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Teach yourself to play hymns

Rebekah Lewis 2008

www.christadelphiancds.co.uk

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Teach yourself to play hymns
2nd edition © Rebekah Lewis 2008 All rights reserved

Rebekah Lewis 2008

www.christadelphiancds.co.uk

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Contents

Introduction Lesson 1: Letter names of notes Lesson 2: Fingering Lesson 3: Playing using both hands Lesson 4: Reading music – letter names Lesson 5: Reading music – rhythms Lesson 6: Reading music – playing with both hands Lesson 7: Playing two notes with each hand Lesson 8: Sharps and flats Lesson 9: Different approaches for piano and organ/keyboard Lesson 10: Playing for your ecclesia Appendix: Rhythm reference sheet Musical terms and signs

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Rebekah Lewis 2008

www.christadelphiancds.co.uk

Don’t be put off by this. rather than a two-hour session every fortnight. Make sure that the stops you select apply to the manual you are going to be using. A 16’ stop will have a low sound. Make sure that the keyboard you choose has full-sized keys. and it's not possible to practise regularly on your ecclesia’s instrument. Playing an organ Sometimes organs have two or even three manuals (rows of keyboards). Usually you will not get a sound out of an organ until you have selected a stop or pressed a button. but should be helpful to anyone using other hymn books as well. You can play everything on one manual – the lower manual will probably be the easiest to use..co. You need to have an 8’ stop selected to ensure that the notes sound at normal pitch. You will learn faster if you practise little and often (e. Various sizes will be written on the organ stops.g. a 4’ stop a high sound. 15 minutes every other day). These cost about £70 new.christadelphiancds.uk . Posture The best playing position is where you can have your elbows level with your wrists. How quickly you progress through these lessons depends on how often you are able to practise. These correspond to the lengths of pipes of traditional pipe organs. Practice In each lesson there are exercises you should practise for a week or two before moving on to the next lesson. ensure that the height of your seat makes this possible. So if you can. Buying an instrument If you haven’t got an instrument at home. If the stops are the old-fashioned kind they need to be pulled out to be selected.4 Introduction By the end of this series of lessons you should know all you need to know to be able to accompany hymn singing. then your cheapest option is to buy an electronic keyboard. Rebekah Lewis 2008 www. and are readily available second-hand. The lessons are based around the 2002 Christadelphian Hymn Book.

All the C’s are found just below each pair of black notes: C All the F’s are found just below each set of three black notes: F This diagram shows the position of all of the notes: C D E F G A B C D E F G A B Task 1 Play all the C’s on your instrument. Play all the E’s. Rebekah Lewis 2008 www.. which are grouped in twos and threes.uk . Play all the A’s.co.g. On a keyboard the different notes can be found by looking at their relationship with the black notes.5 Lesson 1: Letter names of notes By the end of this lesson you will be able to: • Find notes on the keyboard. including Middle C • Play the melodies of some hymns Musical notes are named after the letters of the alphabet. E.christadelphiancds. from A-G.

this will be the C near the middle of the keyboard. using your right hand (any fingers you wish).uk . Piano: On a piano. Finding Middle C To be able to accompany singers. Middle C will be the third C up from the bottom. which is in the upper range of a man's voice and the lower range of a woman's voice. Rebekah Lewis 2008 www. you need to make sure that you are playing at the right pitch (not too high or too low). The traditional way to do this is to find Middle C. Use the tips of your fingers. Task 3 Play through these hymn melodies. and keep your fingers curved as if you are typing (see below). Organ: If the lowest note on the manual is C. Middle C will be the second C up from the bottom.christadelphiancds.6 Task 2 See if you can fill in the letters of the keys below without looking at the keyboard diagram on page 4.co. usually next to the lock if it is a ‘real’ piano. If the lowest note on the manual is F. Keyboard: Usually Middle C is the third C up from the bottom of the keyboard.

O praise our God and King (Green Hymn Book. without needing the help of a diagram • Play at least two of these hymn tunes fluently • Play with curved fingers. throned afar (Green Hymn Book. using the tips of your fingers to strike the notes Rebekah Lewis 2008 www. this means that it is in the higher range of notes: Middle C C D E F G A B C1 D1 E1 F1 G1 A1 B1 Praise.uk .christadelphiancds.7 NB: If a note has a 1 after it. C1 G G C 1 A A A C1 G G C 1 A A A B C1 D1 D1 E1 C1 D1 C1 B A F1 D1 C1 B C1 B C1 D1 B C1 E1 C1 B C1 D1 B C1 E1 C1 B C1 D1 D1 E1 C1 D1 C1 B A F1 D1 C1 B C1 Before starting next lesson. 117) The first note is Middle C. you should be able to: • Quickly locate notes on the keyboard.co. C E G E F G A B C1 D1 E1 E1 E1 D1 C1 B C1 A B G C1 D1 D1 C1 B G C1 E1 D1 C1 B C1 Lord of all being. E D C F G A B C1 F F F E E F G A G E D C A D1 F E C1 B D C D 1 E1 D 1 C 1 A Hallelujah! Yahweh’s name (Green Hymn Book. 72) The first note is the C above Middle C. 151) The first note is the E just above Middle C.

They will help build up strength and flexibility in your fingers. right hand (a) with left hand (a) Rebekah Lewis 2008 www. e.. if it is possible. • Play them hands together. you should try not to let go of a note until you have pressed the next one down.. requiring the least effort on your part and enabling you to play more smoothly. This means using your fingers in the most efficient way. Once you have got used to playing these exercises see if you can: • Play them without looking down at your fingers • Gradually increase the speed • Play them with different rhythms to focus effort on different fingers. Your fingers and thumbs are numbered from 1-5 in each hand: 1 = thumb 2 = index finger 3 = middle finger 4 = ring finger 5 = little finger You may find it helpful to write these numbers on your fingers at first! Task 1 Play these warm-up exercises at the start of each practice session..uk .christadelphiancds. you should find that it becomes easier to play without looking down at your fingers – ‘touch-typing' – enabling you to keep your eyes on the music and not lose your place. The exceptions to this are discussed in a later lesson. If you get used to the best way your fingers work.g. then short-long-short-long.g. e. Remember to use the tips of curved fingers. Focus on making your fingers 'walk' from note to note. as if your fingers are walking up or down stairs.co.. This is especially important if you are playing an organ. long-short-long-short.8 Lesson 2: Fingering By the end of this lesson you will be able to: • Play smoothly • Play exercises which will strengthen and train your fingers • Play sections of music without looking down at your fingers Fingering You will find playing hymns easier if you are able to plan your fingering effectively. Generally.

starting with little finger on C 5 4 3 2 1 2 3 4 5 C E F G A F E D C 5 3 2 1 2 3 5 C E G C1 G E C Rebekah Lewis 2008 www. One option is to stretch from note to note.9 Right hand.co.christadelphiancds.uk . starting with thumb on C 1 2 3 4 5 4 3 2 1 C E F G A F E D C 1 2 3 5 3 2 1 C E G C1 G E C Left hand. Task 2 Play through these exercises to practise this technique. with little finger on Middle C a) 5 4 3 2 1 2 3 4 5 C D E F G F E D C 5 4 3 4 3 2 3 2 1 2 3 4 5 1 5 C D E D E F E F G F E D C G C 5 3 4 2 3 1 2 4 5 3 2 4 5 1 5 C E D F E G F D C E F D C G C b) c) Frequently the notes you need to play will not fall easily under the five fingers. with thumb on Middle C a) 1 2 3 4 5 4 3 2 1 C D E F G F E D C 1 2 3 2 3 4 3 4 5 4 3 2 1 5 1 C D E D E F E F G F E D C G C 1 3 2 4 3 5 4 2 1 3 4 2 1 5 1 C E D F E G F D C E F D C G C b) c) Left hand. Right hand.

This is to give you an understanding of the best ways to organise your fingers when playing. Then see if you can play the hymn tunes without looking down at your fingers. 3 or 4 over the top of your thumb Task 3 Play the C major scale below to practise this technique.10 When there is a large range of notes to cover you can use the technique shown below: • Moving up the keyboard – pass the thumb underneath either finger 2.christadelphiancds. Play through each hymn several times until you are able to play it smoothly throughout. Right hand going up: Tuck thumb under 3rd finger Right hand going down Pass 3rd finger over thumb 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5 C D E F G A B C1 Left hand going up: Pass 3rd finger over thumb 5 4 3 2 1 3 2 1 C1 B A G F E D C Left hand going down Tuck thumb under 3rd finger 5 4 3 2 1 3 2 1 C D E F G A B C1 1 2 3 1 2 3 4 5 C1 B A G F E D C Task 4 Practise these hymn tunes using your right hand with the recommended fingering.uk . Rebekah Lewis 2008 www. 3 or 4 • Moving down the keyboard – pass finger 2.co.

using good fingering Rebekah Lewis 2008 www. Before starting next lesson. 3 1 1 3 1 11 C1 G G C 1 A A A 3 1 1 3 1 11 C1 G G C 1 A A A 2 3 4 4 5 3 4 B C1 D1 D1 E1 C1 D1 3 21 5 4 3 2 3 C1 B A F1 D1 C1 B C1 2 3 4 2 3 5 3 B C1 D1 B C1 E1 C1 2 3 4 2 3 5 3 B C1 D1 B C1 E1 C1 2 3 4 4 5 3 4 B C1 D1 D1 E1 C1 D1 3 21 5 4 3 2 3 C1 B A F1 D1 C1 B C1 Lord of all being.uk .christadelphiancds. you should be able to: • Play the Task 1 fingering exercises fluently • Play the two hymn tunes fluently. and started to play hands together. 72) The first note is the C above Middle C. throned afar (Green Hymn Book. Tuck thumb under 4th finger 3 2 1 4 E D C F 1 2 1 2 G A B C1 4 4 F F 4 3 F E 3 4 1 2 E F G A 4 3 2 1 G E D C Pass 4th finger over thumb 2 5 A D1 4 3 F E 4 3 C1 B 2 1 D C 3 4 3 2 1 D1 E1 D1 C1 A Tuck thumb under 2nd finger In working through this lesson you will have developed your fingering technique.co.11 Hallelujah! Yahweh’s name (Green Hymn Book. 151) The first note is the E just above Middle C.

Practise in small chunks – don’t move on to the next section until you are fairly secure with the current one. so just keep trying.e. whether to go up or down for the next note)..12 Remember to keep practising the Task 1 fingering exercises from the previous lesson. Lesson 3: Playing using both hands By the end of this lesson you will be able to: • Play simplified versions of 2 hymns using both hands Task 1 We are now going to add a left-hand part to the two hymn tunes from the previous lesson.co. You may find it difficult to get your hands coordinating together at first. The first left-hand note is the C below Middle C.christadelphiancds. Play through the left-hand part on its own a few times to get used to the notes and fingering. The fingering should help you work out the direction the notes are going in (i. You will learn the hymns faster this way.uk . Then work on putting both hands together. Hallelujah! Yahweh’s name (Green Hymn Book. 72) The first right-hand note is the C above Middle C. Right Hand Left Hand Right Hand Left Hand Right Hand Left Hand Right Hand Left Hand 3 1 1 3 1 11 C GG C A AA C CC E F 5 5 5 3 2 FF 2 2 2 3 4 2 3 5 3 B CD B C E C G GG G C C C 1 1 1 1 5 5 5 2 3 4 2 3 5 3 B CD B C E C G GG G C C C 1 1 1 1 5 5 5 2 34 4 5 3 4 B CD D E C D 1 1 1 1 5 3 1 G GG G C E G 3 21 5 4 3 2 3 C BA FDC B C move LH back down one key now move LH up one key 3 1 1 3 1 11 C GG C A AA C CC E F 5 5 5 3 2 FF 2 2 2 34 4 5 3 4 B CD D E C D 1 1 1 1 5 3 1 G GG G C E G 3 21 5 4 3 2 3 C BA FDC B C 4 4 3 3 E EF F 2 2 1 G G A 3 3 2 2 E EF F 1 1 5 G G C Rebekah Lewis 2008 www.

christadelphiancds.uk .co. 151) The first right-hand note is the E just above Middle C. using good fingering Rebekah Lewis 2008 www. If possible. rather than going back to correct it. Right Hand Left Hand 3 2 1 4 E D C F C C C C 2 2 2 2 1 2 1 2 G A B C C F E A 5 2 3 1 4 4 F F 4 3 F E 3 4 1 2 E F G A C A C F 2 4 2 1 4 3 2 1 G E D C E G G A 1 5 4 3 2 5 A D F D 1 4 4 3 F E F G 5 4 4 3 C B F G 2 1 2 1 D C G C 4 1 C BAG C 2 3 4 5 2 3 4 3 2 1 D E D C A G C D E F 2 5 4 3 2 Right Hand Left Hand cross 4 over thumb tuck thumb under You may wish to play the simplified versions of the two hymns to accompany hymn singing already. The first left-hand note is the C below Middle C. Before starting next lesson. make sure that you are able to play them fluently – get used to carrying on if you make a mistake. practise with a friend singing along to your playing first. If so.13 Lord of all being. before you play for your ecclesia. throned afar (Green Hymn Book. you should be able to: • Play at least one of the two hymns fluently hands together.

14 Lesson 4: Reading music – letter names By the end of this lesson you will be able to: • Work out letter names of notes from music notation Treble and bass clef When playing a keyboard instrument you read two staves (or rows) of music at the same time – playing the top stave with the right hand and the bottom stave with the left hand. Meanwhile. As the notes get higher on the page – going up by line. and you move further up to the right on the keyboard.christadelphiancds.uk . When going out of the range of those main five lines. there is a quick way to work them out.. space.. line. little extra lines (ledger lines) are added in. going through the alphabet: Middle C Middle C • Middle C is in the middle of these 2 clefs (hence its name) • Some of the notes can be played with either the right hand or the left hand. which is why they appear in both clefs. Each note on the keyboard has its own particular line or space. space… – the sound gets higher. Eventually you will know what letter a note is as soon as you see it.co. Rebekah Lewis 2008 www. with spaces in between. The right-hand stave has a treble clef at the start to show higher pitches: The left-hand stave has a bass clef at the start to show lower pitches: Each stave has five lines.

The answers are given at the end of this lesson.co.uk . spell the word FACE: E C A F You can use this mnemonic for the 5 lines (from bottom to top): Every Good Boy Deserves Football: F D B G E Bass clef Spaces (bottom to top) – All Cows Eat Grass: G E C A Lines (bottom to top) – Great Big Dogs From Africa: A F D B G Task 1 Write the letter names under each of these notes. from bottom to top. Rebekah Lewis 2008 www.christadelphiancds.15 Treble clef The 4 spaces.

Hymn 3: Lead me Lord.uk . looking down as little as possible. and the male voices are written in the bass clef: Soprano Alto Tenor Bass There are a few exceptions to this in the hymn book. there are usually four different vocal parts: • Soprano (high female) • Alto (low female) • Tenor (high male) • Bass (low male) In the hymn book these 4 parts are squeezed onto the 2 staves. Task 2 Here is the first line of Lord. Hymn 99: Lift up to God the voice of praise. In these hymns you read your part from the 2 lower lines of music – still playing the treble clef notes with your right hand and the bass clef notes with your left. ● Now do the same for the bass part. The female voices are written in the treble clef.g.co..16 How choral music notation works In choral music. Hum the tune and trace how its ascending and descending patterns are reflected in the score.christadelphiancds. e. Thy judgements now are waking (Hymn 402) as it appears in the hymn book. where everyone sings the same part. ● Look at the melody (which is in the soprano part). Rebekah Lewis 2008 www. Gradually improve your fingering until you are able to play the melody smoothly and fluently. and the accompaniment is specially written for the piano or organ. ● Work out the notes that the soprano sings and write the letter names above the notes. ● Play the soprano part through a few times.

17 Task 1 answers Before starting next lesson. you should be able to: • Work out letter names of notes in treble and bass clef Rebekah Lewis 2008 www.co.uk .christadelphiancds.

The crucial point is that there should be an equal length of time between each beat. Task 1 Hum a tune that you know well. This is to show how long each note is meant to last for. and so you already know how long each note lasts for. in Hymn 360 the underlying beat is very fast.18 Lesson 5: Reading music – rhythms By the end of this lesson you will be able to: • Play hymns with the correct rhythms When looking at the music in the hymn book you will see that some notes are ‘coloured in’ and some aren’t. some have ‘sticks’ and some don’t. In music there is a steady underlying pulse.uk . as you will probably be playing hymns that you have heard many times before. just in case. For example. Reading rhythms is not something you need to worry about too much. whereas in Hymn 387 it is quite slow. The speed of that steady beat will vary depending on the piece.co. It does not affect the pitch (letter) of the note. or together with a beam joining them up) Rebekah Lewis 2008 www.christadelphiancds. that you need to keep in your head while playing. or beat. See if you can find an underlying pulse and tap this while you hum. this section will explain how to read rhythms. However. You will have found the beat if all your taps are the same length of time apart. Lengths of notes are worked out in relation to this underlying beat as follows: Semibreve – hold for 4 beats Dotted minim – hold for 3 beats (the direction of the stick does not affect the rhythm or pitch) Minim – hold for 2 beats Crotchet – hold for 1 beat Quaver – worth ½ beat each (they can appear separately with a tail.

which includes some more complex rhythms. a) Add letter names above the notes. Task 2 Below are the soprano parts of two hymn tunes. The music will show you which direction to go in. or if you find this difficult while playing ask a friend to tap a beat for you. rather than down to a G.co. or use a metronome).19 There is a quick reference sheet for rhythms in the appendix. The underlying beat is shown by the black circles. from note to note.. steady beat (tap your foot. 1) 2) Rebekah Lewis 2008 www.uk . Have you worked out what hymns they are? Check the answers at the end of the lesson. You are going to work out what hymns they are by playing them with correct rhythms. E.christadelphiancds. because the G is written higher on the stave than the D. b) Play through the melodies.g. c) Play the melodies in time with a slow. at the second note of the first hymn you will need to go up to a G.

uk .. 289) Before starting next lesson. 23) A rose shall bloom in the lonely place (Green Hymn Book. The lengths of all the rests are given in the appendix. Tied notes If two versions of the same note are joined together by a tie.g. Here you play one note which will last for 4 beats + 2 beats = 6 beats altogether. E.20 Other aspects of music notation Rests Any symbols that are there in the place of notes will probably be rests – silence in that part for a particular number of beats. rather than two separate ones. this means that you play one long note. you should be able to: • Give the values of the most common note-lengths discussed in this lesson Rebekah Lewis 2008 www. Any other symbols that you see in the music should be explained in the appendix.co. as they don't appear very often.christadelphiancds. Task 2 answers As pants the hart for cooling streams (Green Hymn Book.

but aim to use good fingering.uk . Joy cometh! (Green Hymn Book.21 Lesson 6: Reading music – playing with both hands By the end of this lesson you will be able to: • Play from music notation. a) Add letter names under the notes (answers are provided at the end of the lesson). Remember to look at the music to see which direction to go in from note to note.christadelphiancds. 395) Rebekah Lewis 2008 www. hands together Task 1 Below is the music for the soprano and bass parts of a hymn.co. You don’t need to worry about playing the rhythms correctly at this stage. b) Play through both parts separately until you can play them fairly fluently.

b) Play through both parts separately.uk . c) Play the soprano and bass parts hands together.22 Task 2 a) For all notes that are not crotchets (1-beat notes). steady beat. d) Once you have done this a few times. try to hold the long note down while you are playing the crotchets.christadelphiancds. Task 1 answers Before starting next lesson. write in how many beats you need to count. in time with a slow. fluently Rebekah Lewis 2008 www.co. If you have a long note in one hand with crotchets in the other. you should be able to: • Play the two parts of Joy cometh hands together. check that you are playing the rhythms correctly.

then you will be able to coordinate playing four notes at once. Right hand Father! We Thy children bless Thee / In the bud of early Spring time (Hymn 140/377) 2 2 3 3 2 5 5 5 4 1 1 1 1 1 2 1 1 1 My God. how good a thing it is (Hymn 65) 3 1 1 1 1 1 1 1 5 5 5 5 5 5 3 Rebekah Lewis 2008 www. Task 1 Play through these exercises until you are able to do them with both notes sounding as together as possible.co.uk . but it may take a bit of getting used to. how wonderful Thou art (Hymn 102) 3 5 5 1 5 5 5 5 2 5 4 5 5 3 1 3 2 1 1 1 2 3 1 1 2 1 1 2 1 1 Left hand Behold.christadelphiancds.23 Lesson 7: Playing two notes with each hand By the end of this lesson you will be able to: • Play a four-part hymn hands together If you are able to coordinate playing hands together.

working on a section at a time ● Check that you are playing the rhythms correctly. if you play the version on page 24 for each verse. it will fit with whatever the singers are doing.christadelphiancds.co. N. However. Use the techniques from earlier lessons: ● Write in the notes of each part ● Practise each hand separately.B. This is because each verse contains some different rhythms to reflect the words.uk . you don't have to follow it exactly) ● Start to play hands together. Rebekah Lewis 2008 www.24 Inspirer of the ancient seers (Hymn 183) 3 1 1 1 1 3 2 1 2 1 Pass 2nd finger over thumb 5 5 5 5 5 5 4 3 4 3 Task 2 Learn to play A rose shall bloom (Hymn 289) hands together. using good fingering (fingering is written in as a guide. This hymn looks slightly more complicated in the hymn book.

fluently Rebekah Lewis 2008 www. you should be able to: • Play A rose shall bloom hands together.25 Before starting next lesson.christadelphiancds.uk .co.

The effect of these signs lasts for a whole bar (i. E. play the nearest note to the right Flat When this is in front of a note.. # Sharp When this is in front of a note.christadelphiancds. Sometimes signs are inserted in brackets as reminders. So any other notes within that bar which are the same note and come after this sign will also need to be sharpened/flattened/made natural.26 Lesson 8: Sharps and flats By the end of this lesson you will be able to: • Play hymns containing sharps and flats Many of the hymns in the hymn book contain sharps and flats..uk . until the next vertical line in the music). D# Ab b D E E# A Cb C Natural When this is in front of a note it cancels out any sharps or flats that have gone before for that note. Task 1 Find these notes on the keyboard: • F# • Bb • C# • Eb Rebekah Lewis 2008 www.co. play the nearest note to the left Remember – sharpen up. flatten down E. Usually this means that you need to play one of the black notes on the keyboard.e. even if they are not strictly necessary because they are in a new bar.g.g..

the sign is written at the start of each line. C#. Ab Rebekah Lewis 2008 www. It means that every F appearing in this piece should be played as an F#. This key signature has a sharp sign on the lines where you find the note F. Key signatures Often.uk . G# 1 flat: Bb 2 flats: Bb. Here are the other most common key signatures you will find in the hymn book: 2 sharps: F#. C# 3 sharps: F#. Eb 3 flats: Bb. as well as the soprano and alto.. Eb. e.27 Task 2 Learn to play Most glorious things are spoken (Hymn 379) using your own hymn book. This is called a key signature. as you won't be able to reach it with the left hand. NB – there will be some parts in this hymn where you will need to play the tenor with the right hand.g. the same note will be sharpened or flattened throughout a hymn. This hymn contains some G sharps.christadelphiancds. so rather than writing the sharp or flat sign in front of every note. It applies to any F anywhere on the keyboard.co. For the first chord of the last line of the hymn you may find it easier to play the D with your right hand and the B with your left hand.

Before starting next lesson. fluently Rebekah Lewis 2008 www. In some hymns there will be occasions where you will have to leave the tenor part out altogether.28 Task 3 Learn to play Teach my Thy way (Hymn 165) using your own hymn book. There will also be times in this hymn where you will need to play the tenor with the right hand. as this is the best part to leave out if you can't reach all of the notes (sorry tenors!). you should be able to: • Locate sharp and flat notes on the keyboard fairly quickly • Play at least one of the hymns from this lesson hands together.co.uk .christadelphiancds.

but pianos tend to be different from each other. Playing an organ or keyboard If you are fortunate the lower manual on your organ will go down to a bottom C (this is usually the lowest note on electronic keyboards). and play them gently for softer playing. However. most organs only go down to F. which usually sustain notes for a little longer. and still move smoothly from note to note. and organs even more so! It is a good idea to practise on your ecclesia’s instrument before you play for a meeting. Not only that. (An exception to this is large pipe organs. then switch to 2nd finger while still holding the note down. but this is easy to solve if you’re prepared – play the note an octave (8 notes) higher instead. This gives you the opportunity to change hand position. You need to plan your fingering more carefully when playing an organ or keyboard. as the sound dies away as soon as you let go of a note.. E. Hymn 147: 2 4 5 3-2 3 Play the A with your 3rd finger.g.co.29 Lesson 9: Different approaches for piano and organ/keyboard By the end of this lesson you will be able to: • Understand some of the important differences between pianos. as the pedal will hold the notes for you while you position your hands for the next chord. Used well this can help smooth over any problems with fingering.christadelphiancds. Play notes with more weight if you want to play more loudly. where you change the finger you are using whilst holding down a note. organs and keyboards Pianos and organs are quite different instruments to play. Playing a piano (including digital pianos) Pianos have a great advantage for beginners – the sustain pedal (the right-hand pedal). How responsive the piano is depends on the instrument. This is because the low bass notes are meant to be played on the foot pedals.uk .) A good technique to use here is ‘finger-substitution’. If you are hammering on the keys and still not being heard over the singers don’t forget you can open the lid of a ‘real’ piano for more volume. Changing volume on a piano is straight-forward. but you don’t need to do this. to familiarise yourself with its particular features. There will be the occasional hymn where you will run out of notes. you have to be careful not to hold the pedal down for too long before changing it or the sounds of several chords will be mixed together and it will sound muddy. Generally speaking. Do this by quickly letting the pedal up and pushing it down again straight away. However. 1 2 1 1 1 Rebekah Lewis 2008 www. harmonies in hymns change very often – usually with every chord – so you should change the pedal as often as you can.

the louder the sound. you should be: • Familiar with the particular features of your ecclesia's instrument Rebekah Lewis 2008 www. You can also change the number of stops you are using – the more stops selected.30 Usually you can change the volume with a swell pedal – the further you push it away from you. Before starting next lesson.co.uk . This usually sounds best playing the upper manual with your right hand and the lower with your left. When you feel more confident you may want to try playing on two manuals. the louder the sound (hence the phrase ‘pull out all the stops’).christadelphiancds.

it is likely that you will sound different to how you expected.. • Give a list of the hymns you have learned to play to the presidents of your ecclesia. For more sombre or reflective words. and the most obvious to the singers. read the first line of the last verse so that you will know when to stop playing. it is an important element to accompanying hymn singing. • When practising the hymns practise your introductions as well. Rebekah Lewis 2008 www. drop the volume. Playing during the meeting • Before getting up to play a hymn. you may need to leave longer pauses between verses. record yourself playing at home. • If you can.uk .christadelphiancds. Volume This is the easiest ‘extra’ to add to your playing. ask someone to sing along while you practise. This will help you get used to carrying on if you make a mistake.31 Lesson 10: Playing for your ecclesia By the end of this lesson you will be able to: • Prepare to play for your ecclesia • Understand how to reflect the words of a hymn. whatever speed you may set at the start! Let them take the lead once you have started them off. This is a good safety-net in case you lose count of the verses you have played. instead of going back to correct it. and will not mind if you make mistakes. If you try singing along to a recording of your own playing you may spot things you need to change. However. Or ask presidents to choose the hymns in advance so you have plenty of time to practise them. Also. • If possible.co. Reflecting the words This is of course something you can only focus on when you are more confident in your playing. but it always helps to be as prepared as possible. • Listen to the singers – they will often sing the speed they are used to singing.g. once you are able to play it comfortably Preparation and coping with nerves You may or may not get nervous playing in front of others. e. The pressure of getting it right on the recording is surprisingly similar to playing in front of people. • Remember that people will appreciate the effort you have put in.

unseen yet ever near His kingdom comes! Ye saints rejoice Lord. You have a bank of hymns that you can play already. Soldiers of Christ arise sounds better with a slight gap between each chord.uk . This also gives you an opportunity to move your hand to a new position if necessary. rather than playing smoothly from one note to the next: • When there is punctuation in the words – you can reflect this in your playing by putting a break in the music. Task 1 Look at the words of The Lord's my Shepherd (Hymn 12). and you can start learning new ones.christadelphiancds. • When it would suit the words to be ‘punchier’. Here are some hymns that you could try next: • • • • • • • • • • • • • Hymn 12: Hymn 23: Hymn 46: Hymn 61: Hymn 65: Hymn 94: Hymn 113/1: Hymn 137: Hymn 195: Hymn 222/1: Hymn 239: Hymn 298: Hymn 410: The Lord's my Shepherd As pants the hart O God. all glorious above Father. all ye faithful When my love to God grows weak O God. God only wise O worship the King.co. For example. Think about where you would break up the phrases in each verse. our help in ages past Pray for the peace of Jerusalem Behold. Now you have learned everything you need to know to be able to play hymns for your ecclesia. invisible. I ask that all my life O come. how good a thing it is Immortal. keep us safe this night Rebekah Lewis 2008 www.32 Phrasing Sometimes it is effective to put a break between notes.

christadelphiancds.33 Appendix: Rhythms Note: Value: Rest: Groups 4 beats 3 beats 2 beats 1½ beats 1 beat ¾ beat ½ beat ¼ beat Triplets 3 equal crotchets played in the space of 2 3 equal quavers played in the space of 2 Rebekah Lewis 2008 www.uk .co.

g.. Gradually slow down Shows where the end of a line of words occurs in the music Repeat from the beginning. e. then the 3rd time miss this section out and jump to Rebekah Lewis 2008 www.co./rall. The top number tells you how many beats there are in each bar. very loud Get gradually louder dim. A bar is what falls between two vertical bar lines. Get gradually softer rit.christadelphiancds.34 Musical terms and signs Time signature.uk . or repeat section in between the dots: Play this section the first 2 times through. very soft Very soft Soft Medium soft Medium loud Loud Very loud Very. ppp pp p mp mf f ff fff cresc. Very. this is one bar containing four beats: You should usually put slightly more emphasis on the first beat of every bar.

12. the faster the hymn should go.8. Accent – add extra weight to the note. Hymn 289). Slur – in other music this means play smoothly.. the words of Hymn 17 can be sung to the tune of Hymn 12.. Pause. Staccatissimo – play in a short. e. E.6.uk . al fine Go back to the beginning.christadelphiancds.M. 1st verse: could be sung: Rebekah Lewis 2008 www. Hymn 49.g.6 syllables This means that tunes in the hymn book are interchangeable. but in vocal music it simply means sing one syllable for all the notes slurred together. then stop at fine. Sometimes these slurs are dotted. Hold the note or rest for a bit longer than normal.12 Hymn 12: Crimond C.12. 12 syllables per line 8. 100 beats a minute These are indications of speed. Hymn 11: Greathed 12. which means they only apply to some of the verses (e. sharp way.g. which is 104 beats a minute O sing a new song I Sing all of the words up to the line on the first note of the phrase.. 52 beats a minute.g.C.35 D.co. The higher the number.