Archive for the ‘free music’ Category

Free Congregational Piano Arrangement: Away in a Manger

Sunday, December 18th, 2011

manger

 I recently composed a congregational piano arrangement of Away in a Manger for one of my upcoming church pianists to play for church while I’m away.

So..I’ll share it with other church pianists that may be able to put it to use this Christmas.

Click here to download Away in a Manger (free congregational piano arrangement)

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 :)

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

Free Piano Arrangement: Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne

Saturday, December 10th, 2011

I asked my readers to provide the name of an ‘awkward to play’ Christmas carol.  I would then create an article concerning that carol. “Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne” was the most mentioned piece.

Last year, I did an article on this very song but it was for ‘piano solo’ style. Today’s free piano arrangement of “Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne” will be congregational style.

As I was arranging this carol, I had to force myself to stay within the chords “as written”.  I could have added a lot of minor chords to “warm up” the piece but I stayed true to the voice parts :)

Due to frequent chord changes, the church pianist will have to play in a more ‘chorale’ (solid chord) style in order to support the ever-changing voice parts.  There is still time to throw in ocasional dress-ups to create a more interesting sound as you will see in today’s free piano arrangement of “Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne”.

 

Click here to download “Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne” before viewing editor notes below.

Editor notes for “Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne”

General information:

I tried to create smooth harmonic (chord) changes throughout… in spite of the frequent chord changes in this beautiful Christmas carol.

Here and there you’ll see where I deviated from the melody line to create a smoother move for the hands.

Notice how the right hand at the beginning…started with three notes and gradually worked into an octave format.  One of my former piano teachers always taught me to write in a more “user friendly” style for pianists in general…to avoid awkward moves/leaps.  Hopefully, this arrangement will be comfortable and beneficial for other church pianists.  I did keep the early advanced to advanced pianist in mind when creating this arrangement.

Measure #4:

Beat 2 and 3 of right hand is an echo fill-in during the held word “me”

Measure #5:

A sixteenth note improvised pattern on beat 2 is added… to dress-up the melody line and continues through measure 6.

Tip!

Church pianist tip: Learn to analyze other people’s arrangements; applying ‘learned ideas’ to your own playing. Over time, you will develop your own style but you must learn to apply learned ideas as a  springboard to developing your own style.

Free Arrangement of Silent Night

Wednesday, December 7th, 2011

I shared this free arrangement of “Silent Night” last year on my site on the “Free Christmas Piano Arrangements” page.  Since I’m rather busy this week getting ready for my annual Christmas recital to be held on Thursday…I will share a video recording of this free arrangement of “Silent Night”.

Now…looking ahead to my next article…I need my reader’s help! What Christmas carol do you find to be  the most awkward to play from the hymnal?   Leave a comment below…giving me the name of a Christmas carol fitting this description. I will create an article on the “most mentioned” Christmas carol.  I will give everyone until Friday to leave a comment.  Thanks for your help!

“Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne” was the most mentioned Christmas carol in the comments below. So…I’m working on it right now and will post an article soon! Thanks for your feedback.

Simply Christmas CD Giveaway

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

Simply Christmas Cover

 I’m hosting a giveaway of my Christmas CD entitled: Simply Christmas

Everybody enjoys listening to instrumental music at Christmas…especially if the music is familiar. I published this CD several years ago and have a limited amount remaining in stock.

The traditional sounds of Christmas ring out in this creative CD featuring well-known Christmas carols.  You’ll hear bells or  harp in several of the carols.   Several of the two piano numbers on this CD are available as printable sheet music in  the music store. The main instrument on this CD is piano.

* This CD was created with  a Kawai digital piano.

Rules for Giveaway of Simply Christmas CD

1. Leave a comment at bottom of this article to enter your name one time.

2. Share the link to this  giveaway on your personal blog, facebook or twitter and leave a second comment saying you did so. This allows you to enter your name a second time in same drawing.

3. Drawing will be held on December 5th by 8pm EST

4. The winner will be notified by email the day of the drawing.

Important Information:

US Residents:  The Church Pianist will pay all shipping (media rate)

Residents outside the US:  The Church Pianist will cover up to $5 in shipping (media rate). Any shipping above $5 must be paid by winner.

Click here to hear samples from Simply Christmas CD

 

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.

Congregational Singing Tip for Church Pianists

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

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