How to Help your Pianist in Primary

This time of year brings new choristers and pianists (after the Primary Program and before the new year).  

So, “HELLO” to all new-comers!

We thought it might be helpful to add some tips for CHORISTERS to help their PIANISTS prepare/be ready to serve together.  The pianist is a BIG part of Primary Singing Time!!!!  The way they play and are able to have the songs prepared makes a difference.  We want to be able to be a good team so the children can feel the Spirit through the songs and have joy through singing.

Two of us here at iheartprimarymusic are piano players and we compiled a list of tips that choristers can do to help the flow and preparation for music time with the pianist.

So here are some tips to share on how to help your pianist for Singing Time:

1-Give a list of songs that will be sung to the pianist in advance. 

One week is great.

One day is not.

Right before singing time?  Bad. Bad.  BAD.  This can be highly stressful especially for new pianists.

We suggest planning your next week’s Singing Time Sunday night after church and texting/emailing/writing down the songs and page numbers to be given the pianist.

2-If the pianist is NEW to the calling or new to playing in general:

-Avoid playing fast tempos.  It’s fun to SING fast tempos with songs like Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes – but it’s not fun to PLAY if you’re not ready to go faster!  Just be considerate or sing acapella for those circumstances.

-Let your pianist know that it's ok to just playing the right (top) hand, melody or simplified version of the song.

-One of the Singing Times we like to do is to have the kids pick their favorite song to sing from the Children’s Song Book.  But in doing this, there is no way to get the list of songs in advance to your pianist.  So avoid this Singing Time activity until they are ready for on-the-spot playing.  (If your pianist is not new to playing, giving them a heads up for this kind of Singing Time is appreciated).

3-Be on the same page as to if the pianist will play an intro to the song before singing or not.  I prefer to have an intro so I can get my song visual ready and get the kids ready to focus on singing.

4- Make sure to stand where you, as the chorister, can be seen.  This is so that they can see when you are ready to start leading the song.  Some like the piano at the back of the room, some like it on the side.

5-Talk with your pianist!  Discuss what’s working and maybe what could work better as your duo.  See if they have any opinions for the music.  Maybe your pianist has an idea for an accompaniment or song from the Friend that they would like to play.  Just build a relationship with them instead of just sending a weekly song list!

6-Print out The Friend songs for your Pianist that you sing on occasion (the Primary songs that are not in the Songbook).  You could put these in a small 3-ring binder.

7-Something I like to do with my Primary kids is to have them THANK our pianist at the end of Singing Time.  A big “THANK YOU Brother/Sister _______” goes a long way in making them feel appreciated! 

EVERYONE likes to feel appreciated J

Have any more suggestions on how to help your Primary Pianist?  Leave us a comment!


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