The Distinctive Church Piano

Monday, November 09, 2009

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The church piano and the church pianist give your church music program it's own unique flavor.
    "And even things without life giving sound, whether pipe or harp, except they give a distinction in the sounds, how shall it be known what is piped or harped? For if the trumpet give an uncertain sound, who shall prepare himself to the battle?" (1 Corinthians 14:7-8)

Uses

In many traditional churches, the piano is the most important musical instrument. The piano is used for almost all musical activities, including:
  • Preludes & Postludes
  • Offertories
  • Accompanying congregational singing
  • Accompanying choir specials
  • Accompanying instrumentalists
  • Accompanying vocal ensembles and soloists
  • Invitation songs
  • Accompanying closing songs
  • Providing music for baptisms, communion, interludes, etc.

Pianists


Many times, the church pianist is the most accomplished musician in the church and often works without pay. Be sure to give public recognition to your pianists for the tremendous effort they put into making your music program a success. A special dinner honoring your pianists should be held at once a year. Church pianists should be encouraged and supported in providing piano lessons for your congregation. A church that has multiple pianists is certainly blessed.

Tuning


Church pianos ought to be tuned at least four times per year, if possible, following the change of each season.

Piano tuning is affected by changes in the humidity level of the room, by variations in temperature, by the amount of usage, and by the styles of music being played.

Maintenance


Upright pianos should not be placed along outside walls. A dehumidifier installed inside a piano might be helpful in a very humid environment, but be careful not to let the piano get too dry. You certainly do not want the soundboard to become dried and cracked.

Over time, the felt parts in the piano can become compressed, causing the piano to sound poorly. A good piano technician can help you keep your piano in good working order.

Purchasing


When considering acquiring or replacing the piano, try to get the best piano you can afford. Nothing sets the tone and flavor of the service better than an energetic, God-honoring music program. We must strive to make our music as excellent as possible.

A regular, acoustic, grand piano should always be the first choice when considering a new piano for the church auditorium. Get the longest piano that is appropriate for your auditorium. Be sure to try out as many pianos as possible before purchasing. Get input from your pianists before making the final decision.

Digital


There may be several advantages to using digital pianos, such as:
  1. They never need expensive tuning
  2. Cheaper purchasing costs
  3. Greater variety of installed sounds
  4. Greater portability
  5. Take up less space
  6. Ease of plugging into your existing sound system - no messing around with microphone placement
Some disadvantages are:
  1. They do not look as nice
  2. They do not sound as full and rich
  3. The feel of the keyboard may not be realistic
  4. The pianist may be tempted to use other sounds that end up sounding "cheesy"
  5. The pianist becomes dependent on the sound engineer (often not a musician) to set adequate volume levels for the main speakers and the monitoring system.
If you must go the route of purchasing a digital piano instead of a regular acoustic piano, please check for the following features:
  • A full 88 keys
  • Touch sensitive
  • Good weighted piano keyboard feel
  • Damper pedal
  • High quality piano sound
  • Good monitoring system for the pianist
  • Sturdy music stand
  • Dust cover for the keys when not in use
  • Sturdy base
  • Heavy duty bench
  • High quality cabling to get the outp


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Curtis Hollembeak


Curtis holds a bachelor's degree in Bible with a music minor, as well as a master's degree in Sacred Music, having studied under Dr. Frank Garlock, president of Majesty Music, and Ray and Ann Gibbs, well-known Christian singers. He has served as music director and jr. high/high school supervisor at Grace Baptist Church of Mankato, Minnesota; school music director at the Franklin Road Christian School in Murfreesboro, Tennessee; media engineer for the Sword of the Lord in Murfreesboro, Tennessee; and, full-time music director at Second Baptist Church and Twin City Christian Academy in Festus, Missouri. He is currently self-employed and serves in the music ministry of the Berean Baptist Church in Rockford, IL. Curtis is co-founder and President of the Asaph Music Co. He regularly sings bass with the Bible Truth Chorale on recordings produced by Bible Truth Music at Faith Music Missions.

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