Final Thoughts

On-the-Go PianistSince this 31 Day Challenge really started the evening of September 30, I did my Day 31 yesterday.

But since today is October 31, I thought I should do a final post to recap the month.

Wow, thirty-one days of blogging. I really did it.

When my sister first suggested I do this with her, I wasn’t sure what I would blog about. Obviously music, but the specifics were a little harder to think of.

Now that’s it over and I look back on my experience, I had a really fun time. The challenge was just that, a challenge.

I loved communicating with all my readers about the different aspects of music.

I picked up some valuable resources along the way.

I made new friends.

I reconnected with old friends.

(I just said “I” a lot, sorry!)

I’m not planning on blogging every day from here on out, but I definitely will be blogging more often. I even have some ideas for some series!

Thanks to all of you who followed and read my posts and commented on them.

Thanks to my sis and hubby for encouraging me in this challenge.

Goodbye, October!

Hello, November and December – the busiest months for church musicians!

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

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Missions Conference Music

Next week is our annual Missions Conference at church. The music for these services is obviously missions-oriented.

I love the music for Missions Conference. The choir songs are outstanding – “Be the One,” “Somebody Cares,” “I Will Go,” and others.

The traditional hymns for missions are also great songs, but they are not my best to play. Probably because I don’t play them all that often. However, sometimes we don’t sing the “traditional” missions songs.

We will see what hymns are picked this time.

Regardless of the hymns or choir songs or special music, our Missions Conference is just a special time of preaching and sharing from all the missionaries who attend.

We have a very sweet spirit in our church and that is evidenced by the love we show our missionaries.

I’m looking forward to another great Missions Conference.

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

Piano Teacher Resources: Susan Paradis

Do you ever come across something online and the next thing you know, an hour has gone by?

That happened to me last night. And it wasn’t Facebook! 🙂

I was looking for a handout to use for my kids explaining whole steps and half steps for their Five Finger Patterns, and I stumbled on this amazing website.

Susan Paradis has put together an extensive compilation of resources for the piano teacher. I was so excited!

Many of the resources are free to download, which is even more exciting!

Her resources include Worksheets, Teaching Aids, Games, Sheet Music for all seasons and holidays, and much more!

In addition to all these free items, she also has a store with even more stuff!

If you’re looking for easy church music for your piano students, she has several seasonal and hymn arrangements you can download.

I downloaded several worksheets that I plan to use for my kids, and I’ll definitely be going back!

Be sure to check it out. Who knows…you might even find something for yourself!

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

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!