Archive for the ‘Music Book or CD Reviews’ Category

Piano Invitation Collection Sampler!

Friday, 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 ūüôā

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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Sacred Piano Duo Book Sale!

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014



I REALLY like this particular sacred piano duo arrangement book entitled “Wonderful Grace of Jesus”!

The book contains eleven arrangements. The “Children’s Medley” is one of my favorites!¬†¬† “Softly and Tenderly” is one of the easier ones but yet SO pretty!

I always buy two copies of piano duet books or piano duo (two pianos) books to prevent illegal copying of music.  Buying multiple copies can be rather expensive so I try to buy when on sale.

Just found out this book is on sale right now…an “ongoing” sale ūüôā

You can purchase two copies of this book plus a CD containing all the arrangements for only $24.95 from Bible Truth Music’s website.¬† Head over and get your copies before the sale expires!¬† You can also hear audio samples of each arrangement on the sale page!

Date of article:   May 20,2014

Wilds Music Conference (Piano Duet Previews)

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

This will be one of several videos I’ll share from my recent trip to the annual Wilds Music Conference. I had not planned on videoing the sessions…thinking they were being done by someone professionally.¬† So…you will have to put up with my amateur recordings ūüôā The first part of Hymnplaying Master Class on Tuesday consisted of an open discussion on the benefits of piano duets…even with a few composer tips from Faye and Duane on writing quality piano duets. I’ll start with the benefits of playing piano duets: *Allows time to focus on basic techniques with easier playing passages…such as phrasing, pedaling, dynamic balance between two players, etc. *Prepares pianist to think and play like an accompanist.¬† For example, both pianists have to keep melody dominant throughout.¬† The pianist without melody part must remain in the background (so to speak)…allowing the melody to be heard. *Playing piano duets can improve the pianist’s sense of rhythm.¬† Teaches them to play different rhythms against the other player.¬† Such as: one pianist may play triplets while the other is playing straight eighths. (fun! fun!) The pianists are forced to play the correct rhythm if they are to stay together. *Encourages teamwork!

Now…on to several composer tips in writing piano duets:

*Stack duet parts on one page so both pianists are aware of the full picture. *Try the duet with another pianist to check for hand collisions (I speak from experience on this one) ¬†¬† ūüėČ *Avoid writing in excessive extreme registers (real low or high).¬† Too high gives the primo a “tinty” or “empty” sound.¬† Writing primo section more near the middle of the piano gives the piece a more balanced, pleasing tone.¬† Playing too low will give the duet a “cloudy/muddled” tone.

Piano duets on this video:

O Come All Ye Faithful from: “O Come All Ye Faithful” by Nathan Arnold

I Need Thee Every Hour from: “Standing on the Promises” by Nathan Arnold

Saved! Saved! from:¬† “Like a River Glorious” by Rebecca Bonam

Dwelling Beulah Land from: ?¬† (I think it was a Rebecca Bonam duet…not sure)

Other Piano Duet Book List:

Immortal Invisible  by Dan Forest

Crown Him Lord of All by Dan Forest

Joy to the World by Rebecca Bonam (piano solo book with three duets!)

Tip:¬† Don’t forget those duets in the back of your piano solo books you may have ūüôā

*The above book titles are clickable links that carry you to BJU Press.  However, these books are no longer available through BJU Press.  Go to Lorenz  to purchase them. (or try Ebay or Amazon)


Introducing an Excellent Theory Book!

Saturday, June 23rd, 2012

Now don’t get offended with the title of this music theory book…I use it as a reference book for my piano teaching and composing. The title…“The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Music Theory”.


The description on the front cover of this book gives an excellent overview:

“Essential information on reading and writing—including basic notes, rhythms and scales”

“Helpful hints on creating your own melodies, chords and harmonies”

“Audio exercises (CD included) to develop your ear training skills”

My favorite chapter in the Complete Idiot’s Guide to Music Theory deals with chords…(chapter 9). This chapter gives the reader an overview of the basic types of chords used in today’s music.

For example…the basic types of chords mentioned in this chapter include the following: Major, minor, diminished and augmented.¬† The chapter then goes into “chord extensions”…my favorite section! Oh, and the “power” chords are interesting too ūüôā

There is a complete chord appendix in the back of the book that covers every kind of chord–in every key!¬† The writer of this book says to use this appendix when you want to write a chord but don’t know how.

List of the Appendixes

A. The Complete Idiot’s Music Glossary

B. The Complete Idiot’s Chord Reference

C. Answers to Chapter Exercises

D. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Music Theory, Second Edition, Ear Training Course CD

Click on following link to view a sample chapter of this book:

Complete Idiot’s Guide to Music Theory

You may purchase the book at the above link or try to find on Ebay or Amazon for a more reasonable price. (make sure the CD is included)

Christmas Piano Book Giveaway!

Sunday, December 11th, 2011

Christmas Inspirations

An upcoming young musician, Joshua Harrison, contacted me a while back¬† about previewing his piano arrangement book entitled: “Christmas Inspirations”. Joshua’s desire is that the Lord be glorified through his playing which is refreshing to hear…especially from a young gentleman ūüôā

The book consists of nine  Christmas carols as follows:

Joy To The World!
Silent Night
Hark! the Herald Angels Sing!
The First Noel
Away In A Manger
O Little Town Of Bethlehem
Angels We Have Heard On High
O Come All Ye Faithful
I Heard the Bells On Christmas Day

Most of the arrangements are a page and a half and a couple are longer¬† in length…making for a nice collection of short offertories or recital pieces for students.

After clicking on following link…you must click on individual song titles¬† to hear sample of each song…not the book cover picture.

Click here to listen to audios of Joshua’s book entitled: Christmas Inspirations

Joshua has generously offered to give away one copy of his Christmas book (pdf format).¬† Simply leave a comment below to enter the drawing.¬† Leave a separate comment if you share the link to this article on facebook or your personal blog…allowing your name to be entered twice!

The drawing will be held on December 19th, 2011 at 10pm EST

The winner will receive his or her free downloadable pdf copy of “Christmas Inspirations” by email from the author of the book: Joshua Harrsion

How to Play Hymns & Gospel Songs in an Evangelistic Style

Tuesday, October 11th, 2011

How to Play Hymns & Gospel Songs Instructional Book

Just discovered a practical instructional book on¬† improvising hymns found on Alfred Publishing’s site.

This book is a great starter for the intermediate pianist who wants to improvise from the church hymnal.  The pianist will learn how to do the following:

*Add tenor to the right hand

*Double the bass note

*A couple of easy-to-learn  left hand fill-in ideas

*PLUS…a collection of hymns already arranged for the intermediate church pianist using the improvising ideas that are taught in the book.

Click on the following book title to view the book and sample pages!

“How to Play Hymns & Gospel Songs in an Evangelistic Style”

Bless the Lord arranged by Gina Sprunger (Book Giveaway)

Sunday, April 24th, 2011

A book¬† giveaway…compliments of Soundforth (BJU Press).

*This book drawing applies to residents within the US

¬† “Bless the Lord”, contains ten early intermediate piano arrangements by Gina Sprunger…an excellent addition to any church pianist’s repertoire!

Gina’s ¬†introductions,¬† interludes and endings¬†are a perfect fit to¬†each arrangement.¬† I’ll share some of my favorite picks through audio excerpts below. Just click on¬†a song title to hear a sample.

Come, Christians Join to Sing

Take Time to be Holy

Meditations on Praise (Bless the Lord, Holy is the Lord, Thank You Lord)

Meditation on When I Survey the Wondrous Cross

A Shelter in the Time of Storm

The remaining arrangements are:

Open My Eyes That I May See, Tis So Sweet to Trust in Jesus, We Three Kings, I Wonder as I Wander, Showers of Blessing (piano duet)

Book Drawing Guidelines:

1. Simply leave a comment to enter your name once in the drawing

2. To enter¬†your name a second time…share this specific link for book giveaway on your blog, facebook or twitter and leave a separate comment saying you have done so.

*Winner will be chosen on May 2nd, 2011 Monday at 9pm EST

When Ordering Music From Soundforth:

*Special Note: If you order by phone and your order  is under $30…you can request US Mail to receive a cheaper shipping rate.

(Just realize there’s no tracking available with the US Mail rate)

Call toll free:      1-800-258-7288

Intermediate Sacred Piano Duets

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011

This is a list of several intermediate sacred piano duet books that I own.¬† You’ll notice that several of the audio excerpts would be great for Easter!

My Favorite Book List of Intermediate Sacred Piano Duets

(Click on book title to preview book and click on song titles to hear audio excerpts)

1. He Lives arranged by Rebecca Bonam (Soundforth)

 Audio excerpts:

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 (Rebecca Bonam) 

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(Rebecca Bonam) 

2. Wonderful Grace of Jesus by Various Arrangers (Soundforth) *The following audio excerpts for this book are the only ones in the book that are more late    intermediate. The rest are early advanced.

Audio excerpts: 

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(Peter Davis) 

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(Rebecca Bonam)

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(Peter Davis)

3. Sacred Classics arranged by Tedd Smith

Audio excerpt:

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More sacred piano duet books to preview

More Piano Duet Books to Preview!

Friday, April 1st, 2011

I have enjoyed searching out sacred piano duets for the intermediate level.  Here are a few I found online just since yesterday that you may want to check out.

1.Hymn Duets-One Piano-Four Hands-arranged by Sid Richardson (Alfred Music Publishing)

*Audio of sample page shown in the above link

2.Side by Side-arranged by Jeff Bennett (Lillenas Publishing) *Click on this title to hear and see samples and pdf downloads

3. Partners in Praise (Intermediate with Advanced Partner) arranged by Marilynn  Ham (Lillenas Publishing) *see samples and pdf downloads

4. Piano Duets for All Seasons arranged by Ethel Tench Rogers (Lillenas Publishing) *see samples and pdf downloads

5. Double Blessings arranged by Jolene Boyd (Lillenas Publishing) * see samples and pdf downloads

     *Audio of sample page shown in the above link

I found the first book on the above list¬†at Amazon for only $4 total!¬†I’ll share some audio samples from intermediate sacred piano duet books I own later tonight or tomorrow ūüôā

Resources for Sacred Piano Duets (Intermediate)

Friday, April 1st, 2011

One of my readers recently sent in the following question concerning intermediate sacred piano duets. I thought I would also share the answer with my readers who  may be searching out sacred piano duets at the intermediate level.

I was wondering if you and/or Mrs. Hamilton have a book of intermediate piano duets done with one piano.¬† I saw that you had arrangements for 2 pianos but I don’t have that luxury.¬†

Thanks for any help that you can give me.
God bless,
My answer to Karen’s question:
I wish I did have piano duets available. Although…I do have one piano duet available in my “Showers of Blessing” book published through Soundforth.
If you’ll tell me what level you’re looking for…I may be able to list some duet books of interest. Thanks.
Piano Duet Books
Here’s a book I recently purchased from¬†Soundforth entitled: Like a River Glorious (intermediate piano duets arranged by Rebecca Bonam)
Hear the audio excerpts below by clicking on each title.  See sample pages by clicking HERE
 Audio excerpts:
Another nice intermediate piano duet book is “Standing on the Promises” arrangements by Nathan Arnold.
See samples pages HERE
I’ll share several more books as soon as possible.
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