Posts Tagged ‘pianists’

Wilds Music Conference (Piano Duet Previews)

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014

This will be one of several videos I’ll share from my recent trip to the annual Wilds Music Conference. I had not planned on videoing the sessions…thinking they were being done by someone professionally.¬† So…you will have to put up with my amateur recordings ūüôā The first part of Hymnplaying Master Class on Tuesday consisted of an open discussion on the benefits of piano duets…even with a few composer tips from Faye and Duane on writing quality piano duets. I’ll start with the benefits of playing piano duets: *Allows time to focus on basic techniques with easier playing passages…such as phrasing, pedaling, dynamic balance between two players, etc. *Prepares pianist to think and play like an accompanist.¬† For example, both pianists have to keep melody dominant throughout.¬† The pianist without melody part must remain in the background (so to speak)…allowing the melody to be heard. *Playing piano duets can improve the pianist’s sense of rhythm.¬† Teaches them to play different rhythms against the other player.¬† Such as: one pianist may play triplets while the other is playing straight eighths. (fun! fun!) The pianists are forced to play the correct rhythm if they are to stay together. *Encourages teamwork!

Now…on to several composer tips in writing piano duets:

*Stack duet parts on one page so both pianists are aware of the full picture. *Try the duet with another pianist to check for hand collisions (I speak from experience on this one) ¬†¬† ūüėČ *Avoid writing in excessive extreme registers (real low or high).¬† Too high gives the primo a “tinty” or “empty” sound.¬† Writing primo section more near the middle of the piano gives the piece a more balanced, pleasing tone.¬† Playing too low will give the duet a “cloudy/muddled” tone.

Piano duets on this video:

O Come All Ye Faithful from: “O Come All Ye Faithful” by Nathan Arnold

I Need Thee Every Hour from: “Standing on the Promises” by Nathan Arnold

Saved! Saved! from:¬† “Like a River Glorious” by Rebecca Bonam

Dwelling Beulah Land from: ?¬† (I think it was a Rebecca Bonam duet…not sure)

Other Piano Duet Book List:

Immortal Invisible  by Dan Forest

Crown Him Lord of All by Dan Forest

Joy to the World by Rebecca Bonam (piano solo book with three duets!)

Tip:¬† Don’t forget those duets in the back of your piano solo books you may have ūüôā

*The above book titles are clickable links that carry you to BJU Press.  However, these books are no longer available through BJU Press.  Go to Lorenz  to purchase them. (or try Ebay or Amazon)


Music Storage

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013


I’ve got to organize my music!¬† Currently, all of my music is stashed away in our front living room closet in a two drawer file cabinet and several boxes.¬† I plan to replace the boxes with two plastic drawer carts from Walmart.

I will store my piano books in the two-drawer file cabinet due to their heavier weight.   The sheet music will be filed away in the plastic drawer carts.

I’ve also thought about filing my own arrangements (sheet music) in labeled notebooks by category such as: Christmas, Wedding, Offertories, Preludes, Vocal Solos, etc.)

What storage ideas can you share that would help the rest of us?  Feel free to share your comments at the bottom of this article and I will post them as I see them come to my email  inbox.

I do like the pocket storage idea that Laura Lowe, author of Lowe Piano Studio, shared on her blog. Since my piano studio is in the living room…I would probably hang the pocket storage in my closet along with my music.

Joy Morin of Color in My Piano Blog also has a great idea with a simple bookshelf…

Best and Worst Ways of Practicing

Saturday, March 5th, 2011


Good practicing habits are¬†necesscary¬†for all pianists…if they want to progress and sound prepared.

I stumbled across an excellent article on the best and worst ways to practice located on the website entitled Piano Perspectives.

Click here to read Best and Worst Ways of Practicing.¬† Decide which list you belong to.¬† ūüôā

The Church Pianist: Adding Runs to Hymns (Example #1)

Saturday, August 14th, 2010

I enjoy adding runs to hymns.  A lot of pianists have asked me the following questions about runs over the years:

1. Where can I add a run?

2. What notes do I use?

3. Do I start the run on the word or after the word?

4. How do I make the run sound like it fits?

5. What fingering do I use?

6. Do I use one or two hands for this run?

Excellent questions!  I will attempt to answer these questions as I go through this series of articles on adding runs to hymns. 

Runs consist of either arpeggios (broken chords) ¬†or scales.¬† Ew….got to know your theory!¬†¬† (Another¬†lesson)¬† ūüôā

1.¬†Arpeggios look like this… (notes on treble staff below)¬†


*Special note: Did you notice this particular arpeggio is the¬†second inversion of a C chord with a passing tone sprinkled in?¬† Hmm…I feel more theory lessons coming. That’s ok… a little¬† at a time, right?!

*I’ll show an example of a scale used as a run in upcoming articles.

Some pianists find “adding their own runs”¬†to hymns or playing runs in¬†hymn arrangements¬†to be rather difficult.¬† Let me give you a helpful suggestion…isolate the run…turn it into a technical exercise and learn it well.¬†

When playing runs or anything else for that matter, it is extremely important to use correct fingering.¬† Many church pianists never had the proper training in this area…making it difficult for them to play in a smooth style. It’s ok..not your fault. I’ll provide ¬†fingering suggestions on today’s example of a run…to help you produce a flowing style. This first example will use¬†a right hand arpeggio in an octave format (spread).

Editor notes for today’s example:

The example contains the final phrase of Trust and Obey, written in congregational style.

The run occurs on the second syllable of the word “Je-sus”¬†¬†

¬†Notice the ritarando marking¬† (rit.)¬†starting ahead of the run… so the run won’t¬†sound rushed as though it was just carelessly thrown in. I’ll provide an audio link for this example.

The measure containing the run¬†has an extra beat to allow time for the run. (This isn’t always necessary)

¬†Click on the following…Runs in Hymns (Example #1)

Audio for Trust and Obey Run

Link: Adding runs to hymns Example Two

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