Archive for the ‘Technique’ Category

Book Review: Playing Beyond the Notes

Monday, March 27th, 2017

 

Playing-Beyond-the-Notes

Thought I’d share a brief book review on a book I’m currently reading entitled “Playing Beyond the Notes”.

The writer communicates the different musical concepts with ample illustrations.

It’s one of those kind of books you can pick up and randomly choose a chapter of interest without losing the overall flow of the book.

A great reference book for any piano teacher, piano student or church pianist wanting to sharpen their skills in the area of music interpretation!

Click HERE to purchase or preview “Playing Beyond the Notes” by Deborah Rambo Sinn

 

 

Church Pianist Update

Friday, March 17th, 2017

I have two vocal Easter arrangements to publish this week but delayed due to learning new apps along with a new computer.

In the meantime…thought I’d share a picture of my humble music library. (I do have a few more books not pictured below)

I’m reading “Playing Beyond the Notes” right now…a great find! I’ll takes notes and share some of the highlights once I finish the book.

For example: The chapter dealing with the treatment of a ritardando…”If the ritardando is begun too soon, one risks “putting the baby to sleep too early”.

Library-books

Glissando Tip (Then Sings My Soul)

Friday, February 10th, 2017

 

Glissando-pic

Many of you have asked about how to finger the runs and glissando in Then Sings My Soul piano arrangement.

Here’s a demo of the glissando on the last page of Then Sings My Soul.

Tip: I began the glissando with my 2nd finger…then immediately turned 2nd & 3rd finger under… and glazed across the keys…no need to batter your fingers with too much pressure 😉

I will give fingering tips soon for the runs in Then Sings My Soul.

Video Tip: If you pause and drag the timeline on video …you can watch in slow motion for a better look at the glissando.

 

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

 

Helpful Resource for Church Pianists!

Tuesday, February 10th, 2015

A Great Find for Church Pianists!

I just subscribed to Dorothy Taubman’s youtube channel. I’ve known of Dorothy’s work and have gleaned from several of her youtube lessons over the years.

I would love to attend piano clinics but distance is usually a factor so I bring learning to my living room via youtube and other internet resources.

If you want to play with ease, you will enjoy the following video.  I was encouraged to discover that I teach some of the same solutions for technical passages but enjoyed hearing Dorothy’s easy-to-understand solutions!

Helpful Resource for Church Pianists!

Pianist with Small Hands: Inspiring Article & Video!

Thursday, September 4th, 2014

Even though I’m not a small handed pianist…I sometimes experience the feeling of having small hands due to challenging passages in music.  While in high school I would always roll a 10th in the left hand.  However…after playing a 10th with a gentle “rolled” movement over time….I found that I had stretched my left hand span and soon began playing solid 10ths!

While researching pianists with small hands, I came across the following inspiring article and video!

Click here to read how this small handed pianist overcame his limitation before hearing him in the video below:

Wilds Music Conference (Piano Duet Previews)

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

This will be one of several videos I’ll share from my recent trip to the annual Wilds Music Conference. I had not planned on videoing the sessions…thinking they were being done by someone professionally.  So…you will have to put up with my amateur recordings 🙂 The first part of Hymnplaying Master Class on Tuesday consisted of an open discussion on the benefits of piano duets…even with a few composer tips from Faye and Duane on writing quality piano duets. I’ll start with the benefits of playing piano duets: *Allows time to focus on basic techniques with easier playing passages…such as phrasing, pedaling, dynamic balance between two players, etc. *Prepares pianist to think and play like an accompanist.  For example, both pianists have to keep melody dominant throughout.  The pianist without melody part must remain in the background (so to speak)…allowing the melody to be heard. *Playing piano duets can improve the pianist’s sense of rhythm.  Teaches them to play different rhythms against the other player.  Such as: one pianist may play triplets while the other is playing straight eighths. (fun! fun!) The pianists are forced to play the correct rhythm if they are to stay together. *Encourages teamwork!

Now…on to several composer tips in writing piano duets:

*Stack duet parts on one page so both pianists are aware of the full picture. *Try the duet with another pianist to check for hand collisions (I speak from experience on this one)    😉 *Avoid writing in excessive extreme registers (real low or high).  Too high gives the primo a “tinty” or “empty” sound.  Writing primo section more near the middle of the piano gives the piece a more balanced, pleasing tone.  Playing too low will give the duet a “cloudy/muddled” tone.

Piano duets on this video:

O Come All Ye Faithful from: “O Come All Ye Faithful” by Nathan Arnold

I Need Thee Every Hour from: “Standing on the Promises” by Nathan Arnold

Saved! Saved! from:  “Like a River Glorious” by Rebecca Bonam

Dwelling Beulah Land from: ?  (I think it was a Rebecca Bonam duet…not sure)

Other Piano Duet Book List:

Immortal Invisible  by Dan Forest

Crown Him Lord of All by Dan Forest

Joy to the World by Rebecca Bonam (piano solo book with three duets!)

Tip:  Don’t forget those duets in the back of your piano solo books you may have 🙂

*The above book titles are clickable links that carry you to BJU Press.  However, these books are no longer available through BJU Press.  Go to Lorenz  to purchase them. (or try Ebay or Amazon)

 

Upcoming Post

Tuesday, November 27th, 2012

videoComingSoon

Now that Thanksgiving is over…I will be working on the recording of my advanced piano solo of “What Child is This”….which will include tips for the long run on measure #35.

Hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving!  I look forward to sharing this video with you soon.

How to Play Fast Arpeggios

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

An arpeggio is a broken chord.  I like to use fast arpeggios in my hymn arrangements.  So…how do I determine where to place a fast broken arpeggio?  Anywhere a word can be stretched (broadened) or held if you were singing the hymn.

One of my free piano hymn arrangements entitled “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” contains a fast arpeggio on the second page. (Shown below)

What-a-Friend-We-Have-in-Jesus-run

This fast arpeggio consists of 12 notes.  If you look closely, you’ll notice that I played 3 groups of one-octave arpeggios within the 12 note passage.  Each group has four notes beginning and ending with note “G”.

I’m basically using a g minor one-octave arpeggio made up of the notes: G-Bflat-D-G

How to finger this? Use right hand thumb (of course) to start each group.  For each group use the following fingering:  1 2 3 5

To properly blend this run into the arrangement…emphasize the right thumb at the beginning of the first group only; allowing the hand to relax and glide across the fast arpeggios in an even rhythmic flow.  How to do this?  Practice s-l-o-w  🙂

Careful not to play SO fast that it sounds “thrown in” …causing an interruption in the flow of thought.

Slow Motion Demo

 Now…for the complete arrangement at regular tempo…

Fingering Tip for The Old Rugged Cross (free piano arrangement)

Friday, August 3rd, 2012

One of my church pianist readers recently asked me for some help on measures 29  and 30 of the free piano arrangement for “The Old Rugged Cross”.

In measure #29…The right hand has to reposition on the second beat in order to compensate for the upcoming busy movement.  I created a quickie video demonstrating a suggested fingering to make this area feel more comfortable to the hand.

Feel free to ask for any guidance or tips on this piece or any other arrangements I’ve written.

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