'Tis The Season 🎄

Hi all :wave:

If you’re not familiar with our Christmas course, you can find it here:


There’s some really beautiful arrangements - all taught by myself - and I am working on some more ideas to make this course better to also incorporate the talents of other teachers.

We have just made this video showcasing the course. Check it out:


There will be more Christmas tutorials coming soon too.

Requests are most welcome.

I think I covered all of the main Christmas tunes already, but if you have any ideas for more songs just let me know and I will make it happen.

It’s probably a good idea to get started on these lessons now, so that we all have them ‘under our fingers’ for when the holiday season arrives.

Wishing an early Merry Christmas to all our students and I hope these 7 festive arrangements make your holiday season just a little bit more special with your friends, family and loved ones.



This may seem very early to some of you but for me back-to-school time is the time I start getting ready for Christmas, and that includes for my piano playing :wink:

As a complete beginner to jazz piano, I’d like to know whether the jazzy Christmas lessons are listed in order of difficulty or date of creation? And if they are listed by date, what would be the best order to tackle them in, from easiest to hardest?



Hi Emma :wave:

Not at all, I think that’s a wise idea.

I always leave it too late to brush up on my Christmas repertoire.

Christmas day comes around so fast each year! :grinning:

I will listen to the arrangements tomorrow and give you a list in order of difficulty.

Harmonically speaking, “Christmas Time Is Here” has the most accessible form and chord changes:

And “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” has the most advanced harmony because it is based on the Bill Evans solo piano version where he plays a lot of advanced reharmonisations and substitutions:

I will listen to the other arrangements and post my recommendations on which are the most accessible for beginners.

More to follow :+1:

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Hi Emma,

I have rewatched all of the Christmas tutorials and here are my thoughts on how best to approach the lessons.

Firstly, it’s important to communicate that the original chord changes for Christmas songs are generally very simple as they began their life as carols and church songs.

In order to create solo jazz piano arrangements, these simple chord changes required a lot of rehamonisation and chord substitutions.

This inherently makes them quite difficult to play because we are making significant changes to the original harmony of the tunes.

Understanding the following topics will be extremely useful before watching any of the Christmas tutorials:

I would definitely recommend studying those 5 theory lessons so that you are familiar with the underlying theoretical concepts.

Christmas Tutorials In Order Of Difficulty:

  1. Christmas Time Is Here

  2. I’ll Be Home For Christmas

  3. I’m Dreaming Of A White Christmas

  4. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas

  5. Let It Snow

  6. Winter Wonderland

  7. The Christmas Song

  8. Santa Claus Is Coming To Town

Some Additional Information:

  • Christmas Time Is Here” is by far the easiest. The form is simple mainly revolving around a vamp from Fmaj7 to Eb7.

  • I would personally approach “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” & “I’m Dreaming Of A White Christmas” next because they are both played at a slow tempo. I do include a lot of rehamonisations in the latter, however, the space in both the harmony and melody makes this somewhat easier than the other arrangements.

  • The full arrangement for “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” is complex as I am demonstrating how to rehamonise a repetitive chord sequence. However, I start by just playing though with roots, 3rds and 7ths, and the melody on top. We could play all 3 A sections with those simple voicings.

  • The harmony of “Let It Snow” is relatively simple and straight-forward. However, this tune is most often performed at a medium/up tempo which adds an additional challenge to keep a steady pulse and rhythm.

  • The “Winter Wonderland” tutorial heavily features the use of Suspended Chords so it would certainly be beneficial to understand this aspect of jazz theory. The melody is also extremely repetitive in places and so we look at creating fills based on the upper structure triads of the underlying harmony.

  • The original chord changes of “The Christmas Song” are quite challenging to play. We also create quite an advanced arrangement and so I would say this is one of the most challenging of them all.

  • Finally I would say that “Santa Claus Is Coming To Town” is the most difficult of all of the tutorials. This tutorial is a simplified version of famous Bill Evans recording of the tune:

In Summary:

Definitely spend some time to work on the theory topics highlighted above.

Those theory areas are used in all of the arrangements and so having a basic understanding of them will be a great aid to you.

I have also made a note to create some simpler Christmas tutorials. I’m unsure what form this will take. Perhaps the same tunes, perhaps different tunes. Leave it with me! :+1: :santa:

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Hayden this is so useful, I’ll have lots to work on over the next weeks and months. Thanks very much!!

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I’d welcome your insights and adaptations of

  • Santa Baby (Eartha Kitt)
  • Merry Christmas Baby (BB King)
  • The Christmas Waltz
  • The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Thank you for considering these!
Doug Flather


Brilliant suggestions Doug… thanks for this.

I’ll post all updates here. :+1:

Hey Groovers :wave:

I’ve been recording Christmas tutorials this week :santa:

A few students asked for simpler arrangements of the Christmas songs, and so here they are:

1) “I’ll Be Home For Christmas” - 7th Chords

In this lesson we create a full arrangement using just 7th chords and we pay special attention to the voice leading of b7ths falling to 3rds in the 25 and 251 progressions.

If you’re new to jazz piano, this is an excellent tune to study:

2) “Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas” Triads & 7th Chords

Last year I created a somewhat advanced arrangement of this tune in Ab Major.

For this lesson I have arranged the tune in the key of C Major which is more accessible to beginners. We exclusively stick to triads and 7th chords making the arrangement much simpler than the version in Ab Major.

There will be more lessons to come this week.

@Doug_Flather - thanks for these great suggestions… I will arrange as many of these tunes as possible this month.

Our Christmas course now contains a wide variety of arrangements so there should be something for everyone to share with your friends and family over the holidays.


Hi all :wave:

I thought it would be a nice idea to create a lesson showing how to connect Christmas songs together.

We have covered a number of Christmas tunes in the key of C major and in this lesson we explore how we can connect them together with the 1625 turnaround:

When playing Christmas songs for our friends and family it’s nice to create a continuous stream of music. To do this we use the 1625 turnaround and its variations to seamlessly link one song to the next.

Related Lessons & Courses

In this lesson we apply theory from the following lessons and courses:

Applying More Advanced Jazz Theory

Christmas tunes are wonderful vehicles to learn and apply jazz theory so I recommend that all students ‘get their toes wet’ in some of the more advanced theory via the Christmas Medley tutorial above.

Of course if you are new to jazz piano, first check out the beginner lessons posted further up in this thread.


Very nice Hayden! I just might need to work on that medley. :grinning:

Yes it’s a beautiful medley of songs to play around Celia.

We also have other Christmas tunes in C major so using the same principle, we can create a longer set of Christmas music to entertain our friends and family.

I will be adding some more festive tutorials in the lead up to the holidays :sunglasses:

Perhaps another lesson idea could be to show how to modulate to other keys, for example moving from a tune in C Major, to a tune in Eb Major.

I think that would make a nice lesson!

Happiest birthday Hayden! Triple celebration…and many more!

Thanks Kim! :grinning:

I’ll add to the birthday festivities, though I had no idea about your birthday. So how old are you? :partying_face::champagne::wine_glass:

Thank you Scott. I turned 30 yesterday.

I’m currently in the USA expanding our teaching team and so I had back-to-back Thanksgiving and birthday celebrations :grin: It’s been a fun couple of days!

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Yes…very Happy Belated Birthday!!!

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