Posts Tagged ‘accompaniment’

Tips for Accompanying a Vocal Solo

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

There are certain songs that are a challenge for the church pianist to accompany. “Down From His Glory” is one of those songs!

In the video below, Duane Ream and Faye Lopez share some of their insight on accompanying the vocal soloist for “Down From His Glory”.

The following video excerpt came from last year’s  Hymn Playing Master Class workshop at the annual Wild’s Music Conference. Please excuse the shaky quality of the video.  I didn’t have a tripod available.

I want to thank the pianist for granting me permission to share this video excerpt.  He did a great job with his impromptu accompaniment; providing others with an opportunity to learn more about accompanying a vocal solo.

This video was taken during the “critique” session of the class when someone would volunteer to play either a piano solo, prelude style piece or accompaniment style.

Duane Ream, one of the workshop leaders, also volunteered to sing…making it easier for the volunteer pianist to share his accompaniment style.  *Please note that Duane sang an octave lower on purpose for the chorus… since it was out of his vocal range 🙂  At least he was willing to help the pianist 🙂

I’ve thought about providing a couple visual examples of the accompaniment patterns Faye was trying to convey to the pianist. Keep in mind…they wouldn’t be note for note what she played but I could produce something very similar. Who would be interested?


The Church Pianist: Free Piano Hymn Arrangement (In the Garden…Part One)

Wednesday, March 10th, 2010

“In the Garden” is such a peaceful; reflective hymn.  I don’t hear it used much anymore.  This free piano arrangement of “In the Garden” (part one) shares some accompaniment ideas for the church pianist.

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Editor notes for “In the Garden”(Part One) Accompaniment

As an accompanist, it’s not necessary for me to play the melody for every word…maybe just a few here and there to give the soloist (whether vocal or instrumental) some support.

I start with melody for the first several words and then ease into more of an accompaniment style.   By measure three, I’m really into a free-style…just staying within the chord frame and being creative.

Notice how the accompaniment flows freely into each new chord change. In other words…it’s best to maintain a smooth transition from one chord to the next for this particular hymn…producing a peaceful mood.

In measure 8…most soloists will slow down on the word “discloses”.  The piano accompaniment can still maintain a steady but slower flow through the ritard.

I look forward to sharing the chorus of “In the Garden” in part two of this free piano arrangement.

“In the Garden” part one

 “In the Garden” part two


The Church Pianist: The Haven of Rest Accompaniment (Part One)

Tuesday, November 3rd, 2009

“The Haven of Rest” is one of my favorite hymns. I usually hear this hymn performed as a vocal solo.

As a pianist, we must learn to make the text come to life by animated accompaniment…making the message even more real and meaningful.

The first verse begins with a troubled scene of a lost soul but ends with the rescue by the Saviour!

So…we begin with a mood of turmoil. I use an up and down pattern in the right hand to depict the boistrous waves of the sea.

Then…the waves suddenly grow calm…when I hear the sweet voice of my Saviour. ( Notice the movement lessens in the accompaniment.)

I just want to keep going and explain the next part of the accompaniment because the mood of happiness increases… creating a cascading wave of crescendo as Jesus floods the ‘saved’ soul with unexplainable peace!

You’ll have to wait…part two will reveal this joyous picture of salvation.

Click here for Haven of Rest (piano accompaniment~~~part one)

The Church Pianist: Accompanying the Vocalist (Youtube video)

Monday, April 27th, 2009

Today, I’ll share a video of me accompanying
one of my voice students… Chesney… singing
“Trust and Obey”.

Hopefully, you will be able to observe some of
what I’ve discussed in other articles regarding…
accompanying the vocalist. Please excuse the loud

Related links:

I do use some melody here and there in the

Listen for the altered vii diminished chord in
the last verse. What word did it occur on? 🙂

Related article discussing the altered vii diminished chord:

Youtube link for video of Trust and Obey:





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