Category Archives: Background Music

Away in a Manger – Piano Solo

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Well, I must admit that you all blew me away this past week! We reached over 500 likes in no time!

Thank you all for posting, sharing, liking, etc. I’m happy to share with you all this new Christmas piano arrangement of “Away in a Manger.”

The arrangement is late intermediate level with broken chords providing movement in the left hand and the simple melody in the right hand. The middle section changes to a quick 3/4, felt better in a combined one, then changing back to the original tempo and legato movement.

I hope you all enjoy the arrangement (click on link below)!

Away in a Manger – Piano Solo

 

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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!

Preparing music for National Day of Prayer

Are any of you playing music for National Day of Prayer this Thursday, May 2nd? I’m not personally, but my sister just texted me that I should do a post on it. Apparently, she is scrambling to find music to play! So, if for no one else, at least this might help my sister…of course, she could have just called… 🙂

If I were putting together a list of songs to use for a prelude (which is what my sister is doing), I would use patriotic songs for sure (I’ve included the most common keys that these are usually written in):

1. America the Beautiful (key of B flat)

2. My Country ‘Tis of Thee (key of F)

3. Star Spangled Banner (key of A or A flat)

4. God Bless America (key of F)

5. Faith of our Fathers (key of E flat)

Can you think of any others that I’m forgetting? I’m not looking in the hymnbook right now…

Then I would add some other retrospective songs, such as:

1. Sweet Hour of Prayer (key of C)

2. Draw Me Nearer (key of G)

3. Near to the Heart of God (key of D flat)

Any others?

Then, I would mix and match the songs according to their keys/relative keys for easy flow and modulations, like this:

1. America the Beautiful (B flat, modulate to C)

2. Sweet Hour of Prayer (C, modulate to D flat and repeat)

3. Near to the Heart of God (continue in D flat, then modulate to D and repeat, then modulate to E flat)

4. Faith of Our Fathers (E flat, modulate to F and repeat)

5. My Country ‘Tis of Thee (F – maybe switch meter on 2nd verse to 4/4)

6. God Bless America (F, modulate to G)

7. Draw Me Nearer (G, modulate to A flat and repeat)

8. Star Spangled Banner (A flat)

Many times, these types of services will begin with the Pledge of Allegiance and the national anthem. In this case, you would be ready to play the national anthem since you would already be in the key of A flat!

If you are looking for a special patriotic solo, here is a terrific arrangement of “America the Beautiful.”

If you are accompanying a soloist, keep the accompaniment simple. Don’t divert attention away from the soloist.

What else can you think of to prepare music for the National Day of Prayer? Please share your ideas, as I’m sure other pianists are busy preparing similar music.

Do You Have a Purpose?

“The aim and final end of all music should be none other than the glory of God and the refreshment of the soul.” (Johann Sebastian Bach)

This profound quotation is the basis for my purpose for playing the piano. I love to sit and play for enjoyment and relaxation, but my purpose of church music is three-fold.

  1. Glorification of God – Music should not be performed to bring praise or glory to oneself. We were created to bring glory to God, and we have the privilege of doing this through music. Our motivation for presenting music should be that God would be glorified with our presentation, song selection, and heart attitude. We should strive for excellence in our music program because God is pleased when we do our best for Him.
  2. Edification of fellow believers – Musicians have the great responsibility of conveying the thoughts and purpose of the special music to the audience. The audience is looking for encouragement from the service. Presentation, song selection, and heart attitude must be present and working together in order for a song to be a blessing to someone.
  3. Preparation of hearts to receive the Word of God – Every element of the music program is building to the climax of the preaching of God’s Word. The energy of the music service should build in such a way that the audience is excited for each new item on the program. When it is time for the message, the audience should feel refreshed, renewed, and excited for the preaching. The music service should energize Pastor to present the message that God has given him.

I challenge you to consider your own purpose of church music. What is your focus?