Giving Your Preludes a Theme

Hey church pianists,

Do you theme your preludes or just play whatever comes to mind? I’ll admit I do a little of both. Sometimes, I theme a prelude around key changes, moving through the Circle of 5ths, or moving up half steps or whole steps. Other times, I play songs from one theme of Scripture, such as God’s Power (“All Hail the Power,” “Crown Him with Many Crowns,” “O Worship the King,” etc…) the Cross (“Old Rugged Cross,” “At the Cross,” “Jesus Paid it All,” “The Way of the Cross Leads Home”), or His Name (“Blessed be the Name,” “His Name is Wonderful,” “There’s Just Something about That Name”). Theming by Biblical concepts such as Grace, Trusting Christ, His Love, the Blood, Heaven, His Glory, and Revival are also great ideas.

This week, I’ve been thinking about how God is a refuge in times of storms. Our area is expected to be significantly affected by Hurricane Florence, and we are all preparing as best we can. But ultimately, safety is of the Lord. This morning, I meditated on the concept of His grace during storms. Below, you’ll see a medley of hymns all about that topic. This would work well as a prelude, for it draws our attention not to the storm, but to the God of the storm, Who is in control!

When you prepare a prelude, don’t just play twelve verses of one song before the pastor or music minister opens the service. Think about how the songs could prepare the congregation’s hearts to worship. How can your prelude help YOU prepare to worship?

Also, if you’re not doing preludes, if you just wait until the music minister walks to the platform before you play a note, please start. You can keep it simple at first. Pick two songs that work well together. Play no more than three verses of the same song in the same key. If you do more than three verses of a hymn, change keys. Play no more than four verses of one hymn. If you play a five minute prelude, have at least two hymns prepared.

Good opening music energizes an audience and helps us all anchor our thoughts on things above. As the pianist, you have a great opportunity to start the service off in a spirit of worship. Take it seriously, and do your best! 🙂

I’ll share some more thoughts on preludes later, but for now, enjoy this hymn medley!

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