How to Play Jingle Bells for Beginning Pianists

Ho Ho Ho!

If you have been playing the piano as a beginner this year, you're going to love this lesson. It's quick and easy which is because the piece that I'm going to show you how to play is short and easy to learn, and you'll be able to wow your family and friends with this Holiday favorite in just a day or two...perfect timing!

"Jingle Bells" is one of the first songs for the Holiday Season that we learn to sing as kids and it's one of the most popular for all ages to sing every year at this time. (We'll even sing a little bit in the video at the end!)

You may think that you don't know enough on the piano yet to be able to play "Jingle Bells" this year but I'm going to show you how you can, in fact, can play it and play it very easily. This really is the perfect first Christmas song for any beginning piano student to learn.

Let's get started!

Step 1: First Notice This...

What is the first thing that you notice about this version of "Jingle Bells"?

  • There's no left-hand part...we're just using our right hand for now and learning the melody only. That makes it even easier to learn!
  • Also, notice what is in our key signature...nothing, right? So that means that we're playing in the Key of C, with no sharps or flats. We'll be playing only white keys for this one.

Now in order to play this piece, you'll need to put your hand in C position on the keyboard. All this means is that your thumb or first finger on your right hand will be placed on Middle C and your pinky finger or your fifth finger will be placed on the G just above Middle C. Let the rest of your fingers just fall naturally in order in between C and G, and you'll be set up in C position and ready to play "Jingle Bells". Your hand will stay in this position throughout this entire song.

Next, let's go over the notes that we need to play.

Step 2: Quick Read of Our Notes

The written part of this lesson will go over the notes that you need to play but you'll want to make sure and watch the video at the end to see me play each measure and line which will really help cement your understanding of this piece; plus you'll be able to play through it with me as many times as you like!

Lines 1 & 2 are in Image 1, and lines 3 & 4 are in Image 2.

  • In the first couple of measures, we have the exact same notes and rhythms; 3rd finger on E.
  • The following 2 measures use fingers 3, 5, 1, 2 & 3 for notes E, G, C, D, E.

These 4 measures make up the 1st line...practice through them a few times to get them secure in your fingers.

  • Line 2 has a repeated F in the first measure and 3 repeated E's in the 2nd measure that follows another F.
  • Measure 3 has E followed by two F's and back to E again.
  • Measure 4 really changes patterns by containing two half notes in it.

Again, play through this line several times until it feels easier. Now go back and play lines 1 and 2 together. See how each line has 4 measures in it?

  • Line 3 should look familiar to you...try playing it. Do you see that it's just like line 1? You already know it, don't you...yay!

Play all 3 lines now and you'll even hear how line 3 repeats line 1. Do this several times. OK...Almost there!

  • Line 4 begins just like line 2 did...so you already know the first 2 measures.
  • The 3rd measure is unique - notice the notes are G, G, F & D.
  • The 4th and last measure gives us a whole note - the only one in the piece, and we end on the note C which is the Key Signature that we're playing in.

That's it! You are ready to play through all 4 lines and then you'll be ready to play your first Christmas song on the piano! But don't try to play through it all alone...in the last step you can practice this song with me and learn it even faster!

Step 3: Come Practice With Me!

We've gone over what you need to first notice in "Jingle Bells" before playing it and what notes you're going to play using your right hand. Remember, this part of the lesson gives you just the melody to learn and we're using our right hand only.

In the video, I have added in a special treat by showing you some really easy chords that you can add in with your left hand to make this song sound even prettier...if you've been playing long enough that you're learning chords and using both hands pretty easily, then be sure to try this section out with me by adding in the chords that I play on my own piano.

Grab your keyboard and come practice "Jingle Bells" with me so you'll be ready to play this just in time for Christmas! And don't forget to sing!

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