One of my all-time favorite Christmas songs is “Sleigh Ride.” Did you know that, like “Jingle Bells,” it doesn’t mention anything about Christmas? It’s actually more of a snow or winter song. 🙂 Let’s learn a little about it today in this 15-Minute Music Lesson for “Sleigh Ride.”
Who Wrote “Sleigh Ride” and When?
“Sleigh Ride” was originally just an instrumental piece (no words) written in 1948 by Leroy Anderson, a composer who wrote for the Boston Pops Orchestra. See the Boston Pops perform it here:
The Lyrics of “Sleigh Ride”
Words were written to the “Sleigh Ride” tune in 1950 by Mitchell Parish. The Andrews Sisters recorded the first vocal version of “Sleigh Ride” that same year. You’ll hear them sing it in this next video. Along with the lyrics, notice the paintings throughout the video which are from Currier and Ives–a printmaking company mentioned in the song!
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Fun Percussion Instruments in “Sleigh Ride”
A fun feature in a performance of “Sleigh Ride” is using various instruments to give the illusion of the sleigh ride and horses. A percussion instrument called a slapstick sounds like a whip, sleigh bells are shaken to sound like the bells that would be around a horse’s neck, and temple blocks sound like the horse “clip-clopping” on the road. In addition, a trumpet at the end sounds like a horse whinnying. If you missed these in the first video, listen again!
Can you find some items around your house to use as percussion instruments? Maybe a pan from your kitchen and a wooden spoon? Be creative with your own percussion instruments and play them as you listen to “Sleigh Ride” again.
Using the Voice as a “Percussion” Instrument
For many years, people have developed their voices to sound like instruments. You’ll hear that in this next video of the group Pentatonix singing “Sleigh Ride:”
Download the 15-Minute Music Lesson for “Sleigh Ride” Printable Pack:
Find these pages in it:
- Matching Percussion Instruments
- Fill-in-the-blank about the song
- Listen and Draw
Combine this fun winter lesson with some great winter books! See the list here.
More Christmas in Your Homeschool Ideas:
- ‘Carolling Around the World’, a Fun Course to Learn About Christmas Carols
- How to Experience the Music of Christmas in Your Homeschool, Even if You Have No Time
- A Round-up of the Top Nutcracker Resources for Your Homeschool
- 15-Minute Music Lesson Freebie for “Carol of the Bells”
- Free Printable Pack for the Christmas Song “In the Bleak Midwinter”
- Handel’s Messiah Free 10-page Printable Pack