For years I have been told by piano teachers and the salespeople at music stores that there is an incredible need for more beginner-intermediate hymns. I’d always had the idea in the back of my mind that I would do a book of “simpler” hymns but I never seemed to get more than one or two songs partially done before moving onto the next project.
One day when my 10 year old who is my third child to take piano lessons was practicing, I had one cringe after another thanks to the poorly written chords and harmony that was in the simplified hymn book he was practicing from. I listened to one song after another having chords that clashed and didn’t sound good.
I’m sure there is a method and reason to keeping the chords simple but I’ve always felt like a good composer can strip out all the fluff and make a song beautiful with less notes. I tried to sit with my son that day and show him a few tricks he could do to make the notes sound better but as most parents who teach their children find out, their kids have zero desire to listen to mom or dad when it comes to the piano. They have to follow what the piano teacher said to do… right?
This book is the result of my frustration in feeling like there was very little good “in-between” book that can help take a beginner student through the basics of intermediate songs and allow them to progress to a more advanced level that hopefully will allow them to play hymns for a church meeting.
It took me experiencing one too many basic hymns in a book that has been around for probably 30 years. I guess I felt like someone needed to do better for piano students so there might be a higher likelihood that they will enjoy playing a song vs. feeling like hymns are boring and to make matters worse, don’t sound very good thanks to the basic clashing chords. (At least from the book my son was playing from.)
Many of these songs come from my more advanced song books but they have been modified for smaller hands. They have in many cases been simplified and shortened so that they work better for piano lessons and practicing. I hope that these arrangements give the player a taste of some of the harmonies that can exist in good hymns and I hope that it motivates them to continue to the next level with their development at the piano. Nothing would make me more happy than to know that I was able to contribute a small part to a few piano students who were able to progress and move on to playing more advanced music, having learned to “enjoy” and “love” playing the piano and taught their fingers to sing and make music.