Archive for the ‘Seasonal / Other’ Category

Update on “Were You There” and “He”

Friday, February 10th, 2017

 

For those of you who don’t know…I’m entering the sacred piano writing contest hosted by SMPress (aka “Sheet Music Plus“)

I’ll be entering two categories with REAL advanced arrangements:

1. Public Domain Category: “Were You There”

2. Copyrighted Hymn: “He”

Both of these arrangements will first be available on Sheet Music Plus… the duration of the contest selling period which is March 1st through April 11th, 2017.  After April 11th…it will also be available on our site.

Basically, whichever contestant sells the most copies of their arrangements during March 1st through April 11th …wins!

But wait! There’s a catch. You will see these arrangements on SMPress’ site as early as February 21st but please wait to purchase March 1st through April 11th… IF you don’t mind helping me win the contest. My website gains more exposure if I win.  Thanks to you and many others…I won first place last spring with  “God Bless America” arrangement… seen HERE.  (only available on Sheet Music Plus due to copyright laws).

Chance to receive two free piano arrangements from our music store! How?

For those of you can wait to purchase during the contest selling period of March 1st through April 11th…will  receive up to two free piano arrangements (if buying both songs). Just email your receipt of purchase from Sheet Music Plus to receive two free piano arrangements of your choice! Or…buy one of the contest songs and received one free piano arrangement of your choice from our music store 🙂

I will post the Sheet Music Plus link to both of these songs by February 28th 🙂

Special note: The early advanced version of “Were You There” (not being entered in contest) will be available on our site beginning February 21st.

Audio sample for “He”

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“Were You There” Which Ending Do You Like?

Thursday, January 26th, 2017

pen laying on staff paper

Special note as of February 7, 2017… Thanks to all who voted for the best ending.  Ending #2 is the winner! 🙂

I need your help!  🙂  Which ending sounds best for “Were You There?”

I’ll be publishing this Easter advanced piano solo very soon but need to settle on which ending to use.

Thanks for your input!  I will be asking for input from my Facebook readers as well.

Please comment below!  Thank you 🙂

Ending Choice #1

Ending Choice #2

Right Hand Run for Piano!

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

The following excerpt was taken from my Easter arrangement “Were You There” (to be published sometime in Feb. 2017)

Run

Many have asked how I play runs so fast and smooth.

My answer: fingering and body movement are important factors in creating a smooth and fast run.

Keep hands close to keys…wrist level with hands. Allow hands to follow shape of the note groups….turning thumb ahead of time to make smooth transition into next group of notes. (The thumb starts each group.) The body…waist up… should also follow the run….bend slightly at the waist to the right… and lean toward keys a little for full body support.

(Watch this video for demonstration of body support movement during similar runs) *Start about 1:10 on this video

Use fingering that follows the natural shape of the run…allowing for ease of movement throughout the run. ( suggested fingering for right hand run at measure 48… 1-2-3-5)

Notice the loose wrist and arm movement as I cross into each group. ( I prefer to play 4 groups of this run instead of 3 but trying to be reasonable 😉

The following video samples begin at measure 47  (first time…fast….second time…slow)

Fast Run

Slow Run

 

Beautiful Piano Wedding Music!

Monday, January 16th, 2017

wedding-decorations-church-aisle

One of the many activities of a church pianist may include playing for weddings. I enjoy finding fresh new piano music that truly fits the occasion.

A couple of weeks ago while playing through  James Michael Stevens’ recently published collection entitled… “Dreams of Jewels”… I realized the songs would be perfect for a wedding! All of the pieces are lovely but I especially like “Opal Dreams” and “Aquamarine Dreams”. (I’ve always loved James’ style!)

“Dreams of Jewels” would make a nice piano collection for any church pianist needing prelude or reception music for a wedding.  The collection provides 15 pages of music.  James has other collections as well that would probably be very appropriate for a wedding.  His music can be found at the following link: SMPress

Samples of my favorite selections from “Dreams of Jewels”…

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Projects I’m Working On…

Wednesday, January 11th, 2017

work-station

Sick all last week so….

Been at my working station wee hours of morning into the afternoon working on:

“Jesus Paid it All” Ladies’ 2 part arrangement

“The Cleansing Wave” choir 2 part arrangement

“Were You There” advanced piano solo (VERY INTENSE due to nature of lyrics)

Time to Plan for Easter Music!

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

Flowers520

Gearing up for Easter music!  Planning ahead is the key! How many of you church pianists are involved in planning for your church’s Easter service?

I’m trying to decide on a nice Easter ensemble medley for maybe three to four pianos, flutes and clarinet for an offertory. Feeling the creative juices flowing too! I think I’ll adapt my trio piano version of “Power in the Blood Medley” for this group.

Concerning choir music…we usually don’t have a full-fledged program due to time limitations but try to learn new songs for these special occasions.

One of my favorite Easter cantatas is “The Bread of Life” by Lloyd Larson. All of the music is very well done!  I found a fairly decent recording of this very cantata on youtube.  It helps to hear a good representation of the music before tackling a new song…also provides the director with the interpretation ideas of the song such as word coloring (emphasizing certain words to elevate the meaning of the text)…. and also….what tempo is most effective.

At this point, the one song we’ll be learning from this cantata is “Taste and You’ll See” a nice upbeat piece on the Christian’s experience  of God’s salvation.

I’m sure I’ll be sharing other resources for Easter offertories and vocal specials along the way as we look towards an effective Easter service for God’s glory!

So…start getting ready now for your Easter service while you have ample time! 🙂   Not counting the last week of December….Easter is 15 weeks from now.

Sounds like a long time but not when you’re preparing new music or a cantata….even if it’s an easy program.  Have fun as you seek out Easter music!

What Child is This and O Come All Ye Faithful: Published!

Thursday, December 1st, 2016

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I just published an early advanced piano arrangement of “O Come All Ye Faithful” and a beautiful rendition of “What Child is This” for violin solo w/ piano accompaniment.

“O Come All Ye Faithful” is written in more of a prelude style but can suffice as a Christmas offertory.  This particular arrangement was also one of my homespun pieces…featured on the Christmas CD entitled “Simply Christmas”.  I did make harmonic corrections here and there in the written version because I couldn’t help myself! 😉

We hope to create  youtube videos for both of these arrangements by the weekend.

O Come All Ye Faithful (NEW)
Early advanced Christmas piano solo, 4 pages *Featured on the Simply Christmas CD

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Price: $3.95
What Child is This? (NEW)
Violin solo w/ piano accompaniment, 4 pgs. *Price covers two copies *Written for my daughter-in-law...Jackie, who likes the lower register of the violin for a more mellow sound.

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Price: $4.50

 

 

What Child is This? Violin solo (Preview)

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

 

violin_jpeg

 

Just had to share an audio sampler of my soon-to-publish “What Child is This?” …violin solo.

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O Come All Ye Faithful: Piano Solo and What Child is This? Violin solo

Wednesday, November 30th, 2016

glistening blue christmas ornament15

I plan to publish two new Christmas arrangements by this weekend:

O Come All Ye Faithful (early advanced piano solo) and What Child is This? (violin solo w/ piano accompaniment

One of my daughter-in-laws needed a violin solo for Christmas….so…to save time…I adapted an earlier piano solo version of What Child is This into a piano and violin special. I REALLY enjoyed creating this one!

Easy Christmas Program Ideas!

Monday, November 14th, 2016

music christmas ornament icon

Many church pianists have already been practicing for their church’s Christmas program.

In many cases, the church pianist IS the choir leader and has the task of deciding what to do for a Christmas program.

My son is our choir director. He works at least 50 hours a week and the father of three small children. Needless to say,  I help out by coming up with a simple program to fit our 40 minutes per week choir practice time. (this accounts for starting roughly two months in advance; which may vary from church to church depending on your choir’s ability)

My son and I have about a 40 minute commute to church so we’re very time conscious!

Our most-involved Christmas program back in 2011 was entitled “Christmas at Home” by Ron Hamilton. We used the “readers theatre” version due to limited time. The main actors were acting their first play ever. (Part Two sampler of our Christmas at Home)

In recent years, we have experienced a much more pleasant, relaxing time through having easier Christmas programs.

I have written two VERY easy Christmas programs…one of which is FREE HERE.  I’m still editing the second FREE Christmas program.

Now…ideas for enhancing your Christmas Program

  • Lyrics taken from cantata books make for great narration when coordinating a chronological list of songs together for a short choir concert. (That’s what we’re doing this year)

  • Include congregation by having them sing a song in the program. ( the choir could sing a descant taken from a hymnal while the congregation sings the melody) Another neat idea…have Pastor lead congregation in  reciting Luke 2:14 at the appropriate time during the program. Very effective! (Tip: Include Luke 2:14 in the Christmas program bulletin)

  • The congregation could also stand and sing a song following their verse (Luke 2:14) Song suggestions: Hark the Herald Angels Sing, Joy to the World (include lyrics in the program bulletin)

Easy Christmas Program Suggestion:

  1. Several different adults recite the Christmas story(Luke 2:1-19) in microphone off stage while children in appropriate costume act out the narration.

  2. Stage setup:  Only two scenes: Manger scene center stage, shepherd scene on left or right of manger scene. (props for shepherd scene not necessary).

  3. Songs can be inserted appropriately throughout the narration.

  4. Extra tip:Remind children that they must listen to what’s being read so they can act accordingly…to avoid appearing mechanical

Also a good idea to remind narrators to read with conviction! It brings the story to life!!

Hopefully this will help church pianists or choir leaders trying to find last-minute ideas for an easy Christmas program.

Please feel free to leave comments or ideas below.

A reminder: I do have over a dozen FREE piano and vocal Christmas arrangements available HERE.

Sharing a few links that may give you an idea as well (don’t fully endorse all the ideas at these links… but you can sift out what you like)

Possible lyrics for poems

Creative Church Idea Attic

 

 

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