How to Create Your Own Doxology Transitions

How to Create Your Own Doxology Transitions

There are lots of ways to add musical creativity into worship:

hymn harmonizations
transpositions for the last verse
a trumpet obbligato for "Now Thank We All Our God" 

traveling music as the choir moves into place
a soprano descant (that your sopranos can sing) for "O Come, All Ye Faithful" 
newly-composed parts for the praise band

But every week? Who has time for that?!

There's one thing I’ve been challenging myself to do every Sunday since July. It’s helped me grow as a musician and proved meaningful for congregation members. And now, it’s something I look forward to as part of my planning and preparation for Sunday each week. It is:

Creating transitions from the offertory to the doxology. 

Valentine Composition Project

As a young piano student, I had a teacher that assigned Valentine composition projects. 

The task was to create a song with words for a friend or family member, notate it in lessons with her guidance, and perform the musical valentine for the person you chose. I remember sitting at the piano in our living room, playing with patterns and ideas until something stuck.

Here is a little sample:


Somehow, I always managed to create something beyond my reading abilities (e.g. Gb-major, anyone?) but my teacher was extremely patient and caring and by Valentine's Day, without fail, I had a newly-notated composition in hand. 

This was always a fun time of year for us and I remember feeling such pride in seeing my composition in written form.

Ashley Danyew | Valentine Composition 1

Five-Finger Valentine Composition Project

This year, I'm passing on the tradition to my piano students. I decided to structure the project a bit - the first version (pictured above) is for my 1st grade students (based on a 5-finger scale) and the second (pictured below) is for my elementary students who have some experience composing 2-part music.

Ashley Danyew | Valentine Composition 2

Two-Part Valentine Composition Project

Free Downloads

Valentine Composition Project [5-Finger] for beginning students

Valentine Composition Project for elementary students

Feel free to download these PDFs to use in your studio (for your personal use only). Happy composing!

Shooting Stars

composition, beginning students, creativity, piano, piano teaching, piano lessons, writing music Earlier this week, I had an eight-year-old student bring this into her lesson – her first composition.  At our last lesson, I asked her to try making up a few of her own songs that used some of the same musical elements she had recently learned (quarter notes, half notes, legato playing, and changing registers).

“Shooting Stars” is a piece for right and left hand in 5/4 time (how cool is that?!), spanning four octaves.  There are repeated rhythm patterns as well as tonal patterns and the ascending tetrachord in each pattern combined with the shifts in register really exemplifies the title.  Notice the “key” in the top left hand corner that indicates hand position (modeled from our lesson book, The Music Tree).  Up to this point, the songs in the book have only included black keys; I love the initiative it took to create a new piece on the white keys!

I’m so proud!