Posts Tagged ‘Improvising hymns’

Free Piano Prelude Arrangement Coming Soon!

Thursday, January 15th, 2015


Working on “I Am Resolved” prelude arrangement for one of my hymnprovising students.  She was asking about different left hand fill-ins because of all the repeated bass notes so…I was just going to jot down a few ideas for her and wound up writing the whole verse!  Guess that means I need to write out the chorus too.

I’ll share the verse hopefully by this evening (once I enter it into Finale).

This particular student is needing to expand her right hand playground area. She has always played right hand in the middle area of the keyboard.  I’m gradually conditioning her to broaden the right hand playing area… as you’ll notice towards the end of the verse.

My student and I laughed as I observed her trying to improvise on her own…playing the right hand an octave higher.  The funny part was she had no idea what to do with her left hand at that point since she had all that extra space!  😉

She WILL improve as she broadens her horizon!  I look forward to working with her at this stage of her hymn playing and plan to share with you all… what we do each week.

Look forward to sharing the first part of a  free piano prelude arrangement soon!


Improvising Hymns: Lesson Two

Sunday, October 9th, 2011

Click here to download worksheet before watching video for “Improvising Hymns” Lesson Two 

Have a pencil handy!

The following short video tutorial on improvising hymns is geared to the beginning church pianist.  Playing straight from the church hymnal can sound rather plain. Learning how to dress up the hymns adds a new dimension of sound! This lesson gives some simple left hand fill in ideas for the first line of “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”.

Special clarification about the theory rule mentioned in this lesson concerning omitting the 3rd of the chord…The 3rd can be omitted from either hand.   Wait until you see the video below to understand this explanation 🙂

The next video tutorial will reveal more improvising ideas for “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross”.

Click here to see My First Improvising Lesson

The Church Pianist: Improvising Hymns (Right Hand Fill-ins)

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Do you ever have a hard time knowing what to play for fill-ins when improvising hymns? 

This simple, instructional video gives the beginning church pianist some easy-to-use  right hand fill-ins!

The Church Pianist: Part Two—Video Demo of My First Hymn Improvising Piano Lesson

Monday, September 28th, 2009

As promised in part one of this lesson…I’m sharing a video demonstration of my very first hymn improvising piano lesson.

The only change…I used the hymn “When I Survey the Wondrous Cross” instead of “Like a River Glorious”.  Either hymn is fine but I decided on the second one for the video.

Youtube video link:

Click here to download free pdf arrangement:   When_ I_ Survey_ the_ Wondrous_ Cross_ five_ part_ style_


The Church Pianist: Improvising Hymns (Using the IV/V)

Tuesday, August 18th, 2009

My last article dealt with using the IV/V chord fill-in for 4/4 time.

This fill-in can also take place in other time signatures….as long as

there are at least three beats…allowing time for complete development.

Original article on this subject:

I will share several more examples in time signatures other than 4/4.

Remember…this fill-in works great when the I chord lasts for three or more beats.

Click here for pdf:   Improvising_Hymns_Using_the_ IV_and_ V

The Church Pianist: Improvising hymns (Part One)

Monday, August 10th, 2009

This improvisational idea works well at the end of a verse…..leading into the chorus.

The following two ingredients are necessary in order to use this fill-in idea.

1.The final chord of the verse must be a I chord and last for at least three beats.

2. The first chord of the chorus must also be a I chord.

For example: In G Major….the I (one) chord is GBD.

 On Beat #3…

1. Play a IV chord in the right hand

2. Play the V note of G Major in the left hand for the bass note ( note: D )

This creates the chord notation: IV/V

Editor notes for today’s example:

After the word…”Thee” the right hand plays a “climb the ladder”

fill-in to make an easy transition to the upper register of the piano.


*Description of the Fill-In Idea: (occurs in final measure of verse)

Click here for pdf image: Improvising_Hymns_Draw_Me_Nearer

The Church Pianist: Improvising Hymns (Part 2)

Saturday, August 8th, 2009

Here’s example #2 of an improvising idea.

Click here for pdf example: Improvising_ Hymns_Day _by_ Day 

This idea can be used anywhere in a hymn

where a one chord last for at least three to

four beats in addition to the following measure

starting on a one (I) chord.

 It  adds a nice flowing movement from

one measure to the next.

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