Most church pianists are busy! Trying to balance music selection and practice can be a daunting task no matter what piano style, level of proficiency, or level and type of employment. It seems like there is always more work to be done than there is time to do it in. Lorenz publishing has heard the cry of pianists everywhere, and has supplied a terrific solution. It’s called, “The Church Pianist.”
What is it? “The Church Pianist” is a bi-monthly periodical of church piano literature. Each issue contains approximately ten piano pieces for church (or personal) use. It includes preludes, postludes, interludes, and offertories. The Church Pianist is written at the intermediate level, so it works great for most proficient, music-reading pianists. Composers and arrangers include Mark Hayes, Gilbert M. Martin, Larry Shackley, Janet Vogt, Lani Smith, and a host of other great musicians. Some arrangements are classical pieces, others are hymn settings, and some are original compositions. Each issue is a nice blend of styles and types. Subscriptions cost a little over forty dollars a year.
How to use it? Each issue is loosely based on the church year. For example, the November/December issue will usually contain something for Thanksgiving, a few things for Christmas, and a few general pieces, too. The pieces vary in length from thirty seconds to four minutes or more. Many pieces can be adjusted to fit the length you need. Most issues include performance notes, so you can understand what the composer was intending for the piece. The index on the cover includes the title, type of piece (offertory, prelude, interlude, or postlude) and the approximate length. I find that even though one piece may be intended for a prelude, it also works great for an offertory, and vice versa. I also like to save my books, because what may not work for me one month may be the right thing just a few months later. Even if there are pieces in the periodical that you could never use, they are great for sight reading practice. They are also great to have on hand for extra services, wedding preludes, funeral music, and even background music for church dinners.
How to learn the music quickly? Many of these pieces are easily sight-readable, or need just a little bit of practice. I like to run through all the pieces as soon as I get the music as a way of practicing my sight-reading. I make notes right on the cover of when I might be able to use particular pieces and what might need a little extra work. When it comes time to use the piece, I go to the hardest sections first, and work through them until they are easy, then I add in the easier parts.
What else is available? Lorenz also offers other periodicals, such as “Keyboard Worship and Praise” for piano, “The Sacred Organ Journal,” “The Organist,” and “The Organ Portfolio” for organists, too. Find more information or order your subscription at www.lorenz.com.