With the holidays coming up so soon, now is the perfect time to learn easy violin Christmas music. I’ve chosen 12 Christmas songs that are jolly, full of Christmas spirit, and will impress your family and neighbors. They are arrangements meant for beginners but maintain many of the traditional elements of the tunes so others can sing along. From Jingle Bells to Joy to the World, you will find all the Christmas classics here.
To get started, watch my videos and follow along with the sheet music. Click here to buy the Christmas Classics book with 23 Christmas songs, including all songs on this list, and with piano accompaniment for each of them! 😊
What is the easiest Christmas song to play on the violin?
The easiest Christmas song for beginner violinists is “Good King Wenceslas.” The carol is based on a 13th-century song and was written to celebrate the tradition of charitable giving on the second day of Christmas. It is very popular and was even performed by the Beatles!
This Christmas classic is played often and will be quickly recognized if you play it for others. It is a great place to start with for violin beginners because it is within a D major 1-octave scale and the bow stroke – détaché – is very easy. You can start practicing it by playing the D Major scale, then try to memorize the sheet music, and finally play along with the video!
What are popular Christmas songs to play on the violin?
Let’s have a look at what the most popular violin Christmas music is:
Silent Night is a beautiful carol written in 1818 that has been translated into dozens of languages and sung thousands of times. Many famous singers, such as Bing Crosby and Elvis Presley have even recorded this Christmas classic. Though the dotted rhythms may be tricky at first, just sing and imitate on your instrument. You want to capture the music of a warm lullaby. If you know how to use vibrato, now is a great time to practice it on the long notes!
Carol of the Bells
Carol of the Bells (also sometimes called Ring Christmas Bells) is a fun, lively Christmas song. As the title suggests, you want to play this to sound like bells are ringing. The bow stroke should be light and quick. Try to accent the downbeat (the first beat in a bar) a little as well to really get the sense of bells ringing. When playing the ascending scale, start by isolating it as its own practice chunk to get the intonation right. Make sure to use high second and third fingers (F# and G#) on the D string.
O Come All Ye Faithful
O Come All Ye Faithful is a gorgeous hymn and is easy to play for beginners. It does not require any fancy bowing or difficult rhythms. It’s in the G Major key signature. This Christmas tune will allow you to play with the dynamics and feel that you are making beautiful music. Because this is a hymn, you want to connect each note with a legato bow stroke. This will allow the violin to really sing out, the way that you would if you sang this yourself.
We Wish You a Merry Christmas
We Wish You a Merry Christmas is a popular 16th-century English carol. The story behind it is that wealthy people of the community gave Christmas treats to the carolers on Christmas Eve. It very much captures the giving and happy spirit of Christmas and even makes note of a Happy New Year. To make it sound happy, you will want to play it pretty fast. It starts on an up bow, so move the bow quickly towards the sky. The rhythms or notes of the song are not difficult but still, I recommend practicing them slowly before moving the tempo up.
Jingle Bells is without a doubt the most popular and most-sung traditional Christmas song. Ironically, it was not a song written for Christmas initially. The rhythm of the song should mimic horses that are wearing bells. You will want to use a quick bow on the “bells” part of the song so the bow speed should be: slow, slow, fast (see the sheet music snippet for the reference). This will give the song some extra fun.
Deck the Halls
Deck the Halls is a Welsh Christmas carol written in the 16th century. This song popularized the phrase “tis the season.” Musically, all the different rhythmic changes can be tricky so keep singing the song in your head as you go along. The notes are pretty easy because they mostly go on a scale.
Greensleeves / What Child is this?
What Child is This began as a Christmas carol that was later set to the tune of Greensleeves in 1871. Greensleeves was a 16th-century song that laid the foundation for improvisation with its simple bass line. This Christmas song is fun for beginner-level violinists because it uses new harmonies, a little bit more complicated rhythms, and is meant to be lyrical. Practice some of the new notes (like the D# on the D string and C # on the G string) on a scale. Another tip is to use the entire bow when slurring the notes to really connect them.
Greensleeves a.k.a. What Child is This
Free Violin Sheet Music
Joy to the World
Joy to the World is a traditional, happy Christmas hymn that celebrates the good in the world. After the past few years of covid, we definitely have a lot to celebrate and be thankful for. I hope this year was a better year for you and that you also feel the joy of the world! The original lyrics of this tune were to glorify God. This song is one of the easier pieces because of how step-wise the notes are. When playing the opening rhythm, use a fast bow to get that zippy sound.
Angels We Have Heard on High
Angels We Have Heard on High is perfect for beginner-level violinists. When you check the sheet music, you will notice that there are lots of scales and repeated notes in the song. This is a great opportunity to practice the détaché bow stroke, which means the beginning of the note should have a clear front but each note is separated just a little. Each note should really ring to let the music ring so use the full bow.
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen
God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen can be a more challenging tune. One of the defining features of it is that it is in the D minor key! It starts up bow and uses a lot of scales. Without clear lyrics that we refer to in our heads, it can be tricky to keep track of where you are. You will definitely want to use the sheet music for this song. You can even end the song with a slow down, called a ritardando.
Away in a Manger
My violin arrangement of Away in a Manger is super easy to play. I hope you will find the rhythm simple, as there are many quarter notes and the notes often go as in a scale. Try isolating the part that requires you to “jump” fingers and the string crossings so that you can really hammer out the coordination.
I hope that my tutorials and the sheet music will make learning the pieces much easier for you. Click here to watch the rest of the Christmas Classics tutorials!
Violin Christmas Music Book
All Christmas songs listed in this article and many more are available in my book “Christmas Classics.”
- The book contains 23 beautiful Christmas Songs sorted by level of complexity
- Each score is with easy violin tabs so you can play the tunes even if you didn’t learn reading notes yet
- Together with the book, you get piano accompaniments for all songs included!
With this book and the piano accompaniments, you can learn new violin skills and impress your friends, family, and yourself this holiday season. You have still plenty of time before Christmas so you can prepare a few Christmas pieces and even rehearse them with your family or friends plus have extra fun along the process.
You can get the Christmas Classics book with easy violin arrangements of the most beautiful Christmas songs and with the piano accompaniment for each one here: