The piano is a unique instrument, with the largest range of pitches of any musical acoustic device.
But this is no simple relationship, like that of a vibrating tuning fork touched to your dining room table.
The Musician's Guide to Acoustics, by Murray Campbell and Clive Greated, Dent and Sons l987 (ISBN 0-460- 04664-6), pp. I mention this technical study here, because there are so many factors which affect tuning of the instrument, more in fact that a proper tuning can deal with. Now I want to talk about the dilemma which confronts every piano student or professional pianist. To repeat: The pianists faces the dilemma of operating a very complicated instrument with a complex musical program, and often must divert attention to the score and away from the final sound output.
Most of us have our piano tuned twice a year, roughly when the house heating system goes on, and when it goes off. I recently attended a seminar in which the clinician gave helpful hints on how to play background piano music during specific service elements, such as the invitation, or under someone speaking. Playing slowly is a little trickier, especially if you are used to taking a particular song at a faster speed. Maybe this is an obvious point as well, but it just makes sense that if you’re not the main event, try not to compete with the main event. If the pastor is describing the elements during a reflective communion service, play music about the blood or the cross, and make sure you do so slowly and thoughtfully. And if you are fortunate to have a pastor like I do who is passionate about the truth and about souls coming to Christ, you will have no greater joy than to provide the very best in background piano music. Can you help me understand why background music is theological or philosophically necessary? I usually play a C2 chord or you could call it a C9 chord in the right hand starting with thumb on G, index on C, middle finger on D, ring finger on E, and then little finger on G. I want to work with who I have available and most of the people I have available don’t necessarily have a lot of creative experience but have a heart to learn anything new to make things sound as good as they can. Enjoy your blog and enjoy even more getting connected with other worship leaders to exchange these kind of ideas.
A little late to the party here, but as a keyboard driven worship leader (for most of my career) I have some thoughts as well. And regardless of what some of the previous posts have said, you can’t teach anything at all without some form of emulation in the early stages. Teach them simple worship progressions… I IV I IV (etc) and have them just play those over and over learning how to use the best inversions as you teach them chords. Children on the other hand I typically take through 6 weeks of reading exercises to determine their potential and to decided whether to carry on or not.
I did some experimenting in teaching group piano classes for adult beginner church musicians.
Ryan is a follower of Christ, husband, father of three, and Director of Worship & Creative Arts at Living Word Free Lutheran Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. I have to say that I have been relatively lucky in the past 5 years to have great accompanists in auditions.
Well…except for the one lady who could not play my song and literally stopped three bars into it thus leaving me to sing acapella but coming in at the end with an inappropriate button. Look, buddy, your job is to play what is on the page and what we ask you to and not to argue back and question when I know exactly what I want and need to sing the damn song.


No more auditions for this week as I need a wet nap for my brain and holy water for my soul. In the early l9 th century the use of the cast-iron frame for stringing was introduced in the US, which stabilized much of the force of the steel strings, as compared to previous pianos which were plagued by the expansion and contraction of wood members under compression. The instrument itself involves an action with several thousand moving parts, a wood soundboard supported by ribs connecting to a rigid case, and the soundboard itself which under pressure from strings resting on two separate bridges, resounds and transmits the sound to the elastic air medium. Some of the factors affecting the final sound are inherent in the strings, case and soundboard, others are related to the human hearing apparatus, and many of the characteristics of piano sound are inexorably tied to the qualities of the individual instrument. It seems hardly necessary to mention this, but the wrest plank changes its hold on the pins so slowly over the years, that the gradual loosening may not be immediately apparent. If you are a light user the action may outlast you, actions are generally well built and very strong, and the occasional sticking key can be dealt with without much trouble. If you ask your tuner how long his tuning will stay correct, he may tell you till next spring or fall, and in a general sense that is right. If you practice long hours daily on a mis-tuned piano, even one slightly off from a fine tuned instrument, you are accustoming your hearing to hearing mis-tuned sounds and intervals as normal. In this situation he or she (and she actually hears more acutely) ignores the tuning, and fails to rejoice in the lovely sound of a properly tuned instrument.
Although the majority of the piano playing in my church is covered by very capable and talented pianists, I usually play during the invitation time. Even if the song should be sung at a fast speed, if playing while someone is speaking, it will be distracting if you play it at a fast speed. When it comes to piano playing, the hymnal should merely be your reference point for melody and rhythm. So here’s your big chance! I almost entirely avoid runs and arpeggios (although, if done right, they arguably could work). I’m sitting next to our worship director teaching one of our youth guitar players music theory. My band we do a lot of original songs and when we do other people’s songs we usually remix them into our style.
But there are some exercises we do in our band practice to foster this and also I do as a test in auditions. As one formulates worship teams he could place chord playing piano players with strong lead guitarists, or conversely, select piano driven music with a piano player who reads and leads well. Anything taught correctly utilizes imitation and emulation, while developing independent thought and creativity.
Often times, I’ll have adult students who want to write simple worship songs and be able to worship at the house or in small groups. Not every song is guitar driven, and as you say, if the piano is alone and chording, you have Wade Mobley leading worship from the keys- not so good. A friend who happened to be there and went in before me (Hi Leah!) said that he was playing something funky that wasn’t even on the page.
Iron made tuning much more stable, but the case and soundboard have all the propensities of wood to change in response to changes in heating and the seasonal humidities. Tuning can only do so much, even when resorting to intentional mis-tuning of certain tones to avoid annoying overtones in the harmonic series. But in sheer honestly, he should tell you that a week later there will be changes, and in a month it would not be suitable for a concert or a recording. No violinist faces this problem, in an unfretted instrument or with the human voice the mind makes things sound right even as they are made, intervals automatically true themselves, even beyond the compromises of Equal Temperament.


Most of us have had to play the piano just as it stands, ignoring ringing sounds until they cross the threshold of tolerance, or until the tuner comes on his schedule. In addition to playing slowly, I often add extra measures following phrases, or even an extra beat following certain words. In fact, although I use various chord substitutions, I tend to keep the chords very simple. Simple, slow, steady and somewhat repetitive are all key words that will help the church pianist develop effective background music.
This is usually a problem for players who have never played in an original band where they are in some creative environment. But if we can show them a few songs that they can go home and worship with or even wow their friends with they’ll come back for more.
Except for dealing with a Typhoid victim who would NOT stop coughing and clearly had no interest in getting a drink of water, sucking on a lozenge, or just dying to give the rest of us some peace and quiet.
So it is usual for pianists who are concerned with keeping their instrument in relative tune to have the piano tuned twice a year, first when in spring the air becomes more humid, and again in the fall when the effect of a heating system starts to shrink wood parts. Compared with this necessary attention to detail of sound, the pianist tends to become a rough and crude listener. Break away from the mold of the often trite harmonies in the hymnal, and add different chords and chord progressions. I’ve even been known to leave out a few notes of the melody (heresy!) if it is very repetitious. Then, when he switches to share a final thought with the congregation or a few announcements, I change the tone and the mood to match. All they’ve done is read music or played by ear and tried to emulate what someone else has done.
I say it’s all about developing what little or great potential within and really buckling down with the individual to find which avenue is the best bet for them. And except for the guy who walked around and read the breakdowns out loud to himself and rationalized what role he was perfect for.
That will be a very different piano from the piano he has been practicing on while preparing for the concert, it will sound clearer and cleaner, the harmonies will be the best that Equal Temperament can offer, and the sound will be better to his ears.
Raising the level of acoustic attention and pleasure should be the aim of any musical endeavor. Greg Howlett, the clinician I referred to above, does an excellent job of explaining this concept in his very helpful site under Free Christian Piano Lessons. Once he dismisses the congregation, I usually segue again into a postlude song, keeping it in the same key and with similar improvisational elements used earlier. I understand that this doesn’t mean someone can just sit down and play a song percussively, so as to lead it in a worship service setting.
Your conclusion was spot on and thanks to you; I probably won’t have to describe everything to my pals.
Hence the remark of a professional pianist that the only piano he play on which is properly tuned is the one at his concert. And now I am sitting down to get this out of my system before I truly do kill the next person who leans on me as they fall asleep, steps on my feet, bumps into my twig and berries with their bag, or looks over my shoulder to read my Kindle.



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Comments to «Piano play in keyboard»

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