Hymnplaying Master Class: The Old Rugged Cross (Critique)

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)



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11 Responses to “Hymnplaying Master Class: The Old Rugged Cross (Critique)”

  1. Susan says:

    I enjoyed this so much! Thank you for posting it – I love your playing! And thanks for the free music.

  2. Ashley says:

    I have really enjoyed these videos and gained a lot of food for thought! I would like to make a comment about the change you made to the introduction. I know you did it in response to what Faye Lopez said about two introductions, but I don’t think she was certain about it and Duane Ream didn’t seem to think it was a problem. Personally, I like it better the original way. In the revised version, the intro and the beginning of the song run together. The first two melody notes are completely missing. Since, as we learned in the video, the message of the song is what is most important and therefore the melody should be clearly heard, I don’t think it is a good idea to leave out the beginning of the melody. In the original version, you can tell what song it is in the first measure. In the revised version, you can’t tell what the song is until the second measure. Just a few thoughts I had. Thank you so much for sharing these things from the conference with us!

    • Jenifer Cook says:

      Thanks Ashley for your feedback! I also like the first intro better. The intro in the revised version may not be the best representation of Faye’s suggestion…just tried to respond to suggestions…knowing people could choose either arrangement.

      I hope to share a little more of the class soon.

  3. Ashley says:

    I also wanted to say that I agree with Duane Ream that your music is very beautiful, and communicative, and warm, and very suitable to the song. Thank you for sharing it with us.

  4. Ana says:

    Yes I agree, your music is beautiful and your original intro was so warming and perfect for the sweetness of your arrangement…I think Duane Ream liked your arrangement and style too, he complemented it a few times…You have a lot of talent and I’m so thankful you use it for the Lord and share it with us!!!

  5. Carol Snow says:

    I was comparing the original arrangement with the revised and thought you had left out measures 5 & 6 in your revised copy, but after reading the preceding comments it seems that Ms. Lopez suggested shortening your intro. I like Ms. Lopez’ hymn arrangements, but I liked your original intro better. Thank you so much for all the free arrangements you share with us. You have a knack for inserting substitute chords in a simple way that can really change the “color” of a hymn. Thank you also for the lessons on using substitute chords. I’m using them to help teach my two granddaughters how to improvise when playing hymns.

  6. Glenna says:

    For the first time in my life, I have been filling in as pianist in our small church. Your music has been a blessing to me, and I have downloaded several selections. I like your arranging and love to hear you play on You Tube. I printed the revised version of The Old Rugged Cross and have to admit I like your original one better. I listened to the video and heard the comments made, but I think your original sounds better. I most certainly like your intro better. On Measure 29 from the original, would it still be okay to play the opposite runs? Thanks so much for your music.

  7. Jerri says:

    I have recently discovered your website and have been so blessed by it. Your music is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your talent with us.

  8. Jerry McCutcheon says:

    I love your playing too, it is very captivating and really terrific. I disagree with the theory F-natural/sharp comment – I think it is much ado about nothing. We could go on for hours about Beethoven, Liszt and Rachmaninoff breaking theory rules – but their music, as well as yours, should deviate from strict rules – it lends to the individualism God has created within each of us. Always think twice about those who question musical composition points relating to theory; that is, only change something if you believe it is valid.

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