Posts Tagged ‘Choir’

Using the Hymnal for Easy Choir Arrangements!

Thursday, August 13th, 2015

Using the Hymnal to Sing Like the Choir and Not Like the Congregation

Not everyone can arrange on the spot for choir but with a little advance planning, a simple yet beautiful choir arrangement can be created!

This post will cover how to create a two-part  choir arrangement for ladies and men.

Materials needed:

Several minutes

Pencil or pen

Slightly enlarged copy of a hymn from the hymnal.  (the enlarged copy allows room for the arranging marks; or you can can type them in)


1. Look for a hymn with close harmony (3rds) in the treble clef…like this:


2.  Harmony possibilities:

Men on melody (top note)  Ladies on alto (bottom note)

Ladies 2 parts on line one and Men 2 parts for line two

Unison line one then 2 parts line two

Children’s choir sing melody and adult choir sings alto for verse & chorus

Flute plays alto (octave higher)  while children or ladies sing unison for

a verse.

As you can see….SO many ways to dress up a simple hymn without it sounding like a regular congregational hymn!

Since we only have a half hour choir practice…we prefer to pre-arrange these simple hymns ahead of time instead of having the choir pencil in the layout in their hymnals.  So…I’m sharing this simple hymn arrangement with you for “Jesus Loves Me” below for free 🙂  (Sorry it doesn’t include piano accompaniment…not enough minutes in the day for that)  🙂

Oh!  But wait a minute!  Go on a hunt in your hymnal to find more hymns with close harmony (3rds) in either the verse or chorus and start arranging!

Couple suggestions:  When I See the Blood, Standing on the Promises

*Click on the title below this picture of music… for free PDF download of  Jesus Loves Me



*I want to thank Mac & Beth Lynch for their wonderful, practical workshop entitled “On the Spot Arranging” for choir.  They are also working with a small church choir of their own and the information was very relative for me as well as others.   (Majesty MusiCarolina Conference occured July 30-31, 2015 in Raleigha, NC)

“God Can” in the Works

Monday, August 12th, 2013

I’m working on the  “God Can” choir arrangement by Lynndale Hardeman.

For those of you who don’t know…I accidentally deleted my last year’s worth of music from my computer. Yes, it made me sick but just thankful I had hard copies of the most important pieces.  But, it means putting everything in my music program again note by note.  Needless to say, that’s why my progress is s-l-o-w-e-r.

I hope to have “God Can” ready by the end of August.  This particular arrangement is for SAB choir or small ensemble.  I’m excited about this particular piece since it has a very strong revival emphasis…which is what we need!

Look forward to publishing it (hopefully) soon!

For those who haven’t heard the arrangement, see video below:


What is a Descant?

Sunday, July 8th, 2012

A descant to melody is like a cherry on top of an ice cream sundae.  Simply…an extra added touch to compliment the main course.

Hymn tune descants are counter-melodies, generally at a higher pitch than the main melody.

~     ~     ~    From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(I think of a descant as a melody within a melody).

The descant is most effective when used only on the final verse of a hymn…creating an exciting climax!  Usually a soprano or several sopranos sing the descant.  If you don’t have the voices to support the descant, a solo instrument such as a flute or trumpet can play the descant part. Sometimes the piano can carry the descant part as well.

What’s really neat is when the whole choir sings a descant part on the final verse of a congregational hymn.

The  video below contains a violin solo accompanied by the piano.  Listen for the piano playing a descant part on the first and second chorus.

Free printable descant links below: 

(the following links may contain music not in accordance with this site but still includes appropriate music for worship)

Magnolia Arts Sheet Music

Jeff Whitmill Descants

The Church Pianist: Ensemble Practice

Wednesday, January 6th, 2010

One of my readers recently asked some excellent questions and thought I’d share them with some answers that may help other church pianists in similar situations.

Question #1

Just wondering how often/how long your groups practice each week….


The following answers are not intended to be the best answers for all churches. People and their abilities vary from church to church.

So many of our choir members are involved in various ministries which limits their availabity to practice.

The majority of our choir does not read music but are willing to sing for God’s glory:)  

Our large ensembles (consisting of 6 or more people) practice at least five times before singing.

The practice sessions are usually no more than ten minutes each. Therefore, we learn easy arrangements (no more than two parts). 

Question #2

Do you and the other pianists’ pick the music or the singers?


Once again, every church has a different situation. At our church, we have not had a steady song leader for a great length of time.

It seems as though God has called our church to prepare young men going into full-time Christian service:)   We are located a little over an hour from Ambassador Baptist College. Over the past several years, some of the college men have commuted to our church to help out in the various ministries.

 But in time, each of them have been called into full time Christian service elsewhere. It’s hard to see them go but thankful we could play a part in preparing them for what lies ahead in their life.

The pastor is glad to have me and the other pianist work up small and large ensembles for specials.   The pianists generally help choose the small and large ensemble music. Ocasionally, one of the ensemble members will suggest a song and we will use it… if it works well with the entire group.

Question #3

Does your church have a choir?  


Yes.  Our choir meets for practice once a week on Sunday nights from 5 – 5:30pm.  Presently, our Pastor, with the help of  another college student, helps lead the choir. 


I will share a video of our men’s large ensemble to give you an idea of what we do.



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