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Christian music
#1131308 08/17/08 02:13 PM
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Hello smile

I have joined the worship ministry of a local church, and they requested that I prepare a few pieces to play for 10 minutes before the service.

Not only do I not have any pieces that are even remotely ready for performance (yes, I have been majorly slacking off this summer), even if I did, they would not be anything you would play at a church.

Do any of you have recommendations? I play classical music at ARCT level, but I'm open for any style (jazz, for example). I have a week to prepare for 10 minutes' worth of music. The service that I will attend is a quite contemporary one, so they do not have to be traditional hymns or anything like that.

If you could include websites from where I could obtain the scores, that would be great! laugh

Thanks

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Re: Christian music
#1131309 08/17/08 02:34 PM
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I have a couple of books of piano solo arrangements of hymns, The Best of Sacred Music from The Creative Concepts Publishing Co, for one. Hie thee to a music store, there's bound to be volumes and volumes of suitable stuff at all levels that you can sight-read. Or pick up a fake book of folk music.

Or, try sheetmusicplus on line. They've got everything, and you can find them in the right-hand column here.

Since you realize it doesn't have to be traditional hymns, and you have a pretty good piano background, get out all your easier classical stuff - Anna's Notebook has wonderful things you can string together for 10 minutes, or improvise on smile .

The pick-up band I play with plays church services several times a year. We play tunes with names like Old Grey Cat and Dancing Bear for the intro. All of our regular repertoire. Even Flop-eared Mule would work - most of the congregation don't know the names of the tunes anyway. So just play stuff you would sit down and play for fun at the piano, or read thru. It doesn't have to be a big performance - it's background and welcoming music. Things you enjoy playing will work the best.

So, for us anyway, there isn't anything I can think of from our repertoire, which is folk and dance music, that we couldn't play at church, and maybe you have enough already that you just haven't thought of. Play any of it slowly enough and it will sound like an air anyway!

Cathy


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Re: Christian music
#1131310 08/17/08 03:05 PM
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Don't rule out your current repertoire, or hesitate to resurrect classical and other pieces you have played. I find many classical pieces work beautifully as church preludes - some of Mendelssohn's Songs Without Words come to mind: op 19 #1, op 30 #3, op 102 #6, also some of the slower Grieg Lyric Pieces.

I have a book of arrangements that I LOVE, it's called "A Touch of Jazz, Contemporary Settings of Church Classics" arranged by Bill Wolaver. Only has 12 songs in it, but they are fun arrangements. I couldn't find it on Amazon, but there were lots of other Bill Wolaver books, so those are probably good too.

I agree with Cathy, check out a music store - many Christian bookstores have a nice selection of sheet music/books.

If all else fails, pick some of the slower/easier hymns and improvise - even if you just put broken chords in the LH, take the RH melody up an octave - throw in some grace notes and a few suspensions, and you're golden!

Good luck! smile

Elaine

Re: Christian music
#1131311 08/17/08 03:21 PM
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I guess I should mention that I am hopeless at improvising frown . Always wanted to learn, but it doesn't seem to work out. I will definitely check out music stores, and the Grieg Lyric Pieces (thanks for suggesting those!)

I listened to Doug's arrangement of Moon River on another thread, and I absolutely love it! I hope it's not too un-churchlike (I need the approval of the worship ministry leader). I also sincerely hope Doug wouldn't mind if I played it at the church. laugh

Re: Christian music
#1131312 08/17/08 03:37 PM
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I have done a lot of church preludes (we call it pre-service music at our church), and in fact I am in charge of scheduling musicians for this at our church. I enjoy playing the prelude because I get less nervous than if I were up there doing a solo with all eyes and ears on me. However, at least one of the other pianists feels it is distracting to have people talking and other noise while she is playing. So you might react either way. I can tune out all the noise (maybe because I have three loud boys at home so I'm used to noise while I play!). For me, this is a time to worship through my music, so I am focused on God, not on the audience.

My church is also a contemporary one, but I play both traditional and contemp Christian music for the pre-service. Classical pieces can go over well at some churches, but definitely not in all of them. You probably have a feel for what your church will be comfortable with. Bach is often considered acceptable in churches because of his own faith and the fact that he wrote "Solo Deo Gloria" (to God alone be Glory) at the end of most of his scores. (see more here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/ch/2007/003/1.8.html )

A book that I have found essential is Maranatha's "Praise Hymns and Choruses" (explanded 4th Edition). This book contains both contemporary choruses and hymns with fresh, modern arrangements. Everything in this book is easy to play, but it sounds nice. It's spiral bound and contains 255 songs. It also has an index of songs by key in the back so that you can choose pieces that will transition easily from one to the next. This is a common book, and shouldn't be hard to locate. Your church's music pastor (or leader of music) may even own one that you could borrow -- I know ours owns one.

Another book I love (and always get positive comments about when I play from) is called "Hymns Unending" by Tim Doran. The difficulty is moderate, but the arrangements are breath-takingly beautiful.

I began playing the piano in church when I was very young (preacher's kid here). Back then I used to think I had to come up with a virtuosic performance every time I got up there -- something impressive that would showcase my abilities. How silly of me! Playing in church is never about focusing people's attention on yourself, but focusing their thoughts on God. Nowadays, I keep it mostly simple and heartfelt. I've learned that it's not the difficulty of the piece that impresses people so much as how it is played. I always get positive comments when I play from the heart.

Good luck to you! This could be an enjoyable and exciting opportunity to serve your congregation.

Re: Christian music
#1131313 08/17/08 03:52 PM
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These are wonderful suggestions. I will look into them too.

Thanks


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Re: Christian music
#1131314 08/17/08 03:56 PM
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Thanks, Vonette, for your comment! I'll have a look at those books.

I'm going through that problem right now - thinking I must come up with something brilliantly virtuostic! I know that is not the case, but I cannot help but feel pressure. Not only is it my first day, but my church is pretty big - all the worship team members seem to be fantastic musicians.

Thanks for wishing me luck smile

Re: Christian music
#1131315 08/17/08 04:08 PM
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I strongly recommend David Nevue's arrangements of traditional hymns in a new age style. You can find them at his website, www.davidnevue.com. (Look for the pieces from "Adoration" in particular.) The pieces vary in difficulty from easy (e.g., you could sightread his "Amazing Grace" with no prep) to quite advanced, and he lets you look at a sample page before buying. I like these because they're not the run of the mill arrangements. I recommend especially his arrangement of "Fairest Lord Jesus." Absolutely lovely. smile

Good luck, and let us know how it goes.

Re: Christian music
#1131316 08/17/08 05:09 PM
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Quote
Originally posted by classik51:
I guess I should mention that I am hopeless at improvising frown . Always wanted to learn, but it doesn't seem to work out. I will definitely check out music stores, and the Grieg Lyric Pieces (thanks for suggesting those!)

I listened to Doug's arrangement of Moon River on another thread, and I absolutely love it! I hope it's not too un-churchlike (I need the approval of the worship ministry leader). I also sincerely hope Doug wouldn't mind if I played it at the church. laugh
So are you talking about playing Doug's arrangement by ear? Because if you can do that, you can surely do your own smple hymn arrangements like I mentioned, and you're on your way to improvising. Improv isn't my forte either but a church setting is great for exploring and developing that skill.

Vonette, thanks for mentioning those books. I'm going to look into them too.

Re: Christian music
#1131317 08/17/08 05:23 PM
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No, I was hoping that he would have a score for that. If not, there's always that video...

Re: Christian music
#1131318 08/17/08 07:50 PM
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I will definitely try to get ahold of some of David Nevue's music. It's different, and I like that! When you have several pianists in your church, it can be challenging to find good piano solo music that someone else isn't playing already. There's no point in all of us playing the same stuff every Sunday!

Re: Christian music
#1131319 08/18/08 10:19 AM
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David Nevue's arrangements
Piano Praise & Worship: Piano Solo Keepsake Edition (Spiral-bound) by Craig Curry
Instrument of Worship (Vol. 1 and 2) by Carol Tornquist


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Re: Christian music
#1131320 08/18/08 11:20 AM
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Hi Classik51,
I too play for our local church and there are times when I play just before services start to prevent things from getting too quiet. Are you able to play by ear? Many songs we play are given to us in the form of a chords to be played. The melody is known by the song leader vocalist and we work together to make it a song.

You know, I really doubt anybody will be listening to you and making a judgement on whether you can cut it or not. Before a service people are talking or trying to find a seat and those who are seated are just content to hear something pleasant. If you know your chords and are able pick out the melody by ear you'll be okay. Hopefully, the music tastes are not so contemporary they're above hearing 'Amazing Grace', 'How lovely on the mountain', 'Jesus, Jesus, (there's something about that name', etc. People still enjoy hearing these.

Concerning 'Moon River'; this is only my opinion but in my view this is inappropriate for a church service. This is from someone who at one time loved this song so much I wanted it to be played at my funeral. There are a lot of beautiful pieces of music I enjoy but would really be out of place. However, you'll have to make your own judgement on these things. I hope you do well.


"I wish there was a way to know you're in the good old days before you've actually left them." Andy Bernard
Re: Christian music
#1131321 08/18/08 01:30 PM
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http://www.ccli.com/usa/
Check this site out and you will have to sign up but this has it all plus the ability to print the songs in any key which can be a plus when working with many singers. DPVJAZZ

Re: Christian music
#1131322 08/19/08 12:02 AM
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I got some wonderful books from the bookstore - I'm trying to decide which ones to play! Jasperkeys, I agree Moon River doesn't suit the mood in this circumstance. I like Doug's arrangement so much though, I still hope to play it in my own free time.

Re: Christian music
#1131323 08/19/08 07:21 AM
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Quote
Originally posted by Monica K.:
I strongly recommend David Nevue's arrangements of traditional hymns in a new age style. You can find them at his website, www.davidnevue.com. (Look for the pieces from "Adoration" in particular.) I recommend especially his arrangement of "Fairest Lord Jesus." Absolutely lovely. smile

Monica - thank you very much for the lead to David's "Adoration" - absolutely lovely playing indeed!

And "Fairest . . ." is an excellent recommendation (been working on an intermediate level version of that great classic hymn myself lately) - another always peacefully gorgeous hymn (and especially the way David plays it) is "Be Still My Soul"

Looks like my credit card will take another "hit" soon in the ever-growing "music related purchases" category thumb

With devotional Regards, JF


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Re: Christian music
#1131324 08/20/08 08:06 AM
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If you are interested in improv on church music, I have many free lessons to get you started at http://www.greghowlett.com/freechristianpianomusic.aspx

Also, there are a few arrangements at that link for free download.


Free downloads, arrangements, piano lessons and tips for pianists at http://www.greghowlett.com/freechristianpianomusic.aspx
Re: Christian music
#1131325 08/20/08 02:38 PM
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There are great deals on hymnals on amazon.com. I love playing hymns--gorgeous chords, familiar tunes, everything one would want!

Re: Christian music
#1131326 08/22/08 05:48 AM
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Quote
Originally posted by Rank Piano Amateur:
I love playing hymns--gorgeous chords, familiar tunes, everything one would want!
I fully agree - and you don't even have to be particularly religious to throughly enjoy playing them - many have very beautiful and majestic melodies inspired by their composer's devotion to their deep-seated beliefs and their attempts to glorify their object of worship.

Regads, JF


Every difficulty slurred over will be a ghost to disturb your repose later on. Frederic Chopin

Current favorite bumper sticker: Wag more, bark less.
Re: Christian music
#1131327 08/24/08 06:29 AM
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Here's a few hymns I recorded recently on a piano built almost 10 years before the current cutoff date for public-domain music....

http://www.box.net/shared/0f5xq69at3

I made up the arrangements on the fly, like I usually always do when playing.


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