Tag Archives: piano

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!


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!

Saturdays: Catch Up and Prep Up

Catch Up Prep Up1Saturday is probably my favorite day of the week. Normally, I try to plan very little for Saturdays to allow myself to take a deep breath and catch up from the week.

And I have caught up today, but I haven’t really taken a deep breath until now.

With all the earlier prep in the week for my first week of piano lessons, I neglected some of my housework. (Don’t worry…my music room looked great!)

So the majority of today has been spent catching up on house-cleaning, picking up random clutter (it’s always random it seems), doing loads of laundry (yes, pun intended), and going to the grocery store.

I kept thinking of things that needed to be done, so I put them all in my iPad for me to mark “completed” once they were done. I only have six left of twenty-one!!

Some of those tasks included prepping for Sunday’s worship service. I practiced the accompaniment for a solo, put all my music in order on my iPad, and looked over the songs for any transitions/modulations.

I also need to prep a little bit for lessons next week. Thankfully, last week I did lessons plans for the entire semester, so I won’t have to do lesson plans each week. (Hurray!)

I’m going to try to relax in a little bit, then head to bed to be fully rested for tomorrow. (A horrible night’s sleep on a Saturday night makes for a miserable attempt at playing the piano.)

How have you spent your Saturday? Relaxing? Working? Playing?

However you did, I hope you enjoy(ed) it to the fullest!

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

Friday Fun Fact: Piano Parts

(Sorry for the lateness of this post, but I’ve had a busy Friday. At least it’s Friday!!)

Did you know…

While a piano may seem like a simple instrument to operate, it has more than 12,000 parts, 10,000 of which are moving. The extensive number of moving parts is one reason why tuning a piano can be such an involved process.

Happy Friday!

Source: http://blog.sheetmusicplus.com/2012/06/06/top-10-little-known-facts-about-the-piano/

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

31 Days: On-the-Go Pianist

On-the-Go Pianist

Welcome to On-the-Go Pianist! This will be my page where I list/link my posts for the next 31 days.

I’ll be updating this page each day with the titles and links once they are posted.

Day 1: Intro to On-the-Go Pianist

Day 2: Let the Fun Begin (again)

Day 3: Musical Pop-ups

Day 4: On This Day…25 Years Ago…

Day 5: Friday Fun Fact: Piano Parts

Day 6: Saturdays: Catch Up and Prep Up

Day 7: Sunday Lyrics: Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Day 8: Monday Music Quote: Tolstoy

Day 9: Chinese Food and Piano

Day 10: Piano and Cowboy Boots

Day 11: Musical Pop-ups: Practice Schedules

Day 12: Keeping Piano Lessons Fun

Day 13: Saturday Cartoons

Day 14: Piano and Cowboy Boots: Follow Up

Day 15: Reflections of an Aunt

Day 16: Lesson Preparation: Assignment Sheets

Day 17: Patience and Persistence

Day 18: Sightreading Tips for Rehearsals

Day 19: Friday Fun Fact: Piano Keys

Day 20: Pic of the Day

Day 21: Falling Asleep at the Piano

Day 22: Monday Madness

Day 23: Video: Piano Duet – I Will Sing of the Mercies of the Lord

Day 24: Payoff of Prepwork

Day 25: Thanksgiving Music – We Gather Together

Day 26: Two Months from Today is Christmas

Day 27: Saturday…Best Laid Plans…

Day 28: Pedaling for Hymns

Day 29: Pic of the Day

Day 30: Piano Teacher Resources: Susan Paradis

Day 31: Missions Conference Music

Day 32: Final Thoughts

Huge thanks to The Nester for hosting this exciting link up party! I’ve never done one before, so I’m even more excited!

Be sure to check out the other 31 Days Bloggers, too!

Long Nails vs. Short Nails

Ok…humor me on this one…

I feel like I am constantly cutting/trimming my fingernails. I have a job where I type all day and it gets very difficult to type with long(er) nails.

Plus, when I play the piano, I need my nails short. Now, I have the utmost respect and admiration for those who can play with those long, beautiful nails. I am just not one of them.

All of my piano teachers encouraged me to keep my nails short, so that is what I got used to. There have been times when I have played with longer nails and I did not feel comfortable at all. The clicking of the nails was very distracting to me.

I usually trim my nails every week – maybe every week and a half. There have been times when I have cut my nails too short.


The thumb especially hurts when this happens because the side of the thumb takes the brunt of the impact on the piano.

What abou you? How long do you prefer your nails when playing the piano?

How does the nail length affect your playing (if any)?

Balancing the Accompaniment

Have you ever listened to a song and had trouble hearing the vocals because the accompaniment was too loud? A couple weeks ago, I watched a YouTube video where the instruments overpowered the vocals. It was very distracting to say the least. I started thinking about how we as accompanists can balance the accompaniment properly.

Of course, the sound system will play a part in this balancing act.  A good sound man understands that the accompaniment should be softer than the vocals (or other instruments, in case of an instrumental special). If you are accompanying without a sound system, you can properly balance the accompaniment using these following options:

1.       Listen. While this option might seem obvious, make sure you can hear the person whom you are accompanying.

2.       Use the soft pedal. This is a great option especially if no sound system is available.

3.       Play with a lighter touch. Maybe your piano does not have a soft pedal. Using a light touch on the keys will help the accompaniment sound softer.

4.       Play fewer notes. This option would be the last resort, but it works. Playing chords in half notes would produce less noise than rapid broken chords in sixteenth notes.

The word accompaniment carries the idea of supporting or complementing. My goal when I accompany is to support and complement other musicians, not overpower them.

Do you have any thoughts on this subject? I would love to hear from you!

A Plan for Offertories

Some churches have many options for musicians to use during offertories. Others, have just one — you! If this is the case, chances are there is more on your plate besides just offertories. I have found that in the hustle of preparing for choir specials, congregationals, and other special music, sometimes choosing and practicing the offertory can become a last minute occurrence. Today we’ll discuss a few brief tips and tomorrow we’ll finish up with some more planning tools. Here are a few thoughts that might help lighten the load.

1. Plan – Look at a whole month and determine how many offertories you’ll be expected to play. Write out a plan using congregationals, intermediate pieces, and songs you’ve already prepared. (More on this tomorrow)

2. Do not feel that every offertory has to be astounding – It’s better to be prepared with a more simple selection than to wing it with a more difficult song that really needs more practice.

3. If possible, employ the help of other musicians. Anyone who plays an instrument, helps out occasionally, and especially children or teenagers who are taking lessons are fair game to involve in the offertory schedule.

 Planning an offertory schedule eliminates last-minute anxiety and guilt. Even twenty minutes a month can really make a difference. Keep your list by the piano and practice when time allows.