Archive for the ‘Miscellaneous tips’ Category

Transposing Up a Whole Step: Chord Structure

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

small manuscript thumbnail pic

The following free pdf of transposing examples will aid the church pianist in changing from one song to the next during prelude or  for background invitationals.

Keep in mind, this free pdf only  showcases the chord structure for transposing up a whole step.  A more detailed visual sheet with moving notes will follow in the next article on transposing up a whole step to a different song or same song/different verse.

Editor notes for this free pdf of transposing examples:

  • Transposing up a whole steop
  • 3/4 time signature hymns only
  • Four examples shown in: E flat Major, F Major, G Major and A Major (each key signature is a whole step apart…one letter name higher than previous key)

Click on the title below to download the chord structure chart for transposing up a whole step for hymns in 3/4 time.

Transposing Up a Whole Step

 

Church Pianist Tip: Storing Music for Special Music

Monday, July 25th, 2016

At this point in time, I’m the only pianist at our church who plays for the special music.  Looking forward to other pianists getting involved in this area as they become more comfortable with playing in the service.

Music can pile up REALLY fast without a place to call home.  For the past several months, I’ve been using a six pocket binder that has proved VERY helpful and thought I’d share it with my readers.

I know this particular binder may not work for everyone but works great for my needs 🙂  (Binders with more than six pockets can be found on Walmart’s site)

Here’s a picture of my binder from Walmart.

BINDER-PIC

Before watching this video…when you hear me mention “floppy disk”…that’s what our digital piano uses to play recordings.

 

Please feel free to share your own organization ideas that work for you!

Exciting Congregational Playing

Friday, June 3rd, 2016

large baby-grand-piano

Congregational playing if done properly, takes ALOT of energy!

Ever feel totally wiped out after congregational playing? If so, you’re doing something right!  🙂

I’ve heard a couple of approaches to teaching exciting congregational playing…first is to play VERY loud the whole time with no room for emotion vs. play with a big sound but leave room for emotion.  Shelly Hamilton refers to this second method as “kneading” into the keys for music quality…you can “dig” into the keys for a big sound-just not banging…to allow room for emotion.  Shelly mentions playing with “back” weight.  After trying the above methods…I prefer the latter way….much more enjoyable; adds warmth…more meaningful way of playing and the congregation responds well to this method!

The church pianist is to provide support to the congregational singing. Play with gusto!  Give solid sounding introductions. Make it sound like you know what you’re doing! 🙂  *It may help to bracket off the section(s) you play for intros in your hymnal or other songbook… so you won’t get lost.

Energetic playing is contagious!  Your congregation will catch on real quick!

Video Example:

 

 

 

 

Yamaha Keyboard Cover

Thursday, April 28th, 2016

KEYBOARD-COVER

Any other church pianists like myself have a 76 keyboard?  It’s a perfect size for portability without sacrificing too many notes from my repertoire 😉

I take my keyboard to the  local nursing homes for two piano specials and also take it to my recitals if needed.

I’ve been needing a lightweight keyboard cover/case for quite some time…considering I’ve had my Yahmaha keyboard for at least ten years!

Well…I’ve found the perfect case…and very affordable!  Check out this link on Walmart’s site:  KEYBOARD COVER (76 keys)

The Old Rugged Cross (fill-in ideas with hymnal version)

Monday, April 4th, 2016

I recently published fill-in ideas for The Old Rugged Cross.

One of my readers asked me today if I could include the fill-ins on the printed hymnal version for ease of use.

I had to cut and paste and resize the fill-ins to fit the printed copy of the hymnal version so it’s kind of rough looking but it’s the best I could do with time allowed in my schedule.

Thanks for the suggestion Becky!  🙂

Click on following titles to download your free copies of the following:

The Old Rugged Cross (verse fill-ins)

The Old Rugged Cross (chorus fill-ins)

Quickie! Fill-in Ideas for The Old Rugged Cross

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

cross

Family coming into town any minute and just finished a quickie for church pianists to use for Easter…fill-in ideas for The Old Rugged Cross when playing for congregational singing.

Sorry I didn’t have time to share more!

Happy Easter!

Click on title to download your free copy of fill-in ideas for:  THE OLD RUGGED CROSS

Click here to download fill-ins included on sheet music of the hymnal version for this hymn.

 

Playing Without the Pedal is Important???

Saturday, March 19th, 2016

Just came across this video on “The Importance of Playing Without the Pedal” when practicing.

I wholeheartedly agree with Robert at livingpianos.com and virtualsheetmusic.com.

My piano teachers always stressed…not using the pedal as a crutch but to demand more out of my fingers by using a smoother touch as though crawling through the keys like a spider; creating a smooth touch even before adding the pedal.

Now to Robert’s clear presentation on playing the piano without the pedal…

 

 

 

Saved! Saved! Saved! Free Piano Congregational Arrangement

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

Saved-Saved-Saved

Sorry for the delay in publishing this free piano congregational arrangement of Saved, Saved, Saved!

The words of this hymn carry the message of  joy a Christian has in having Christ as their personal Saviour 🙂

For that reason, the music should sound happy and upbeat to support the text.

Generally…the faster or more wordy a hymn goes, the lighter the note texture (in my opinion).  😉

Why a lighter texture?  Playing  frequent big; heavy  right hand chords (chords with 3 to 4 notes)  throughout… wouldn’t allow for easy mobility; thus causing the pianist to “drag” the tempo.

The occasional full chords can still occur with a fast tempo…especially on long held words such as in measure #8 (see dotted half note for right hand). Full chords also sound nice and feel comfortable toward the end as tempo gets slower (see measures #19 & 20…right hand).

I also use occasional rests to provide more ease of hand movement as in measure #8…allows right hand time to ease into the fill-in. Same idea applies in measures 10, 15 and 17-19.

The rests just seem to create a more balanced “feel” when entering busy fill-in passages.

You’ll notice I use a lot of eighth notes in groups of 3’s to drive the majority of the first verse and chorus.  I would change fill-in rhythms on the remaining verses to give my hands a break!  😉  Well…actually it also sounds nicer to use a variety of fill-ins for a  fresher sound.

I’m thinking of a couple interpretation tips to share as well.

Hmmm….sounds like another post in the works for Saved, Saved, Saved!

Click on song title below to download your FREE copy of Saved! Saved! Saved! (one verse and chorus)

Saved! Saved! Saved!Saved-Saved

 

 

 

 

 

Most Awkward Hymns to Play

Tuesday, February 23rd, 2016

Just curious…what seems to be one of the most awkward hymns for you as a church pianist to play for congregational singing?

As soon as I collect a sizable list (at least 10)…I will number them and draw a number out of the hat and write a free congregational piano arrangement of that particular hymn. *Please: One hymn suggestion per person

Special note: Please only choose hymns that are in the public domain.

Here’s how a public domain hymn may appear

Public domain hymn

*Sometimes a public domain hymn will have no credits at the bottom like this:

Public domain hymn

Just avoid choosing a hymn with this symbol © at the bottom of the page such as the following:

Copyrighted Hymn

 

But Until Then (chorus) fill-in ideas

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

But-Until-Then-chorus-fill-ins-

One of my readers requested fill-in ideas for the song But Until Then.  I already shared fill-in ideas for the verse in a previous article HERE.

The chorus of But Until Then may be a challenge for church pianists who don’t feel comfortable improvising.  The fill-in notes are what give the music a forward motion; adding life to the hymn…IF the fill-in notes are rhythmically correct 😉

Since this particular hymn is under copyright…I’m limited on what I can share according to the US Copyright Office.

For a simple explanation, I will paste and copy a portion of the description for the Fair Use Act from US Copyright Office website:

Fair Use Copyright Act

Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

The amount being considered “fair use” is up for debate but I try to stay on the conservative side of usage which explains why I presented a “cut and paste” layout of only the long held words.

Click below to download your free copy of:

But Until Then (chorus) fill-in ideas

But Until Then verse fill-in ideas

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