Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Make a Joyful lNoise by Susan L.

    I am managing to squeeze some piano time into the busy-ness of the pre-Christmas rush. It helps me de-stress in a huge way. The massive book of  600 Praise and Worship songs is a delight to play. New music always is. It's one of several books in the series under the Fake Book title. All the music is written simply with a melody line and chords for guitar. I am thankful for my organist background. Chords are a huge part of that type of music so I am able to ad lib the background accompaniment and dress up the melody line. That's the really fun part. It makes playing the piano, well, playing!
  It was rather interesting to utilize the record/playback feature on the piano. I recorded the song "Memory" from the Cats musical. It's not in the Worship book but in another Fake Book of some 1200 songs from the last sixty years that I've played over and over the last couple of decades. With a critical ear, I listened closely. There's a few things needing work on: play it slower, hit the keys softer, add more expression. It'll take some more practice for my left hand to truly develop the "piano touch".
  In the worship songs there's a lot of what's called syncopation, the dah-da, dah-da rhythm. I've always struggled to master that. Jazz beats aren't my strong point. As I was attempting to get it right I could hear my first organ teacher, Mr. Kenny, tapping his pen on the edge of the organ in a steady four count. It still helps, the constant one-two-three-FOUR patter that rings clear in my mind even though it was over forty years ago when he taught me. I am thankful he gave me a solid foundation in music fundamentals.
  There's another aspect of the piano I enjoy immensely. An organist doesn't move. No toe tapping. No upper body movement. No fancy flourishes with the hands. The only movement is fingers gliding along the keys and feet along the bass pedals. Piano? A pianist dances with the music and the instrument. It's incredibly freeing and adds a whole new and wonderful element to the playing experience.
  There's just one thing that needs to be fixed. I sawed the legs shorter on my organ bench so it would work for the piano but it really, really needs a cushy seat!
  "It is good to give thanks to the Lord, and sing praises to Your name, O Most High; To declare Your loving kindness in the morning, and Your faithfulness every night, on an instrument of ten strings, on the lute, and on the harp, with harmonious sound. For You, Lord, have made me glad through Your work; I will triumph in the works of Your hands." Ps 92:1-4


  1. That was one of the reasons why I lost interest in playing the piano... my butt can't take the hard bench! Especially if you lose track of time and spend hours on it. :)

    1. When I was at the music store, they had padded benches so I don't feel guilty when I redo the bench with a softer seat. The times they are a-changing!