For intermediate students who are learning more about chords and/or improvisation:
I strongly believe that kids should be taught to improvise shortly after they can play chords with no problem. I can’t remember being taught any improvisational teaching, even though I had a knack and drive to do so when I first started accompanying my high school choir. I want to make sure none of my students who have been with me for a while never go without dabbling in the art of improvisation at least a bit.
As you can see, it’s easy to come up with the chords underlying each measure to both of these works. Teachers should take advantage of this fact and tell Jingle Bells players to try playing quarter notes or something different from the simple, repetitive accompaniment given. And you can tell what ought to be done with Silent Night:
Made some revisions to the piano part (some notes changed/removed for more inversion-based/interesting harmonies, slurs and dynamics added for better supportive phrasing, and some tenuto marks added), including a slight downsizing of the score so that everything fits cleanly in four pages:
Here’s the first draft (from sketches dating back to about 2011-2012), which is bound to have revisions. I’ve been having trouble with audio playback so I can’t get any automated recordings up at the moment, but if you’re a musician who’d like to plow through it, feel free to woo someone with my first piano trio: