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Joined: May 2005
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showard Offline OP
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I started teaching my granddaughter to play the piano when she was 3 years old. She did very well and at the age of 15 started doing her own arrangements of hymns and gospel songs. She is now 18 and has done quite a bit of arranging. She has recorded 3 CD's and has notated most of her arrangements. She has done fairly well with selling her print arrangements, but one of the problems we have run into is that most of her arrangements are quite advanced and she runs into a lot of students and church pianists who are looking for easier music so she decided to start creating some easier arrangements. Our hope is that they would be at the intermediate level, but we're concerned that they may still be a little too difficult to be considered intermediate.

I was hoping to get some input from piano teachers who would be able to look at one of her arrangements to let us know opinions on what level this would be considered. We would be grateful for any input. Here is a link to an arrangement of the hymn "Holy, Holy, Holy" that she did: https://lilytopolskimusic.com/holy-holy-holy/

Thanks!

Last edited by showard; 07/05/22 09:39 PM.

Steve Howard
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Intermediate covers a very wide range of difficulty levels. You should be a bit more specific. I haven't played it but on paper your arrangement looks fine. The only thing that might be challenging for an "intermediate" is the double notes in the broken chords starting at measure 26. Maybe try to simplify the texture a bit there. Some of the chord stretches may also be challenging for some hands and might be better if you re-arrange the notes. For example, the C7 chord in measure 9.

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I would ask your granddaughter / yourself, what the objective is here. For hymns and gospel music, one of the things that popularises music is making it easy enough for the average church pianist to sight read without risk of many mistakes. It also often needs to sound OK on piano and organ.

Generally I would make sure that chord patterns don't change the hand position too much between chord changes, and don't involve an octave (or more) stretch in both hands simultaneously as people with small hands (as Bart said better than me) may struggle. Don't try to be too clever.

if you want to sell music in this area it has to be memorable arrangements that are sufficiently different from the common hymnal scores to be attractive, but easy enough not to require rehearsal.

The piece would be very easy though for a classically trained musician at say grade 7+ (ABRSM) to sight read and within the capabilities of a grade 5 with a bit of practice in my opinion.


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My experience is that church musicians will not be concerned with hymn accompaniment, but will give practice time and attention to hymn arrangements to be played as offertory, preludes or postludes— as there is much more exposure.

The ones I have seen are experienced pianists and may well be piano teachers; therefore chord or key changes are not an obstacle.

,


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
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showard Offline OP
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Thanks so much for your responses. I figured there may be differing opinions, but it is good to hear all opinions as we all come from different perspectives. I’ll be helping her with making some changes to the arrangement. If there are any others that would like to provide input, it would be most welcome!


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Dog person, I expect you are right and bow to your local knowledge. The US, if the media is to be believed, has far better church attendances than in the UK. Over here congregations are mostly minimal. I used to play church services when I was a student at university (scholarship condition) but as an adult my experience has been village and town churches really struggle to find experienced players. I've played quite a few weddings over the years, for which I charge a satisfactory sum that keeps my pipe organ hand in, but regular church services are too long and too dull so I never do them unless asked to do a full carol concert as organist and am paid for it. We have a fast diminishing pool of trained pianists here and very few who can sight read what I or my past tutors would regard as competently. At least in my experience - which is limited to the South East of England.


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What a sad state of affairs for musicians— and for religion. Before the pandemic, I played as the backup pianist in my church— but in previous lifetimes, I was regularly assigned services weekly— either the piano or organ. That being said, I’ve never pursued playing for a wedding— it sounds like too many bridezillas for my tolerance.
Cheers!


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the church pianist might just be lazy. this arrangement isn't difficult at all.

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showard Offline OP
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Lily has this now posted on her website as a free download. If any of you have any students that may be interested in playing this arrangement feel free to share the link: https://lilytopolskimusic.com/free-holy-holy-holy-digital-sheet-music/
She'll be coming out with more intermediate level arrangements, so this one is just a free one for those who may be interested in her music.


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Originally Posted by showard
Lily has this now posted on her website as a free download. If any of you have any students that may be interested in playing this arrangement feel free to share the link: https://lilytopolskimusic.com/free-holy-holy-holy-digital-sheet-music/
She'll be coming out with more intermediate level arrangements, so this one is just a free one for those who may be interested in her music.

Please tell Lily ‘thanks’! A very nice thing for her to do. 🙂


"Music, rich, full of feeling, not soulless, is like a crystal on which the sun falls and brings forth from it a whole rainbow" - F. Chopin
"I never dreamt with my own two hands I could touch the sky" - Sappho

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showard Offline OP
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I certainly will! She just gets excited about others being able to enjoy and be blessed by her arrangements.


Steve Howard
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