Archive for the ‘free music’ Category

The Church Pianist: Improvising Tip

Wednesday, November 9th, 2011

 Over the past ten years, I’ve learned ALOT of theory amidst many hours of  composing hymn arrangements.  There’s so much more I need to learn but I just pick up tips here and there and put them to use.  Now…I’ll share one of those tips with you.

The following improvising tip has made a difference in my hymnplaying; creating a more open, balanced sound.  I apply this tip to my congregational and solo playing.

The following hymn example contains “Come Thou Fount” in D major and the improvising tip.

Click here to download “Come Thou Fount” with improvising tip.

Just for fun: After playing  the above improvised example…add the 3rd of the chord in the right hand too…just to hear the difference.

Free Sacred Piano Arrangement: The Rest of Blessed Assurance

Saturday, October 22nd, 2011

Here is the rest of the free piano arrangement of “Blessed Assurance”. The complete arrangement contains two verses and choruses.  The second verse is actually arranged for the last verse of “Blessed Assurance”.

Explanation of my note on page three:  “Watch the director closely here”  is meant for the final verse.  Of course the church pianist should watch the director through the entire song but especially where a slow down occurs. Many directors begin to broaden the tempo at this part of the hymn…making it easier for the church pianist to throw in some busy note passages such as you see in the right hand on the words: “Sa-viour” and “long”.   Adding extra notes helps to maintain a  steady tempo during slower sections.

Click here for free sacred piano arrangement of “Blessed Assurance” page two and threee

Click here for Blessed Assurance page one


Keep in mind…every church sings a different tempo…making the accompaniment feel SO different.

Blessed Assurance audio: 

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Free Sacred Piano Arrangement: Blessed Assurance (page one)

Sunday, October 16th, 2011

Since believing on Jesus Christ at the age of 29…I can truly say: “Blessed Assurance Jesus is Mine”.  This became one of my favorite hymns after becoming a Christian.

Shortly after being saved I arranged an offertory that included: “Blessed Assurance, Saved by the Blood and Since Jesus Came Into My Heart”.  I will have to write it out in my (ha ha) spare time.

This free sacred piano arrangement of “Blessed Assurance”  is a result of preparing several of our own soon-to-be church pianists to play for congregational singing.  We now have a rotational schedule for our intermediate to advanced pianists to allow them to play for our congregational singing.  It’s exciting to see them gain experience to better equip them for serving the Lord.

Click here for the free sacred piano arrangment of “Blessed Assurance” page one.

I’ll share the rest of this free arrangement in the next article.


Improvising Hymns: Lesson Two

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

Click here to download worksheet before watching video for “Improvising Hymns” Lesson Two 

Have a pencil handy!

The following short video tutorial on improvising hymns is geared to the beginning church pianist.  Playing straight from the church hymnal can sound rather plain. Learning how to dress up the hymns adds a new dimension of sound! This lesson gives some simple left hand fill in ideas for the first line of “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”.

Special clarification about the theory rule mentioned in this lesson concerning omitting the 3rd of the chord…The 3rd can be omitted from either hand.   Wait until you see the video below to understand this explanation :)

The next video tutorial will reveal more improvising ideas for “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”.

Click here to see My First Improvising Lesson

Free Improvising Ideas: Count Your Blessings (congregational style)

Sunday, October 2nd, 2011

The hymn “Count Your Blessings” carries a great message in song but contains frequent repetitive notes providing a rather plain accompaniment for the average church pianist

Free Improvising Ideas for Count Your Blessings (congregational style)

Key of D Major

1. Use alternate bass movement (see measure #2) LH beat one…I played an ‘A’ rather than ‘D’

2. Measure #1 and #5, beat one ( no need to play every word) when playing congregational style; allows more ease of movement for the pianist.

3. The four note RH chords provide support to the singers.

4. Measure #6, notice the contrary octave movement between the hands for variety.

    *Contrary movement between both hands always adds a nice touch of spice :)

Click here to download Free Improvising Ideas for Count Your Blessings (congregational style)

Audio for Free Piano Arrangement: All Hail the Power

Friday, September 23rd, 2011

Click here for audio of “All Hail the Power”

As I’ve mentioned before…the church pianist can deviate from the melody as long as the congregation knows the song real well.  You’ll notice the “missing melody” here and there in the free congregational piano arrangement of “All Hail the Power”.  The audio contains the piano accompaniment and the melody line.

We like to change keys to add extra life to the congregational singing :)   The key change in this arrangement does add an extra measure so it would require a quick practice with pianist and song leader before trying it with the congregation.

Most of the key changes we use in congregational singing move right into the last verse without hesitation.

Church Pianist Tip:

*This free congregational piano arrangement may also be used to accompany a trumpet solo.

 Click here to download “All Hail the Power” congregational accompaniment

Free Piano Arrangement: All Hail the Power (page two)

Sunday, September 18th, 2011

I was able to finish page two of “All Hail the Power” tonight even after a busy but good week of revival at our church.   I will try to share some music highlights of our week sometime soon.

In my next article…I ‘ll share editor notes along with an audio of this free piano arrangement for “All Hail the Power” congregational accompaniment.

Click here to download “All Hail the Power” congregational accompaniment


Free Piano Arrangement: All Hail the Power (page one)

Sunday, September 11th, 2011

I enjoy playing and singing “All Hail the Power”.  The church pianist must add lots of fullness to this majestic hymn to portray the mood of the text.

Just picture it…God is on His throne and scores of angels are bowed down before Him. A huge choir is singing “All hail the power of Jesus’ name! Let angels prostrate fall…”

I think the words as I play this wonderful hymn.  The melody and text are a great match!

Ingredients for  Majestic Hymns

Lots of left hand octaves for fullness and energy

Full chords in right hand

Occasional dotted rhythm…adding extra zest!

Click here to download “All Hail the Power” congregational accompaniment


Free Piano Arrangement: At the Cross

Sunday, August 14th, 2011

Due to a hectic but wonderful weekend…I’m sharing a free piano arrangement of “At the Cross”. I wrote this particular arrangement for one of my students who is preparing to be a church pianist. Our congregation usually sings unison…so the piano accompaniment contains chords that would not support the four-part style from most church hymnals.

You’ll notice it’s also in a different key…C Major.  She only had two weeks to learn the song before playing it in church. (She  filled in for me while I was out of town)

Hopefully some of you church pianists can make use of this arrangement.  You could also use it as accompaniment for a vocal solo or ensemble singing unison.

Click here to download your free piano arrangement of “At the Cross”

Piano Introductions: Part Two (second example)

Saturday, August 6th, 2011

Trying to figure out what to play for piano introductions can be tricky at times for church pianists.

The previous article entitled: Piano Introductions (part two) provided a piano introduction of “Wonderful Words of Life” using only the verse.  Sometimes it works better just to use the starting and ending phrase of a verse. Other times, the entire first line of the verse works well for the introduction.

Always remember to end the introduction with the one (I) chord for the key you’re using. For example, if the song is in C major…make sure you end on a C major chord to provide a “finished” sound.  Otherwise, you’ll have everybody guessing when to enter.

There are times when a V 7 chord works well at the end of an introduction or during the invitation when you’re providing background music and you’re in the middle of a phrase and need to end on a chord that makes sense before the congregation starts to sing…but I will cover that at another time.  SO much to talk about!  :)

In today’s example, you’ll notice a fairly, easy piano introduction for “Count Your Blessings”. The faster the hymn, the less frills the church pianist has time to play :)

Click here for: Piano Introductions: Part Two (second example)

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