by Kathy Morrison

We know that one of the best ways to inspire our Lesson Students is to motivate them to listen to music featuring their instrument that is performed technically and melodically beautiful! The more they hear what it can be like to master an instrument, the more motivated they are to practice and commit to their musical studies.

Take time this holiday season and listen to beautiful music with your student. We have suggestions to make it easy!

Be sure to take advantage of LIVE musical performances around Pittsburgh this season. In fact, there are several that feature our teachers. Learn more about that here.

The next best thing to live music is YouTube. It’s on your phone and you can watch when your schedule allows. I like YouTube over just listening to a recording because of the visual impressions. Most people learn most effectively when they watch rather than just listen. NOTE: We recommend that you always assist your student when using the internet especially on a platform like YouTube.

Here’s a list to get you started. It includes several seasonal favorites and some local groups too!


The Piano Guys

The Piano Guys (piano, cello, and sometimes more) are inspiring students to take their musical studies to the next level. It’s so much more than piano. So much of their music includes arrangements of songs that are familiar from movie scores to classics to songs from the radio. Their arrangements are performed with great artistry and fun.

Ode to Joy To The World:

Heads up to our string students, especially cello students. You have to see this!

Carol of the Bells for 12 cellos:

Here’s my personal favorite: Angels We Have Heard on High complete with Darth Vader, trains, and a LOT of cameras! You have to see these 4 guys play all around the piano using it as percussion, a violin, and plucking it like a harp.

You can buy sheet music from their website, too!


Vince Guraldi Trio

The Peanuts Christmas first aired over 50 years ago. The music from this family favorite was written by Vince Guaraldi is now so familiar that most people hum along whether they realize it or not!

Check out this recording from The Vince Gauraldi Trio of “Christmas Time is Here.”


Favorite Brass Music

Pittsburgh Symphony Brass – Joy to the World, plus Carol of the Bells from “A Christmas Concert for Brass”


River City Brass performing Midnight Sleigh Ride (Prokofiev’s “Troika”), December 2016.

Check out their holiday concert series here in Pittsburgh


Philharmonia Orchestra (London, UK)

Ding Dong Merrily On High (Brass Quintet)


Flute Choir

African Noel performed by New England Flute Orchestra, December 2016.

Check out the alto and bass flutes in their group!