Author Archives: Laurie

About Laurie

Church musician; composer, arranger, co-founder of Glorious Assurance Music

Pedaling for Hymns

pedals1Pedaling is very fascinating to me.

I remember being told by a teacher to change the pedal every time a chord changed. That was very good, basic advice.

When playing traditional gospel songs (ie: Power in the Blood), you will have your three basic/primary chords: I, IV, and V.

If you apply the basic principle of pedaling for every chord change, you won’t pedal overly much.

But if you add anything remotely extra, like any stepwise in either hand or even changing bass octaves within a measure (like moving from Bb to D on a Bb chord), you will want to lift the pedal more often.

I always try to listen for any “muddling” and negate that by lifting the pedal more frequently.

Any stepwise I usually “flutter” the pedal or “half-pedal”. Just a quick lift to clear the air.

Overall, I would rather have less pedal when playing hymns. If they are a little dry that’s ok. A heavy pedal just causes muddles and blurs everything together.

Oh, and while I’m on the subject, basic pedaling technique includes the following:

1. Heel on the floor (always, at all times)

2. Play then pedal (have the pedal up when playing the first note(s) of a new chord, then put the pedal down)

Anything you would add? I love hearing your comments!

This post is part of a series I’m doing this month called “On-the-Go Pianist.” Click here to see all the posts!

Saturday…Best Laid Plans…

Very rarely do I have a Saturday with nothing planned that I have to go to (meeting, get-togethers, church functions, etc.). But today was one of those days.

I still gave piano lessons in the morning, but after that was open and free.

My plans: go to the grocery store, clean the house and watch college football (Roll Tide, btw).

Sounds fun, right?

Let me explain…the last two weeks have been pretty hectic, with work and lessons and church music. So, needless to say, the house had been pretty neglected.

So I cleaned. all. day. long.

Seriously, I just finished an hour ago.

But, I have this awesome open floor plan where I can pretty much see or hear the TV from anywhere.

So I also watched/listened to college football. all. day. long.

And, yes, the grocery store run happened during halftime. I had motivation to be quick!

After all that, I just sat down to do some lesson paperwork, plus make sure I’m ready for church music tomorrow. Good thing, since I was contacted to play for someone in the morning service. Plans were quickly made to meet and practice in the morning.

All is well here. My feet hurt. My house is clean. My football team won.

How was your Saturday?

This post is part of a series I’m doing this month called “On-the-Go Pianist.” Click here to see all the posts!

Two months from today is Christmas

What!?! Really?!? Already!?!

Yep. It’s back. That time of year again when everybody goes crazy in the stores and we spend money on things that most people will never use more than once or twice.

I love Christmas, really, I do.

Why?

I love the lights, the decorations, the colors, the traditions.

But, mostly, I love the music.

It’s time, my friends. Time to break out the Christmas playlist, the Pandora channel, the sheet music.

And this year, I get to pick out Christmas songs for my piano students.

I’m so excited!!!

What about you? When do you start listening to Christmas music?

This post is part of a series I’m doing this month called “On-the-Go Pianist.” Click here to see all the posts!

Thanksgiving Music – We Gather Together

treble clefIt’s Thursday and Thanksgiving is five weeks away.

Does your church do a Thanksgiving service? We do a special service on Tuesday night of Thanksgiving week, complete with a chili supper afterwards. Yum.

Anyway, if you’re like me, you might be scrambling to find a piano arrangement to use at the last minute. Let me suggest this arrangement of “We Gather Together.”

No, I can’t take credit for this arrangement. But I can give all the credit to my sister, Christie.

Now, I did have the privilege of editing this arrangement, and I absolutely love it!

The arrangement is just advanced enough to keep you on your toes (and you will need to practice it at least once), but there is no reason why you couldn’t have it ready in 4-5 weeks.

Plus, Christie incorporates fresh chords and fun rhythms to make this traditional Thanksgiving hymn more interesting.

You can view sample pages, plus listen to sample audio of the arrangement. If you want to purchase the song, you will need to create an account at Glorious Assurance Music. Then you will have three attempts to download the song as a PDF.

Let me know what you think!

This post is part of a series I’m doing this month called “On-the-Go Pianist.” Click here to see all the posts!

Payoff of Prepwork

Yesterday, I got home from work about 5:45pm and my first piano lesson was at 6:00pm. As I drove home, I knew I would be close on time, but I thought I would make it.

But I wasn’t panicked. I wasn’t stressed. I wasn’t nervous.

Why?

Because I was ready.

I had done all my prepwork/paperwork the night before. All the assignment sheets were printed, the lesson plans were printed, the room was cleaned/straightened up. I was ready.

This is my goal everytime, but we will see how that works.

This post is part of a series I’m doing this month called “On-the-Go Pianist.” Click here to see all the posts!

Video: Piano Duet – I Will Sing of the Mercies of the Lord

This is an “old” video of my sister Christie and I playing a duet of “I Will Sing of the Mercies of the Lord.”

We arranged this on a Sunday afternoon and played it that night in church. I love playing duets with my sis!

Enjoy!

This post is part of a series I’m doing this month called “On-the-Go Pianist.” Click here to see all the posts!

Monday Madness

On the Go PianistSometimes Mondays are calm…sometimes they are not.

Today has been a busy but very productive Monday. Tomorrow is Tuesday…lesson day. So tonight was lesson prep night.

After an hour of prep work, I have the lesson plans and assignment sheets printed and ready to go.

Hope you all had a happy Monday!

This post is part of a series I’m doing this month called “On-the-Go Pianist.” Click here to see all the posts!

Falling Asleep at the Piano

No, the title isn’t referring to my falling asleep at the piano, as in my mind going to sleep. Although, I’ve been tired enough sometimes that I felt like I could fall asleep…

Anyway, what I’m referring to is my leg (my left leg) falling asleep while I’m playing. It happened this morning during the service, and I had to move my foot around to wake it back up.

This has happened to me several times at this piano. Mostly it happens during orchestra practice or another rehearsal, but this time it was during the actual service.

Thankfully, I was able to get the blood flowing again before I had to walk down the stairs.

My question is…why is this happening? It’s never happened before on/at any other piano I’ve played on?

Maybe the height of the bench is different?

Maybe I have my leg back at a bad angle?

Whatever the reason, I don’t like it. The feeling (or lack of feeling) is discomforting.

Why do you think this happens? Has it ever happened to you?

Help me out, please! I welcome your suggestions!

This post is part of a series I’m doing this month called “On-the-Go Pianist.” Click here to see all the posts!