Archive for the ‘Improvising hymns’ Category

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

 

Going Live on Facebook!

Wednesday, November 9th, 2016

I’ve provided the recent “broadcast” from facebook.  *See written article below for essential information that goes with the video.

On a lighter note….”Don’t you just LOVE my piano?!  It’s one of a kind…..treble is at the bottom…bass at the top!  (Just kidding)  *The dilemma was a front facing camera.

Jenifer Cook is going live on Facebook this Thursday at 8 pm EST. (November 10, 2016)

Ever notice how a lot of Christmas hymns have frequent
accidentals…the makings for awkward hand movements…

Hear Jenifer’s suggestions in dealing with accidental passages. She’ll be showing her note changes on the handouts listed below…feel free to either print them or have them on a screen for viewing purposes for tonight’s session. So much to share in a short time span!!

Copy and paste this link in the URL field at the top of your browser page: https://www.facebook.com/Jenifer-Cook-602815303135832/?fref=ts

Print the following FREE music example pages for tonight’s “going live on facebook” session with Jenifer

O Little Town of Bethlehem (verse only)

O Little Town of Bethlehem (verse only w/ application)

It Came Upon a Midnight Clear

There’s a Song in the Air

Have a pencil handy too!  writing_pen

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)

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

But Until Then (fill-in ideas)

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016

notes on staff clipar

One of my readers recently asked if I could share fill-in ideas for the hymn… But Until Then.

Wow! Lots of held words in this hymn….making it a challenge for the church pianist to maintain a steady flow while wondering what to add!

This particular hymn is still under copyright….thus limiting what I can share but will do my best!

Here are several fill-in ideas for the verse of But Until Then.

I will share a few fill-in ideas for the chorus in the next post.

Click on following song title to download free fill-in ideas for this hymn.

But Until Then

Sorry I couldn’t share the chorus now but working on other arrangements.

 

Free Piano/Vocal Solo Arrangement: I Shall Know Him

Monday, October 12th, 2015

music manuscript icon

Just started revival meetings with Alton Beal this week to last through Wednesday.

My daughter-in-law will be helping me with accompanying this week so I wrote this arrangement (I Shall Know Him)… for her to accompany the vocal solo for tonight.

The vocal soloist happens to take a lot of freedom with the text …lots of ebb and flow. So I freed the pianist from the melody to allow more freedom for the pianist and soloist.

Wanted to share this free piano/vocal solo arrangement  for “I Shall Know Him” before running errands!

Click on title to download free arrangement: I Shall Know Him

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

 

 

Accompanying Made Simple by Shelly Hamilton

Monday, August 31st, 2015

pen laying on staff paper

I recently attended a couple piano workshops by Shelly Hamilton.

“Accompanying Made Simple” was a very practical workshop providing the church pianists with simple yet practical ideas for accompanying special music.

Shelly brought her accompaniment suggestions to life by offering a free arrangement of Day by Day which includes three different accompaniment styles.  Thanks Shelly!

I attended Shelly’s workshops so that I could share accompaniment ideas with my church pianist readers.  Click on the following links to download the handouts for this workshop.

Accompanying Made Simple (outline)

Day by Day page one

Day by Day page two

Free! Easter Prelude Transitions

Wednesday, March 25th, 2015

Easter-Prelude

I decided to share for FREE….transitions for an Easter prelude.

A late intermediate to early advanced church pianist would benefit most from this IF they already know how to improvise hymns from the hymnal.

The following PDF includes four hymns that I printed from Timeless Truths Free Online Library.

Keep in mind that the hymns in the following Easter prelude are taken from a hymnal as is  but I’ve also included  a separate sheet which includes the transition for each song in the prelude collection. (These hymns are in the correct keys to match the transition sheet below.)

Easter Prelude Contents:

There is a Fountain (B flat Major)

When I See the Blood (C Major)

Since I Have Been Redeemed (F Major)

Glory to His Name (G Major)

Click here to download Easter-Prelude

Click here to download Transitions for Easter Prelude

Hopefully this helps the church pianist who has difficulty with adding transitions/modulations between hymns during a prelude.

Classically Trained Pianists Who Can’t Improvise

Thursday, February 5th, 2015

music manuscript icon

Over the years, I’ve met many piano friends who are classically trained and say they have a hard time improvising because they only learned to play what was on the page…leaving no room for creativity.

I found the following article to be very enlightening…

Why Don’t More Classical Musicians Improvise?

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