I love the old hymns, discovering chord patterns, expanding my accompaniment styles, and therefore, teaching hymns for beginning pianists.
I was raised learning to play hymns on piano, practically from my first month of lessons. So when I started teaching piano, I knew I wanted to include hymns in my teaching.
However, I soon realized that today’s children didn’t know the hymns I grew up with. In short, I didn’t know how to introduce hymns to my piano students.
I liked using hymns to give piano students something familiar to play… but none of them were familiar! I was tempted to not teach the hymns if the student didn’t know it.
One day, I sat in a master class by Mrs. Jane Bastien, and she was talking about some of the old popular tunes from back in the 60s and how students didn’t know them anymore. She said that the students’ lack of knowledge of these tunes should not prevent us from teaching them, because students know hardly any of the classical repertoire we teach them either.
I loved that perspective and immediately applied it to hymns. It didn’t matter if my piano students didn’t know the hymns; I could teach them something new, and maybe they would find a hymn that they loved.
This then was the foundation of me composing the 25 middle C hymns in Simple Hymns for Worship which gave me the perfect opportunity in introducing hymns for beginning pianists.
In this post, I will share a peek inside Simple Hymns for Worship as well as give you ideas for creating your own accompaniment/teacher duet part (with a video tutorial!).
A Look Inside Simple Hymns For Worship hymns for beginning pianists
Simple Hymns for Worship contains 25 hymns written in the middle C position. These hymns are not intended to replace a piano lesson book; however, you will notice that they correlate very closely to the pattern of most primer level lesson books in introducing new concepts.
First, I’ll show you a quick video sample, then I’ll dig into the contents.
Very Beginning Primer Piano Hymns for Beginning Pianists Sheet Music
The very first selections are the most basic, single-note arrangements. These are perfect in introducing hymns for beginning pianists. They can be used complimentary to the first half of primer books.
“Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee” uses notes G to C in the left hand and C in D in the right hand. This is ideal for students who are not comfortable with all of their notes in the middle C position. It is written without any syncopation, though I will often let a student add their own syncopation if they can do it by ear.
“Praise God from Whom all Blessings Flow,” “Jesus Loves Me,” “Brethren We Have Met to Worship,” “Faith of our Fathers,” and “Come, Christians Join to Sing” all have basic rhythms of quarter notes, half notes, dotted half notes, and whole notes. There are new accidentals. These are for piano students who have reached the middle of most primary books and are comfortable reading all Middle C position notes.
Mid-Primer Piano Hymns for Beginning Pianists Sheet Music
“Abide With Me” and “At Calvary” both contain B-flat (symbol). The timing is still simple, and ties are used. The rhythm for “At Calvary,” is simplified. Instead of dotted quarter notes and eighth notes, the student reads dotted half notes and quarter notes.
The first key signature (F major) shows up in “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing” and “Jesus is the Sweetest Name I Know.”
“My Eyes Have Seen the Glory” introduces an anacrusis as well as using F-sharp and C-sharp symbols.
“God is so Good” and “Holy, Holy, Holy” are both written with the G major key signature and simple timing (no syncopation).
“What Wondrous Love is This” is the first hymn that breaks away from single-note melody. At the very end, there is a cadence with a two-note then four-note chord. My piano students usually love the ending, because it is so robust.
“Come, Ye Thankful People, Come” is a piano studio favorite! Almost every measure has an interval, making it sound advanced for a middle C position arrangement. It is written with B-flat and E-flat symbols, not in the key signature.
“When I Survey” (Key of G) gives piano students a different challenge, as the melody is in the left hand, and the right hand has a whole note, interval accompaniment.
“O Sacred Head, Now Wounded,” “Amazing Grace,” and “Crown Him with Many Crowns” use eighth notes. Unlike the previous two hymns, these return to single-note melody, so the students can ease into eighth notes more easily.
“Nothing But the Blood” is another left hand melody piece with right hand single note accompaniment. I have heard reports of this one being a piano student’s favorite–so much so, she played it endlessly for over a year!
“O for A Thousand Tongues to Sing” combines intervals and eighth notes.
Late Primer Hymns for Beginning Pianists Sheet Music
The next two hymns are my absolute favorite in this entire book. They stay in the middle C position, however, they sound like late beginner arrangements.
I love assigning “Praise Him! Praise Him!” to my piano students who are very comfortable in the middle C position, but can take a bit of a challenge. It is four pages long, and can be played almost as fast as the student wants it to be played.
And trust me, they have tried it at break-neck speed because it is so fun to play.
“Showers of Blessing” almost rivals “Praise Him! Praise Him! In popularity. It gives the student and introduction to Waltz style, as the right hand plays chords to go with the left hand melody. This is another arrangement with which my piano students like to race against the metronome.
“Praise to the Lord, the Almighty,” actually expands out of the Middle C position in the right hand for a few measures (D position). This arrangement covers a lot of thirds in one hand which helps the piano student strengthen their finger control.
The last piece is an invitational hymn requested by my piano students. “Just as I Am” is the only hymn in this book that features dotted quarter notes. Again, because a new rhythm is introduced, the melody is single-note only.
Teacher Chord Chart for Accompanying Hymns for Beginner Pianists
Finally, there is a chord chart to help the teacher with all the chords featured in the book.
That’s right, there is no written teacher accompaniment. There are only chords in the student part for the teacher to follow.
Get Simple Hymns for Worship here
How to Accompany Piano Students with Chord Symbols in Simple Hymns for Worship
I love using pre-written teacher duet parts; however, I have sometimes found these parts to be difficult for certain piano students. Especially if introducing hymns for piano students is not going 100% smoothly.
If a student is rhythmically challenged and you play a different pattern than they play, it can easily throw them off and make the duet miserable instead of fun.
In contrast, if a piano student is super comfortable with their timing, I have found myself wanting to add more flair than what the written teacher duet sheet music has.
In having no written duet part in Simple Hymns for Worship, the teacher is able to match their accompaniment to each piano students’ needs.
However, I realize that some piano teachers have never had experience following chord charts.
I have a simple video tutorial and give you a few ideas of what to do to accompany your student using only chords. The basic concepts you need to know are chords (and, if you aren’t comfortable with those, there is that nifty chord chart in the back of the book to help you in the right direction).
FREE: Over 50 Left Hand Patterns for Church Pianists
If you’d like even more accompaniment ideas, I have a free download of over 50 Left Hand Patterns that supplies a variety of ideas. You can choose almost any of the 50+ patterns for your left hand and play just the basic triad in your right hand.
If you are feeling adventurous, simply choose one of the notes in the chord to play in your right hand. Another right hand option is to play an alto-note of sorts to the melody.
>>> Get the free ebook of Over 50 Left Hand Patterns here
Simple Hymns for Worship is a the perfect book in introducing hymns for beginning pianists. It will take both you and your piano students on an adventure through the old hymns.
With the sheet music studio license, you can use this one book to meet most of your piano students’ hymn needs. And, if you ever need a little extra help knowing how to do even more teacher accompaniments, head to my shop and hit the “Ask a Question” button.
Want to sample just three hymns for beginning pianists?