New Arrangement: Just As I Am

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I just published a new arrangement on my sheet music page. It is a simple but (hopefully) stylized take on “Just As I Am.”

If you are in the Monthly Hymn Arrangement Club, don’t buy this one. You should have received it on Saturday.

There are various philosophies behind the arranging process. For example, many arrangers focus on painting the text as specifically as possible. They want the performer to be playing the words, and they want the melody prominent almost all the time. I would say that painting the text is the most common approach to arranging hymns. It is also the approach that most pianists want to see in the arrangements they play.

I tend to use a more abstract approach that, in my mind, I liken to impressionism. Rather than trying to paint words, I often try to paint a mood or big idea. Once I figure out what the overall message of the song is, I create a piece that reflects that message. When I am thinking that way, the original melody is important but I do not consider it so ultra-important that it has to be retained throughout the entire song. That is why you often see long intros and lots of other material in my music that does not contain the original melody at all.

You can see my impressionist approach throughout this arrangement. Especially in the last half of the song, there is a lot of hinting at the melody but with variations to incorporate some new ideas that hopefully support the overall impact of the piece. For that reason, this arrangement is a bit more on the abstract side.

If you don’t see the video below, here is the demo:


4 thoughts on “New Arrangement: Just As I Am

  1. Anna says:

    This a beautiful arrangement, as always 🙂

    As a church pianist, I do agree that we often like to have a very prominent melody in arrangments. I always play this way so the congregation can meditate on the words and not my performance. In addition, I think it’s not only our comfort zone to do so, but also what the music director or pastor requests, especially in more conservative churches. However, having an exta long intro with “removable” pieces (like most of your arrangements) is great because the arrangement can be shortened for specials or offertories, played in its entirety for weddings or communion, or sprinkle pieces of the mood here and there to extend the arrangement.

    It’s rich, quality arrangements like these that will keep me a lifelong member of the Monthly Hymn Arrangements Club!

  2. Brenda McCloud says:

    Hi Greg, I really love your piano playing. I am a piano teacher. One time I was practicing an hour before the church service was to begin. A woman was getting things set up and as she walked by me said, “I hope you don’t expect us to sing to that.” I then replied, as her back was then to me, “It is for the offertory.”
    It was a meditative piece.
    You probably have had your share of criticism as well .
    Your music is absolutely wonderful and awesome!!! Keep up the good work.

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