What is the Role of Church Pianist: Part Two

There are exceptions, but these are the general guidelines
coming from my personal experience in the music ministry.

  A. Relationship Between the Song Leader and Church Pianist

   1. Pianist should submit to song leader but still have
      a healthy “working team” relationship.

   2. Of course, during choir is not the time for the pianist
      to make suggestions unless the song leader specifically
      ask for assistance.

   3. The pianist is to follow the song leader during congregational
      singing, choir specials and invitation time.
   4. Exception: if the song leader doesn’t direct with his hands…
      the pianist is to establish the singing tempo.

   5. Be willing to accept suggestions

   6. Respect the song leader’s position; allowing him to maintain
      the leadership role.

   7, Open communication between song leader and pianist is of upmost

B.  Job Description of the Church Pianist
   1. Be punctual
      *I always try to arrive 15 minutes early to all services and
       5 – 10 minutes early to choir practices. This allows time for
      last minute details. (such as: changes to music schedule due to
      sickness or maybe Pastor needed to change order of service for
      some reason.)

   2. Follow the leader 🙂
   3. Display a willing spirit

   4. Be flexible!

   5. Be hospitable 🙂
      *Greet the choir members with a smile as they enter for a practice.

   6. Be prepared
      *Practice choir music or other special music in advance if at all possible.

C.  Developing the Special Music Program

    I enjoy recruiting new members for the special music program!
    Does your church or choir contain people that you know could sing a special
    but they are too timid to come forward?

    (Keep in mind..I’m the one who maintains the music schedule which
    keeps me more in tune with this area on a regular basis.)

    Here’s an approach I use to encourage the more reluctant singers.

    Alot of times, one of our special music people will approach me and
    say, “Have you heard so and so sing? He or she does a great job but
    thinks they can’t sing.”
    I’ll simply approach that person and ask them if they would mind singing
    in a large ensemble for a special…say…a Wednesday  or Sunday night.

    (Evening services are usually more comfortable for beginning singers.)

   Over time, I’ll decrease the amount of people in that person’s group until
    they’re singing comfortably in a duet or maybe even a solo. Sneaky huh?
    It works!

    I especially like to take a personal interest in children wanting to sing
    for church. They’re the future and need to be trained and encouraged while
    at a tender, workable age.

    Choosing the song for new or old singers is of upmost importance. The song
    must suit their vocal range. For example, you wouldn’t want to choose a song
    with a lot of high notes for a low voice singer.
    This can make the difference in whether the person will want to sing. They
    need to feel as comfortable as possible while ministering through song.

    Although this is not an exhaustive list…I hope it has helped to define the
    role of the church pianist. I could only share what I have learned.
    As things come to mind…I’ll share more in this area of thinking.

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