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Diverse Winter Holiday Songs for Elementary Music

Using diverse winter holiday songs in elementary music class provides the perfect opportunity to teach about cultures different from our own.

Are you looking for songs that you and your students will enjoy for your elementary music winter program? Diverse winter holiday songs provide the perfect opportunity to teach and learn about cultures different from our own in your elementary music classroom. Our school district has long taken the stance that it’s important to teach songs of various religions and cultures. 

With the current climate in our country, this is more important than ever. Tolerance and respect for other cultures are paramount.

Winter holiday programs provide the perfect opportunity to CELEBRATE the diversity of our country.

Diverse Winter Holidays Songs for the Elementary Music Classroom

Program Songs and Activities which Promote Music Literacy

During the holiday season, music teachers often have to deviate from teaching music reading and performance skills to learn an elaborate program by rote. 

It is hard enough to find resources that cover a variety of cultures and holidays but we also need resources that teach musical skills while we prepare students for a program. Many times holiday programs span grade levels which means it’s even more difficult to find appropriate repertoire.

You don’t have to “reinvent the wheel” each year. Take a peek at a few of the tried and true resources below.

Diwali Song

Unfortunately, the Diwali song I have used in the past has been taken down. I searched high and low for that perfect Diwali song but it’s no longer online. This YouTube link is to another song about Diwali traditions.

Note: If you use this link in class, preload the video or use a site like SafeShare to avoid commercials.

Ramadan by Nancy Stewart

Finding a good Ramadan song for classroom use is hard. This song by Nancy Stewart is a tasteful and beautiful song about inclusion. The lyrics teach some basic Ramadan traditions. The last time the chorus is sung, the words change slightly to emphasize friendship, “Ramadan, Ramadan my friend celebrates Ramadan.”

And best of all, this lovely song is FREE.  You may download the Full Performance mp3 as well as the Accompaniment mp3 free of charge. Thank you Nancy for sharing your talents so generously.

HanukkahBurn Little Candles, arr. Frau Musik

Burn Little Candles is a simple, yet musical song of Hanukkah traditions. This arrangement includes a differentiated Orff arrangement for grades K-5. These Orff activities provide attainable performance options for young students while challenging older students.

All grades will enjoy lighting the digital Hanukkah candles and learning about Hanukkah traditions.

Click to listen to a recording of the arrangement in the video preview.

Christmas – Mary Had a Baby, arr. Frau Musik

Mary Had a Baby is a simple, beautiful Christmas song for the music classroom or your winter holiday program. This Orff arrangement works beautifully for school or church.

The arrangement includes differentiated activities for grades K-5. The bongo ostinato pattern challenges students in the upper grades while simpler ostinati provide success for younger grades. Activities include the song, two pitched and two unpitched percussion accompaniment patterns, and interactive rhythm flashcards.

Click to listen to a recording of the arrangement in the video preview.

Christmas or Kwanzaa – African Noel, arr. Frau Musik

African Noel is a joyous, energetic Winter Holiday Song with K-5 differentiated activities. This song may be used to celebrate both Christmas and Kwanzaa. Activities include two pitched and two unpitched percussion accompaniment patterns as well as a simple step-dance for younger students. The lesson provides attainable performance options for young students while challenging older students. This arrangement is a perfect performance option for both school and church.

Click to listen to a recording of this arrangement in the video preview. I know your students will enjoy performing these pieces as much as my students have.

For tips to teach African Noel, check out this blog post – Winter Holidays Songs | African Noel.

Chinese New Year – Gung Hay Fat Choy, Nancy Stewart

Gung Hay Fat Choy translates as “wishing you good fortune and happiness.” Once again, Nancy Stewart has crafted a beautiful tasteful song for Chinese New Year and is sharing it FREE of charge. Download the Full Performance mp3 and the Accompaniment mp3 for your elementary music classroom. You will be glad you did. One of my school parents told me this song touched her so much, it brought tears to her eyes.

Tip: To avoid all the giggles and snickers from singing the word “fat”, I admit I change the word to “fa” with the same short “a” sound. We simply left off the “t”. That one small change ensures students are all focused on the beautiful message of the song and not being silly about the lyrics.

Enjoy and Celebrate Diversity

With students from many different cultures in our music classes, it’s important to recognize their traditions and the holidays they celebrate. These diverse winter holiday songs for your elementary music classroom and performances create a balanced program while providing musically rewarding experiences for all of our students and teaching music skills along the way. 

Help develop tolerance and respect in your elementary music classroom and have fun along the way.

Spread joy!

Diverse Holiday Song Bundle

Are you looking for FUN simple, attainable, and musical Winter Holiday Songs with K-5 differentiated music activities for classroom or performance? This BUNDLE of diverse songs with differentiated Orff arrangements is the perfect addition to your holiday repertoire.

Click to preview.

Meet the Author

Terri Lloyd is a former elementary music teacher with over 25 years of experience. She holds a Bachelor of Music, a Master of Science in Education, and a Technology Certificate in Instructional Design.

She is currently active in music education through blogging, workshops, and curriculum development. She serves on the music staff at her church and volunteers for an after-school children’s program. Terri is an active musician in the community, performing in a local Big Band, pit orchestras, and various events.

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