The Church Pianist: Do You Practice Enough?

If someone were to ask  me if I practiced piano like I should…I would have to say, “Unfortunately…no.”

The older I get…the less motivated I am to practice. Anyone else have this problem or would admit to it?  “smile”

I hear this confession quite often from other composers. We spend so much time writing that we don’t take time to just sit and play.

What really motivates me…is getting with other piano friends and playing duets and duos.

I find myself wanting to sharpen my sightreading and technique skills.

A piano friend of mine and I are planning to meet  once a month starting in January. We plan to do  alot of sightreading.

I’m also planning to play a concert in the spring with another one of my piano friends to keep me on my toes.

Playing for a smaller church requires shorter offertories. The majority of the challenging arrangements I’ve learned through the years are too long for our offerings. I find myself just playing something from the hymnal most of the time.

Playing simple offertories from the hymnal is fine but I need a challenge every now and then… so occasionally, I’ll play a longer arrangement.

Click each song title  below to see the short offertories available on this site…

Let the Lower Lights Be Burning

Hallejuah, We Shall Rise

My Saviour First of All  (I Shall Know Him)

Feel free to share some of your own motivating practice tips by clicking on “comments” below.



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5 Responses to “The Church Pianist: Do You Practice Enough?”

  1. Yuko Kawa says:

    Hi Jenifer!

    I restarted playing the piano five years ago after not touching the keyboard for over ten years. I started because I wanted to serve God through music which was always my dream but since I had to quit piano lessons due to not being able to keep up in school (difficult times, I returned from the US and was facing language difficulty), and because I thought my technique and skill were insufficient. Japanese who devoted themselves in piano are so technically mature that I was ashamed to play. For a person who never played Liszt, Brahms, or Chopin, it is an etiquette not to say “My hobby is playing the piano”

    Because of my background and given the chance to actually take piano lessons, being able to bring my piano to my new home when I got married, I thank Lord everyday for allowing to play the piano and being called to serve as one of the pianist at my church. My motivation for practice is simply my wanting to serve God and do the best I can. My lack in skill also motivates me. I may never become a virtuoso but even at my age of 37, I can still improve and find myself challenging difficult but inspiring arrangements or classic masterpieces.

    Being an adult does restrict my practice time as I work outside and also have home duties. The lesser time I have to practice, I try to make the given time most productive. I have a lot of piano music (including your performances posted on your site) on my MP3 which I carry with me and listen while commuting. I also carry my hymnal or the arrangements I plan to play and sing to myself.

    As a child, I practiced exactly the way the teacher will advise me. As an adult, I can look at my weak points seek way to overcome them or simply discuss with my teacher. I think this is an advantage of an adult learner. Being time limited, I think it is important that we don’t simply sit and play but critically analyze which parts are well played and which parts need practice. Such thinking and planning what to practice will allow you to improve even with limited practice time.

    I am not sure if this helps but is what I am trying to do–be thankful and pray to keep up the motivation and find time to practice but also listen and think about how I want to play.


  2. skye says:

    I find it motivating to practice at church. I usually get there half hour before service starts and just go thru the hymn book. We just got new hymn books 2 months ago and many of the songs are in the contempary christian music field and it seems more difficult to play than the standard hymn book.

    Thank you so much for this site, it has helped me tremendously on my path to become the musician I so want to be.


  3. Sherry says:

    Jenifer, I will be looking forward to those shorter offertories for smaller churches. I’ve enjoyed everything that you’ve arranged so far! For God’s Glory, Sherry De Ford

  4. Jenifer Cook says:

    Thank you Skye for your comments on practicing 🙂

    Thanks Sherry! I am working on some shorter offertories with a mission emphasis.

  5. Betsy says:

    I googled “short piano offetories” and your website came up. I too have many books where the arrangements are at least 3 to 4 pages long, so more times than not, I end up playing hymns. God has given me the ability to improvise somewhat, but it is so much easier to play what is written instead of trying to remember if I was going to minor a chord, add a flat, or change keys. I play in a very small church where sometimes even just the chorus of the hymn would be long enough for the offertory! I would love offetories that are no more than two pages (even one would work). Thank you for this website.

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