ The classic MGM film, The Wizard of Oz, was first seen on television. The film cost CBS $250,000 to show. The movie was shown 18 times between 1956 and 1976, and you can probably catch it again no matter what year it is.
.1957 ~ Sam Phillips, owner of legendary Sun Records in Memphis, TN, released GreatBalls of Fire, by Jerry Lee Lewis. Looking carefully at the original label, one will find credit to Lewis and “his pumping piano.”
.1960 ~ James Prime, Keyboards with Deacon Blue
.1960 ~ “The Unsinkable Molly Brown”, opened on Broadway. The play would become an American theater standard and a smashing career launch for Shirley MacLaine.
.1962 ~ Billboard magazine dropped the “Western” from its chart title. The list has been known as Hot Country Singles ever since.
.1972 ~ Singers Carly Simon and James Taylor were married in Carly’s Manhattan apartment. The couple was said to be the highest-paid couple in the world next toElizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton. Carly and ‘Sweet Baby’ James would divorce years later, but they are still good friends.
.2000 ~ Mary Hunter Wolf, one of the first female directors on Broadway died at the age of 95. Wolf made her Broadway debut directing the 1944 production of Horton Foote’s “Only the Heart.” The following year, she directed the first black Broadway musical, “Carib Song.” After directing a string of successful plays and musicals, Wolf was hired as an associate director for Jerome Robbins’ “Peter Pan,” starring Mary Martin. In 1947 Wolf was tapped to direct a new musical “High Button Shoes,” but was dismissed by the show’s producers before rehearsals began. Wolf sued, charging that her contract had been broken because she was a woman. Two years later the New York Supreme Court ruled in her favor. During her third year at Wellesley College, Wolf visited her aunt, author Mary Austin, in Santa Fe, N.M. where she found herself introduced into the circle of D.H Lawrence, Willa Cather and Sinclair Lewis. She soon abandoned her studies to pursue a directing career.
.1955 ~ The first pop song by Julie London appeared on the charts. London’s smoky and sultry rendition of Cry Me a River stayed on the pop chart for five months, reaching as high as #9. Julie was Mrs. Jack Webb (Dragnet) and Mrs. Bobby Troup (songwriter, trumpeter).
.1958 ~ Billboard magazine introduced a new chart. It ranked the top singles in order, from number 1 to 100. Previously, only 30 records had been on the weekly hit list.
.1963 ~ After giving benefit performances for years, singer Kate Smith presented her first full concert performance to a paying crowd at Carnegie Hall in New York City.
1968 ~ Another biggie for Stevie Wonder went on sale. For Once in My Life reached #2 on the pop charts on December 28, 1968.
.1974 ~ The first of the former Beatles to try a nationwide concert tour was in Los Angeles, appearing at the Forum. Unfortunately, only half the house was filled to see George Harrison. He stopped touring soon thereafter.
.1985 ~ On this day, for only the second time, a TV soundtrack LP topped the album charts. “Miami Vice” (title track by Jan Hammer) enjoyed a run of 11 (nonconsecutive) weeks. The only other TV soundtrack LP to chart at #1 was Henry Mancini’s “Peter Gunn” in 1959.
.1944 ~ Keith Emerson, Keyboards with Emerson, Lake & Powell as well as Emerson, Lake & Palmer
.1944 ~ Chris Morris, Guitarist with Paper Lace
.1945 ~ Rick Grech, Bassist, violinist
.1950 ~ Dan Peek, Guitarist, singer with America
.1951 ~ Ronald Bell, Saxophone with Kool & The Gang
.1957 ~ Lyle Lovett, Grammy Award-winning singer, Best Male Country Vocal in 1989
.1959 ~ Eddie MacDonald, Bass with The Alarm
.1962 ~ Rick Allen, Drummer with Def Leppard
.1962 ~ Mags Furuholmen, Keyboards, singer with a-ha
.1968 ~ George Harrison’s soundtrack LP, “Wonderwall”, was released. It was the first solo album by one of The Beatles. The album was also the first on the new Apple label.
.1969 ~ Warner Brothers Records added Faces, to its roster. They fared OK, but even better when lead singer Rod Stewart stepped out to become a superstar on his own. The group’s former label, Mercury, capitalized on the fact by releasing Maggie Mae and three other Faces tunes before Stewart went solo for Warner exclusively.
.1969 ~ The last album of The Beatles reached #1 on the album chart. “Abbey Road” was the top LP for eleven nonconsecutive weeks. The final studio recordings from the group featured two songs; ‘Something’ & ‘Here Comes The Sun’. The cover supposedly contained clues adding to the ‘Paul Is Dead’ phenomenon: Paul is barefoot and the car number plate ‘LMW 281F’ supposedly referred to the fact that McCartney would be 28 if he was still alive. ‘LMW’ was said to stand for ‘Linda McCartney Weeps.’
1975 ~ Elton John’sIsland Girl hit number one on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. The song parked itself at the top of the hit heap for 3 weeks.