Free Prelude Transitions for Church Pianists!

July 29th, 2014

Just wanted to share a couple of spontaneous prelude transitions that I created today for one of my hymn playing students during their lesson.

She’s wanting more help in the area of prelude transitions…and needed to see examples for transition ideas.

Hope they’re a help to other church pianists too!

Prelude Transition tips:

When creating a prelude transition consider the following:

1.  The time signature you’re coming from and going to

2.  The key signature you’re coming from and going to

3.  Mood of approaching song

4.  Add a ritard toward end of first song before the transition to allow breathing space for the player and listeners.

Prelude-Transitions-NEW

What I’m Working On…

July 24th, 2014

coming_soon

What are diminished and augmented chords?  Where can I use them? The first article on diminished and augmented chords will answer these questions.

The other post I’m creating deals with tips for choosing vocal solos for the male voice.  I enjoy the challenge of looking for solos that fit a certain person’s vocal range/ability.  Singing a song that fits the singer’s range allows for a more positive experience for the soloist as well as the listeners ;)

It’s our responsibility as Christians to be as effective as we can to carry God’s message through whatever means possible and that includes singing.

Looking forward to sharing more soon!

Youtube Recordings for The Piano Invitation Collection…

July 21st, 2014

News for my church pianist readers: I’ve been creating video recordings of The Piano Invitation Collection and publishing them on my youtube channel.

 

The Love of God (finished handwritten copy!)

July 19th, 2014

 

writing_pen

Wow!  I just finished writing the hand-written copy for The Love of God.

I just started it yesterday!  That doesn’t happen too often.  Thank you Lord!

Now…to input it into Finale which takes at least three hours to complete along with layout details.

I  allow several days for the piece to settle before I finalize it.  Reviewing the piece after a day or so allows me the chance to catch mistakes I may not have caught otherwise or…discover a different chord path altogether, etc.

Current Writing Project: The Love of God (Advanced piano solo)

July 19th, 2014

curly-staff-red-notes

Yesterday, I started a new advanced piano solo arrangement of “The Love of God”.

I have struggled in the past trying to write a piano solo version of The Love of God. Several years ago I created a vocal trio with piano accompaniment for this hymn.  It was easier to write since I didn’t have to stick to the melody.

As I sat at the piano yesterday…a motive (a melodic pattern)… just came to me which you will hear in the introduction. I tried to stay true to the style of the song so as not to distract from the message.

This particular arrangement will be written in my “free style” of playing which I enjoy the most. ( no structure!)  yay!  Although structure does make the arrangement more user-friendly.

Thanks to many such as Ashley & Karen who have requested that I write an arrangement for The Love of God.

The Love of God (audio sample)

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Diatonic Chord Substitution Examples: FREE DOWNLOAD

July 17th, 2014

As promised,  here are a couple more examples of a diatonic chord substitution.  (Link to FREE download at bottom of this article.)

Diatonic-Chord-Substitution-Examples

 

Click here to download your FREE copy of the diatonic chord substitution examples.

 

Chord Substitutions

July 10th, 2014

wavy staff with colored notes

Church pianists enjoying bringing hymns to life by adding different chords!  A recent question from one of my readers has created the perfect opportunity for me to share tips on chord substitutions….a topic I’ve been wanting to deal with for quite some time.  Chord substitutions can add such color to a song!  It’s a very B-R-O-A-D topic; meaning….there’s an endless supply of chord possibilities in any given key!

Reader’s Question:

“I have been using various resources trying to learn more about theory, but I haven’t found any that go beyond a basic level.

For example, I know what augmented and diminished chords are, but I don’t know how to use them or how they fit into functional harmony. In analyzing your arrangements, I have noticed you use a lot of different kinds of chords, such as chords with altered bass notes or a I-ii half diminished-I-etc. progression for introductions.

How did you learn how to use all these? Do you have any recommendations for resources that would teach me more? Any advice would be appreciated!”

Ashley

 

Hi Ashley,

How did I learn to use different chords from the written music?  You won’t like my answer ;)     I play them by ear…basically whatever sounds right. I do know chord theory but don’t think about theory application when playing….I just….play ;)   (Music writer’s confession: I don’t claim to be an expert theorist.)

For everyone’s benefit…the “different” chords we’re discussing are called chord substitutions. A chord substitution occurs when replacing a chord with a different chord.

Easiest Chord Substitution for Starters…

To replace a major chord within a key…use the chord a 3rd above or below the root note of a major chord.  (The major chords within any key is the I, IV and V).

The I chord in the key of C Major is the C chord (CEG).  Now, what note is a 3rd above CE…so the e minor chord (EGB) within the C scale can be used as a substitution as long as it “sounds” good within the occurring chord path (progression) of the song.  Count a 3rd below C and you find A.  The A minor chord (ACE)  is the second choice for a C major chord substitution.

Two observations about these two chord substitution choices:

1. They’re both minor

2.  They each have two notes in common with the chord being replaced

There are other types of chord substitutions but wanted to start with the easiest kind.

Extra Information:

1.The chord substitution just described above  (3rd above or 3rd below) is called the Diatonic Substitution. A diatonic chord substitution occurs when using different notes within a scale. It’s the most natural form of chord substitution because no note alterations take place; just using what ingredients are already available within that key ;)

2. The key signature and melody of any song dictates what chord(s) can be used.

 ~~Next article will show examples of the Diatonic chord substitution~~

Special Note!

Special Note!

Great theory reference book:  “The Complete Idiot’s Guide toMusic Theory”

The-Complete-Idiots-Guide-to-Music-Theory

 

Related article on Chord Substitutions

 

 

 

Free Piano Arrangement: At Calvary

June 30th, 2014

 

music-notes -swirl -staff

I just created this one page piano arrangement of “At Calvary” this past week for one of my hymn playing students.  I’m teaching her to branch out from the middle of the keyboard when improvising hymns for prelude or congregational style.

She is accustomed to playing octaves with her left hand and now we’re trying to condition her right hand to play an octave higher with some fullness (up to 3 notes) and will gradually work into more right hand octaves.

Editor notes for the free piano arrangement of At Calvary:

Measure #5… Right hand plays octave higher for brief moment before working back to middle of keyboard in measure #7. (Notice the gradual transition)

Measure #8… double duty octaves on the last 3 beats.

Measure #15…Octave workout!

Measure #16…Just had to give her at least one 4 note chord :)

Click here to download Free Piano Arrangement: At Calvary

At-Calvary-one-verse-prelude-style

Published! Piano Invitation Collection

June 16th, 2014

Blue soft light on piano keys

I just published the piano invitation collection!  I thank the Lord for giving me the strength and clarity of thought through the editing process.

I originally planned twelve arrangements for this collection but added a bonus arrangement without extra cost :)   The bonus arrangement is  “Draw Me Nearer Medley”.

The entire invitation collection is on sale now through July 4th for $15!

Playing background music is my ultimate favorite way to play :)   I just play in  a more conversational style to enhance the message of the hymn.

The overall level of playing for this collection is late intermediate to early advanced. I always play more lightweight in nature during the invitation… to create a more appropriate atmosphere.

I will be posting youtube videos of each selection as time allows.  You can also hear a sampler of the collection above.

Please note: If you want to purchase additional items with this collection…go to “Advanced Piano Solos” in the music store to buy this collection.  The following “buy now” button doesn’t allow for purchasing additional items.

 

Piano Invitation Collection
Late intermediate to early advanced piano solos, 33 pages Song titles include: Draw Me Nearer Medley, Have Thine Own Way Lord, I Have Decided, I'll Go Where You Want Me to Go, I Must Tell Jesus, I Surrender All, Just As I Am, Lord I'm Coming Home, Only Trust Him, Softly and Tenderly, Take My Life and Let it Be, Take the World but Give Me Jesus, Throw Out the Lifeline. On sale now through July 4th! 15% coupon doesn't apply to this product since it's already on sale. Special note: Bonus piece included! "Draw Me Nearer" Price based on twelve arrangements. This collection contains a total of thirteen arrangements.

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Price: $16.00

Piano Invitation Collection Sampler!

June 13th, 2014

Blue soft light on piano keys

I know it has taken me a while on the piano invitation collection… but I’m VERY picky about my writing!  Sorry….but I want to do my best :)

The piano invitation collection (pdf format)  should be published by this Monday!  The level of the songs are late intermediate to early advanced.

While you’re waiting….listen to a sampler of the invitation collection…

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