Tag Archives: church music

Sunday Lyrics – Be Thou My Vision

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

Irish Folk Tune

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Spring has Sprung

This past Sunday was my least favorite day of the year – Daylight Saving Time/Time Change Sunday. My body has a very difficult time adjusting, even though I try to go to bed early, etc.

I still don’t understand why they don’t have the time change Friday night/Saturday morning. But they didn’t ask me, right?

Anyway, I’m always paranoid that I’m going to set my clock in the wrong direction, or miss my alarm, or forget to set it altogether. In this day of “smart” technology, we can’t even set our phones ahead. They change automatically. Or, they are supposed to.

I knew someone whose phone didn’t update correctly and they were late for practice before Sunday service. Ever since then, I’ve set multiple alarms and even pulled out the old “manual” alarm clocks.

This year I set my alarm an hour earlier just in case something didn’t go right. The only clock I could set ahead was my oven clock, which I did. Then when my alarm went off at 5:15am, I got up and went out to the kitchen to see if my phone matched the oven clock. It did! Score! Then I went back to bed for another hour. 🙂

We got to church on time and had a wonderful worship service. We sang/played one of my favorite packages – Crown Him King of Kings/Crown Him with Many Crowns. I love playing those songs!

The weather even cooperated and was absolutely gorgeous!

Perhaps Spring has (finally) sprung!

(We are supposed to get back down in the 50s tomorrow, but we won’t think about that right now.)

Do you have any stories from Time Change Sunday? I would love to hear them!

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!

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!

Sightreading Tips for Rehearsals

PianoLast night, I had the opportunity to practice with a group after church. They had been practicing on their own previously, and I was just coming in to rehearse before they sing in church.

I had never seen the music before last night. And they just expected me to sit down and play it!!

(Actually, I love sightreading so this didn’t bother me.)

Even though I’ve been sightreading for years, I still do certain things before I start to play. I thought I would share these “things” with you today:

1. Make sure you have the music open to the correct song. Yes, you would think this would be a no-brainer, but it never hurts to double-check. 🙂

2. Look through the music. When I do this, I look for the following items:

– Key signature – what key do I start in?

– Clef(s) – Do my hands start both in the treble or bass clef? Or are they normal?

– Time signature – Does the time signature change at all during the song?

– Tempo marking

– Repeats, D.C. al Coda, D.S. al Coda, codas, etc. – anything that means I have to jump around. If I have to go back to a Sign, I’ll always locate the Sign so I don’t have to search for it while I’m playing.

– Key changes – I don’t want to get thrown off or surprised by going to six sharps. I’d rather know ahead of time.

– Anything else out of the ordinary (unusual rhythms, notes cut off the pages, a capella sections, etc.).

3. After I look through the music, I ask the leader what they want the tempo to be. They usually will count or beat out a measure for me, which is very helpful.

4. Play away!!!

Don’t feel bad if you take a couple minutes to look through the music. The time you take at the beginning is worth it if you don’t have to stop or fumble through the rehearsal.

What else would you look for? Any fun sightreading stories?

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