Peters' Pointers on Piano Hymn Arrangements
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Peters' Pointers on Piano Hymn Arrangements

Step by step guide to creating fresh new hymn arrangements, revealing favorite techniques from 45 years of experience.
1.0 (1 rating)
Instead of using a simple lifetime average, Udemy calculates a course's star rating by considering a number of different factors such as the number of ratings, the age of ratings, and the likelihood of fraudulent ratings.
5 students enrolled
Created by Joe Peters
Last updated 9/2015
Price: $20
30-Day Money-Back Guarantee
  • 2.5 hours on-demand video
  • 5 mins on-demand audio
  • 2 Articles
  • Full lifetime access
  • Access on mobile and TV
  • Certificate of Completion
What Will I Learn?
  • Develop the chord structure which will best complement the melody of the arrangement
  • Determine how to communicate the lyrics of the hymn most effectively
  • Determine the format of an arrangement
  • Develop a unifying motif
  • Develop a simple hymn arrangement
View Curriculum
  • Basic understanding of chords (major, minor); intermediate piano playing ability (therefore, a knowledge of all note names and basic ledger lines of bass and treble cleffs)

I've identified a few techniques and important areas from 45 years of piano playing experience, which may shorten the time necessary to become proficient at composing a piano arrangement. This course consists of a survey of chords to create an emotional atmosphere in your arrangements. Then, I reveal some "tricks to the trade" that I've found helpful in making my own arrangements through the years. We will discuss and practice some textures that will complement the emotional language of the arrangements that you will create. As we progress, there will be some basic projects, which you can discuss with me through Udemy. To guarantee that this can be accomplished, I am committed to help you develop your arranging skill through the Udemy contact methods.

Who is the target audience?
  • An intermediate piano student, who has a most basic knowledge of chords
  • A person that wants to develop their own piano arrangements
  • A person open to practicing some of Peters' Pointers, and who is willing to apply them to an arrangement
  • A person who desires to worship and glorify God through their playing
  • This would not be a good course for a beginning piano student, for a student who does not have a basic understanding of at least triads, or who doesn't know all the notes and basic ledger lines of the treble and bass cleff
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Curriculum For This Course
26 Lectures
Welcome !!!
2 Lectures 05:06

You are wholeheartedly welcomed to this course, with all the support I can give towards your success. Provided is a basic overview and introduction. I look forward to hearing from you!!!

Preview 03:24

Example of the kind of simplistic hymn arrangement you might produce.

Preview 01:42
Chord Basics
5 Lectures 43:16

You will gain an overview of chords and an understanding of what I'm emphasizing as it relates to making beautiful arrangements.

Preview 00:59

  1. You will identify the chords in chord theory that will be useful in making your hymn arrangement.
  2. You will traverse the standard chord sequence.
  3. You will combine a simple melody and place appropriate chords to a simple melody.
  4. You will understand the difference between 2nds, 4ths, 6ths, and 9ths, 11ths, and 13ths.
  5. You will experiment with non-chord tones for richer sounding chords.
  6. You will identify suspensions.
  7. You will understand that chords move by step or by the circle of fifths.
Conquer Basic Chord Theory

The basics is my attempt to leave no one behind. You will understand the basic vocabulary of music so we can look at chord theory, which is the skeletal structure that upholds any piano arrangement.

The Basics - video illustration

A video demonstration of the western chord progression, including some basic chords like 9ths, 11ths, 13ths and augmented chords. By studying this video, you'll become better acquainted with chord choices you can use when employing the circle of fifths mode of harmonizing your song.

Chords Illustrated

This lecture demonstrates 2nd and 6ths and how to differentiate them from 9ths, 11ths, and 13ths. In the process, I illustrate how you might apply them in arrangements. Also, I discuss how you the 2-1, 4-3, and 6-5 suspension, and uses for augmented chords and the whole tone scale.

2nds, 6ths, Suspensions, and Augmented Chords

This quiz measures your understanding of the circle of fifths. Understanding this chordal relationship is important, because it gives you flexibility in choosing the right chord when using chordal movement by fifths.

Circle of Fifths and the Chord Progression
10 questions
Chords - From basic to wow!!
2 Lectures 09:05

"Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne" is a great example of stepwise movement of chords, and adding non-chord tones to make emotionally rich accompaniments. Since you receive your own pdf of the arrangement, you can learn by imitation how to move chords by step, even in chromatic increments.

Preview 02:13

A demonstration of how to move chords by step. Studying the video, will demonstrate some good chording between the right and the left hand, which you can practice and apply to your own songs.

Stepwise Chord Progression Demonstrated

Pull up a copy of the pdf for "Like A River Glorious #1." I'll leave several blanks where I'd like you to identify the best chord choice for a given blank. Remember as you take this quiz that chords tend to move by step or by circle of fifths, and that the chord needs to be able function well both with the chord that precedes it and with the chord that follows it.

What's the best chord for the melody?
8 questions

I will give you a few starting hints, but this project is all you !!! The following will be a made up melody, you provide the block chords in the bass cleff. For my purposes, it does not matter if you write 7ths, 9ths, 11ths, but indicate your choice of chord with the appropriate Roman numeral for now.

1. __ii__ 6. __V__

2. __iii__ 7. __I__

3. __IV__ 8. __ii__

4. __IV__ 9. __V__

5. __IV__ 10. __I__

Now, for the physical challenge, write your own short melody, and place some chords with it (say 4 to 8 bars). Contact me through Udemy for feedback. I look forward to seeing what you create. Remember, chords can move by step or by the chord progression (mostly the circle of 5ths). I'd recommend making a jpg of a handwritten short project, unless you can printscreen a jpg and send it. If perchance you have Finale, export as a PDF would be fine. For that matter I can read Finale files.

Your turn. Determine the best chord sequence for the following song.
5 questions
Right Hand Arpeggios
2 Lectures 08:47

This is a very generic introduction to what you can expect in the upcoming right hand technique lectures.

Right Hand Introduction

A video to demonstrate some of the arpeggios in the Right Hand Arpeggios pdf in the resource section. When you practice these arpeggios, you will over time develop some beautiful embellishments and accompaniments in your arrangements.

Right Hand Arpeggios Demonstrated
Right Hand Chordal Techniques
2 Lectures 10:14

This section will teach you how to play a chord with a moving melody line, when you are doing octave work.

Right Hand Chording

You will see a few ways how the right hand techniques function in an arrangement, and you can imitate these techniques as they benefit your arrangements.

Right Hand Techniques Applied in Arranging
Left Hand Patterns
3 Lectures 18:36

You will understand the basic overview of my lectures on left hand techniques.

Left Hand Introduction

As you practice this section, you will develop several ESSENTIAL left hand accompaniment skills to utilize in your arrangements.

Left Hand Techniques Demonstrated

This video demonstrates how to apply left hand techniques to an arrangement. By imitating this video in your own work, you will develop a strong arranging style.

Left Hand Techniques - Applying them to an arrangement
But Wait! For $19.95 you too can make a better sound!!
2 Lectures 11:56

You'll be introduced to the "Swap Shop." Unfortunately, it is only a one directional swap, but hey, you come out ahead !!

Swap Shop Intro

In the swap shop, you will learn of ideas that you can utilize in your arrangements, and how to find new ideas.

Swap Shop
Do I get a free Ginsu knife for 19.95? No, but you will communicate effectively
2 Lectures 15:09

Play faster; play louder; play slower:, play softer. This video will give you a glimpse into emotional playing of your piano arrangements.

Playing Emotionally

Read the lyrics to help dictate how the song will be best communicated to build up the people in your life. In short, add "LIFE" to your music by speeding it up, slowing it down, making it louder, or making it softer, as you would in any emotion that you experience from excitement to quite reflection.

Preview 13:42
Unity and Format of the arrangement
2 Lectures 12:31

You will understand the objective behind unifying and formatting arrangements.

Unity and Formatting Intro

You will learn to develop musical ideas to introduce, end, and tie your piece together. As well, you're piece will tend to follow or paint the lyrics of the song you are arranging.

Unity and Formatting of the Arrangement
Putting it all together
4 Lectures 14:42

A final review section will pull together the elements of arranging and composition that we have discussed in this course. Thanks so much for your input and questions, as I want to craft this course to benefit you and those you serve through the piano!!

Final Arrangement Intro

You will make a simple arrangement (while waiving my hand for certain Jedi influence).

Note: At timer 1:24, I say there is an 'F' Chord, I mean a Bb7 (Major Major 7th Chord).

Make a Simple Arrangement

I wanted to point out that you are receiving A LOT of my work for your own study and application to arrangements that you might like to make. ENJOY !!!!

Concerning the Final Lecture

These are for you!!! It's my way of saying thank you, and I hope this serves as inspiration for you to develop some of your own arrangements. I'd like to reiterate I'm totally available to help you out through Udemy's modes of communication. Thanks!! -- Joe

Arrangements from my son and myself
About the Instructor
Joe Peters
1.0 Average rating
1 Review
5 Students
1 Course
Educator at Udemy

Dr. Joe Peters is a pastor of a country church by the name of Grace Bible in Morgantown, WV. His first degree was in Music Education, graduating from WVU in 1988. As a hobby, he enjoys teaching band/music at Morgantown Christian Academy, creating musical arrangements of all types (particularly piano), and teaching through the Bible at his home church, and in a local nursing home and a local prison ministry.

Piano has always been his primary instrument; he studied under Herman Godes, and Mayola Martin. He is particularly interested in the great historic hymns of the faith -- songs like "Amazing Grace," "The Old Rugged Cross," and the like because of his faith in Jesus Christ as his Savior. As such, his desire is to glorify his King of Kings with his talent in piano.

Joe had a kidney transplant back in July of 2013. With the new leash on life, coupled with a surprising addition that his hands feel better than they have in years, he and his son produced a Christmas CD entitled, "Come Let Us Adore Him," featuring classical piano and guitar.