Away in a Manger – Rote and Reading®


(8 customer reviews)

Away in a Manger Rote and Reading® is a beautiful pattern-based arrangement that makes elementary level piano students sound mature.

Holiday Rote and Reading Holiday Piano Pieces by Level - Away in a Manger Rote and Reading + Jingle Bells Rote and Reading + Jolly Old St. Nicholaus | #piano #holiday #easy #christmas #pianopedagogy #pianoteaching

For more savings, click here to buy one of the discounted bundles!

Studio Use License – This comes with a studio license and is a fantastic value as this can be used for as many students as you directly teach!


Away in a Manger Rote and Reading® is composed especially for mid-elementary piano students of all ages.

Get a full sound in this Away in a Manger Rote and Reading® piece

The right hand in this piece stays in the same position the entire time. Students read it as middle C position, but just move 8va. However, the left hand playing fifths in the deep registers of the piano will activate the harmonics with the aid of the pedal. This gives the piece a very deep and full sound.

Don’t be afraid of the dotted quarter note

Most early to mid-elementary students don’t understand what a dotted quarter note is. But they don’t need to understand to know how to play it! It’s the main rhythm in the main motive of Away in a Manger, so it’s easy to play. The introduction in this Away in a Manger Rote and Reading® piece is based on that rhythm, so don’t be afraid to introduce it to your students before they actually know what it is.

If they know the tune to Away in a Manger, they’ll get it. I promise!

The trick is to show them, not tell them! Don’t explain what a dotted quarter note is. They don’t need to know that yet, because it’s a very abstract concept that’s way too complicated to explain. But they can play it. Just show them and let them play!

Moving the LH in an easy way

Many mid-elementary students can do much more moving than we think! Here’s a way to introduce the concept of moving.

I don’t usually make my kids play something hands separate when they begin a piece. But this piece is a good one for hands separate practice.

Ask your student to depress the damper pedal and keep it down. Then, ask them to play the low and first C fifth. Then ask them to play it and then to find the low F fifth. Show them that there is a pattern where they find the C, the F, the next C up, and the next F up. Allow them plenty of time between the fifths to find the next one. The music gives them two whole measures!

Then, show them the RH main motive in the introduction. Show them though, don’t tell them and make them count it out loud! Play the first two measures and ask the to repeat it back to you. Repeat this until they are able to do it easily with good technique.

BONUS: 2 versions included!

Young students are often very satisfied to play a short piece. Plus, a longer piece is often daunting to them. But, we know that older students who are at this level, like teens and adults, may very well want to play a longer version of this. Of course, you could tell them how and where to repeat this, but we’ve included a second version of the piece with first and second endings so they know exactly what to do and when to repeat it.

So you get both! You get the simple version without the distractions of first and second endings AND the one with first and second endings that allows Away in a Manger Rote and Reading® to be longer.

Other pieces in the Holiday Rote and Reading® Series

Holiday Rote and Reading Holiday Piano Pieces by Level - Away in a Manger Rote and Reading + Jingle Bells Rote and Reading + Jolly Old St. Nicholaus | #piano #holiday #easy #christmas #pianopedagogy #pianoteaching

Don’t forget to check out other pieces in the holiday rote and reading® series! You can also get Jingle Bells and the early level Jolly Old St. Nicholaus in this series and even get a discount when you purchase one of the bundles at a discount!


Non-holiday Reading and Rote Series Pieces:

Don’t forget to look at the other popular pieces in the Reading and Rote series. The African Adventure Bundle is one of the most popular things in the ComposeCreate store. Kids, teens, and adults love the BIG sounds they make with this music!

$29.97 $27.97Add to cart

Pieces related to Vancouver Island Sunset: The African Adventure Bundle contains the Rote and Reading teaching pieces: Romp and Raid, Savanna Stalk and African Safari.

We’ve also started a series about locations in North America with Vancouver Island Sunset.

8 reviews for Away in a Manger – Rote and Reading®

  1. Karen Hesterly

    I love Wendy’s pieces that make the student sound big and make the teacher look good. The teaching suggestions are good plus you have and opportunity to talk to your students about 5ths, how they look and feel, to seen how many C’s they can find and how that relates to the 5ths they are playing. Plus you have an opportunity to give your students a present with the wonderful art work. The two versions with 1st and 2nd endings also give you an opportunity to make is slightly harder if you want.

  2. Christine Lee

    This is a beautiful but simple piece that boosts confidence in my students for whom piano does not come so easily! He is enjoying learning this piece, and I am looking forward to my student’s performance at our Christmas recital.

  3. Alayne Griffin

    This was my first purchase of music from ComposeCreate and it has really engaged my newest beginning student. She is enjoying getting to play something by ear, after focusing on reading at first.
    I will be back for more music in the future!

  4. Carla

    This is a great selection for an early-level student. The intervals are easy for smaller hands to play, and the repeated patterns make this arrangement easy to learn. This piece sounds harder than it is, and it is a beautiful piece for a Christmas recital.

  5. Christy Kimball

    Another great arrangement from Wendy! I have a student playing this in our recital in a couple of weeks. The beauty of it is how much more difficult it sounds than it really is. My student is not yet reading notes but she loves this piece. In the process of teaching it by rote, we also sang it, phrase by phrase. What a great thing – to be able to play a piece that has dotted quarter note-eighth note patterns as well as dyads in the left hand without being able to read a note of it. Imagine what it will be like when she starts reading notes and rhythms and can play it without stumbling.

  6. Robin Steinweg

    Younger students absolutely love this piece. Their adults love hearing it. It has everything they could want: it’s easy to play; it sounds grown-up; it’s a song they recognize; it uses plenty of the keyboard; and oh my goodness, they get to use the pedal!!!

    I have a student whose brain has trouble connecting what it wants to do with the motor skills necessary. The rote-ability of this piece allows him to play this more easily, with less frustration. A gift to him, really. Thank you, Wendy!

  7. Kylie Stacey

    This is a beautiful piece of music that is great for beginners of all ages. A perfect addition for Christmas repertoire.

  8. Katie Spjut

    I have a student who has never been very expressive or really gotten emotionally attached to many pieces. (Add this to being eclipsed in talent by her younger sister.) In December I gave her your arrangement of Away in a Manger. Her mom thanked me for finding the “perfect” piece for her daughter because for the first time ever she saw wrist floats, and a giant smile on her daughter’s face as she repeatedly played the piece all season long—even in their extended family’s nativity reenactment!

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