Archive for the ‘Improvising hymns’ Category

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?

Free Piano Excerpt of Isn’t the Love of Jesus Something Wonderful

Monday, January 26th, 2015

Isnt-the-love-CROPPED

Sorry for the delay in posting…our household has been down with the stomach bug.

Here is the excerpt of Isn’t the Love of Jesus Something Wonderful which I shared with my hymn playing student last week.  The left hand ideas resemble the improvisation I shared in the free piano prelude arrangement of “I Am Resolved”.

It’s always helpful to see the same ideas in several different keys and songs of like nature for ample reinforcement.

(Due to the copyright still active on this hymn…I could only share a portion as stated in the “fair use” copyright law.)

Having said that…if I could have shared more…I would have branched out the right hand an octave higher during the chorus to stretch my student’s playing ground.

Special note: When trying to apply the above left hand ideas… choose hymns of like nature (same time signature; similar rhythmic structure; peppy mood).

I Am Resolved: Free Piano Arrangement

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

I-Am-Resolved

I lied!  😉  I said I would publish at least the verse of I Am Resolved tonight…wound up finishing the chorus too…but don’t think you’ll mind 😉

I’ve been working on fill-ins with my most advanced hymn playing student. She plays for chapel at school and has also begun to play for church when the main pianist (her mom) is out of town or sick.  She’s doing a great job but has such a zeal to advance her hymn playing.  Well….LOVE helping her with that!

Below is a result of her lesson this week 🙂

Click here for free piano arrangement of I Am Resolved

 

 

Free Piano Prelude Arrangement Coming Soon!

Thursday, January 15th, 2015

writing_pen

Working on “I Am Resolved” prelude arrangement for one of my hymnprovising students.  She was asking about different left hand fill-ins because of all the repeated bass notes so…I was just going to jot down a few ideas for her and wound up writing the whole verse!  Guess that means I need to write out the chorus too.

I’ll share the verse hopefully by this evening (once I enter it into Finale).

This particular student is needing to expand her right hand playground area. She has always played right hand in the middle area of the keyboard.  I’m gradually conditioning her to broaden the right hand playing area… as you’ll notice towards the end of the verse.

My student and I laughed as I observed her trying to improvise on her own…playing the right hand an octave higher.  The funny part was she had no idea what to do with her left hand at that point since she had all that extra space!  😉

She WILL improve as she broadens her horizon!  I look forward to working with her at this stage of her hymn playing and plan to share with you all… what we do each week.

Look forward to sharing the first part of a  free piano prelude arrangement soon!

 

Revive Us Again (FREE) piano arrangement

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Revive-Us-Again-comments-in-red

Downloadable Link Below

I was going to share a free sampling of left hand improvising ideas for Revive Us Again but I wound up writing a full verse and chorus of this challenging hymn.  It’s not a hard hymn to play but difficult to dress up for congregational singing.

The first line of the hymn is basically the same chord!  Most church pianists realize that they have to adhere to the chord structure in the hymnal when playing for congregational singing IF their congregation sings parts…to prevent chord clashes.  I can’t help but add chord substitutions on this hymn!  Our congregation doesn’t sing parts so I can have fun!  🙂

I’m sharing several improvising ideas for Revive Us Again (congregational style).  I tried to liven up the 1st line of music by creating broken chord tones and alternating bass notes within the same chord. A broken chord tone pattern already exists in the hymnal version but offered a little different one and added a little more variety than the hymnal version.

Revive-Us-Again-congregational-or-prelude

Saved, Saved! Free Congregational Accompaniment Excerpt

Thursday, September 11th, 2014

I’m trying to decide whether or not to  periodically stray from the melody in the congregational accompaniments I’m working on for publication.   I can’t help myself!  It’s more fun to stray from the melody as in the following free congregational accompaniment (excerpt) of Saved, Saved!

This is more of how I would play for congregational singing for Saved, Saved.  (The written music below is the same as the recording)  🙂

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.

 

Saved-Saved-verse-excerpt

Click here to download your free copy of “Saved, Saved!” congregational accompaniment verse excerpt!

 

The Love of God (alternative fill-ins)

Monday, August 18th, 2014

I know…not all church pianists have big hands like Rachmaninoff!  With that in mind…I created alternative fill-ins for the runs in The Love of God advanced piano solo that I just published a couple days ago.

I hope these alternative fill-ins will be more user-friendly for those with small hands.  The whole piece is really written for a pianist with large hands but maybe those of you with smaller hands can adapt this arrangement with these alternative fill-ins.

Click here to download alternative fill-ins

 

The-Love-of-God-alternative-runs

 

Augmented Examples for I to IV Chord Progression

Friday, August 8th, 2014

*Click here to read introduction of diminished and augmented chords to understand the following free handout on augmented examples in hymns.

 

Explanation of the following visual:

When progressing from a I to IV chord…raise the 5th note of the I chord (G) to (G#) making it an augmented I chord which strongly leads into a IV chord.

 

Click here to download a free pdf of the Augmented  Chord Substitution Sheet

 

Augmented-examples-I-IV

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