Posts Tagged ‘what a friend we have in jesus’

How to Play Fast Arpeggios

Wednesday, August 15th, 2012

An arpeggio is a broken chord.  I like to use fast arpeggios in my hymn arrangements.  So…how do I determine where to place a fast broken arpeggio?  Anywhere a word can be stretched (broadened) or held if you were singing the hymn.

One of my free piano hymn arrangements entitled “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” contains a fast arpeggio on the second page. (Shown below)


This fast arpeggio consists of 12 notes.  If you look closely, you’ll notice that I played 3 groups of one-octave arpeggios within the 12 note passage.  Each group has four notes beginning and ending with note “G”.

I’m basically using a g minor one-octave arpeggio made up of the notes: G-Bflat-D-G

How to finger this? Use right hand thumb (of course) to start each group.  For each group use the following fingering:  1 2 3 5

To properly blend this run into the arrangement…emphasize the right thumb at the beginning of the first group only; allowing the hand to relax and glide across the fast arpeggios in an even rhythmic flow.  How to do this?  Practice s-l-o-w  🙂

Careful not to play SO fast that it sounds “thrown in” …causing an interruption in the flow of thought.

Slow Motion Demo

 Now…for the complete arrangement at regular tempo…

The Church Pianist: Jesus is the Sweetest Name I Know/What a Friend We Have in Jesus

Tuesday, March 30th, 2010

Sharing a video of my piano arrangement “Jesus is the Sweetes Name I Know with What a Friend We Have in Jesus”. 

Several church pianistshave asked about this arrangement.  This particular one has been set aside for an advanced book  to be published through Soundforth sometime in the future.

 In time, I’ll provide some more videos with helpful information for church pianists. (I’m a little camera-shy…so it takes me a while)

Hope everyone is doing well!

The Church Pianist: Youtube Video of What a Friend We Have in Jesus

Saturday, September 12th, 2009

I’m working on several future articles at the moment and thought I’d share a video of one of my piano arrangements: “What a Friend We Have in Jesus”.

Once again, you’ll observe how the personal interpretation (variable speeds and volumes) brings the message of the song to life.

This piano arrangement of “What a Friend We Have in Jesus” can be downloaded for free at:

The Church Pianist: What A Friend We Have in Jesus (Interpretation)

Saturday, September 5th, 2009

Audio of lesson…What_a_Friend_We_Have_in_Jesus_Interpretation 

The interpretation of a piano solo is of upmost importance.

In my younger years, my dad always reminded me to play as though I were speaking the song.

He told me to “feel the music” and learn to breathe just as a singer would breathe when singing the same song.

To this day, I always sing the words in my head while playing to focus on the message.

Some words may need to be slower for a special emphasis…while other words can be sped up

to portray a sense of urgency or importance.

To stress the importance of interpretation…I will play an excerpt of my arrangement

“What a FriendWe Have in Jesus”.

The first time through…I will play in strict time with no ebb and flow.

Hear the difference in the second time as I play in a more conversational style.


Notice the treatment of the inner voice movement (notes under the melody) and fill-ins (notes between held words).

Fill-ins are played with a softer touch then the melody.

Fill-ins are always meant to be softer than the melody to avoid distraction of the message.

The next time you play or sing a solo….just remember to interpret the music just as though you were ‘speaking’ the words.

The message will be so much more affective!

Free Music:  What_ a_ Friend_ We _Have_ in_ Jesus

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