Tried-and-True Favorite Collections for the Church Pianist

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As all church pianists know, good piano arrangements are a necessary part of what we do. From preludes to postludes (and everything in between!), having collections that you can pull out and play from over and over are golden! I've collected several books over the years that I go back to again and again. The arrangements are fresh, accessible, and versatile, they fit well in various parts of the worship service, and they're fun to play! Looking for something new to play this year? Look no further. Here are my top 10, tried-and-true favorite collections for church pianists:

1. Classic Hymns We Love (various)
Twelve favorite hymns arranged by arrangers such as Mary McDonald, Pepper Choplin, Mark Hayes, and Ruth Elaine Schram. A go-to for preludes, offertories, and postludes!

2. Mark Hayes for the Intermediate Pianist (Hymn Settings That Touch the Soul) (Mark Hayes)
This collection offers an assortment of music for worship, including many well-loved hymn tunes. Each arrangement is no more than three minutes in length, making them perfectly-suited for preludes.

3. The Living Room Sessions (Chris Rice)
Simple arrangements of old hymn favorites like "For the Beauty of the Earth" and "Savior, Like a Shepherd, Lead Us." Easy to prepare, these pieces work well in a variety of places throughout the service.

4. Listen to Christmas (Mark Hayes)
This collection features a variety of Advent and Christmas pieces, plus it offers optional parts for guitar, bass, percussion, and solo instruments. Hayes' original composition, "Listen to Christmas" is one of my favorites!

5. Christmas Solitude (Jay Rouse)
I love Jay Rouse's writing - I go back to these reflective arrangements for Advent/Christmas year after year.

6. Well-Tempered Christmas (Mark Hayes)
A versatile collection with pieces for worship and for holiday parties. Some of these take a little more preparation, but they are so fun to play!

7. Hymns Re-Harmonized (Carol Tornquist)
This collection features 50 hymns - standard hymnal harmonization on one side and Tornquist's re-harmonization on the other. Perfect for last verses of congregational singing or for quiet music to accompany Communion.

8. Classic Hymns for 4-Hand Piano (Joel Raney)
Everyone loves a good piano duet and this collection is so fun! Six moderate-level arrangements including Great Is Thy Faithfulness, Be Thou My Vision, and Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing.

9. Four Hands in Praise (Larry Shackley)
One more favorite collection of piano duets - eight exciting and varied arrangements by Larry Shackley.

10. Classical Hymns (Craig Courtney)
Ten hymns in the style of famous classical works by Chopin, Beethoven, J.S. Bach, and others.

What are some of your favorite books? Any I should add to my list?

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Read more: 10 Practical Collections for Church Organists