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P#1 stream of praise


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Recorded on March 14, 2015. After having followed the Alfred’s adult piano course books for three years, I made a radical decision to learn a popular worship song called “Stream of Praise” [1]. A decade ago, I first learned how to sing this song when I was an assistant professor at New Mexico Tech, where minister Anna Tai [4] shared a Stream of Praise CD with me. I have listened this CD more than a few hundred times. The music video of this spiritual and emotional song can be found here [1] on YouTube.

It is worth mentioning that this song is a simple piano version of “Stream of Praise”. An advanced version of the song can be found here [3]. It must take me at least 50 hours to learn this advanced version.

This video is a pilot project for me, because “Stream of Praise” is the first song I learned outside the Alfred’s-piano-book world. When I stayed away from Alfred’s piano books, I faced three grand challenges. First, it is non-trivial to choose a song that meets my current skill level. Second, there is no fingering suggestion marked on the sheet music. Last, no sample video found on YouTube. I tried various finger positions before finalizing my own style, which is marked on the sheet music posted in this video.

I am grateful to my colleague – Dr. Jeffrey Overbey [2] – for teaching me the correct finger positions of bars 4-5. I was amazed by Dr. Overbey’s sight reading skill; he read the sheet music for two seconds and immediately played the song. It took me over 19 hours to learn and practice; in contrast, he could play this song by sight-reading on the first attempt.

I would like to express my gratitude to Mike eKim ( [5], who offered insightful advice on how to play the first five measures. Mike demonstrated how to play these bars in a video ( posted on his YouTube channel [6].

I would like to thank Sean Fox for his advice on the fingering and tempo issues. He pointed out that I should play the sixteenth notes in bars 4-5 faster.

Bars 1-5 are very difficult; I could not make them musically sound until a practice of two hours. Fortunately, Mike's magic fingering position solved this problem (see [6] for the solution). Currently, I am learning how to play and sing at the same time. Ying enjoys singing this song when I play it on our piano.

The recording success rate is 19.2%, which is slightly higher than that (i.e., 12.5%) of the previous song. The tempo of this song is 83 BPM, which is marginally faster than the ideal one (i.e., 80 BPM).

A Summary of the Learning Process:

Tempo: 83 BPM (Ideal tempo: 80 BPM)
Recording: 47 minutes (26 takes, 5 acceptable videos)
Success Rate: 5/26 = 19.2%

Published in: Education
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P#1 stream of praise

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