Near the Cross | Late Beginner Piano Solo

Sometimes, I just like simple. Those were pretty much my thoughts as I arranged “Near the Cross” for one of my students a few weeks ago. Simple. Sometimes, simple helps us to really focus on the message.

Available at WAJN

 

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Oh, How I Love Jesus | Violin, Piano Duet

I have enjoyed teaching violin the last couple of years. Before we moved, I had about four violin students. But at the time being, I have thirteen violin students (one video student in Nigeria!). One of my favorite things to do is to arrange hymns for them to play in church. I love that most of my students strongly desire to share their music for God’s glory.
Here is one that I recently arranged for a student to play (recorded by myself).
Sheet music available at WAJN

 

Two Piano Solos, Two Levels: Just as I Am

Last week, I wanted to arrange “Just as I Am” for a student. So, I compiled a couple of verses and went to save… “This file already exists.” Oh wait! I already *had* an arrangement of the song! However, it was a slightly higher level. 😉 But, since it was in the archives, I brushed it up a little and decided to give you two variations of the favorite invitation hymn–two different levels.

Sheet music available at WAJN

And then the slightly more advanced version:

 

Sheet music available at WAJN

 

Standing on the Promises | Advanced Piano Solo

A few years ago, I began arranging an advanced piano solo. It actually began when my family and I were singing at a church. Before service, I was playing around on the church piano just for fun. It’s interesting, but sometimes playing on a different piano will inspire different ideas. As I played, I threw in a descending scale-type progression where I went down, retraced a note up then went down further, etc. It was a keeper-idea, and before long, the Lord allowed me to piece it together with “Standing on the Promises” (you’ll hear that progression throughout the arrangement).

However, after about halfway into the song, I hit a brick wall. I put the piece down for about nine months (in that time, we actually moved states–so a lot went on between measure one and the final bar line in this piece!). I loved the beginning and it was such fun to play, but I didn’t have an ending. As I thought about it, I’d pray for ideas, pull it out, toy with it, and let it set again. Finally, there was a breakthrough and God gave me just the ideas I needed to finish the arrangement.

Now, about two years later, I’ve finally gotten around to recording it to share with you all!

 

The sheet music for this is available at WAJN (but I’ll give warning, it is advanced–there are a lot of notes in the ten pages!).

Welcome to my Music Studio (plus free downloads)

I have mentioned teaching occasionally, but it’s not something that I have really looked at on this blog. Today, I’d like to give you a glimpse at this year’s music studio:
I  haven’t had much opportunity to decorate my studio in years passed, because for most of my teaching life, I have either shared my studio with someone else (i.e. I started teaching in my room), or just didn’t feel that creative. This year, however, I decided to do something kind of fun–and the kids loved it (which, I’ll admit, always feels rewarding!). As you can see, I went for a “back to school” theme (time will tell if I change it up every month or quarter or at all…). I did a fun play on words…

 

Then I also have some “cheat sheets” up there. The younger me would have frowned on this; after all, they need to KNOW their answers, right? But… I’d rather the student review it 100 times and KNOW it than get frustrated fifty times, because they just can’t remember. We’ll see if these remain up all year or not.

 

 

In addition to all of this, I make my students track down their practice minutes. Their weekly time goal is different, depending on their age and level. This year to keep track for their diligence the entire year, I have created a chart. Each week, I will color in whether they have practiced ALL of their time (four keys), HALF of their time (two keys), a quarter of their time (one key), etc. Here’s hoping it’s incentive to get those keys colored!

 

 

Now, the freebies I mentioned in the title. All of the charts I mentioned are uploaded here (PDFs) for you to have full access to–print and use to your heart’s content! And, if you use them, I would love to hear how they worked for you!
If you are new to teaching or are considering teaching and don’t know where to start, I published a short book (most people can read it in an hour) to help musicians get started teaching. “Me? Teach Piano?” is only $1.99 for Kindle (though you may also get the paperback for $7.99).
How many music teachers do we have out there? What instruments do you teach? What have you found to be your most helpful teaching tip?

 

The Love of God | Intermediate Piano Solo

It has been too long since I’ve posted a new video — I started out the year well with one a week… and then my focus shifted to working on the 10-song album, Reflections of the Cross. I’m just now able to put my focus back on other stuff, and then a busy summer hits. 😉 So we’ll see how I do with a new one a week.
But for this week, I have an old hymn favorite of mine. This is actually the first piano solo I’ve arranged of “The Love of God.”