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Hymns and Spirituals at Your Fingertips, Books 1-4.

Hymns and Spirituals at Your Fingertips, Books 1-4, compiled and edited by Janet Vogt. Heritage Music Press (Box 802, Dayton, OH 4540), 2005. 32pp each. $6.95 each.

Heritage Music Press has created a winning collection of arrangements introducing piano students to our rich heritage of hymns and spirituals. This collection of four books arranged by Martha Sherrill Kelsey, Donna McFarland, Steve Nehrenberg, Walter and Carol Noona and Janet Vogt bring a fresh approach to favorites arranged for the beginning through intermediate pianist.

Book One, with its simple chords and easy melodic lines, presents many one-page solos. Others have been stylized for one piano, four hands, with an easy accompaniment that can be played by an intermediate-level student. This book is an excellent resource for studios and churches that use digital pianos and are looking for quality literature to introduce young people into church service music. A refreshing worship experience can result by splitting the keyboard on the digital piano and painting these melodious duets with orchestral sounds.

As technical skills grow with young pianists, Vogt has cleverly repeated a select number of favorite hymns. "Amazing Grace" blossoms as a duet in Book One to colorful broken and blocked chords in Book Two and flourishes to a vibrant score in Book Four. Since most of these arrangements are written in the keys of C, D, G, F and B-flat, young pianists can be shown how to combine several pieces to create longer music needed for preludes, offertories and communion.

Finally, I applaud the wide selection of music Vogt has chosen for these books. Delightful renditions of "Jesus in the Morning," "Jerusalem, My Happy Home," "Kum-ba-yah," "To Jesus Christ, Our Sovereign King" and "Ye Sons and Daughters" are peppered between well-known hymns and spirituals. These additional songs will surely enhance the repertoire of any church pianist looking for something new to bless their congregation. Reviewed by Sharon Henney, Cheyenne, Wyoming.
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Author:Henney, Sharon
Publication:American Music Teacher
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Oct 1, 2005
Words:319
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