I am seeking a pianist for my church. In this day and age, the role of the church pianist has changed. So perhaps this would be an appropriate platform to share my thoughts what a church pianist is expected to do.
First, I believe a church pianist should hold the same faith values as the church. Because music is so important to our churches, sometimes we’ll hire a pianist regardless of their faith, which is not wrong. Its just not ideal. In any situation, however, the pianist must have a willingness to work under direction and work as part of a team.
Second, the pianist needs to be versatile. Ideally, the church pianist needs to:
- Sightread well
- Play written music
- Play by ear
- Play melodic based music
- Play rhythm driven music
- Be the lead instrument
- Be part of an ensemble
- Accompany choir, solos, instruments, etc.
- Play music for prayer & scripture reading, etc.
- Play alone
- Not play at all
- Be willing to learn
I thought the list would be longer, its probably not complete, but it’s a list that requires many different skills. Its also hard to find a pianist who can do most of the list well. For example, most pianists grew up taking piano lessons, learning to play just the notes on the page. Other pianists, however, learn to play by listening to the music, and can’t read music at all. A church pianist needs to be able to do both, in varying degrees. These two disciplines are hard to find in one pianist.
Since its so rare to find a pianist who can do everything on the list, I’d like to have a pianist who can sightread, play music well and accompany the choir. I can teach them to do the other things.
Is there anybody out there who has “heard the call?”