Jingle Jammin’

It’s Not Too Early …

To Learn Holiday Tunes

That time of year is right around the corner.  The Christmas holidays are fast approaching and while you may be asking why I am writing about it so early, it is not too soon for music students to start brushing up on those holiday tunes.


Just this past week, I spent time in the studio recording my original arrangement for “We Three Kings”.  I arrange and recorded all three parts for guitar, mandolin and banjo.  It will be released at www.frementor.com in a week or two.  Best of all, it will be part of an album entitled “Jingle Jam 3” produced at the music studio in which I teach.  Most of the studio’s music teachers participate in this project on an annual basis.

Last night at my beginning guitar class, I asked everyone if they could name a song that everyone else in class would know.  It took them awhile before they all agreed on one particular song that we could address and learn to play.  I explained to them some of the best tunes to learn to play are Christmas tunes.  Even those who do not celebrate Christmas would easily recognize a song like Jingle Bells or Silent Night.  Next, I explained that if the melody line is already on your mind, learning the piece will be less cumbersome. This is one reason why holiday songs are good songs to learn, especially for the beginner.

Fretmentor's Class

Fretmentor’s Performance Class

There are other reasons to learn Christmas tunes.  If you play standard country, rock and roll or blues, you will soon realize that some of the songs are quite basic and may in fact, only involve three or four different chords and some are in the same Key.  While this may also be true for some basic Christmas tunes, there are many (such as Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire or O Holy Night and more)  that have quite sophisticated chord structure.  Learning to play such arrangements makes you a better student when it comes to mastering chord structure on your instrument.

Available At www.fretmentor.com

Available At www.fretmentor.com

Fretmentor has arranged a 12 song holiday collection for guitar, banjo, mandolin and fiddle.  What is nice about this collection is that each tune has tablature and standard musical notation for each of these instruments.  That is perfect if you want to play songs together in a small group or band.  Some come along with recordings and rhythm tracks.  Lyrics are also included.  You can purchase the collection through the fretmentor website (www.frementor.com) or by contacting us via email; david (insert @ symbol) fretmentor.com.

So it is definitely not too early to brush up on learning holiday songs.  Don’t be surprised if at the next holiday party, someone asks you whether or not you know some Christmas tunes.  Start practicing today and you may have some ready for the upcoming holiday party.


About fretmentor

Born in Detroit, Michigan, David F. Jakubiak has been involved in music since the age of 7, beginning as a clarinet player and then at 9 turning his attention to stringed instruments. He earned trophies in group talent competitions while a student at the University of Michigan. The instructor earned a BA degree in Organizational Psychology from the University of Michigan and a Masters in Public Administration at the University of Kansas. At college, he also studied classical music and music history. His passion is teaching music and in performing as a musician. In addition to on-stage performances, David has played in various venues from outdoor festivals to small nightclubs. He plays, performs and teaches various styles of music, including rock, pop, blues, jazz, classical, country and bluegrass styles. He performs and teaches acoustic and electric guitar, five-string banjo, and mandolin. His styles range from Scruggs, melodic, Reno and old-time style on banjo, to finger-style and flat-picking technique on guitar, to various styles of mandolin. For over 45 years, Mr. Jakubiak has taught all age groups, taking a personal interest in each student to ensure that they receive the attention and lesson plans that meet their needs and interests. His lessons and instructional materials place a strong emphasis on the practical use or music theory to ensure that the student understands the instrument and learns how to improvise to develop their own style. Mr Jakubiak teaches group and studio classes, webcam lessons over the internet, and individual private lessons to students of various ages. He has compiled and produced eight instructional books on CD as well as numerous instrumental arrangements. David has written for Banjo Newsletter, a monthly publication for the banjo enthusiast and has published an article in Issue #37 of the Fretboard Journal. He is the founder of www.fretmentor.com. To contact David Jakubiak, please feel free to e-mail him at david AT fretmentor.com (substitute the @ sign for the word AT)
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One Response to Jingle Jammin’

  1. avatar Dennis Fraser says:

    I will be back next Christmas to buy the collection! Also, great advice to start learning the songs early. You can never begin learning too early, especially if there is a public performance involved.

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