Printables, Sheet Music

Student Christmas Gift: Original Piano Composition

Hope you had a nice Christmas and are enjoying a break from teaching!

Now that Christmas is past, I can share about the gifts I made for my piano students this year.  🙂

As you may know, I love creating homemade gifts.  Last year, I home-recorded a CD of a few favorite classical teaching pieces. In 2012, I baked iced music cookies and in 2011 I created personalized glass sheet music ornaments.

For this year’s project, I decided to compose two pieces (one mid-elementary level and one late intermediate level) and give them to my students for Christmas.  Here is a peek at how the elementary piece turned out:

20141219_141906 NIKON web

I notated the music using Finale.  Using the Export Graphic feature in Finale, I created the layout for the music using a 30-day trial of Adobe InDesign.  (Microsoft Word would suffice for most projects if you wanted to do this yourself.)  I brought the completed PDF on a flashdrive to Office Max and had the music printed onto 12”x18” paper.

20141219_141841 NIKON web

12”x18” paper is apparently not very common in the U.S.. I had planned to print my music at Office Depot, since MTNA members are eligible for a discount using the card (members must login to print the discount card). But the Office Depot near me did not carry 12”x18” paper, which is why I went to Office Max.  (By the way, Office Depot and Office Max are in the process of merging since one bought out the other earlier this year. At some point, hopefully the MTNA discount card will work at either store.)

So, the total cost per sheet music came to $1.82, although I used a coupon to take off $35 from the total purchase.  If I wanted to make the project more affordable, I certainly could have printed onto 11”x17” paper or printed the cover in black-and-white instead of color.  However, I think this is still a pretty affordable gift even if you have quite a few students.  I love how it turned out.

I played the pieces for my students at their last lesson before Christmas break.  I think they enjoyed the surprise of receiving a piece composed by their teacher!  At some point, I’ll try to make and share a video of a student and I playing the Holiday Parade teacher duet together.

As a Christmas gift to you, my dear readers, I offer a PDF download of “Holiday Parade.”  All rights are reserved on this composition, however, permission is granted for you to print/copy from the PDF for educational purposes.  The PDF contains two versions of the music: 8.5”x11” sized pages that will print well at home, and 12”x18” pages that you could have printed at your local print shop (you could probably request them to print on 11”x17” paper instead if you desire).

Download link here:

  Holiday Parade -- Mid Elementary Solo with Teacher Duet (2.2 MiB, 9,315 hits)

I’m also holding a giveaway for hardcopy prints of the sheet music.  THREE winners will be randomly chosen on Friday, January 9, 2014 to receive two print copies of Holiday Parade.  To enter, leave a comment below sharing about a memorable gift you gave or received this year.

Merry Christmas, my friends!  Thanks for reading my blog!

P.S.: Tomorrow, I’d like to share a post with photos of various student gift ideas with pictures sent by piano teachers around the world.  If you have a photo to share, would you email it to me?  My email is admin[AT]  (Be sure to change the [AT] to the actual @ symbol.) 

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28 thoughts on “Student Christmas Gift: Original Piano Composition”

  1. I received a stunning pen & ink drawing of a piano on a wood floor, from a girl who just turned 11. She is musical, artistic, quite poised for someone her age and also very beautiful~she moved here from India last year. Lucky me <3

  2. What a fun and memorable gift for your students! I didn’t receive very many gifts this year but I think my favorite one was when one of my families (3 boys) came to the door to give me 2 pieces of candy and wish me a Merry Christmas. It was so sweet! 🙂

  3. Three years ago our house burned, but one thing that did not burn were the crosses we had hanging on a wall. The crosses fell off the wall, unbroken, and what was left was an impression of each cross left by the soot. The fire marshall could not explain how all that happened. One of my students came to our open house after we moved and saw our new cross wall. For Christmas this year, she gave me a cross that is proudly hanging among the crosses we have added to our collection. That gift really tugged on my heart strings because she knows how much it all means to me.

  4. I have one family in which the mom is from Germany so I always get a gift that is actually from that country. This year the family went to Germany early and will not return until the end of January so I did not receive a Christmas gift, but in a previous year I received a set of 3 painted nesting ornaments each filled with a piece of German Chocolate. So nice to get something unique.

    Joy, Thanks so much for sharing your composition with us, as well as all your other wonderful ideas. I look forward to being part of your community in the new year!

  5. I love how you give your students Christmas gifts. It must really make them smile to receive something from you. Especially those cookies! I may try and do “end of the year” gifts for my students in May now that you’ve given me this idea!

  6. While I look upon practicing, cheerful attitude and progress as gifts from my students, I have maintained a holiday tradition of giving each student a hand-crocheted snowflake with these approximate words, “As no two snowflakes are alike, no two people are alike. I celebrate your unique personality and hope you always remember to be true to yourself.” I feel it is important in a young person’s life to be reminded often of their value in this world.

    Joy, thank you for YOUR unique gifts you give all of us. Your enthusiastic generosity is equaled by your artistic creativity!

  7. What an impressive gift piece. I love elementary pieces with duets. A favorite gift for me this year wasscented hand lotion as my hands tend to get so dry during the winter.

  8. thank you for the music. I’m not much of a composer, but you’ve inspired me to consider this for next year. This year I gave cookies (again). It would be nice to do something rather than the ever present sugar.

  9. My 11-year old student memorize my favourite (very challenging) piano composition, recorded herself, made a video clip using iMovie and emailed it to me. It made me feel very special!

  10. Thank you so much for sharing your delightful composition. I look forward to trying this with my pupils when they start lessons next year.

  11. A number of years ago I decided to suggest to my parents that a gift to their church or favorite charity would be a wonderful gift. Since then I’ve had money given to an animal shelter (they know we love our Australian Shepherd), the heart fund, and the year I was diagnosed with colon cancer a family gave a gift in my name to the American Cancer Society. I even had 3 rabbits given to an organization that provides these animals to families in third world countries. It’s been a blessing as families have shared with me what their gift was.

  12. Thanks for sharing this Joy. I have a couple of students who would love to play this. I didn’t receive many gifts from students last term, apart from 2 bottles of wine which I shared with my in-laws over Christmas! Have a great 2015. Martyn

  13. I don’t usually receive any gifts at Christmas. However, it sure made my day when, the last lesson before Christmas break, one of my beginner students excitedly announced that he finished his Theory Time primer and could he have another! He only had it for 2 months and finished it all! I was as excited as he was!

  14. What a great gift idea. For the past 4 years I’ve held a Christmas group lesson with all my students and given them a small ornament at the end. One of my students asked a couple weeks before the group lesson what ornament I’d be handing out this year because she’d been saving the others on her bedroom door knob. Ha!

  15. At group lesson before Christmas I handed out a bag of goodies. We studied about Handel during December and I asked each student to listen to a composition by Handel that they had not already heard while they sipped a hot cup of cocoa (I provided the packet of hot chocolate and peppermint marshmallows). Your gift of music sounds great!

  16. I give my students music straws and stickers. If I have time, cookies. 🙂

    Looking forward to seeing the music. Thanks for sharing, Joy– your web site is a great resource for me to make better piano students/ players and have me be a better teacher 🙂

  17. Thank you so much for sharing your beautiful composition! You are such an inspiration Joy! May the Lord give you double of what you give us!!

  18. One of the gifts I received this year and greatly enjoyed was a 25 dollar coupon to go buy whatever I wanted in the local music store 🙂 . And of course, I invested it buying music books and stuff for my students ha, ha

  19. Thankyou for sharing your composition, Holiday Parade, for us to enjoy with our students as well. What a wonderful gift to be able to give them! I look forward to using it with my students in a recital in the future!

  20. How did you create the teacher duet part? I have been having problems doing that in my program. Any advice is great!

    1. I created the teacher duet part in a separate Finale document. I exported the graphic from Finale using the Graphics Tool and imported the graphic into InDesign for layout (Microsoft Word would work fine, too). It took quite a bit of trial-and-error to get the sizing and layout to look right.

      1. Thank you! That’s what I thought. Your website and information is great and inspiring! Thank you so much.

  21. Hey Joy. Just want to say thank you so much for sharing this lovely piece of music. My student and I will be playing it our upcoming concert, and I can honestly say that it is so much fun to play, and probably my most favourite piece.
    Thank you!

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