Saturday, September 29, 2018

Free Simplified Christian Piano Music

Simplified Free Christian Piano Music from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints organized by level of difficulty

Part of my bedtime routine almost every night as a child was listening to a 30-minute cassette tape of music that we sang in church. The soothing music and encouraging words continue to bring a lot of peace to me as I play, sing and listen to varying arrangements.  I love finding sources for free simplified arrangements that allow my students to start playing some of their favorite familiar church songs within the first few months of lessons.
I slip them in sheet protectors and arrange them in colored folders based on difficulty level, so students can check out "books" on their level from my music library.

Layton Music Simplified Primary Songs includes both pre-staff and on the staff melodies with varying rhythmic difficulty. Melodies are written with hands near Middle C and only have one note at a time.
"I Can Play It" Simplified Christian Music for children (pdf, mp3 and music videos) are a bit more challenging with hands together playing in a variety of keys and rhythmic difficulties.
Simplified Hymns is of comparable difficulty with songs typically sung as a congregation.  I like how the melodic rhythms are not simplified and the index contains a guide arranging songs by level of difficulty.  Some lesser known songs published in The Friend magazine are also available here.

Some of my children's favorites include:
A Child's Prayer
Scripture Power (They love the catchy rhythm. I love the teaching value of repeating patterns and a great of review steps and skips!)
Gethsemane (6/8 Time)
I Am a Child of God
I Know that My Savior Loves Me
Heavenly Father Loves Me

Following is the order I have arranged them in, gradually increasing in difficulty.

Pre-Staff Layton Music

PreStaff Finger #s
Once There was a Snowman (R.H. only)
Jesus is Our Loving Friend
A Happy Family
PreStaff Letter Names
Jesus Said Love Everyone
Book of Mormon Stories
I am Like a Star
I am a Child of God (some eighths, #s)
When We're Helping (eighths)
A Happy Family

Level 1  Layton Music

Staff Quarter/Half/Dotted Half/Whole
Book of Mormon Stories
When I am Baptized
I Know That My Savior Loves Me
Scripture Power
Away in a Manger
For Health and Strength (Gilbert DeBenedetti)
All Things Bright and Beautiful (tied notes)

Level 2 (New Sharps and Flats) Layton Music

All Creatures of Our God and King (fermata)
Called to Serve Him (tied notes, challenge add dotted rhythms)
The Church of Jesus Christ (challenge add dotted rhythms)
Follow the Prophet (finger crossing, lift drop repeated notes, phrase endings)
To Think About Jesus (3/4, flexible wrist follow fingers, legato repeated close to keys)
Jesus Said Love Everyone (challenge add I, IV & V chords)
I Want to Live the Gospel (add dynamics to shape melody)
Don't Ever Forget to Pray
Nephi's Courage
Thank Thee for Everything
I Lived in Heaven
The Wise Man and the Foolish Man (challenge add I and V chords)
I'm So Glad When Daddy Comes Home

Level 3 (New: Eighth Notes, Dotted Quarter+Eighth) Layton Music

Scripture Power
Did Jesus Really Live Again
I am a Child of God
If the Saviour Stood Beside Me
My Heavenly Father Loves Me
The Family is of God (unbeamed eighths)
Family Prayer (unbeamed eighths)
We'll Bring the World His Truth
I Know My Father Lives (level 2)
I Wonder When He Comes Again
Jesus is Our Loving Friend (level 1)
When Jesus Christ Was Baptized (dotted rhythms)

Level 4 (New: Hands Together, Key Signatures, More Movement) I Can Play It!
Teach Me To Walk in the Light
We'll Bring the World His Truth
Called to Serve
Come, Come, Ye Saints (G Major)
When He Comes Again (F Major)
Nephi's Courage (F Major)
I Pray in Faith (F Major)
Gethsemane (F Major, 6/8 Time)
My Heavenly Father Loves Me (D Major)
When Jesus Christ Was Baptized (Eb Major)
Baptism (Eb Major)
I Will Be Valiant (Triplet Variations)
A Child's Prayer (Bb Major, tricky rhythms)

Level 5 Simplified Hymns
see pg 87 Grouped according to Ease of Performance

Another newer resource with simplified hymns available for purchase that I enjoy using with my students in the Play Mormon Hymns Series.   The duets are very engaging and some of the songs include interesting intros as well instead of just the verses.  My favorite is "There is Sunshine in my Soul."

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