Category Archives: Thoughts

Accompanist vs. Pianist

What is the big deal about accompanying? You are just playing the piano, right? Actually, accompanying is playing the piano with a slight twist.

An accompanist is a pianist, but not just a pianist. The job of an accompanist is to support – whether that be a soloist, vocal ensemble, choir, orchestra, instrumentalist, etc. Making the other person look good is my goal when I accompany. The people should be able to relax and enjoy the music they are presenting, not worry that the speed will be right or the notes played incorrectly.

In the church setting, our job is even more important. We are to support the special music in such a way that all the attention and glory goes to the Lord, not to the person or group. We are the foundation that steadies the special music presentation. If we fall or waver, we risk crumbling the influence that one song might have to bring someone closer to Christ.

I will explore more thoughts on this topic as we go along, but remember that accompanying is a team effort!


‘Twas the Night Before Sunday

Have you ever been running late on Sunday morning and can’t remember what music you need to take or who’s singing that service? Yes, this has happened to me. I’ll get to church feeling like I’m already running behind. Usually, that’s the day that someone calls in sick or half the choir is out with a flu bug.

I try to get my heart and mind prepared the night before. Here’s a sample checklist:

·         Practice special music – put music in music bag

·         Practice offertory – put music in music bag

·         Practice hymns, including introductions

·         Practice choir music – put music in music bag

·         Look over order of service

·         Put music bag near the door (so I don’t have to look for it in the morning)

This list is not exhaustive, but you get the idea. Lastly, get a good night’s sleep! Go to bed early. I find I make more mistakes playing when I’m tired. I can’t give the necessary support needed when I can’t even concentrate!

Preparation is the key! The Lord deserves our best and we should be prepared to do no less for Him.

Do you have any preparation suggestions? I would love to hear from you!

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?