Posts Tagged ‘Wilds music conference’

Tips for Accompanying a Vocal Solo

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

There are certain songs that are a challenge for the church pianist to accompany. “Down From His Glory” is one of those songs!

In the video below, Duane Ream and Faye Lopez share some of their insight on accompanying the vocal soloist for “Down From His Glory”.

The following video excerpt came from last year’s  Hymn Playing Master Class workshop at the annual Wild’s Music Conference. Please excuse the shaky quality of the video.  I didn’t have a tripod available.

I want to thank the pianist for granting me permission to share this video excerpt.  He did a great job with his impromptu accompaniment; providing others with an opportunity to learn more about accompanying a vocal solo.

This video was taken during the “critique” session of the class when someone would volunteer to play either a piano solo, prelude style piece or accompaniment style.

Duane Ream, one of the workshop leaders, also volunteered to sing…making it easier for the volunteer pianist to share his accompaniment style.  *Please note that Duane sang an octave lower on purpose for the chorus… since it was out of his vocal range 🙂  At least he was willing to help the pianist 🙂

I’ve thought about providing a couple visual examples of the accompaniment patterns Faye was trying to convey to the pianist. Keep in mind…they wouldn’t be note for note what she played but I could produce something very similar. Who would be interested?

 

Hymnplaying Master Class: The Old Rugged Cross (Critique)

Thursday, February 6th, 2014

Here’s the video of me playing my (free) piano hymn arrangement of “The Old Rugged Cross” for the recent Hymnplaying Master Class held at The Wilds Music Conference. (December 2013)

I received helpful critique!  Thanks to Faye Lopez and Duane Ream for their constructive advice.  I look forward to improving my hymn arranging through any learning opportunities I can find!  (The harmonic structure tips were things I knew to do but just hadn’t noticed them in the piece.)

I couldn’t believe I left a melody note out  in the original arrangement on measure #18 (meas. #16 in revised version)…I”m a stickler for following the words as I play but my mind must have been on another verse….so embarrassing to have such an error 🙁  Duane  made SURE I saw that error 😉  Seriously,  I appreciated the emphasis he made on keeping the melody CLEAR..after all….it’s the message we try to convey as church pianists…right?

I’m posting the (graded/corrected) copy of the arrangement below  the video for ease of reference.  The red squares throughout the arrangement  notate the changes.  Most of the changes were from the suggestions made on the video.  (My personal note changes are in measures: 20, 24, 38, 40 and 48.)

You can download the new pdf  of “The Old Rugged Cross” (minus the grading marks)…at the bottom of this article.

 

The-Old-Rugged-Cross-1-corrections-resized The-Old-Rugged-Cross-2-corrections-resized The-Old-Rugged-Cross-3-corrections-resizedClick here to print:  The Old Rugged Cross (revised)

 

 

Wilds Music Conference: Hymnplaying Master Critique Class

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014

I wasn’t brave enough to play the first day of Hymn playing Critique Class but…thanks to Mike Haynes, a sophomore in high school, who played his arrangement of “Count Your Blessings” for critique…providing a platform of learning for all of us!

I thought Faye Lopez and Duane Ream gave some excellent suggestions to Mike.

Enjoy the video below.  (I apologize for my amateur recording but felt the content worthy of sharing regardless of the quality).

 

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 🙂 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)    😉 *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 🙂

*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)

 

Annual Wilds Music Conference

Saturday, January 4th, 2014

Wilds-Entrance-Sign

After wanting to go to the Wilds Music Conference for at least the past ten years….I finally got to go!  My schedule just didn’t allow it in years past since the conference was scheduled at the end of December and into New Year’s Day.  ( I believe the Wilds is changing the music conference to a later date next year….to sometime in January.)

Please understand that this conference is a general music conference.  Since it’s only about a 2 & 1/2 hour drive…I felt it was worth attending.  Read the conference description below as stated on The Wilds website:

“Join us for the mixture of general preaching sessions, biblical philosophy and practical “how to” workshops, and choral reading sessions which will make you more effective in your ministry of music in your local church. Both trained musicians and laymen alike will benefit from the blessing and refreshment of fellowship around Christ-honoring music at this conference.”

Here’s what I did at the conference:

* Hymnplaying master class (once a day for three days) great practical ideas for pianists in general!

* Attended at least eight Choral reading sessions (free pack of music per session)

* Rubbed shoulders with musician friends (always pick up ideas from fellow musicians!)

* Went to Sacred concert by Matt & Christy Taylor on Wednesday evening

I do plan on sharing my gleanings in future posts.  The highlight of my week was playing in the Hymnplaying master class for critique.  What constructive advice I received!  (will share in video soon!)

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