Uke On The Housetop

arr. Paul Jennings

This cheery old American Christmas classic gives you a great vehicle to feature your ukulele players in performances this holiday season. Yes, it works fine with one or two ukes but will sound best when played by your entire ukulele program. We have provided two tempos so that you can choose which you prefer. The slower version (full and tracks) can be found on our web site along with the PDFs of the ukulele and jingle bell parts.

Note that there are two bars of clicks prior to bar one so players know when to start. At this point, the uke part starts with several bars of picking on open G. If you choose not to teach this skill yet, your players can just rest until the tune and the strumming begins.

Through the first section, players just strum along on the four chords indicated. Then, at bar 21, it's time to make ukes the stars. If they perform standing and have the room, just before bar 22, have them take a step forward. At the end of the section, have them take a step back. Then once again, just before the features at the end, they can take a step forward again. If they perform sitting, stand for these sections.

We have also included a part for jingle bells which you will hear on both versions of the tune. Ideally this is played by one player, or two if you're using a full group of ukes. Through most of the arrangement the jingle bells are playing with the background ensemble. For a more theatrical performance, regularly have jingle bells player(s) act as if they are getting ready to move forward like the ukes do – always being unable – until just before the last beat. Then they spring forth, even overdoing a bit, and making a big deal of playing the last note. The conductor can even call them forward for a bow. Let them ham it up, and have fun.

This song includes a Diving Deeper Into The Music interactive learning assessment.

Text is taken from Music K-8 magazine.