A staple of both spiritual and secular singers alike, Amazing Grace is one of the world’s most popular songs. In 1754, Newton was forced out of the slave trade and off of the sea when a serious illness threatened his life. Newton originally wrote six verses for Amazing Grace, but modern times have brought about a seventh. From Rod Stewart to Kylie Minogue, Amazing Grace has been honored by many voices through the years.
Lately, students have benefited from receiving supplemental video instruction during the interval between their weekly lessons. By videotaping parts of their sessions and uploading to You Tube, they can often make their daily practice time more efficient.
Today, for example, I tilted my iMac so it focused on my piano, which is the Steinway upright located beside the grand where an adult student sat. During the week my pupil will have an up close examination of voicing chords in the C section of Beethoven’s Fur Elise.

In this first segment, we worked on the physical means to flesh out a resonating melody through various sonorities.
This pupil has been studying with me for five years and during that time has made considerable progress.
John Newton, its writer, lived a life full of sin and redemption, which inspired the song’s lyrics. A former slave ship captain when he wrote the hymn, he started his life at sea with the British Navy. He applied to be an Anglican priest, but in the time he waited for acceptance into the priesthood he also applied to the Methodist and Presbyterian churches. It’s even become known as the unofficial Cherokee National anthem, with altered lyrics to fit the Cherokee language. Its message of redemption applies to any person who turns from his or her sin and cries out to God for forgiveness. Half of the amount goes to Summy-Birchard (formerly known as Summy Company) and the other half ¬†goes to the Hill Foundation.

According to Newton’s biography, the words of Amazing Grace show the song was very personal in nature. Rees, Harriet Beecher Stowe published the additional and now-final verse in her novel, Uncle Tom’s Cabin. However, it is still uncertain as to who was the first person to reinvent the lyrics and changed it into a birthday song. What is known is that it was first seen in print in 1912, but could have existed even earlier. Vocal melody, piano accompaniment, lyrics, chord names, color photos and black & white photos.

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