Church pianist tip: simplify RH octaves

March 25, 2013 - By 

As church pianists, our goal should not be to wow the congregational with our technical fireworks. Rather, we should focus on communicating a message, and by doing so, touching hearts.

Sometimes you just need to simplify the arrangement you are playing. Maybe it’s too technically demanding for you. Maybe you don’t have adequate time to prepare. Maybe you were handed the song moments before the service started (crazy, I know). Whatever the reason, I promise you, there’s nothing wrong with simplifying.

Here’s an example of the refrain of “At Calvary.” Taken at a quick tempo, this right hand could be a challenge to some intermediate players.


Consider omitting the lower octave note in the right hand. It would look like this:


This should make life easier, at least until you have adequate time to rehearse the first example. There’s no reason why everything you play in church has to be difficult to you. Find your “sweet spot,” and play in it. The more you do, the more you’ll be able to effectively minister and touch hearts.


James Koerts serves as the worship pastor of Mikado Baptist Church in Macon, Georgia. In addition to his full time responsibilities at the church, James is also a published composer and arranger.

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