Archive for the ‘Accompaniment tips’ Category

Accompanying Made Simple by Shelly Hamilton

Monday, August 31st, 2015

pen laying on staff paper

I recently attended a couple piano workshops by Shelly Hamilton.

“Accompanying Made Simple” was a very practical workshop providing the church pianists with simple yet practical ideas for accompanying special music.

Shelly brought her accompaniment suggestions to life by offering a free arrangement of Day by Day which includes three different accompaniment styles.  Thanks Shelly!

I attended Shelly’s workshops so that I could share accompaniment ideas with my church pianist readers.  Click on the following links to download the handouts for this workshop.

Accompanying Made Simple (outline)

Day by Day page one

Day by Day page two

MusiCarolina Conference

Tuesday, July 28th, 2015

art-MusiCarolina

Heading to the annual MusiCarolina conference this week!  This will be my first time to attend a conference by Majesty Music.

I’m looking forward to the church pianist related workshops on Friday.

Here are the workshops I plan to attend

  • On the Spot Arranging  (Mac & Beth Lynch)

  • Congregational Leading & Accompanying (Ron & Shelley)

  • Accompanying Made Simple (Shelley Hamilton)

I will take good notes and share some highlights when able!

 

Church Pianist Update

Tuesday, June 30th, 2015

small manuscript thumbnail pic

Holy Holy Holy (real advanced piano solo) is almost complete!  I hope to publish it very soon.

I’m REALLY enjoying the creation of the second collection of Congregational Piano Hymn Arrangements. What’s neat about these collections is they could be used for unison choir arrangements or accompaniment for flute or violin special.  See Congregational Piano Hymn Arrangements Collection One by clicking HERE.

The words of the hymns mean even more to me… in the light of what’s going on around our nation.  My heart is truly being poured out on the pages of this collection. I try to convey the text in the piano accompaniment. What a  comfort the words of these hymns have been to me!

Here’s the list for the ten hymns in this collection:

1. And Can it Be

2. At the Cross

3. Come Thou Fount

4. Heaven Came Down

5. Higher Ground

6. I Shall Know Him

7. It’s Just Like His Great Love

8. My Faith Has Found a Resting Place

9. Near the Cross

10. What a Friend We Have in Jesus

 

MusiCarolina Event for Church Pianists!

Wednesday, May 27th, 2015

art-MusiCarolina

I just looked at the latest information on MusiCarolina and the workshops are definitely worth the church pianist’s time!

I’m having a hard time deciding which workshops I want to attend.  I think I’ve narrowed it down to:

On the Spot Arranging by Mac & Beth Lynch

Congregational Leading & Accompanying by Ron & Shelly Hamilton

Accompanying Made Simple by Shelly Hamilton

There are plenty of workshops to choose from for the song leader, church pianist or singer!

Click here to see the rest of the workshops

Early registration (adult/teen)  $59 by June 30th (Register three by June 30th and get one FREE!)

Registration $69  July 1st through July 24th

Registration at the door $79

 

 

Free Piano Excerpt of Isn’t the Love of Jesus Something Wonderful

Monday, January 26th, 2015

Isnt-the-love-CROPPED

Sorry for the delay in posting…our household has been down with the stomach bug.

Here is the excerpt of Isn’t the Love of Jesus Something Wonderful which I shared with my hymn playing student last week.  The left hand ideas resemble the improvisation I shared in the free piano prelude arrangement of “I Am Resolved”.

It’s always helpful to see the same ideas in several different keys and songs of like nature for ample reinforcement.

(Due to the copyright still active on this hymn…I could only share a portion as stated in the “fair use” copyright law.)

Having said that…if I could have shared more…I would have branched out the right hand an octave higher during the chorus to stretch my student’s playing ground.

Special note: When trying to apply the above left hand ideas… choose hymns of like nature (same time signature; similar rhythmic structure; peppy mood).

Just Published! Congregational Piano Hymn Arrangements…

Saturday, January 10th, 2015

Done! Finally!  I was extra picky with this collection and hope it’s useful to many church pianists.

I tried to create exciting accompaniments to enhance the congregational singing. Each arrangement contains an introduction as well as a couple verses/choruses worth of accompaniment.  Three of the arrangements even have key changes!

But relax 🙂  The arrangements are written in a lower key than the hymnal (at least two to three half steps lower). We have discovered that the congregation sings out even more when they can  sing in a reasonable key 😉

Congregational Piano Hymn Arrangements (Booklet One)
Congregational Piano Hymn Arrangements (Booklet One)
AUDIO SAMPLER: (product description below)

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*Downloadable product only
Price: 14.00

 

10 Late intermediate to early advanced piano congregational arrangements. (All Hail the Power, Are you Washed, Blessed Assurance, Does Jesus Care, Dwelling in Beulah Land, I Love to Tell the Story, Praise Him! Praise Him!, Rock of Ages, Sweet By and By, Sweet Hour of Prayer) 34 pages

The arrangements in this booklet are in lower keys; making it easier for the average congregation to sing. *Three of the arrangements have key changes!

Each arrangement contains an introduction and at least two verses & choruses…several of the hymns contain three verses worth of accompaniment.

*Special note: The arrangements in this booklet do not support the four-part singing found in most hymnals. *Other suggested uses: vocal solos, violin specials, unison choir specials. **Another special note: These arrangements can not stand alone as piano solos since some of the melody is absent during the piano accompaniment. *Complete audios not included with collections.

Revive Us Again (FREE) piano arrangement

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Revive-Us-Again-comments-in-red

Downloadable Link Below

I was going to share a free sampling of left hand improvising ideas for Revive Us Again but I wound up writing a full verse and chorus of this challenging hymn.  It’s not a hard hymn to play but difficult to dress up for congregational singing.

The first line of the hymn is basically the same chord!  Most church pianists realize that they have to adhere to the chord structure in the hymnal when playing for congregational singing IF their congregation sings parts…to prevent chord clashes.  I can’t help but add chord substitutions on this hymn!  Our congregation doesn’t sing parts so I can have fun!  🙂

I’m sharing several improvising ideas for Revive Us Again (congregational style).  I tried to liven up the 1st line of music by creating broken chord tones and alternating bass notes within the same chord. A broken chord tone pattern already exists in the hymnal version but offered a little different one and added a little more variety than the hymnal version.

Revive-Us-Again-congregational-or-prelude

Saved, Saved! Free Congregational Accompaniment Excerpt

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

I’m trying to decide whether or not to  periodically stray from the melody in the congregational accompaniments I’m working on for publication.   I can’t help myself!  It’s more fun to stray from the melody as in the following free congregational accompaniment (excerpt) of Saved, Saved!

This is more of how I would play for congregational singing for Saved, Saved.  (The written music below is the same as the recording)  🙂

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Saved-Saved-verse-excerpt

Click here to download your free copy of “Saved, Saved!” congregational accompaniment verse excerpt!

 

Awkard Hymns for Pianist: Saved, Saved!

Tuesday, September 2nd, 2014

Treble clef on red staff

Saved-Saved-verse-excerpt-cropped

In my opinion, “Saved, Saved!” is one of the most awkward hymns to play for the church pianist.

It pays to have large hands for this song! Lots of octave spreads!  But…there IS an art to playing repetitive octaves in a relaxed touch…making it easier on the hand.  (I learned this art by playing classical music with lots of octave action!)

Classical music helps to develop SO many technical moves which can aid the church pianist in hymn playing. (another post!)

To be honest…I  leave out a lot of melody on this particular hymn when accompanying the congregation…freeing up the hand  to provide more of a  supportive accompaniment and to prevent awkward hand movements.

I didn’t stray too far from the melody in this version to prevent church pianists from getting disoriented. (Hee hee) Want a challenge? I’ll have to share the FUN version another time.

I will share a couple of tips via video soon for the following free pdf of “Saved, Saved!” (congregational accompaniment: verse excerpt)

Click here to download “Saved, Saved!” congregational accompaniment excerpt

Who wants the FUN version sampler?  (VERY advanced)

 

Augmented Examples for I to IV Chord Progression

Friday, August 8th, 2014

*Click here to read introduction of diminished and augmented chords to understand the following free handout on augmented examples in hymns.

 

Explanation of the following visual:

When progressing from a I to IV chord…raise the 5th note of the I chord (G) to (G#) making it an augmented I chord which strongly leads into a IV chord.

 

Click here to download a free pdf of the Augmented  Chord Substitution Sheet

 

Augmented-examples-I-IV

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