Posts Tagged ‘church pianist’

FREE Piano Arrangement: Nothing Between

Thursday, April 6th, 2017

 

music-notes -swirl -staff

I spent this evening writing an intermediate piano solo of “Nothing Between” for one of my piano students….Shelley Roberts.

Shelley is a junior this year and trying to teach her all I can before she reaches college age!

This particular arrangement, written for the piano student in mind, is more structured and straightforward.  It’s nice to have pieces like this available  for students who play offertories more often.  Playing less involved offertories allows us time to focus on other repertoire during the lesson.

I do teach more involved arrangements but try to maintain a balance.

Hope this arrangement can be of use for piano students or church pianists needing an easy offertory!

Click on the following title for your free piano arrangement of “Nothing Between”.

cute note calling hear yeMore thots: I want to use this arrangement in an upcoming video dealing with interpretation…a VERY important factor…making for a more effective presentation.

 

 

 

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

 

 

Upright Piano vs. a Grand Piano

Monday, March 6th, 2017

Ever wondered what makes a grand piano sound better than most uprights?  Robert Estrin with LivingPianoVideos does a wonderful job answering this question.

I’m in the market for a new piano and educating myself before making such a large investment. Here is what Robert has to say about the upright piano vs. a grand piano.

Nice CD for Church Pianists!

Sunday, February 26th, 2017

kenon

Just happened across a nice CD for church pianists while trying to find sheet music for Kenon Renfrow’s piano arrangement of “Fairest Lord Jesus”. The CD is called “I Will Praise Him“.

I’m not sure at this point if Kenon has sheet music for Fairest Lord Jesus but will find out asap. I heard this arrangement on Abiding Radio this morning while getting ready for church and just LOVED it!!  Ah…just found most of the arrangements to this CD on youtube!  Listen to Fairest Lord Jesus HERE 🙂

I bought Kenon’s CD entitled: “I Will Praise Him” which by the way is a beautiful sounding CD. I listened to sound samples HERE and discovered that Kenon’s site: Piano Music Now had the CD’s for a very reasonable price.

A great piano CD for any church pianist looking for fresh stylings to hymns.

Church Pianist in a Rut!

Tuesday, February 21st, 2017

 

 

BOOKS

So…I admit…I’m a church pianist in a rut! What to do?  Time to surround myself with different arrangers’ music….which means….sightread!

Do you have a collection of books that you use mainly for sightreading purposes? I do.  Most of the arrangements in these books are too long for our offertory time. I could shorten some of them but that’s not always the best option since the arrangement usually builds in intensity and I don’t want to interfere with a well-rounded presentation of an arrangement.

It seems like the longer offertories are a lot of times the more challenging ones. I NEED that extra challenge to keep my fingers limber.

Occasionally, I’ll play a longer arrangement because I REALLY like the arrangement and want to share it.

Have you heard of  Abiding Radio? I’m listening to it (online)… for musical inspiration 🙂

I’m curious….what do other church pianists or pianists in general do to get out of a rut?  Would love to hear your ideas!

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

 

Beautiful Piano Wedding Music!

Monday, January 16th, 2017

wedding-decorations-church-aisle

One of the many activities of a church pianist may include playing for weddings. I enjoy finding fresh new piano music that truly fits the occasion.

A couple of weeks ago while playing through  James Michael Stevens’ recently published collection entitled… “Dreams of Jewels”… I realized the songs would be perfect for a wedding! All of the pieces are lovely but I especially like “Opal Dreams” and “Aquamarine Dreams”. (I’ve always loved James’ style!)

“Dreams of Jewels” would make a nice piano collection for any church pianist needing prelude or reception music for a wedding.  The collection provides 15 pages of music.  James has other collections as well that would probably be very appropriate for a wedding.  His music can be found at the following link: SMPress

Samples of my favorite selections from “Dreams of Jewels”…

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Time to Plan for Easter Music!

Wednesday, December 28th, 2016

Flowers520

Gearing up for Easter music!  Planning ahead is the key! How many of you church pianists are involved in planning for your church’s Easter service?

I’m trying to decide on a nice Easter ensemble medley for maybe three to four pianos, flutes and clarinet for an offertory. Feeling the creative juices flowing too! I think I’ll adapt my trio piano version of “Power in the Blood Medley” for this group.

Concerning choir music…we usually don’t have a full-fledged program due to time limitations but try to learn new songs for these special occasions.

One of my favorite Easter cantatas is “The Bread of Life” by Lloyd Larson. All of the music is very well done!  I found a fairly decent recording of this very cantata on youtube.  It helps to hear a good representation of the music before tackling a new song…also provides the director with the interpretation ideas of the song such as word coloring (emphasizing certain words to elevate the meaning of the text)…. and also….what tempo is most effective.

At this point, the one song we’ll be learning from this cantata is “Taste and You’ll See” a nice upbeat piece on the Christian’s experience  of God’s salvation.

I’m sure I’ll be sharing other resources for Easter offertories and vocal specials along the way as we look towards an effective Easter service for God’s glory!

So…start getting ready now for your Easter service while you have ample time! 🙂   Not counting the last week of December….Easter is 15 weeks from now.

Sounds like a long time but not when you’re preparing new music or a cantata….even if it’s an easy program.  Have fun as you seek out Easter music!

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

 

 

Coming Soon! Last Minute Ideas for Simple Christmas Program!

Sunday, November 13th, 2016

Green coming-soon

By now…most church pianists are busy practicing for their church’s Christmas program But…does anybody need some ideas for a last minute Christmas program…or maybe you just need one more poem or reading to complete your program?

I look forward to sharing a list of simple ideas this coming week on ways to enhance or create a last minute simple program.

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