Happenings at Hymnprovisation.com and A Free Arrangement!

I know it has been a long time since you have received anything from Hymnprovisation.com, but that doesn’t mean we haven’t been hard at work! If you will give me a moment of your valuable time, I’ll fill you in on how we are working to serve you better.


Since publishing the book, Hymnprovisation-The Art of Effective Improvisational Accompanimentas well as publishing our first piano solo arrangement, Hymn of Grateful Praise, I have had opportunities to serve the churches in the capital city of Belize, C.A., teaching music for two weeks along with 7 others from my home church; assist in conducting Powerful Praise!- a one day Mini-Conference on Sight-singing in March; and man a booth for Hymnprovisation at the Christian Heritage Homeschool Conference in Redmond, WA in April, where I got to meet some of you!
In the meantime, I have begun to offer online piano improvisation lessons and have been compiling a number of other useful resources, including recordings, which I have plans to share with you in the near future.

A New Site

Additionally, we have been hard at work rebuilding this site from the ground up in order to better serve you, making this website more cost effective, easier to navigate, more up-to-date and altogether better with even more useful content for you!

I know, I know, last year I said the same thing. Unfortunately, the New Jersey based company I had hired to do it outsourced it to some folks in another country, which barely spoke English and certainly had never even heard of a “Hymn” before. How could I know that the nearly $2000 I spent was going to be a complete waste of my (and their) time? It was frustrating to say the least, and I was unable to salvage what they had done so I finally gave up on them and went with an old acquaintance who lives and works locally (in my home state). Had I known then that he did web design, I could’ve saved a lot of money. Hey, maybe Linked In is good for something after all!

The short of it is, by the first week of October, we should be rolling out the brand new Hymnprovisation.com website. I hope you will find it easier to navigate and more up to date. Though it won’t all be ready right away, the following things are in the works:

  • Interviews with other musicians we can all learn from
  • A complete online store with CDs and other music books
  • Online lessons in subjects beside piano improv.
  • More new music published by Hymnprovisation.com

And that brings me to the free arrangement…

Something Else That is New…And FREE!

If you read this far, you deserve a medal, but what can you do with a medal? Not much really, so let me offer you this instead. How about a piano solo arrangement of ‘Tis So Sweet To Trust in Jesus, which a good friend of mine, Laurie MacDonald, of the MacDonald Family Singers arranged and Hymnprovisation published. Mrs. MacDonald specifically asked that it be given out for free even though it is every bit as good as arrangements you might pay $2-3 for! In fact, it is a challenging and beautiful arrangement which you could use as an offertory or special, or even just for your own enjoyment of her unique style which I think you will like!

Download Now!


We would love to hear your thoughts on this arrangement so once you download it and learn it, why don’t you mosey on over to this page and leave a comment?


Finally, at long last, you can now pre-order your very own spiral-bound Hymnprovisation book! Pre-order your copy today and save 40%!

Estimated ship date is October 12, 2017.

For less than the price of two piano lessons, you will get the equivalent of at least 80 piano improvisation lessons in a single spiral-bound handbook chock full of illustrations!

-764Days -18Hours -27Minutes -51Seconds

$49.99 Order yours today for only $29.99!!


This book will make you a better pianist by helping you harness your own creativity and imagination to effectively improvise and accompany hymns and gospel songs so that you can quickly become a more confident and proficient pianist!

Hymprovisation will challenge you with fresh ideas and new ways of approaching time-tested techniques. This is not a step-by-step manual, but an innovative approach which will help you develop and create your own library of techniques which you can pull from.

Learn how you can effectively play the words by using the techniques in this book to make your accompaniment dynamic!

Learn how to handle emergencies like a pro!

Master the ability to easily transpose any song!

Discover who your audience is, as well as many other valuable insights the author has learned the hard way over 20 years of accompanying soloists, congregations, choirs and ensembles.

Learn how to develop your ear.

Uncover the secrets of chords and much, much more!

Written in plain English and geared toward all levels of pianists with something for everyone, from elementary, to intermediate and advanced. Includes more than 200 pages with over 150 examples for your convenience.

What others are saying:

“Written by a “practitioner” for the people of the pew.” –Faye Lopez (SC)

“Excellent resource! I feel like there is something in this handbook that every pianist at every level could learn from.” –Annie Danae, (CA)

“…an invaluable resource.” –Becca Lee Shove (ID) 

Learn how to use creative techniques to effectively improvise and accompany hymns and gospel songs. Some of the topics addressed are how to:

  • Play the Words
  • Use Octaves
  • Runs (right and left hand, chromatic, diatonic, and patterns)
  • Chords and their inversions
  • Chord substitutions
  • Chord uses
  • Harmonies
  • Playing by ear
  • Melodic left-hand intervals (tenths, fifths, sixths, sevenths)
  • Left hand stride (Down beats and after beats)
  • Arpeggios (ascending, descending, left, right, and crossover)
  • Patterns and forms (break up chords in different ways [root, fifth, tenth, etc])
  • Simple or complex improvisations
  • Trills, mordents, glissando, octave rolls
  • Major/minor
  • Key changes
  • Segues, Bridges, Transitions, Interludes, Cadences.
  • Styles-Classical, Baroque, Romantic, Classic, Black Gospel, Southern Gospel, “Romantic Gospel”, Praise and Worship and CCM.
  • Timing nuances within (and without) the posted signature
  • Dynamics
  • Endings
  • And much more!

In over 20 years of accompanying congregations, soloists choirs and ensembles at churches, camps, and other events all over the U.S. and in Central America, this book is a partial representation of the many things I have had to learn the hard way. Now you won’t have to make the same mistakes I did! Hymnprovisation is geared toward all levels of pianists, with elementary, intermediate and some advanced techniques as well. 200+ pages with more than 150 examples.

Scheduled release: October 12th 2017

$49.99 . Pre-order for only $29.99!


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CORRECTION on Music Conference Simulcast Start Time

I was mistaken. It happens sometimes. Maybe more often than not…

The Getty Music Conference is in the CENTRAL Time Zone, NOT the EASTERN Time Zone. I knew that! But I had mental-pause…

I just checked the countdown timer and it says they will start in a half hour…which still doesn’t line up with 1pm Central Time. What this means to you, is that you will want to tune in, oh, right about 30 min. from right now which is 10am PST, 11am MST, 12pm CST, or 1pm EST.

If you have already registered, you can still watch the simulcast HERE.

Reminder- Getty Worship Music Conference: Sing!

Don’t forget, the Getty Worship Music Conference: Sing! begins today. If you have signed up for the live simulcast, it will begin at 1pm EST, that is 10am (just over an hour from now) for you folks on the West Coast!

If you have already registered, you can watch the simulcast HERE.

Damien Sneed-“Taking a Hymn To Church” Gospel Style

If you have ever wanted to apply a Gospel Style to your hymn playing, this is for you!

How to take a hymn and “Gospelize” it. Damien takes the well-known hymn, Precious Lord, Take My Hand and applies gospel styles to it. In this video, Damien shows how you can use something other than the basic I, IV, and V, or basic down beat/after beats in the left hand, for hymn playing, this video will expand your horizons a bit!

Learn gospel music techniques at the piano with accomplished pianist Damien Sneed.

Mr Sneed has an impressive biography that includes everything from Classical, to gospel, to jazz, to CCM. You can read more about him here.

This video is posted for the purpose of furthering your musical education and imagination. We believe there is valuable content in this video clip, however, not everything in every video we post is wholly endorsed by hymnprovisation.com. If you do not like it, you are free to turn it off.

How Can We Help You This Year?

As we are beginning a new year, would kindly take a moment to give us some feedback as to how we can help you become a better musician in 2017?

At Hymnprovisation.com, we strive to bring you valuable resources and education and techniques that you will find useful. We attempt to distill all the many video clips, writings, websites, blogs, deals and sales that you might find useful as a church pianist/organist, worship leader, or simply as someone wishing to expand their skill set and knowledge of effective accompaniment.

So now that you know why we need to hear directly from you, just exactly what you feel is lacking, and how we can best serve your needs. Please take a moment to answer each of the 16 questions as best as possible, and then let us know at the end if we forgot anything.


P.S. There are no wrong answers. Every answer will help us to serve you better!

Please click here to fill out the survey

Book Update January 2017

I don’t know about you, but I had set my sights pretty high last year. I’ve been trying to finish a book on accompaniment techniques which I had started several years ago, and instead, ended up:

  • Building this website
  • Playing piano and sometimes organ for my church
  • Organizing, Producing and making Powerful Praise Music Conference happen
  • Going to Pine Lake Music’s Composer’s Symposium put on by Joe Martin,
  • Playing piano at several weddings and a memorial service
  • Working in Los Angeles for two months
  • Playing piano for a recording
  • Accompanying and singing with Men of Grace at the N.W. Gideon’s Int. Conference
  • Working in my regular day job
  • Singing in a Choir
  • Playing Piano for a Christian Camp which I play at every year
  • Taking an online Composing and Arranging class
  • Writing out my first piano arrangement
  • Assisting with our Church Choir and Christmas Cantata
  • Writing out my first arrangement for Children’s Choir
  • Shoveling Snow in the Beautiful Northwest!

And you know, in spite of all that, I still was able to make great strides toward finishing the book! I have almost all the musical examples in and checked, and am in process of some final additional details, building the index and appendixes. Then it will need to be proofed, formatted and printed. I think you will be almost as excited as I am when it comes out (HOPEFULLY ) By March 1st!

All in all, I think it was a pretty profitable year, not monetarily, I can assure you, but in knowledge and understanding, and that ought to be worth something! So for those of you who have been patiently waiting…and waiting…and waiting… would you mind praying that I would have wisdom and understanding as I wrap up the final details?

Thank you for your continued patience with me!

Skill vs. Anointing: The Heart of the Matter


You’ve probably heard someone say, “God doesn’t care what it sounds like, as long as their heart is in the right place.”

But is this true?

I’ve been thinking about Skill vs. Anointing (or learning a skill, vs. being gifted with a talent) and I’ve come to some personal conclusions on this matter which are pretty evident to anyone who is familiar with this website and it’s purpose.

What do YOU think though, does God really care if you sound good or not?

After all, isn’t it the heart that matters?

If it is the heart that matters, why should we strive for excellence in worship through music?

Here is great article from TheMusicMinistryCoach.com which explores some of these thoughts. I found it interesting, helpful and thought-provoking, and I think you will too.

I’d love for you to leave a comment and let me know what you think about this!


Sale: James Koerts Piano Music

James Koerts’ piano music is on sale until Friday, December 31, 2016 (11:59pm).

These are pretty big discounts. I don’t know where else you can get a collection of 9 brand new Sacred Piano books for less than $12ea.

Use the Promo Code WINTER2016 and get 50% off your entire order of $50 or more!