Archive for the ‘Accompaniment tips’ Category

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

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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.

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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

 

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Free Piano Arrangement: At Calvary

Monday, June 30th, 2014

 

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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

“Down From His Glory” Rest of the Arrangement

Thursday, May 15th, 2014

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Down From His Glory requires ALOT of ad lib from the church pianist when accompanying someone to sing this hymn.

I could not help but add runs during the chorus due to the frequent held words. The fingering for the runs is included 🙂

I plan to create an audio of the piano accompaniment as time allows.

Click here to download your free arrangement of the rest of “Down From His Glory” piano accompaniment with vocal score included!

Click here to download page one of Down From His Glory

 

“Down From His Glory” Free Improvising Tips!

Friday, May 9th, 2014

“Down From His Glory”…a challenging piece for many church pianists!

Many of you requested that I share improvising tips for this very piece as recently discussed in a video from last year’s Wild’s Music Conference.

In this particular video, Faye Lopez shared several tips for dressing up the accompaniment such as adding right hand echos during held words for the first half of the verse and then broken chords for the second half of verse.

As stated in a recent article…the following free download of “Down From His Glory” (verse 0nly) is similar to Faye’s accompaniment but not an exact replica 🙂

Tip: Watching the related video to this article would be beneficial while looking over the free download below. Click here to see: VIDEO

I will provide the rest of the song in the next article.

Click here to download “Down From His Glory” verse only

 

 

 

 

 

Freestyle Piano Accompaniment for Vocal Solo

Tuesday, April 29th, 2014

Freestyle is my favorite way to accompany vocalists.  To me, freestyle is playing by ear what I feel at the time without written music.  It takes years of practice… of course… to get to this point of playing 😉   Dad was the first person I ever accompanied in my early years of being church pianist.  He taught me accompaniment tips along the way such as “Follow the soloist”…a MUST for the church pianist.

I do play for soloists that prefer to follow me but I’m trying to help them feel more comfortable being the leader. After all…the church pianist is just the background support for the soloist.

Below, is a recent recording of me playing for my dad. Our parents were visiting with us this past week and Dad sang this solo in our church.

I love to accompany my dad!

 

Tips for Accompanying a Vocal Solo

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

There are certain songs that are a challenge for the church pianist to accompany. “Down From His Glory” is one of those songs!

In the video below, Duane Ream and Faye Lopez share some of their insight on accompanying the vocal soloist for “Down From His Glory”.

The following video excerpt came from last year’s  Hymn Playing Master Class workshop at the annual Wild’s Music Conference. Please excuse the shaky quality of the video.  I didn’t have a tripod available.

I want to thank the pianist for granting me permission to share this video excerpt.  He did a great job with his impromptu accompaniment; providing others with an opportunity to learn more about accompanying a vocal solo.

This video was taken during the “critique” session of the class when someone would volunteer to play either a piano solo, prelude style piece or accompaniment style.

Duane Ream, one of the workshop leaders, also volunteered to sing…making it easier for the volunteer pianist to share his accompaniment style.  *Please note that Duane sang an octave lower on purpose for the chorus… since it was out of his vocal range 🙂  At least he was willing to help the pianist 🙂

I’ve thought about providing a couple visual examples of the accompaniment patterns Faye was trying to convey to the pianist. Keep in mind…they wouldn’t be note for note what she played but I could produce something very similar. Who would be interested?

 

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