Christmas Music for Horn


In Kentucky, All-State (video) auditions ended last week.

One of my typical things to do with students after All-State is to spend some time doing some “fun” music. Over the years I’ve pieced together a decent collection of this kind of stuff – Christmas music, movie soundtracks, jazz and pop tunes arranged for horn – and I’ve decided to make more people aware of some of these arrangements.

Christmas/Holiday Solos

These are not ordered in any sort of difficulty or preference. All of these are available at SheetMusicPlus.

If you order using the links on this site, I’ll get a small commission (at no additional cost to you). This helps me keep the (digital) lights on, so to speak.

  • Ave Maria (Schubert): Arranged by Eric Ruske.
  • Ave Maria (Bach/Gounod): Arranged by Eric Houser.
  • Big Book of Christmas Songs: A massive collection of 174 Christmas songs. This is only the melody – there is no piano accompaniment provided, but if you’re looking for a Christmas tune, you can find it here. Great for teachers!
  • 18 Traditional Christmas Solos: Included piano accompaniment. 18 of the most popular Christmas tunes in effective and easy-to-put-together arrangements. Great to have if you’re asked to play in churches!
  • Christmas Songs for Horn: Includes play-along audio backing tracks available online. A collection of 12 secular Christmas songs. Great for students looking for a Christmas song off-the-beaten-path.
  • Christmas Instrumental Solos: Popular Christmas Songs: This collection includes two tracks for each songs – a demo track to hear what it should sound like, and a backing track to play along with. This collection also focuses on secular Christmas songs, and includes many that are hard to find as horn arrangments (Believe from Polar Express, Feliz Navidad, and You’re A Mean One, Mr. Grinch).
  • Creative Carols for Horn: Comes with a CD that features two backing tracks for each carol (one with piano accompaniment and one with rhythm section tracks), along with PDF accompaniments if you want to use a live pianist. These are standard carols, but they are “jazzed up” a bit in fun and interesting ways.
  • O Holy Night: Arranged by David Marlatt. An effective and challenging arrangement! Unleash your inner diva!

Christmas/Holiday Duets and Small Ensemble

  • Tis’ The Season: Arranged by Don Schaeffer, in two volumes (Volume 1 and Volume 2). This book contains 14 different carols, each is playable as a solo (play the top line) or as a duet (one person playing the top line and another playing the bottom line). What’s nice is that this collection exists for basically every band instrument (Bb, C, Eb, F, Bass clef arrangements), so that you can mix and match instrument combinations and still end up with effective musical arrangements. Some of the books also include up to 4 parts per song, allowing even richer arrangements. Great for band programs (find all the different versions here).
  • Christmas Duets for All: Arranged by William Ryden. This collection is similar to the Tis’ the Season books mentioned above, but with a little more variety. This book contains 26 Christmas and holiday tunes from around the world, also arranged as solos or duets and arranged so that any two instruments can play together. This book works wonderfully as easy sightreading for younger students (since they will know some of the tunes) and more challenging sightreading for more advanced students (there are quite a few carols in here you may not know)!

Final Thoughts

Hopefully these give you some ideas for new and interesting repertoire for this (and future) holiday seasons.

If there are any favorites that you have that I missed, please don’t hesitate to put them in the comments below, or you can contact me in a variety of other ways!


About Colin Dorman

Colin is a freelance horn player and teacher, as well as a fan of tech of all sorts, aviation, and increasingly complex flight simulators. He also enjoys beer, bourbon and fitness - but not at the same time. You can find him on Facebook, Twitter, as well as right here at ColinDorman.com!