HymnSkills: Developing Hymn Improvisation
4.3 (7 ratings)
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61 students enrolled

HymnSkills: Developing Hymn Improvisation

Learn to improvise on piano and organ.
4.3 (7 ratings)
Course Ratings are calculated from individual students’ ratings and a variety of other signals, like age of rating and reliability, to ensure that they reflect course quality fairly and accurately.
61 students enrolled
Created by Martan Mann
Last updated 6/2017
English
English [Auto]
Current price: $20.99 Original price: $29.99 Discount: 30% off
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This course includes
  • 1 hour on-demand video
  • 20 downloadable resources
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
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What you'll learn
  • Improvise music for church services.
Requirements
  • You should have a basic knowledge of music theory.
Description

Hi. My name is Martan Mann.

You may know me from my many jazz improv courses. What you don’t know, is that for many years I have been musical director and performed at many churches. This has given me the opportunity to improvise hymn-like songs for preludes, meditations, offerings, etc.

Actually, creating your own hymns is not difficult. However, it does require some fundamental music skills. In this course, I have provided you with a step-by-step development of these required skills. All you need to do is practice each step over-and over until it is deeply ingrained in the subconscious. Once these skills are flowing, then you can either create your own hymns or improvise on existing hymns.

It’s really fun. Let’s get started.

Who this course is for:
  • Church pianists and organists who want to learn improvisation skills.
Course content
Expand all 8 lectures 54:25
+ Introduction
1 lecture 02:01

Martan introduces himself and explains the goals of HymnSkills.

Preview 02:01
+ Learning Scales
1 lecture 05:34

Video 1:  Learning Scales

  • Step One:  The Five Finger Exercise
    • Preliminary to learning scales, it is recommended that you develop the Five Finger Exercise.  This is an exercise where you think in interval/numbers to create major, minor, diminished and augmented five-note scales and the accompanying triads.  Then you play the triads in inversions.
  • Step Two:  Scales
    • To learn full scales, just add two whole-steps to the five-finger position.  Now you have a seven-note scale.  From there, learn Major, Melodic Minor (b3), Harmonic Minor (b3, b6), Natural Minor (b3, b6, b7) and, I suggest also learning the Dorian Mode (b3, b7).   Play over and over until all the scales are mastered in all keys.
  • Find a book of scales.  This will help you identify different scales to master.  Start with all of the major scales.  Then, move on to learning the minor scales (include dorian).  The scale book will also help you develop the correct fingering for each scale.  Start with learning each hand separately . . . first with on octave, then to two octaves (and beyond).  Then move on to playing each scale with two hands, an octave apart.
Preview 05:34
+ Learning Closed Position Progressions
1 lecture 05:32

Video 3:  Learning Open Progressions

  • Step 4:  Learning Open Voicing Inversions
    • To open up the closed progressions, take the middle note and place it up an octave.  Then, add an additional root or fifth.  Avoid the doubled third.
    • Practice the Open Voicing Inversions.  Start with root, fifth, third rood.  Move up the inversions.  Play in all keys, major and minor.
  • Step 5:  Learning Open Voicings Series
    • This is an arbitrary series of open voicings that you should learn in all keys.
  • Step 6:  Learning Open Voicing Bouncing Exercise
    • In this exercise, you randomly bounce around the piano using open voicings. Think of the right hand first.  If the right hand has a third, don’t include a third in the left hand.  If the right hand does not have a third, include a third in the left hand.  Practice this exercise until you call move quickly from voicing to voicing.  Practice in all keys
Preview 05:32
+ Learning Open Progressions
1 lecture 05:43

Video 3:  Learning Open Progressions

  • Step 4:  Learning Open Voicing Inversions
    • To open up the closed progressions, take the middle note and place it up an octave.  Then, add an additional root or fifth.  Avoid the doubled third.
    • Practice the Open Voicing Inversions.  Start with root, fifth, third rood.  Move up the inversions.  Play in all keys, major and minor.
  • Step 5:  Learning Open Voicings Series
    • This is an arbitrary series of open voicings that you should learn in all keys.
  • Step 6:  Learning Open Voicing Bouncing Exercise
    • In this exercise, you randomly bounce around the piano using open voicings. Think of the right hand first.  If the right hand has a third, don’t include a third in the left hand.  If the right hand does not have a third, include a third in the left hand.  Practice this exercise until you call move quickly from voicing to voicing.  Practice in all keys.
Learning Open Progressions
05:43
+ Make Up Your Own Progression
1 lecture 04:00

Video 4: Make Up Your Own Progression

  • Step 7:  Developing Make Up Your Own Progression
    • Start with an open progression voicing of the I chord.  Ask yourself:  “How many ways can I move smoothly to the IV chord?”
    • Then, ask:  “How many ways can I move smoothly to the V chord?”
    • Then, start moving from a I chord . . . to a IV chord . . . to a V chord and back to a I chord.  Use different voicings.  Then play in all keys.
    • Then, start with another voicing and repeat the above.  
    • Eventually, bounce around between various voicings of the I chord, IV chord and V chord.  Think melodically.  This, in itself, will start to sound like a hymn.  Of course, play in all keys.
Make Up Your Own Progression
04:00
+ Pachelbel Canon - Part One
1 lecture 08:51

Video 5: Pachelbel Canon - Part One

  • Intro to Pachelbel Canon by Martan Mann.
  • Step 8:  Pachelbel Bass Line
    • The first step to improvise on the Pachelbel Canon is to learn the bass line in all keys.  Play this over and over until it is effortless.
      • I - V - VIm - IIIm - IV - I - IV - V
  • Step 9:  Pachelbel Bass Line w/Melody
    • Now play the melody of the Pachelbel Canon with the bass line in all keys.
  • Step 10:  Bass Line w/Continuous Melody
    • Now we will play a continuous melody through the Pachelbel Canon.  Since all the chords are diatonic, you can stay within the major scale of the key.  Always think forward.  Think from the second note in the phrase to the first note of the next phrase.
      • Quarter Notes
      • Eighth Notes
      • Quarter-note Triplets
      • Eighth-note Triplets
    • Step 11:  Bass Line w/Random Continuous Melody
      • Endeavor to play a continuous musical melody using variations of melodic time values.  Use a mixture of all the time values
Pachelbel Canon - Part One
08:51
+ Pachelbel Canon - Part Two
1 lecture 09:21

Video 6: Pachelbel Canon - Part Two

  • Step 12:  Intro to Open Voicings for Pachelbel Canon
    • This is a repeat of the intro to Open Voicings.  But, this time, it is for the chords in the Pachelbel Canon.
  • Step 13:  Open Voicings Bouncing Exercise for the Pachelbel Canon.
    • Start with two “bounces” per chord.  Then, move to four “bounces” per chord.  Play in all keys.
  • Step 14:  Pachelbel Open Voicings w/Melody
    • Play Open Voicings through the Pachelbel Canon using 4-note melodies and five-note melodies.  (You can also add other melodic phrases.)
  • Step 15:  Pachelbel Open Voicings w/Melody In All Voices
    • Now we are creating melodies as above, but this time in the alto, tenor and bass parts
Pachelbel Canon - Part Two
09:21
+ Hymn Development
1 lecture 13:23

Video 7: Hymn Development

Step 16:  Hymn Melody and Bass Line

    • We are using the hymn, “Christ The Lord Has Risen Today”.  I’ve created a simple chart using only the chords and the melody of the hymn.
    • Start by learning the melody.  (You also have the option of playng the melody in all keys.)
    • Next, add in a bass line.  This bass line can be deducted from the original hymn.  Play the bass line with the melody.  You can add extra notes in the bass as lead-ins to the next chord.  Experiment with this.
  • Step 17:  Alter The Melody
    • Experiment with this.  
      • Use Thirds, Sixths, Open Voicings, Suspensions, etc.
  • Step 18:  Free Improvisation
    • Use your knowledge of playing actual hymns.
    • Think of progressions.
    • Use Open Voicings and good voice-leading
Hymn Development
13:23