The Book Mormon Set to Music: 1 Nephi 1

I thought it might be fun to set music to the Book of Mormon by playing the piano while listening to a recorded reading of it. The tune was improvised on the spot so I could have the mood change with the words. It starts out a little cheesy, but overall  I think it worked okay. Let me know what you think!

Video Improv Session

I decided to try something unique a while back (in December). I did a live video stream of my piano practice. It was a lot of fun, and it turned out to be a great way to interact with friends using music. I’d like to do this more often on my UStream channel, but Here’s the recording of the stream:

Come Thou Fount: Original Piano Solo Arrangement

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Come Thou Fount

Come Thou Fount

I love the old hymn, Come Thou Fount.  I think it captures the spirit of Christianity everywhere and reminds us that without Jesus Christ, we are nothing, but that with Him, we can become all that He is.  I’ve been intending to create an arrangement of it for a long time, and I finally took the time to do it.  You are welcome to download this arrangement for free. Also, you can purchase the sheet music at my website: http://chashathaway.com

Of all the words in the song, my favorites are these: “Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above.”  It reminds me that I have given my heart entirely to the Lord, and he can do with it as He sees fit.  That heart often needs tuning, even regular tuning, and only He can do it, but I must bring it to Him – over and over and over.  Each time I do, he refines it, purifies it, and returns it to me, better, stronger, and more empowered than before.  I love Jesus Christ.  No matter how much I give, He always give back more.  I guess that’s why He said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”

He waits on us to give Him all that we are, and when we do, He gives us back a life that is far better than anything we could have imagined.

Below is a copy of the original lyrics by Robert Robinson as he wrote them in the Continue reading Come Thou Fount: Original Piano Solo Arrangement

Play by Ear, Write by Heart: Conclusion

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Play by Ear, Write by Heart: Conclusion

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talltabMusic is a remarkable thing.  So is the mind and the heart.  Together, these three elements can create beautiful music for all who hear it.  I’ve noticed that generally it is the simpler music that touches people most deeply.  I encourage any who enjoy listening to music to give writing music a try.  The best indicator to tell if you have ability to write music is to notice how much you enjoy listening to it.  The more you enjoy listening to it, the more developed your mental ear is, and the greater capacity your mind has to bring new music to life.  This may be hard to believe, but in my experience, it is true.
talltabMany people, even musicians, may try to convince you that music writing is something you’ve either ‘got’ or you don’t.  Don’t believe them.  This is but a convenient way to make musicianship sound unreachable for the inexperienced.
talltabThe truth is, even the most gifted musicians have developed the capacities we have been discussing, but they rarely know how to explain it, because so much of what is happening in practice is internal.  So they only explain those things which are easily explained – the note values, the time signatures, and the drill techniques.  These are all good, but they are only the technical parts.  I hope in this series I’ve been able to convey some internal ideas that are used in playing and writing music.
That is not an easy task, but I hope my attempts prove helpful in your quest to play and write music, by ear and by heart.

See more entries about playing the piano by ear and writing original piano music

25 Second Teaser from the New CD

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25 Second Sample

Here’s another 25 second teaser from my newest CD to be released in the next few weeks.  The name of the CD is The Ancestor, and this is a sample from the song that bears that name.  Enjoy!

By the way, the Deseret News has a section known as Mormon Times which wrote an article about my music this week.  Check it out at the Mormon Times Website.

Also, thanks to L.T. Elliot for her kind words in a blog post about my music.  Thanks, L.T.!

See More posts with music from The Ancestor CD

Play by Ear, Write by Heart: Part 20

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Play by Ear, Write by Heart: Part 20

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The Sound Method

talltabThe basic idea of the sound method also works with silence, but silence can be a little more difficult to find in the busy world that we live in.  If the opportunity presents itself, try creating music using only your mental ear while you are in complete silence.
talltab Also, have you ever noticed that when you sit or lay in complete silence – perhaps  shortly before you begin to fall asleep, you can occasionally imagine sounds so well that you can almost convince yourself that you actually hear them?  I don’t think this is anything strange.  As your mind approaches sleep, it will sometimes begin to drift into dreaming before you have completely fallen asleep.
talltab If you ever find yourself drifting off, and are aware that you are doing so, try playing with your mental ear.  You may, on occasion, find that you can make yourself hear music – not actually hear it, but almost hear it.  If it works, you may find that you can create beautiful music, much in the same way you would if you used the sound method.  The only caution with the sleepy method is that if you fall asleep completely, you’ll probably forget what your music sounded like.
talltab In speaking of these methods, I hope not to create the impression that writing music by heart requires some kind of deep meditation or something.  That is not the case at all.  Actually, these sound and silence methods work best if you have already created some of your own music using the basic methods we’ve already discussed.  Sound and silence methods are just a fun way to play with your developing mental ear.
talltab Music is a simple thing that promotes emotion and motivation, and is best created with that idea in mind.
talltab If this method does prove itself effective for you, you may find that it is not difficult to invent a tune while humming during a walk, or whistling while you work.  You will likely find that you can spontaneously begin humming a tune that you have never before heard, and perhaps you will never hear again – unless you have a piano handy.  Try some things out, and you may be surprised how easily you can write original music.

See more entries about learning to play the piano by ear and write original piano music