Archive for the ‘free music’ Category

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

 

 

Jesus Paid it All: Free Piano Arrangement

Wednesday, October 5th, 2016

One of my readers shared this video with me this week…of her son playing my free piano arrangement of Jesus Paid it All. I also enjoyed hearing the cello play along with it too! ( I liked how she changed registers for variety)

What a blessing to hear my music can reach as far as Romania and beyond.  🙂

So thankful God can use me through the ministry of music.

https://www.facebook.com/100011526603284/videos/262168524177366/

Transposing Up a Whole Step: Lesson Two

Wednesday, August 24th, 2016

Transposing-Up-Whole-Step-Lesson-TwoThe skill of transposing is an extra plus for the church pianist if she or he is going to accompany someone to sing in their comfortable range…(another article) 😉

There is an art to finding just the right key for whomever you’re accompanying.

The following free pdf on Transposing Up a Whole Step will familiarize the church pianist on how to transpose up a whole step in a song of  3/4 time going into another song in 3/4 or the first song…different verse.

There are many factors to consider when creating a key change between two songs. For example, the first melody note of the second song determines the melodic direction of the key change.

Editor notes for Transposing Up a Whole Step: Lesson Two

  1. Play measures #1,2,3 and then start another verse of Amazing Grace on 3rd beat of measure #3
  2. Play measures #1, 2, and 4 and go right into Grace Greater Than Our Sin

Each line of this free pdf is identical to the first line except in different keys. Try finding hymns to use for the remaining lines of examples.

Special Note!

Variety tip: You can use this same transposition idea for a 3/4 hymn to a 4/4 hymn by holding the 3rd beat of the 3rd measure for 2 beats and then go into the 4/4 hymn IF the 4/4 hymn begins with a complete measure or at least the 4/4 hymn contains at least two beats at the beginning..in order for it to create a smooth sounding transition.

Clarification:  The above transposition isn’t appropriate for congregational playing because of the additional measures used to create the key change. A shorter version would be necessary for congregational singing.

However…this transposition idea works great for offertories, preludes and accompanying instrumental or vocal special.

Click on following title for free pdf download: (Let me know if you’re having printing issues with this PDF. I think it’s just my printer but note sure..it seems my margins are wacky when it prints)

Transposing Up a Whole Step Lesson Two

Transposing Up a Whole Step: Lesson One (see chord structure for the above free pdf.

Transposing Up a Whole Step: Chord Structure

Tuesday, August 16th, 2016

small manuscript thumbnail pic

The following free pdf of transposing examples will aid the church pianist in changing from one song to the next during prelude or  for background invitationals.

Keep in mind, this free pdf only  showcases the chord structure for transposing up a whole step.  A more detailed visual sheet with moving notes will follow in the next article on transposing up a whole step to a different song or same song/different verse.

Editor notes for this free pdf of transposing examples:

  • Transposing up a whole steop
  • 3/4 time signature hymns only
  • Four examples shown in: E flat Major, F Major, G Major and A Major (each key signature is a whole step apart…one letter name higher than previous key)

Click on the title below to download the chord structure chart for transposing up a whole step for hymns in 3/4 time.

Transposing Up a Whole Step

 

Free Piano Arrangement: Spirit of the Living God

Thursday, June 23rd, 2016

I just stumbled across this simple yet elegant; free piano arrangement when viewing my latest subscriptions of youtube videos.

Love to hear Suyun’s sacred piano videos on youtube 🙂  Thanks Suyun for making us aware of this free piano arrangement for Spirit of the Living God.

The free piano arrangement for Spirit of the Living God can be downloaded at Olive Huisman’s website. (you will find more free piano arrangements as well!)

A big thanks to Olive Huisman for sharing her piano arrangements for free!

 

 

 

 

 

 

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)

Quickie! Fill-in Ideas for The Old Rugged Cross

Thursday, March 24th, 2016

cross

Family coming into town any minute and just finished a quickie for church pianists to use for Easter…fill-in ideas for The Old Rugged Cross when playing for congregational singing.

Sorry I didn’t have time to share more!

Happy Easter!

Click on title to download your free copy of fill-in ideas for:  THE OLD RUGGED CROSS

Click here to download fill-ins included on sheet music of the hymnal version for this hymn.

 

Saved! Saved! Saved! Free Piano Congregational Arrangement

Tuesday, March 15th, 2016

Saved-Saved-Saved

Sorry for the delay in publishing this free piano congregational arrangement of Saved, Saved, Saved!

The words of this hymn carry the message of  joy a Christian has in having Christ as their personal Saviour 🙂

For that reason, the music should sound happy and upbeat to support the text.

Generally…the faster or more wordy a hymn goes, the lighter the note texture (in my opinion).  😉

Why a lighter texture?  Playing  frequent big; heavy  right hand chords (chords with 3 to 4 notes)  throughout… wouldn’t allow for easy mobility; thus causing the pianist to “drag” the tempo.

The occasional full chords can still occur with a fast tempo…especially on long held words such as in measure #8 (see dotted half note for right hand). Full chords also sound nice and feel comfortable toward the end as tempo gets slower (see measures #19 & 20…right hand).

I also use occasional rests to provide more ease of hand movement as in measure #8…allows right hand time to ease into the fill-in. Same idea applies in measures 10, 15 and 17-19.

The rests just seem to create a more balanced “feel” when entering busy fill-in passages.

You’ll notice I use a lot of eighth notes in groups of 3’s to drive the majority of the first verse and chorus.  I would change fill-in rhythms on the remaining verses to give my hands a break!  😉  Well…actually it also sounds nicer to use a variety of fill-ins for a  fresher sound.

I’m thinking of a couple interpretation tips to share as well.

Hmmm….sounds like another post in the works for Saved, Saved, Saved!

Click on song title below to download your FREE copy of Saved! Saved! Saved! (one verse and chorus)

Saved! Saved! Saved!Saved-Saved

 

 

 

 

 

Most Awkward Hymn Winner!

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

small manuscript thumbnail pic

Remember I recently asked everyone to list an awkward hymn to play for  congregational singing?

I received a good many responses here on my site as well as on facebook.  I made a list and rolled a dice and the winning hymn for my free arrangement will be “Saved Saved (I Found a Friend).

I will provide a free arrangement of Saved Saved sometime next week 🙂

It’s always interesting to hear from other church pianists. Thanks for participating!

 

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

 

Simply Christmas CD
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